Austrian German and German German

berndf

Moderator
German (Germany)
Oh, I see. No, Low-German is not a recognised minority language. It is an academic debate if it is best referred to as language or a dialect. I personally don't think there is much to be learned from that debate. In the Middle Ages, when Low-German was the lingua franca of the North and Baltic Sea areas, there was probably useful to regard it as a separate language. Today there is not much reason in doing so. The question isn't too interesting today.
 
  • Angelo di fuoco

    Senior Member
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    My question would be: why don't they teach it at school?
    A language has better chances to be taught at school than a dialect. Today, if you don't happen to know any native speakers (most of them are older persons, anyway), the only way to learn it is in adult education centres.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    My question would be: why don't they teach it at school?
    A language has better chances to be taught at school than a dialect. Today, if you don't happen to know any native speakers (most of them are older persons, anyway), the only way to learn it is in adult education centres.

    Because it is not very popular in densely populated areas - at least not up north. Until the 17th century the native languages in my area - Danish, North-Frisian and Plattdeutsch - were predominant and began loosing their importance in the cities as High German began spreading. I rural areas the languages remained the native languages of a lot of people although at times it was forbidden by law to use them in public. Why the Plattdeutsch-speaking people generally did not stick to their culture - good question. The Danish and Northfrisian speaking population did and run their own schools. (And their own political party - yes, PARTY, not parties.)


    ..
    Do you hear people pronounce Berlin as Perlin?


    When I am absolutely 100% tuned in on listening to and speaking French it might in fact sound a bit like "Perlin" when spoken by a German or native English speaker. But normally it doesn't.
     
    Last edited:

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Reviving this thread a little bit to comment on two phonological aspects.
    I heard a speaker from Salzburg, Austria nasalize their vowel sounds in a way that "kind of" sounded a bit like French, but it was more generally before any nasal consonant. Information, strand, even the -en of gehen sounded a bit nasal. The same person also pronounced the final l like y [j]: voll [foj].
    Is this typical of Austrian German, just that of Salzburg, or is it just a personal idiolect in this case? This person was very young and was not speaking dialect.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I heard a speaker from Salzburg, Austria nasalize their vowel sounds in a way that "kind of" sounded a bit like French, but it was more generally before any nasal consonant. Information, strand, even the -en of gehen sounded a bit nasal.
    That is typical of "Schönbrunner Deutsch", traditionnell upper class accent of the Imperial era. It has become very rare.

    Is it this kind of accent?

    Alternatively, is could also be Pinzgau/Pongau rural dialect. Then pronounce an much like French en while, e.g., in adjacent Upper Bavarian [ɒ̃:] is de-nazalized and raised to [o:].

    I don't know it that is something you could judge: Was it an urban or a rural accent?
     
    Last edited:

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Of those 11 audio files, 3 say Berlin (Firmian, Frikoe and Sherinni) and the other 8 say Perlin. (in my non-linguistic opinion)
    German contrasts only only aspirated vs. non-aspirated stops. Voicing is irrelevant and is not perceived. In accents where aspiration does not regularly occur, among them most Austrian accents, minimum pairs like Dorf and Torf can practically not be maintained.

    If voicing is perceived at all then as an overarticulation. E.g., Russian has rather strong voicing (except at the end) and initial /b-/ in Russian sounds to a German ear a bit as if the person is about to vomit.

    In Bavarian dialects (which includes most Austrian dialects), voicing practically never occurs. It is a particularity of these dialects that they completely lack voiced stops and fricatives.
     
    Last edited:

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    German contrasts only only aspirated vs. non-aspirated stops. Voicing is irrelevant. In accents where aspiration does not regularly occur, among them most Austrian accents, minimum pairs like Dorf and Torf can practically not be maintained.
    Yes, I know (I read the thread :) ), but it is still interesting to know that some Germans do voice their unaspirated plosives, at least sometimes.

    I can only conclude that pronouncing Berlin with an actual [b] is acceptable when speaking German.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    That is typical of "Schönbrunner Deutsch", traditionnell upper class accent of the Imperial era. It has become very rare.

    Is it this kind of accent?

