Sunday, April 19, 2015

Austrian German

On the differences between the USA and the UK, Oscar Wilde once said "We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language."  Well the same thing applies to German.

Standard German, Hochdeutsch, is what people learn in school.  This is High German and it is understood throughout Europe.  However within Germany there are lots of very distinct dialects most notably Berlinerisch, Bayerisch, Hamburgerisch, Hessisch, Pfälzisch, Saarländisch, Sächisch, Schwäbisch.  There are more but these are the big ones.  Most are mutually intelligible with the differences occurring in pronunciation, spelling, word usage, and grammar.  

In Switzerland, and in Liechtenstein, there is Swiss German - Schwyzerdütsch.  Most Germans can't understand Swiss German.  On German television, it's normal to show German subtitles during interviews with Swiss German speakers. 

Living near the Austrian border I hear Austrian German which is another dialect.  Austria too has a few different dialects but the one I mostly run in to is Wienerisch, the German spoken in Vienna.  To me Viennese accent sounds "stretched out" and spoken from the back of the throat.  Vowels are lengthened a bit, especially at the end of a sentence, while word endings get "clipped".  It sounds nice but I can't fake a Vienna accent. 

Plus there's some vocabulary differences...

For "Good day" Germans say Guten Tag.  In Austria it is Grüß Gott.
"Hello" in German is Hallo.  In Wien it is Servus.
Germans say Ich liebe dich for "I love you".  In Vienna it is I steh auf di.
"In the morning" is am morgen except in Austria where it is in der Früh.
A German bread roll is das Brötchen but an Austrian one is die Semmel.
Ein bißchen is "a little bit" in Germany.  In Wien it is a bissl.
In Germany you can get an Aprikose, Kartoffel or Pilz ("apricot, potato or mushroom").  In Wien you will get Marille, Erdapfel or Schwammerl.

Here's a short video I found out on YouTube that gives some examples of the differences between German German and Austrian German.

©Easy Languages

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