Languages of Austria

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Languages of Austria
Official languages German (Austrian German)
Significant unofficial languages Alemannic
Regional languages Burgenland Croatian, Slovene, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Romani
Minority languages Turkish
Main foreign languages English (73%)
French (11%)
Italian (9%)
Sign languages Austrian Sign Language
Common keyboard layouts
KB Germany.svg
Source ebs_386_en.pdf (

The languages of Austria include German, the official language and lingua franca; Austro-Bavarian, the main language outside Vorarlberg; Alemannic, the main language in Vorarlberg; and several minority languages.


German is the national official language and constitutes a lingua franca and de facto second language: most Austrians other than (mostly rural) seniors are able to speak it. It is the language used in media, in schools, and formal announcements. The variety of German used, Austrian German is partially influenced by Austro-Bavarian and uses many "Germanized" words and expressions deriving from it.

High Alemannic German speaking areas marked in yellow, including part of the Austrian state of Vorarlberg (Switzerland).


Alemannic is spoken in Vorarlberg. Vorarlberg uses a High Alemannic, the same dialect group as that spoken in Northern Switzerland (outside Basel) and parts of southern Alsace, France. To most Germans and Austrians outside of Vorarlberg it is very difficult to understand, as it is more similar to Swiss German, with many grammatical and pronunciation differences.


The main native language of Austria outside Vorarlberg is Austro-Bavarian, which is spoken using many different dialects. The northern parts of Austria (including Vienna, the capital) speak Central Austro-Bavarian dialects and the southern parts Southern Austro-Bavarian dialects. Austro-Bavarian differs heavily from high German, making it hard for German speakers of different regions to understand the native population.

Minority languages[edit]

A number of minority languages are spoken in Austria, some of which have official status.


Turkish is the largest minority language, in a situation mirroring that of Germany, spoken by some 2.3% of the population.


Serbian is the second largest minority language, with usage by 2.2% of the population.[1]

Burgenland Croatian[edit]

Burgenland Croatian, an official language in Burgenland, is spoken by 2.5% of Austrians, and Burgenland Croats are recognized as a minority and have enjoyed special rights following the Austrian State Treaty (Staatsvertrag) of 1955.

Hungarian-speaking areas in Europe, including a portion of the Austrian province of Burgenland.


While little spoken today, Hungarian has traditionally held an important position in Austria (or, more correctly, Austria-Hungary). Today, Hungarian is spoken by around 1,000 people in Burgenland.


Slovene, an official language in Carinthia, is spoken by 0.3% of Austrians. Carinthian Slovenes are recognized as a minority and have enjoyed special rights following the Austrian State Treaty (Staatsvertrag) of 1955.

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages[edit]

Austria ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages on 28 June 2001 for the following languages in respect of specific Länder


 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2006 edition".

External links[edit]