    I don't know it that is something you could judge: Was it an urban or a rural accent?
    Ok I will link the video. Listen at 0.54 "Ganz besonders". 0.56 "schön". There are many other examples thoughout the video.
    He also consistently says Soizburg. L is often y.
    He doesn't give the impression to be of the imperial era type. I guess he's from Salzburg but now lives in Vienna.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I can only conclude that pronouncing Berlin with an actual is acceptable when speaking German.
    Possible, but as I said, it sounds overarticulated. I doubt the person would say it like that in more natural speech contexts than recording for Forvo. That is why linguists normally don't ask people to pronounce certain words but let them talk about anything and wait until they happen to say certain sounds in a natural environment and without knowing what the experimentor is after.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Ok I will link the video.
    Zell am See. :D


    Alternatively, is could also be Pinzgau/Pongau rural dialect.
    Zell am See is the capital of Pinzgau.

    But the guy speaks a mixture of Austrian accents and he clearly overarticulates. I which they wouldn't do that but most youtubers think they are doing learners a favour while in reality it only gives them a wrong impression how a language or dialect sounds.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Zell am See. :D



    Zell am See is the capital of Pinzgau.

    But the guy speaks a mixture of Austrian accents and he clearly overarticulates. I which they wouldn't do that but most youtubers think they are doing learners a favour while in reality it only gives them a wrong impression how a language or dialect sounds.
    Yes, I know he's speaking slowly but did you hear the nasalization and vocalization?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I explained the nasalisation before and yes it is there. L-vocalisation is a typical feature of Middle Bavarian (north and south Bavarian don't have it). Eastern Middle Bavarian (that is about East of Wels in Upper Austria) has a particular twist: it has developed its own i-mutation with it. E.g. Milch is in Western Middle Bavarian Muich and in Eastern Middle Bavarian Müch. This is particularly interesting because all of Bavarian has reverted umlauting but Eastern Middle Bavarian has reinvented it. So, standard German viel Gefühl (much feeling) gets vul gfuhl in Northern and Southern Bavarian, vui Gfui in Western Middle Bavarian and vü Gfü in Eastern Middle Bavarian.
     
    Last edited:

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I've read and even heard in some learning examples that in Austria the letter R is pronounced as a trilled alveolar consonant, like in Russian
    curiously, my grandfather, who was from Hamburg, trilled his "r" as some people from Austria, or as is done in Spanish or Russian.
    Spanish contrasts the trill [r] (e.g. in "burro") and the flap [ɾ] (e.g. in "corazón"), the latter being more widespread.
    The modern Russian hard /r/ is actually a flapped [ɾ] in all positions but after vowels, where it's represented by a rather short trill (2, 3 contacts tops). When American actors attempt to imitate a thick Russian accent they always overdo the R-s.
     
    Last edited:

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    It should be noted that due to the wide range of regional and dialectal variation of /r/ with a map that looks like a quilt, there are many different realizations that are used freely and perceptually, the differences are ignored. When I was young, I recognized that [r] and [ʁ] are different sounds only when learning foreign languages. The only realization that sticks out because it is so rare is [ɹ]. That sounds "English" to a German ear.
     
    Last edited:

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    I think it is typical for all West-Germanic languages (+ Danish) to have multiple R sounds and also differences between Rs in onsets and coda.

    I tend to say an alveolar tap at the start of a syllable and a uvular fricative at the end of a syllable, although the onsets gr-, chr- and schr- also have a uvular fricative.

    I had speech therapy as a child to "correct" my R to an alveolar trill.
     
    Last edited:

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I think it is typical for all West-Germanic languages (+ Danish) to have multiple R sounds and also differences between Rs in onsets and coda.
    True. The advance of the French uvular R has compounded this phenomenon in the 18th and 19th centuries.
    I had speech therapy as a child to "correct" my R to a trill.
    That is maybe the difference. In German this wouldn't happen.
     
    Last edited:

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    I should be more specific. My R was very variable as a child. It could be a tap, a uvular fricative, an American R, a j, a w or even dropped. A second problem I had was that I was always speaking loudly (like an American :D ). So I had to go to speech therapy, however, the speech therapist didn't allow anything but an alveolar trill. We stopped after one year because I had started speaking with just taps and alveolar fricatives, and my speech volume had become lower, so everyone was satisfied except the speech therapist.

    I would say the main difference between Germany and Flanders is that German linguists are more willing to admit how rare and exotic an alveolar trill has become.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I should be more specific. My R was very variable as a child.
    That what I understood. In German nobody would care. It is totally normal to vary your Rs. Completely dropping is rare, though. The only exception is that the vocalized R after /a/ or /a:/ may merge to /a:/. E.g. it is difficult for Germans to differentiate, e.g., amare and armare in Italian.

