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.

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The hilarity of the angry-sounding German language

confusionGerman is an angry-sounding language. You know it, I know it. When Austrians get together over dinner they generally start speaking in their very loud, angry voices.

I remember the first few times I had dinner with my now in-laws… I would sit quietly, eating my dinner, sipping my wine, just trying to stay in the background because I certainly didn’t want to get involved in whatever it was they were so mad about. Their heated conversation would be sporadically punctuated with cackles of laughter and then the grim faces would return and they would start arguing again. Or so it seemed to me.

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The making of a Kornspitz – and the fulfilment of a goal

Kornspitz_sandwichWhen I first came to Austria I got extremely excited by the prospect of ordering a sandwich at the deli. Yes, yes, I know… the bubble I live in is a strange and wonderful one. But back to the story – at most supermarkets, you can grab yourself a roll (be it white, round, long, or if you’re like me, a Kornspitz), then ask the staff behind the counter to fill it with ham, cheese and gherkins.

I love checking out the selection of rolls (even though I now always stick with my Kornspitz, kind of like how I always order a Big Mac). I love considering the different ham and salami options – but here I’m a creature of habit too, and I can’t move past the garlic-salami. Cheese and gherkins are added, and then my instant sandwich is packaged up at a ridiculously low cost. We often resort to these for quick lunches on the go and we buy one every time we are about to get on a plane in Austria.

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Prost!

Schanpps prostShort and bitter.

This post is dedicated to those times I thought I had everything under control, those times I thought that I understood the German conversation flowing around me perfectly.

And then BANG – I suddenly realise I’ve accidentally agreed to a second schnapps, or a third, on top of all that other alcohol.

So here comes the schnapps. And I smile, like it was my plan all along. Just like that time I ordered the wrong sav – the cab instead of the blanc.

And I drink it down, and I sigh appreciatively like a good Austrian-in-training should.

Prost!

 

Words that are actually longer in English

FairyThe German language is known for its long words. Without even going into the ridiculously long words (which to be honest nobody uses anymore anyway) try Entschuldigung instead of simply saying ‘sorry’ or Kniebeuge for ‘squat’. Though in all honesty, part of the problem is that the German words just don’t fit well in our English-speaking mouths – they come out all clumsy and end up sounding a lot longer than they do when spoken by a native speaker.

But there are exceptions. So I’ve made a list of 10 words that are actually shorter in German:

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