What language do people speak in Vienna(Austria)
German is the official language of Austria, but each region has a distinct dialect. The Viennese
dialect has many similarities to High German, but also many differences. It is slower
and more relaxed than its High German counterpart (it has all the qualities of a lazy drawl),
but it is also more charming. The Viennese love to sprinkle their dialect with lively, evocative
words and expressions that are often gobbledegook to other native German speakers. It’s also
peppered with French words, such as Melange and Tottoir; a hangover from the days when
Maria Theresia encouraged her court to throw a bit of French into the conversation.
Within Vienna itself there exists a further dialect, Tiefwienerisch: a thick, sometimes
unintelligible dialect that slowly oozes out between the lips, weighed down with expressive
sayings that would make your mother blush. This is the language of the working class, but
the non-working-class folk of the city just love it and use it at every opportunity.
Vienna has been at the crossroads of Europe for millennia and all these comings and
goings have helped to create a population comfortable in two, three and sometimes four
languages. For around 22% of the population German is not their native tongue. This level
of proficiency extends through much of society – you may find yourself being accosted
by a beggar asking for money, who, upon your ignorance to his requests in German, will
switch to English or French.
If you don’t speak much German, or none at all, don’t worry. Nowadays English is taught
from kindergarten level and a high percentage of the younger population speaks English
quite well. The older generation unfortunately did not have the same advantages, but they’ll
probably be able to understand your requests if you keep them simple.
Vienna sport facilities