“Austria” is indeed the Latinized name for Austria. Originally it only referred to Lower Austria and gradually adapted to the limits of the Habsburg monarchy. This term was first used in the document of King Conrad III. discovered who wrote it in Latin in 1147. The area described therein is accordingly called “Austria”. In fact, the word itself doesn’t seem to be Latin. In original German, the word “austar” meant “east” and therefore denotes the empire in the east. This term is similar to Icelandic mythology, in which the dwarf of the east is called “Austri”.
Austria and Austrias Language – origins
The origin of the word “Austria”
Austria has long been referred to as “Ostarrichi”. This name is even older than its Latin variant, since this designation was already used in a document in 996 to describe a donation of the current area of Lower Austria. However, this area only became independent in 1156, when it was separated from the Duchy of Baiern and raised as the Duchy of Austria itself. The name “Ostarrichi” was probably used earlier and before the concrete naming generally meant an area of rule to the east – Eastern Empire. However, since the term 996 was first associated with today’s area of Austria, it has been celebrated since then as the year of the birth of the name “Austria”.
Is there an Austrian language?
The official state language of Austria is German. Around 98% of all Austrian citizens have German as their mother tongue. But that doesn’t mean that Austrian German is the same as Federal German. The Austrian dictionary describes the national language with many special features in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. Austrian German is therefore the standard variety of German. In addition, there are many different dialects in Austria that are characterized by Bavarian, but have many peculiarities. The Viennese dialect also has its very own tone. The everyday slang is very different from the general high German.
Protected minority languages are the languages of other cultural minorities living in Austria. For example, there are Burgenland Croats, Burgenland Hungary, Carinthian Slovenes and Roma.