After living in Austria for a few months now, I have put together a list of commonly used phrases that I have heard on a day-to-day basis. For those of you who are interested, I’d like to share some of them with you all! My knowledge of the language is still pretty basic, so while the phrases are not complicated, they are the only ones I can pick out when walking down the streets or browsing the stores.
The Austrian language is very similar to German, but some phrases do differ. The following list is a combination of the two.
Servus – This can be used both as “hello” and “good-bye” in German, similar to “aloha” in Hawaii.
Guten Tag – “Good day” in German
Grü? Gott – “Good day” in Austrian; while Guten Tag is heard widely, this greeting is more common in Styria, where I am attending school.
Auf Wiedersehen – The more formal way of saying “good-bye.”
Tschü?, baba – While Tschü? is used in both Germany and Austria, the addition of baba is used only in Austria. I always say this when leaving a store or cashier’s counter, as it is customary to say some form of good-bye when leaving someone you have been talking to.
Machs gut – “Take care!” Another informal form of “good-bye.”
Wie gehts? – “How are you?” If you are addressing someone you have just met, or an elder, however, you would add Ihnen at the end.
Sehr gut – This is how I generally reply to the above question, since a majority of the time, I am “very good.” How can you not be while studying in Austria?
Woher kommen Sie? – “Where are you from?” I get this question quite often, as the locals can immediately tell I am not from the area from my nicht so gut German accent.
Wer bist du? – “What is your name?” To which I reply either Ich bin Alex or Mein Name ist Alex.
Bitte – “Please.” The Austrians are an extremely polite group of people, and pride themselves on it. Bitte is probably the phrase I use most on a daily basis.
Bitte schön – While bitte means “please,” this phrase can be turned around to reply “you’re welcome” as well.
Danke/Danke schön – “Thank you”/”Thank you very much.” The latter is more formal, while simply danke is used more with close friends.
Was machen Sie? – “What do you do?” To which I reply, Ich bin Studentin. The addition of “in” to Student is used to differentiate between male and female.
Wie alt bist du? – “How old are you?” This is not a phrase that is used on a daily basis, but it does come up quite often when meeting other students.
Welche Sprachen sprechen Sie? – “Which language do you speak?” While I am not fluent in a foreign language, I can at least reply ein bisschen Deutsch, un poco espańol, und un peu le français.
Und – “And.” I figured since I typed that in the previous explanation without a second thought I should leave it in German and offer an explanation instead of changing it.
Order – “Or.” It has taken me a while to get used to using this word as or in German and “to order” in English!
Ein bisschen – “A little.” This phrase perfectly describes my knowledge of the German language.
Standard – While this phrase directly translated means the same as in English, in German it is used as “absolutely” or “of course.” For example, when someone asks me if I am enjoying my time in Austria, I reply,standard!
Wie fil uhr ist es? – “What time is it?”
Recycling is very important in Europe. Most of the bins I see in the major train stations and airports have different containers for plastic, paper and bio-waste. Because of this, it did not take me long to learn the names of the different materials.
Papier – “Paper.” Very simple, as it is very close to the English translation.
Glas – “Glass.” Again, very similiar.
Kunststoff – “Plastic.” This one took me longer to decipher. On some bins, however, it is simply written the other way to say plastic: Plastik.
I had to learn these phrases very quickly just to find my way around!
Bahnhof – “Train station.” This has been my primary form of transport during my stay in Europe.
Flughafen – “Airport.” Even when I fly I have to take a train to get there, which adds another 2.5 hours to my journey.
U-Bahn – Similiar to a metro or subway. This essentially outlines an underground train system within a city.
S-Bahn – “Tram system.” This is the above-ground equivalent of U-Bahn.
Wo ist…? – “Where is…?” I asked this question quite a few times when I first arrives in Leoben. Luckily, it does not take long to get acquainted with a city of this size. It is about the size of Golden, except our equivalent of Denver is 2.5 hours away in Vienna.
Wo steigen wir aus? – “Where do we get off?” A very useful phrase when traveling around an unknown city.
I hope that you all have the opportunity to travel to this beautiful region of Europe one day. If so, maybe these phrases will help you as much as they have aided me.
Until next time, Machs gut!