The official language in Austria is the Austrian variant of German, but, for such a small country, there is a huge amount of dialects and dialect here. This is, inter alia. result of isolation of high mountain areas, what causes, that language develops differently in different regions. The Austrians themselves have some difficulties in understanding the language of their compatriots from other regions, np. the Vorarlberg dialect is closer to Schwyzerdutsch (Swiss variation of the German language, a language incomprehensible to most non-Swiss) than the German literary language, zwanemu High German.

Some parts of Austria are inhabited by minorities using languages ​​other than German. In Burgenland, approx 25 thousand. of the inhabitants speak Croatian, a 20 thousand. Carinthian inhabitants use the Slovenian language.

Fortunately for tourists, Austrians are able to "switch over if necessary."” into literary language, let alone that, that many of them speak English. Young people are fluent in this language. Of course, English is more popular in larger cities and tourist regions than those far from the beaten track. The staff at tourist information offices and railway information points almost always speaks English, as well as hotel staff and waiters, especially in more elegant premises. Nevertheless, knowing a few phrases in German is appreciated and can only help you get closer to Austrians.


The following guide provides pronunciation and basic vocabulary tips, which you may find useful. More information about the specificity of the language of the inhabitants of Austria can be found at the end of the chapter dealing with the basic facts about this country.

Perhaps it will be a surprise, but German is a close relative of English and Dutch, belonging to a West Germanic family. Hochdeutsch used today comes from the Saxon dialect and is divided into types and cases.

An important linguistic feature (which differs it from the Polish language, for example) is it, that all nouns are capitalized.

To learn more about the rules of communication in German-speaking countries, it is worth taking a look at the collection of German expressions and phrases from the Lonely Planet series, containing all the necessary grammar information and a wide range of expressions and phrases, collected in thematic chapters (np. Making friends, Free time, Social issues, Shopping or Sports and entertainment). In the chapter on the different varieties of the German language, you can read about dialectical differences and similarities.


The German language doesn't really have dumb sounds apart from “h” in the middle of the voice. The initial "k”, „p” in the words of Knie (knee), Psychology (psychology) and the final "e” in Their habe are pronounced.


German vowels take a long time to pronounce (usually before a single consonant) or briefly (before two consonants): „o” in the word Dom (cathedral) is long, but in the expression income (though) – short.

a (just like that)
au (also, on, Baum)
ä (smile)
au (shrubs)
e (bessei; Rest)
eu (people, you)
i, no (Wein)
ie (democracy, line)
o (Not, target)
ö [Lion, sons)
u (Museum, Bus)
ü (do the washing up)

By addressing someone, it is best to use the polite form with the verb w 3. os. 1. plural e.g.: "Do you have…!” zamiast "You did…?” (Do you have…?).

Austrian words

Even though the grammar is not much different from standard German, many words and expressions are used only by Austrians. Some are generally understood regionalisms, others are used throughout the country. Most of the greetings and saying goodbye on the list are expressions commonly used in Austria.

For example – Servus is an informal greeting (also suitable for parting). The Austrian tourist information office has adopted this word as a motto. Greetings to you (literary "I greet you”) it is used especially by humans, who want to avoid the word God in conversation (yeah hello god – Let him be praised). The standard farewell phrase is Auf Wiedersehen (also in Germany). Other (less formal) to Baba, Hello.

The nuances of the language spoken in Austria are very intriguing. If, for example, someone wants to say, that he is drunk – a slightly drunk person may communicate Ich bin beschwipst or Ich habe einen Schwips. If things are a bit worse, then the appropriate expression in the Viennese dialect is I’hob an duUió. However, someone who is very drunk should say Ich bin zu, although it will probably be clearly visible and without breaking the language on complicated foreign phrases.

Being in a restaurant, good to know, what is ordered. For this purpose, it is worth learning a few necessary (and sounding appetizing) the names of the dishes: Blunzen (dark pudding); Erdapfel (potato); minced (Minced meat); Cauliflower (cauliflower); Maroni (roasted chestnuts); Much (milk); waiters (cream); Paradises (tomatoes); Stamperl (a glass for vodka). For a more comprehensive food vocabulary, see the Basic Facts about Austria chapter. To request a bill, enough to say Zahlen bitte (Gerstl means money).

The Viennese dialect has its own nuances. The most specific words are:

Beisl – a small tavern with food and drinks
Bim – tram
He had – friend
Stiftl – lamp (glass) for wine
Verdrahn – sell

A mini-dictionary of Austrian-Polish

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