Explaining the local dialect – gemma

Will or want

I’ve talked about my struggles of learning German in multiple posts, and I will no doubt continue to do so. One of the difficulties of living in Austria is that no proper German course will prepare you for the perplexing conglomeration of dialects.

Coming from Australia, where dialect is mostly very subtle, I now live in a country smaller than Victoria, with dialects ranging with the same kind of variance as London to Northern Ireland. Not only do people pronounce things completely different in the 9 states of Austria (yes, 9, you heard me right – more than Australia), but they also have their own names for things.

To try and explain the dialect I have to deal with, I’m going to use one of my favourite dialect words – gemma – to show you just how distorted Austrian dialect is from Hochdeutch (that is, proper German).

In Hochdeutch you might say gehen wir to say we’re going. In Austrian… let’s just shorten that right down to… gemma.


My ears aren’t yet well attuned to the vast differences in dialect, I just recognise that there are people I can understand perfectly well, and others that might as well be talking Russian!

So despite the fact that five years in and a lot of study I now have a fairly good grasp of the German language, the dialects are still way beyond me… so I guess it’s just a matter of time… a lot more time!


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