How to Learn Austrian German

Updated April 17, 2017

As England and the United States are often described as being "two countries separated by a common language," so Germany and Austria share a complicated relationship. There are minor differences between standard or High German as used in Germany and in Austria in such things as spelling, word usage and grammar. With a little preparation, you can prepare for the differences in pronunciation and vocabulary between standard German and Austrian German.

Learn standard German. Since standard German is used in Austria, knowing basic conversational German is fundamental to equip yourself to be understood in Austria.

Consult a beginner German textbook or travel dictionary to learn common phrases and vocabulary or basic grammar. Another option that provides flexibility is to purchase user-friendly German language software. For a more thorough understanding of German, consider taking a local or online course. Utilise note cards for vocabulary memorisation.

Listen to online audio clips of Austrian accents to distinguish between standard German and an Austrian dialect, since the distinct accent will affect your comprehension of German spoken in Austria. Add specific Austrian vocabulary to your note cards, especially travel- and food-related terminology. Note common phrases that differ; for example, in Austria, people may use "GrĂ¼ss Gott," rather than "Guten Tag," as a greeting.

Introduce yourself to German communities within your metropolitan area; actively seek out any native Austrians. Attend cultural festivals or visit restaurants to gain further exposure to the language and culture. If possible, travel to Austria for an immersion experience.

Things You'll Need

  • German textbook
  • English-German/German-English dictionary
  • English-Austrian German travel dictionary
  • Internet access
  • Language software, optional
  • Note cards, optional
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About the Author

Since 2005, Elly Turner's articles, essays, reviews and interviews have appeared regularly online and in print publications such as "Risen" and "Good News" magazines. She also has an essay in "The Philosophy of Sherlock Holmes" from the University Press of Kentucky. She holds a Master of Arts in theological studies from Asbury Theological Seminary.