    The only difference between Bavarian/Austrian and other German R in the syllable coda is that the vocalization is much more complete. In the coda it is always [ɐ] while in other accents it can be anywhere between an approximant [ʁ̞] and [ɐ]. This is because in Bavarian (which includes all Austrian dialects except the dialect of Vorarlberg) there was an earlier r-vocalization before the introduction of the French R and is not a weakening of [ʁ] in modern accents elsewhere.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    The only exception is that the vocalized R after /a/ or /a:/ may merge to /a:/.
    Is it possible that this happens with other vowels too? Listening to the various recording of Berlin on Forvo, some clearly sound "ea" while others sound to me like "eh" with no diphthong at all.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Is it possible that this happens with other vowels too? Listening to the various recording of Berlin on Forvo, some clearly sound "ea" while others sound to me like "eh" with no diphthong at all.
    Yes, in clusters -erC this may happen but in this case I hear [bɛɐ'liːn] or in some [beɐ'liːn] in all recordings. The difference between the two vowels in sometimes small but still clearly audible to a trained ear. In case of [aɐ]>[aː] the merger is so complete that not even native speakers, in fact not even the speakers themselves, can tell the difference any more.

    I must admit that in some less frequently used words I have to rely on the help of a spelling checker to know where to put a <r> after <a> and where not. :oops:
     
    Last edited:

    Frank78

    Senior Member
    German
    Is it possible that this happens with other vowels too? Listening to the various recording of Berlin on Forvo, some clearly sound "ea" while others sound to me like "eh" with no diphthong at all.

    I've also heard "ur" turning into "ua" in some regions (Ostwestfalen, I think). They really overpronunced it that it was really striking.

    Blubbel comes close to what I mean.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I've also heard "ur" turning into "ua" in some regions
    That is normal almost everywhere as well as in standard pronunciation (Urlaub). The question was if the vowel (r) can completely merge with the vocalized r as in Arm being pronounced as if written Ahm.

    What is typical of Westfalian is that the short and long u and i in front of vocalized r is neutralized, i.e. /u:r/ and /ʊr/ are both realized [uɐ] and /i:r/ and /ɪr/ are both realized [iɐ]. This also occurs in Bavarian (including Austrian) but for a different reason (vowel length is generally non-phonemic in Bavarian).
     
    Last edited:

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    That is typical of "Schönbrunner Deutsch", traditionnell upper class accent of the Imperial era. It has become very rare.

    Is it this kind of accent?

    Alternatively, is could also be Pinzgau/Pongau rural dialect. Then pronounce an much like French en while, e.g., in adjacent Upper Bavarian [ɒ̃:] is de-nazalized and raised to [o:].

    I don't know it that is something you could judge: Was it an urban or a rural accent?

    I know what you mean - I regularly have customers form Vienna calling in who speak very much like that. But wouldn't you say that the two gentlemen in the video sound a bit fake - or was that the way they spoke back then.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I know what you mean - I regularly have customers form Vienna calling in who speak very much like that. But wouldn't you say that the two gentlemen in the video sound a bit fake - or was that the way they spoke back then.
    It is of course a parody, like all Graf Bobby & Baron Mucki jokes and sketches. But it gives a an idea of how upper class Viennese of the late k&k era sounded.
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    It is of course a parody, like all Graf Bobby & Baron Mucki jokes and sketches. But it gives a an idea of how upper class Viennese of the late k&k era sounded.

    Sure, but I have no idea of their cultural background except that one is Austrian. You can also make a parody of a dialect you master completely or is native to you. I often do that when I make parodies of relatives of mine.

    But you seem to aggree that it sounds a bit fake, right.

    And in fact - I often have people on the phone speaking in this "high-class" Vienna/Austrian-Posh accent - usually people who are contemplating spending 5-10 k on a one or two week vacation. And they sound to me like the real thing as far as I can tell.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Sure, but I have no idea of their cultural background except that one is Austrian. You can also make a parody of a dialect you master completely or is native to you. I often do that when I make parodies of relatives of mine.

    But you seem to aggree that it sounds a bit fake, right.
    Peter Alexander and Gunther Philipp were without a shadow of a doubt capable of pronouncing authentic Schönbrunner Deutsch. The characteristics of the accent are just a bit exaggerated as it is, as I said, a parody. Plus, film actors of that time still used stage pronunciation, which is always exaggerated and over-articulate for better understandably in a theater.

    And in fact - I often have people on the phone speaking in this "high-class" Vienna/Austrian-Posh accent - usually people who are contemplating spending 5-10 k on a one or two week vacation. And they sound to me like the real thing as far as I can tell.
    "Upper class" is not a question of money but of social status. This was a very different era.
     
    Top