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Austrian - German Dialect?? are there very different??

hello there...

Planning to visit Austria in a couple months (or years) and I thought will be a good idea to learn something and avoid awkward moments. haha

I speak Spanish-Portuguese and added English to my list, now thinking about German language.

My questions for those German speakers, if there is any tips for people who are on the same boat us me (beginners), besides alphabet and pronunciation what should I do next?

I found easy for me to learn the most popular irregular verbs in English and then go from there, and it was worth it for me so far.

Does German language has something similar to learn?

Aug 14, 2016 3:06 PM
Comments · 5

You get around Austria with Standard German just fine. I think, it could be useful to know some Standard Austrian German words, i.e. words that are not regarded as dialect words, but used by Austrians when they speak standard German. Examples are (left Austrian, middle Standard German):

Paradeiser = Tomate = tomato

Erdapfel = Kartoffel = potato

Palatschinken = Pfannkuchen = pancake

Schlagobers = Schlagsahne = whipped cream

Karfiol = Blumenkohl = cauliflower

Faschiertes = Hackfleisch = ground meat

and so on. These and other words are most useful for understanding the menu in an Austrian restaurant. 

August 17, 2016
I wouldn't distinguish between Austrian and German dialects. I am coming from Vienna and the only dialect I am understanding without problems is the Viennese dialect and maybe some dialects from Lower Austria. I wouldn't say that it is easier for me to understand Tyrolean-Dialect than some north german dialects just because I am Austrian. I agree with Brit, if elderly people start talking in their dialect it is getting difficult and then it doesn't really matter if they are from Westfalen or Vorarlberg (Germany or Austria). I couldn't understand them anyways. The good thing is that most people are able to speak standard german (Hochdeutsch) as well, so if you are just travelling it would be the best to stick with that. What you can do is to learn some of the local greeting phrases which also vary depending on the area (f.e. Servus, Griaß di, ..). A few words or sentences in a local dialect can help you to start a conversation and break the ice, but sooner or later it will be better to change to standard german :)
August 17, 2016

I can only agree with Paul. There are so many different dialects spoken in Germany and in Austria. Some of them are easier to understand, others are not. There are areas in Germany (and Austria) where I cannot understand anything. But, as mentioned before, most people can speak Standard German.

As Miriam mentioned, there are a few words which are different (mostly food)

@Felix: I have never heard that with the “ei” not pronounced as an ”ai”. It is new to me :)

August 17, 2016

I think, for a "German starter" the austrian dialect can be quite incomprehensible, at first. But you might get used to it. And when you speak to someone in person, he will probably try his best to speak hochdeutsch with you. 

But there is one thing I really appreciate about the Austrian dialect. In Hochdeutsch, when there is an "E" and "I" in a word combined, it's not pronounced "ei" but "ai". That might be a little confusing for starters but that rule doesn't appear in the Austrian dialect. So in this context, Austrian german is a little easier 

August 16, 2016

Dialect: If an (elderly?) person in Germany or Austria speaks in their dialect only - I do not understand my mother-tongue! BUT that does not happen very often and when people are asked to speak more clearly, they usually do that.

For learning last minute: When learning Spanish I really loved the audio-course by Paul Noble:

a) It is not to long!

b) It teaches useful words for the start (holidays)

c) There were a lot of helpful tips how to "create" vocabulary instead of learning. 

The course is also available for people learning German - of course I do not know, if it is exactly the same but it is worth a try.

(It is available as download at 

August 14, 2016
Language Skills
English, German, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language