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Are Austrians allowed to say “delicious” and “boys”?

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“The food tastes delicious” – a phrase that many compatriots don’t like at all. That is “Piefkinesian”, is often argued. The editor-in-chief of the Austrian dictionary sees it differently. We don’t have an actual synonym for “delicious”. “Ja, you can also say delicious, tasty or good. But it doesn’t. My mother is happier when I say ‘your pancakes are delicious’ than when I say ‘they are good’, because with ‘good’ she thinks she made a mistake,” says Christiane Pabst Integrate words that fill in a gap: “That feels ‘delicious’ – even if half of Austria now wants to behead me for this statement.”

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So far and so far

Germanisms such as “lecker” are not well received in Austria, although they have long since arrived in the vocabulary. The concern that these terms and phrases will “grow the upper hand” is probably the main reason for the widespread rejection. An OÖN reader wrote, for example, she I’ve already had enough of reading the newspaper in the morning when she “has to read the tiresome ‘bislang’ instead of the Austrian ‘bisher’ in three articles”. According to the dictionary, both are allowed, but in Austrian ears “so far” has sounded better so far.

  • Which Germanisms makes your hair stand on end? Join the discussion in the forum on nachrichten.at or send us an email to online@nachrichten.at.

boys and boys

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Some people’s hair stands up when football coaches refer to their “boys” as “boys”. “Young is very Germany-specific,” says dictionary editor-in-chief Christiane Pabst. The word came to us via the Internet, since the content comes massively from Germany. On the other hand, “boy” has established itself with us because school texts insist on avoiding repetition of words. German television and books also play a major role. Children are often introduced to carrots instead of carrots.

When the ice is gone

It’s not just specific German words that get excited. “The ice is gone,” an Austrian radio presenter told his audience a few years ago. It wasn’t the message that heated people’s minds, but the High German word “alle”. “The ice is over, we say,” the moderator was rebuked by the Austrian language police.

From the archive: The OÖN dialect quiz

The bad “s”

Confusion reigns every year during the Christmas season. Advent calendar or advent calendar? The “s” that the Germans insert is always good for discussions. We Austrians would say that advent calendars have had their day at Christmas. However, there is nothing to celebrate “at Christmas” here. Those who drive to work also risk critical reactions. In this country you don’t drive to work or to school, but to work and to school. And when you go, you go. You only run when you’re in a hurry or when you’re exercising.

The neighbors and residents

Incidentally, the editors of the OÖ Nachrichten also have a list of Germanisms that should be avoided in reporting. This includes nouns such as Anwohner (instead of Anrainer) or Knast (instead of prison), verbs like Klauen (instead of stealing) or ausbüxen (instead of ripping out), as well as the phrases “make sense” (instead of make sense, make sense) or someone left out to let. An OÖN reader illustrated the phrase with the question, “does the opposite of ‘let out’ mean ‘let go’?” That’s what the editors are trying to do and will “leave out” this phrase, i.e. avoid it. Christiane Pabst is certain: Our language will not disappear. “People are scared, but that’s nonsense,” she says.

Austrian vs. Standard German: You can see and hear even more language differences in the following video.

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Verena Gabriel

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