Austrian German

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Austrian German (German: Österreichisches Deutsch), or Austrian Standard German, is the national standard variety of the German language spoken in Austria and in the autonomous Province of South Tyrol (Italy). The standardized form of Austrian German for official texts and schools is defined by the Austrian dictionary (Österreichisches Wörterbuch), published under the authority of the ministry of education, art and culture.



As German is a pluricentric language, Austrian German is merely one among several varieties of Standard German. Much like the relationship between American and British English, the Austrian and German varieties differ in minor issues (e.g., spelling, word usage and grammar) but are recognizably equivalent and largely mutually intelligible. The official Austrian dictionary, "Das Österreichische Wörterbuch" gives grammar and spelling rules defining the official language. In addition to this standard variety, in everyday life most Austrians speak one of a number of High German dialects.

Standard German in Austria

With German being a pluricentric language, Austrian dialects should not be confused with the variety of Standard German spoken by most Austrians, which is distinct from that of Germany or Switzerland. Distinctions in vocabulary persist, for example, in culinary terms, where communication with Germans is frequently difficult, and administrative and legal language, which is due to Austria's exclusion from the development of a German nation-state in the late 19th century and its manifold particular traditions. A comprehensive collection of Austrian-German legal, administrative and economic terms is offered in: Markhardt, Heidemarie: Wörterbuch der österreichischen Rechts-, Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungsterminologie (Peter Lang, 2006).

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