Are you fascinated with other cultures and languages and have wanted to take the steps towards becoming bilingual? To be more specific, are you planning on living or spending an extensive amount of time in Austria and want to learn to speak the local language? Learning another language is one of the most rewarding endeavors you can ever take on as it not only grows you as an individual but puts an entirely different culture and corner of the world at your fingertips. The Austria language is a fascinating offshoot of the standard German language, with unique idiosyncrasies and cultural affectations.
If you are ready to dedicate the time and effort needed to study this beautiful language, your newfound knowledge could open doors and opportunities to you that you never imagined.
What Is the Main Austria Language?
The official Austria language is German, spoken by around 97% of the population. However, the German language itself is not the same across Europe. Rather, the language is broken down and splits off into different dialects based on the country in which it is spoken. Even if you have a good grasp of standard German, this is not enough to leave you with complete Austrian German fluency.
The Austria language can be broken down even further into its own individual dialects, of which there are several across the country. These variances in dialect mean that certain words have very different pronunciations than regular German, with some words being unique to particular regions. To learn the Austria language comprehensively and effectively, you will need to not only master German itself, but the individual vocabulary differences.
Why It’s Important to Master the Dialect
Whether you already know standard German or you are a complete novice to the German language, there are several key reasons why it's so important to learn Austrian German specifically if you want to master the Austria language.
Where did Austria German originate? Centuries ago, during the 1700s, the modern nation of Germany was split into several factions, all independent from one another. The largest of these territories was the Hapsburg Empire, known to us today as most of Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Austria. While the Hapsburg Empire was a melting pot of languages for many years, this changed in the latter part of the 18th century when mandatory schooling was introduced by the rulers of the time, who set their own language as the official standard.
Thus, Austrian German became the widely spoken tongue of the land. Today, the Austria language is the only language with variations to it given official recognition by the European Union. Learning this German variation specific to the country is crucial if you truly want to learn the Austria language.
Austrian German will not only be of use to you within the country but in Northern Italy and Bavaria where it is also commonly spoken. Traveling through Austria will be vastly simplified if you know the language specific to the country, with its endless beauty and an array of sights to be explored. Learning this variation of standard German is not only useful for travel and leisure purposes, but it can open a whole new sector within the world of business. German is one of the most widely spoken languages in the stronghold of Europe’s business economy, so even a moderate mastery of the language will take you far.
If you plan on living in Austria, then you should speak the local language because it will make life so much easier for you and make the transition a little smoother. Whether you want to travel to the big cities or the small villages, being armed with basic language tools and knowledge will be invaluable. If you are inspired by Germanic cultures and influences, their music, films, art, and food, knowing the Austria language will make each of these elements highly accessible and understandable to you.
In fact, even if you just want to learn the Austria language for recreational purposes without some deep-rooted reason behind it, the process involved in studying and learning a different language will stretch your brain and advance your intellect in new ways. Knowing multiple languages enhances your critical thinking skills, and advances recall abilities.
How to Learn and Speak Austria's Language
Now that you have a little background on the Austria language, you are probably wondering where to start and how to brush up on your linguistic abilities. There are many ways to learn a new language, and Austrian German is no exception.
The most obvious method that comes to mind is classroom learning where you engage directly with an instructor and other students. If you find that you thrive best in a classroom setting that offers a mixture of lectures and practice time, the classroom method could be perfect for you. On a side note, if you are already in Austria and would like to learn the language, there are many language school options. A few of the best include Inlingua Salzburg in Salzburg; IKI in Vienna; Alpha Sprachinstitut Austria in Vienna, and DIT in the Alps.
A Private Tutor
Another common option for learning the Austria language is to go the private tutor route. This allows you to have the focused attention of a qualified instructor, giving you more opportunities for fluid learning and speaking practice. Private tutors usually come at a significantly higher cost than language schools, however, so bear that in mind if you prefer to go with that method.
Another excellent option to study the Austria language is through distance learning programs. Online classes have boomed in recent years as a popular educational setting and are perfect for people looking to learn in a flexible environment with limited financial resources and time. There are plenty of online classes with individual modules and expanded course offerings, allowing you to focus on specific concepts within your own time and pace.
If you would like to learn the Austria language but are not interested in investing in financial resources to do so, there are still plenty of options for you. There is a concept known as tandem learning, in which two individuals who want to learn the other’s language take turns being educated by and tutoring the other. This method only requires the investment of time, which can be significant. However, it is a great option to save money, get to know another language student, and leverage your abilities to both teach and study another language.
If you are living in Austria already, and plan on learning the language by experience and listening, this is what is known as "immersion." You will need to supplement the experience by at least studying some grammar and vocabulary as just listening to the language being spoken is usually not sufficient to become fluent in a language. You can practice immersion by listening to and watching German radio and TV and by observing the language being spoken in your daily routine.
If you learn best by reading and repeating, borrowing books from the library could be a great start to getting you on the road to fluency in the Austria language. Definitely plan on checking out a grammar book or two, a dictionary, and some vocabulary resources. Supplement this with speaking and listening practice to be effective.
A great resource we can attribute to the modern digital age is the host of free online offerings and mobile apps which can assist you in your language learning endeavors. It can be confusing at first, with all the resources out there, but even web pages with grammar information and free learning apps are a great place to start.
Sites like Duolingo and Memrise offer writing and reading practice, but lack the opportunity for you to use your Austria language listening and speaking skills. Babbel is a great online offering available for use on your computer or via a mobile app. There is a monthly membership fee, but it offers considerable resources and practice opportunities for listening, speaking, reading, and writing to help you effectively master the language.
As you embark on the road to learning the Austria language, whether or not you already have a grasp on basic German, prepare yourself for some key differences in verbiage and vowel elongation. Whether it is a variation on something as simple as saying “Good morning” or the accent itself that throws you for a loop, with time and patience you can learn to master the differences.
Without a doubt, learning the Austria language will open countless opportunities for you as you stretch your mind’s capabilities and learn the nuances key to this country’s culture. Whether you are looking to enhance your business prowess, add some specificity to your basic German skills, prepare for a move abroad, or simply engage your brain in new ways, studying the Austria language will change and grow you as an individual more than you can possibly imagine. We hope this article has helped answer the questions you have about learning the language of Austria; good luck!