5 German phrases to know if you've just arrived in Vienna

Marie Amenitsch Vom 13.06.2019
Year after year, thousands of students and job seekers come to beautiful Vienna. Even if you speak German, there can be some language barriers that make it difficult for you to understand true Viennese. We’ve summarized five phrases you should be familiar with if you’re new in Vienna. The more you know...

There are a ton of Austrian words and phrases you should think of adding to your everyday vocabulary anyway, but if you happen to find yourself in the capital there’s a host of Vienna-specific lingo you’ll need to properly navigate the city. In this post, I’m revealing my top five that I had to learn fast when I first arrived in Vienna some years ago.

If you want to make a good first impression in your new city, you should behave correctly right off the bat, especially when you’re out shopping. Don’t ever look up the word “bag” in the dictionary and request a Tüte, like the Germans. The chastising look you’ll receive from behind the register will haunt you forever. Repeat after me, in Vienna it’s a Sackerl!

You can get the „Sackerl“ here: shop.1000things.at

Wanna Go for a Cup of…

We all need our daily dose of caffeine – students especially – so don’t piss off your barista if you need it first thing in the morning, and make sure to pronounce it correctly. Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve heard Germans say “Kaffe” (with a stress on the ‘a’) on TV, Vienna serves “Ka-feh” (with emphasis on the ‘e’). If you don’t get it right straight away, don’t be too hard on yourself – you don’t become a linguistic wunderkind overnight.

tribeka Graz
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

A Phrase in a Nutshell

You either get the phrase das geht sich aus, or you don’t. Essentially it means that something will work out, and it applies to countless situations. In Germany, however, this phrase is entirely unheard of, which is remains a mystery to us. A lot of things gehen sich aus, such as time, money, distances, etc. etc. Stay alert for this versatile expression with your Austrian friends and be amazed at how often it applies.

Got a Light?

Sure, almost everyone will understand Zigarette, but I bet that Tschick is a lot harder to decipher. If someone asks you if they can schnorr one, they’re trying to  bum a smoke. Another notable word to know here is Ofen, and much like in English, the only thing getting baked here will be you (and your friends, if you’re sharing).

(c) unsplash.com / CC0

Hungry? Maybe Not for Long…

Once you know the meaning of Eitrige, you may not find it as appetizing as the millions of people who love this snack classic: Eiter is German for pus, and eitrig the adjective, meaning full of pus. Still hungry? What people are actually ordering is a Käsekrainer a sausage filled with molten cheese, which slightly resembles pus… But enough of that word, the actual food it describes is arguably to die for, despite the unappetizing name. One of the best places to get one would be Bitzinger in the 1st district, so why not go and see for yourself.

Of course there are far more words and phrases, and we’re working on completing our list. Until then, Bussi Baba!

You’re looking for some more inspirations? Discover the Viennese Outskirts or get to know some Viennese Secrets.