The official language in Austria is of course ... German!
But wait a second, it’s not that easy! In Austrian German there are lots of different dialects and it seems as if every village has its own way of speaking.
For foreigners who want to learn or improve their German in Austria, the different dialects can be rather confusing and difficult to understand. Fortunately Austrians are also able to speak "High German" – a standard German which can easily be understood.
Still some words are different from the German spoken in Germany. Typical Austrian words often refer to something to eat – 23 Austrian food terms are even specially protected by EU law like Marille (apricot) and Paradeiser (tomatoe). One word which you definitively should know when you walk into a bakery is Topfen (a semi-sweet cottage cheese) – „Topfenstrudel“ and „Topfengolatsche“ are really delicious!
Slovenian, Croatian and Hungarian are also official languages in parts of Austria. Austrian Sign Language is recognized as an official minority language in the whole country.
Other minority languages (official and unofficial ones):
Czech, Slovak, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Bosnian and Romani.
Apart from that most Austrians have at least a basic command of English – especially in touristic regions you should be able to communicate in English with quite everybody.
German might not the easiest language to learn with its 3 articles, the 4 cases, and the 1000 exceptions to every grammar rule. Plus there are ü, ö, ä, and ß.
But it’s definitely worth to take the trouble – even more if you decide to learn German in Austria. You will not only be rewarded with a new language but also with a loveable Austrian accent!
Some basic phrases
|Guten Morgen!||Good morning!|
|Auf Wiedersehen!||Good bye!|
|Tschüss / Pfiati / Baba!||Bye!|
|bitte – danke||please – thank you|
|ja – nein||yes – no|
|Wie geht’s? (informal) / Wie geht es Ihnen? (formal)||How are you? |
|Danke, gut!||Fine, thanks! |
|(sehr) gut||(very) good|
|Entschuldigung!||I’m sorry! / Excuse me!|
|Sprichst du Englisch? (informal) / |
Sprechen Sie Englisch? (formal)
|Do you speak English?|
|Ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen.||I can speak a little German.|
|Ich habe Hunger!||I am hungry!|
|Ein Glas Wasser, bitte!||A glass of water, please!|
|Prost! ||Cheers! |
|Ich liebe dich.||I love you.|
Photos: Austriazismus 03 © El Bes / wikimedia commons, licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/; Ich will Deutsch lernen © inaki naiz / flickr.com, licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.de