I once read that Tiroleans are said to be a cunning, lederhosen-wearing mountain people who yodel. Well, honestly speaking, I wouldn’t describe us as ‘cunning’; I’d rather say we are kind of pig-headed, maybe. Don’t worry, the Tiroleans are still very friendly and welcoming people. If you befriend with those guys and they go to the mountain with you, be sure you have found friends which understand this meaning from the heart.
German is spoken throughout Tirol, although there are many local dialects, acronyms and phrases that may confuse visitors, even German-speaking ones. In fact, we can have two speakers in Tirol who cannot understand one another while they are said to be speaking the same language, which is German, indeed.
You are travelling around the Austrian Tirol and once there you realise the people there are impossible to understand? You’ve come to the right place. If you’re trying to figure out what your Tirolean buddy is talking about, the Tirol Dictionary can help. Of course, it’s not all here, and it is also impossible to replicate the mumbling that Tiroleans are famous for, however, we will make sure you recognize and understand the Tirolean accent as well as some words.
We’re not here to confuse you, it’s going to be hard enough as we speak too fast and we sound funny. So the below will give you a bit of an idea on what you’re in for.
TIROLEAN GREETINGS AND SALUTATIONS
Tiroleans are by nature quite fast on casual first-name terms with anyone.
Grias-di, Griaß-enk, Griaß-eich = Hello!, Good Day!
Pfiat-di, Pfiat-enk, Pfiat-eich = Goodbye!
Derived from other languages, “Hello” and “Hi” are common casual greetings in Tirol nowadays. Italian “Ciao” and the disapproved-of German “Tschüss” are other informal ways to greet people, most commonly used in urban areas. More formal ways of greeting people are used in shops and restaurants.
Grüß Gott = Good Day!
Wiederschaun = Goodbye!
ASKING AND GIVING DIRECTIONS
You will find these Tirolean expressions useful if you are lost or want to get to a particular place. Again, I admit, it’s going to be hard enough as we speak too fast and we sound funny.
aui, auffi = up, upward(s)
umi = over, across
außi = out, out there, outside
oi, ochi = down
arschlings = backwards
grodaus = straight on, straight ahead
entn = over there
Bichl = hill. At first glance it may appear like a mountain to lowlanders, making it hard to navigate correctly. After all, the whole landscape of Tirol is formed by mountains. They are everywhere.
Tirol is an amazing place to eat and drink, serving up some of the best food in the world—and from all corners of the world. However, while you’re in Tirol, seek out some of the quintessential must-eat foods and staples.
Kaasspatzln = literally ‘little cheese sparrows’; a kind of soft egg noodle mixed with grated cheese, oven-baked and sprinkled with fried onion
Greaschtl, Gröstl = a real Tirol favourite for generations, this meat, onion and potato fry-up tastes great served with a fried egg
Kaaspressknedl = flat bread dumplings that are filled with onion and cheese and cooked until golden brown on both sides. Cheese dumplings are served in a hearty beef broth or with sauerkraut
Fleischkaas = type of meat loaf made of ham and pork or veal, sometimes including liver
Graukaas = literally ‘grey cheese’; a strongly flavoured, rennet-free cows-milk acid-curd cheese. It owes its name to the grey mould that usually grows on its rind, is extremely low in fat and has a powerful penetrating smell. You either love it or hate it!
Schwammerlen = mushrooms, commonly used for the “golden chanterelle” (“egg mushroom”), which has a magical appeal for culinary experts
Muas = mush, puree
Goggelen = eggs
Weggn = bread
Oranschn = orange
Melanzani = eggplant
Marilln = apricot
Verlängata = sounds like an indecent proposal, means “extended one” and is a cup of coffee, typically served with milk
Zol’n bitte! = The bill, please!
Hots gschmeckt? = Was everything all right? Did you like your dinner?
Mogsch a Schnapsal? = “Would you like some schnapps?” Tirol is on the bucket list of schnapps lovers near and far. Local craft distillers produce flavours you’ll only find here, so, if asked friendly you are strongly recommended to seize the opportunity to savour the fruit of their work. Schnapps has the power to bring people together!
botzn = spill, drip
Botzerei = messy eating
DATING AND ROMANCERELATED…
Here are some Tirolean phrases for dating and romance that can be quite helpful on folk fests, village fairs and marquee festivals. There is rarely any German spoken on these special occasions.
