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“Österreich” (Austria) is a beautiful small country in central Europe. While standard German is the country's official language, the people there actually speak a local Austro-Bavarian dialect that might be confusing for someone who has only learned how to speak standard German. But don't worry, we wrote this guide to give you some tips on how to look a little bit less like a tourist!

Grammar:

  1. The simple past tense is virtually non-existent. You usually use the perfect to express past time.
  2. The local dialect in Austria features case inflection in the article only. There are a few exceptions but nouns are usually not inflected for case.


Words and expressions:

The typical Austrian greeting is “Zeawas” (in German: Servus).

While “Ananas” means pineapple in German, it also means strawberry in Austria! Another confusing word is: “Blaukraut” (literal translation: blue cabbage). It means the same as the German word for red cabbage, “Rotkraut” (literal translation: red cabbage). And what is commonly referred to as “Wiener Würstchen” (literal translation: Vienna sausages) in Germany, is called “Frankfurter” (named after the German city) in Austria. Peanuts are called “Aschanti”. Chicken is called “Hendl”.

To play means “spielen” in Germany but in Austria they say “possln”. Corn (in German: “Mais”) is called “Kukuruz”.

God forbid you'll ever have to use it but a slap to the face is called a “Watschen” (German: Ohrfeige).

Here's a list of the most common Austrian expressions:

“Der Gscheitere gibt noch, der Dumme foit indn Boch.”

Translation: “The cleverer give in, the stupid falls into the bush.”

English equivalent:  The cleverer give in

“Die Technik is a Hund.”

Translation: “The Technology is a dog”

English equivalent: The Devil's in the detail.

“Scheiss di net ån.”

Translation: “Don't shit yourself.”

“Ghupft wia ghatscht.”

Translation: “Hopped just as jumped.”

English equivalent: Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

“Wos da Baua ned kennd, frissta a ned.”

Translation: “What the farmer doesn't know, he doesn't eat.”

Meaning: Used when someone refuses to try something new.

“Liaba an Bauch vom Saufen, ois an Buckel vom Orbeiten.”

Translation: “Better have a belly from drinking than a hunch from working.”

“Wer fü pforzt, der braucht koan Orzt.”

Translation: “He who farts a lot, doesn't need a Doctor.”

“Das Glück ist ein Vogerl.”

Translation: “Luck is a bird.”

Meaning: Luck is unsteady.

“Wos liegt, des pickt.”

Translation: ”What lies, stays.”

Meaning: If something has been done, it should stay like that.

“Besser a woklada Staumtisch, ois a festa Orbeitsplotz.”

Translation: “Better a shaky crackerbarrel than a steady work.”

“Wer long sudert wird net pudert.”

Translation: “Who complains a lot, wont get laid.”

“Schaffa, schaffa, Hüsle baua.”

Translation: “Work, work, build a house.”

Meaning: To be hardworking.

I hope we could shed some light on the Austrian dialect for you. Enjoy you stay in this beautiful country!

 

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