Varieties of German
With more than 120 million people speaking German in 8 countries
of the world, it is hardly surprising that the actual usage of German
Like English, German is a pluricentric language with three
major national centers of language usage: Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
Those varieties are not considered to be dialects, but are equally
correct and acceptable in all contexts (media, legislature, education
Find out more about German courses in
Austria and Germany!
Three national centers of German usage
The differences in grammar are much less significant than differences
in vocabulary. Partly, this is due to the fields of administration
and law. For example: regional court is referred to by 'Landesgericht'
in Austria and by 'Landgericht' in Germany.
Of course, local dialects can vary more strongly throughout Germany
and Austria. However, their influence has been decreasing due to
mass media and individual mobility.
Switzerland is a case of its own, with its local dialects
of the vernacular 'Switzertütsch' (Swiss German) being unintelligble
even to Germans and Austrians. Swiss standard German as used by
most media and in legislation deviates less from the German used
in Austria or Germany. The relation between the vernacular 'Switzertütsch'
and Swiss standard of German is one of diglossia.
For this reason, the following abstract does not include the situation
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