Honestly speaking, never ever.
Fesches Madl, Diandl = beautiful woman, beautiful girl, pretty lassie
Fescher Bua = handsome lad
Wia hoaschn du? = What’s your name?
Mogsch wos trinkn? = Can I get you a drink?
Woher kimmschn du? = Where do you come from?
Mogsch di herhockn? = Do you want to take a seat?
Du gfolsch ma! = I like you!
I mog di. = I like you.
A Hetz machen = Having fun
hetzig = funny, jolly, amusing
losnen = listen
trotschn = natter, chatter, gossip,
terisch = hard of hearing. “I wear terisch” – I can’t hear a word (comes in handy during a brass band concert)
tamisch sein = being off form, under the weather, fig. dizzy (as a result of dancing polka, for example)
rauschig sein = tipsy
Weiss-Sauer, Rot-Sauer = white wine spritzer, red wine spritzer
Kracherl = similar to “Almdudler”; a sweet, alcohol free lemonade with a herbal twist
Zschigg = cigarette (Note: smoking is prohibited in many indoor public places in Tirol, including marquees)
Beware! If you should happen to hear these words spoken with a serious and/or angry face, you just might have gone over the top and are strongly recommended to take to your heels: “Watschn” or “Fotzn” are Tirolean terms for “a slap in the face”. “I schmier da oane” means “you deserve a box round the ears” and should be seen as a form of disapproval as well… Don’t worry, as mentioned before, the Tiroleans are very friendly and welcoming in general. If you behave properly, you will not get in trouble.
You might find these Tirolean phrases helpful when talking about your health. Or, you might just find it funny how we call certain things.
Dokta = Doctor
Apoteggn = Pharmacy
Binggl = bump, swelling, bruise
Buggl = back
Wea = pain
Mir isch letz = I feel sick
Speiberei = stomach flu, or gastroenteritis
Haxn = legs
Zeachn = toes
Goschn = face
Zennt = teeth
Gnagg = neck
magiern = pretending to be sick
Heisl = toilet, bathroom (not a house!)
Plumpsklo = predecessor to the “Heisl”, pail/earth closet. Has now been almost completely replaced by the water closet. Can be found at some quaint old mountain lodges, with a heart cut-out door.
gschleinen = hurry (sometimes needed in connection with “Heisl”)
NATURE EXPLORATION RELATED…
Enjoying the great outdoors of Tirol you might come upon these words.
Tschurtschn = (fir) cone
Viecher = animals
Murmele = marmot
Goas = goat
Anten = ducks
Baam = tree
Oachkatzlschwoaf = A Tirolean slang word for the tail of a squirrel. Often used to proof if someone was Tirolean because Non-Tiroleans can’t pronounce it. Those who can nevertheless, will receive the highest achievable recognition.
COMMON PHRASES AND SAYINGS…
Phrases are rather interesting and they add flavor to our language, but with so many of them existing, eventually you will run into some that you’re not familiar with.
“Isch des bärig!” = Wow!! That’s amazing! That’s wonderful!
Phrases like “geil” and “cool” reflect modern, colloquial Tirolean usage, often strengthened by “volle”, i.e. “volle cool”
“Mei schian!” = Oh my that’s awesome!
“Na schiach!” = Something very ugly or hideous. Also expressed with “zach”, meaning badly, severely
ge! = “I can’t believe that!”; stressed with regretful intonation: “ma ge hey!” (“That is really unbelievable!”)
ge? = “eh?”, “right?” Used at the end of a sentence when you’re not really asking a question, more providing a statement that you want confirmation for such as “it’s really hot today, eh”
ha? = “What?”, “Pardon?”
a = also, too, as well
amol = once
decht, dechtasch = but, however
eh = anyway, anyhow, that goes without saying, absolutely
epper = somebody, someone
es = pl. you
lei = only, just
woll = but, however
nimma = not more
nocha, nochand = afterward(s), later (on)
olm = always, all the time
ondersch = different
Have fun and practise your Tirolean and you’ll be good as gold :)
By the way, anyone, well, almost anyone can learn to talk like a Tirolean as you can see in this video: