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Viennese German (Bavarian: Weanarisch, Weanerisch, German: Wienerisch) is the city dialect spoken in Vienna, the capital of Austria, and is counted among the Bavarian dialects. It is distinct from written Standard German in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Even in Lower Austria, the state surrounding the city, many of its expressions are not used, while farther to the west they are often not even understood.
At the beginning of the 20th century, one could differentiate between four Viennese dialects (named after the districts in which they were spoken): Favoritnerisch (Favoriten, 10th District), Meidlingerisch, (Meidling, 12th District), Ottakringerisch (Ottakring, 16th District), and Floridsdorferisch (Floridsdorf, 21st District). Today these labels are no longer applicable, and one speaks of a single Viennese dialect, with its usage varying as one moves further away from the city.
Besides the locational dialects of Old Vienna, there were also class-based dialects. For example, Schönbrunnerdeutsch, or German as spoken by the courtiers and attendants of the Habsburg Imperial Court at Schönbrunn Royal Palace, was a manner of speech with an affected bored inflection combined with overenunciation[clarification needed]. The nasal tonality was akin to German spoken with a French accent. While far less used today, educated Viennese are still familiar with this court dialect.
Features typical of Viennese German include:
Other characteristics are found in Viennese German as in Bavarian dialects, as well:
There are not many grammatical differences from other Bavarian dialects. The following are typical:
Viennese dialect is most distinct in its vocabulary.
The Viennese vocabulary displays particular characteristics. Viennese retains many Middle High German and sometimes even Old High German roots. Furthermore, it integrated many expressions from other languages, particularly from other parts of the former Habsburg Monarchy, as Vienna served as a melting pot for its constituent populations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The transcription of Viennese has not been standardised. Thus, the rendering of pronunciation here is incomplete:
In Viennese, one increasingly finds the following pragmatics peculiarities:
In more recent times Viennese has moved closer to Standard German; it has developed into a kind of Standard German spoken with a typical Viennese accent (for example, the original Viennese Wos host’n fir a Notn gschriebn? becomes modern Was hast’n für eine Note gschriebn?). The typical Viennese monophthongization, through which the dialect differentiates itself from the neighboring dialects, remains, but mostly in the form of a developing "Pseudo-Standard German" that many foreigners[clarification needed], particularly from other states, feel is ugly.
For example: Waaaßt, wos mir heut in der Schule für än gråååsliches Fläääsch kriegt ham? (Standard German Weißt du, was für ein widerliches Fleisch wir heute in der Schule vorgesetzt bekamen?) ("Do you know what disgusting meat we were served at school today?") The monopthongized diphthongs, like ei ~ äää or au ~ ååå[clarification needed], are particularly stressed and lengthened.
The reason for the convergence of the typical Viennese dialects is the attitude, strengthened by the media, that Urwienerisch (old Viennese) is associated with the lower classes. With the rising standard of living, the original Viennese can further converge, as it is considered a sign of low-class origins, while the unique Viennese words (such as Zwutschgerl) (cf Zwetschge/Zwetsche/Pflaume depending on dialect ("plum")) however generally remain in use.
Viennese dialects have always been influenced by foreign languages, particularly due to immigration. In the past 40 years[when?] immigrants mostly came from the former Yugoslavia, Turkey and most recently (East) Germany; but modern-day immigration has changed, which in turn has affected and created new varieties of modern-day Viennese. As an ongoing process, particularly in areas with a high percentage of first- and second-generation immigrants, new loanwords find their way into Viennese, and so do changes in pronunciation.