The EUDIA Research Team has taken language variation as its field of research. To analyse this variation it is already using the tools that it has available and will go on using them. But it does not rule out the creation of new ones, if the ones on the market display weaknesses for conducting research on its data, or if they prove unsuitable.
Consequently, it will be working on the following lines of research:
1) Data Gathering
EUDIA will be endeavouring to obtain the data gathered already in the Basque case insofar as they can be used in analysing Basque variation.
In the absence of data, we will go out in search of it. This is what is happening for example in the EAS and EDAK research projects: in the EAS project data on two generations (45-year-olds and 25-year-olds) are being gathered. These kinds of data have not been compiled taking the whole Basque-language zone into consideration. That is why we have gone out to gather these data as they are essential for research into the sociolinguistic variation of the language.
Likewise, the data on stress and intonation collected in the EDAK research project have not yet been brought together into such a closed network covering the whole Basque-language zone, even though many collections have been made. Through this research project 200 questions will be applied in 100 towns, and data on two generations in each town will be obtained.
Conducting homogeneous data collection is essential for conducting research into geolinguistic variation.
2) Dialectal Corpus
The dialectal data gathered will be used to build a large dialectal corpus. This corpus will be made available to Basque language researchers through telematic applications.
The EUDIA research team is deeply aware that the lack of a good dialectal corpus does not help the progress of research into the Basque language. It regards the availability of a corpus as indispensable, if the aim is to provide resources to conduct research into the Basque language.
Even though the EUDIA team will be researching the variability that emerges from the data, in addition to gathering data and building a corpus, it knows that the data can be researched in different forms. That is why it wishes to make the data available to researchers.
When building this dialectal corpus international standards will be used like those used in research on other languages.
The dialectal corpus will comprise oral data accompanied by the transcription of them. So the sound produced by the information providers will be made available to any researcher.
3) Creation of computer tools
The EUDIA research team has used and continues to make use of internationally used computer tools to conduct research on language variation (be it geolinguistic or sociolinguistic). And it plans to go on using these programs while they remain useful.
Nevertheless, it does not rule out the creation of new computer tools. But unless it regards it as absolutely necessary, it will not be wasting effort in this area. In fact, the EUDIA team has created CorpusLem and Diatech tools, which work on the net: the first to build dialectal glossaries and the second to do dialectometrical analyses of the geolinguistic variation.
The computing applications that the EUDIA research team might create could be to conduct research into geolinguistic as well as sociolinguistic variation.
4) Analysis of geolinguistic language variation
EEUDIA wants to go deeper into research into geolinguistic variation. In the case of Basque there are projects in this field: be it the Triple Questionnaire (E.I.), be it The Ethnolinguistic Atlas of the Basque Country (EAEL) or the Atlas of Popular Basque Speech (EHHA), which is of particular importance and is being produced by the Euskaltzaindia (Royal Academy of the Basque Language).
Traditionally, elderly people have been the providers of information in the projects so far. In line with the profile of informants used in traditional dialectology, NORM people have been used. Speech types of adults or young people have never been researched.
By contrast, we at EUDIA believe it is very important nowadays to research speech types produced in other generations. This is why projects for researching different generations are being run. And in all of them the geolinguistic perspective is being taken into consideration, because data gathering is in fact being conducted in 100 towns in the Basque language zone and consequently it will be a way of researching what variations have taken place within the network of these towns.
5) Analysis of sociolinguistic language variation
Among the research projects currently being worked on and the new ones that will be started in the future, one of the aims of the EUDIA research team is to research sociolinguistic variation.
In the projects being run age is taken into consideration as a social factor. The reason is that this factor is thought to be the one responsible for the greatest variation in the Basque case and today.
In addition to researching, by means of inter-generational research, the aspects that distinguish the speech of adults from that of young people, we are keen to measure the extent of this variation, too. Consequently, the extent of language difference taking place within a single generation will also be determined.