The first acquaintance with the Austrian German language often baffles tourists. If we were to collect all the local expressions, we could easily end up with a multi-volume dictionary. However, we did select some of the most common words and phrases that will prepare you for your visit to Vienna.
First of all, you will need to arrive at your destination. Don’t be surprised if the locals suggest using the “tunnel worm” (Tunnelwurm) – they simply mean the metro. A tram in Vienna is called – Bim.
Upon arriving at the hotel, you will be greeted with Grüß Gott, which is typical of Austrians and Bavarians. A woman may be greeted in a bit old-fashioned, but very gallant way: Küss die Hand, gnädige Frau (“I kiss your hand, dear lady”), which of course should not be expected to happen in a student environment, where the Austrians say to peers Servas, Oida! ("Hello, old-timer!").
At parting, you can hear a lot of various farewells, from Pfiat 'di Gott ("God protect you"), Widerschaun (the colloquial version of Auf Wiedersehen), to Baba (“Bye-bye”), Servas, Pfiati, or even Italian Ciao..
At noon, your local Haberer or Hawara – that is informal Austrian for friends – will join you for lunch (jausen), and in the evening invite you to papperln or piperln. Don’t worry, you won’t need to glue anything, it's all about eating and drinking. But if the next day you have important things to do, which you cannot wurscht (“not give a hoot about”), then make sure that there’s really just an äuzerl (a little) beer in your glass.
To pay the bill, you will need “dumplings” (Knedl, Knödel), “lilacs” (Flieder), or even a whole “kilogram” (ein Kilo = 100 Euro).
Austrian German has many Italian, French, and even Slavic words. For example, if you have more interesting things to do rather than sitting with friends at Beisel (a pub), you can auf lepschi gehen. But if you enjoy the party, make sure to compliment the hosts: “Echt leiwand” will mean that it’s truly cool.
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