Entering Austrian Territory

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Last week I had three hours of my German Literature module as my tutorial finally started. German and German Literature are the core modules in my degree and I have been studying them since I began at the University of Limerick.

Unfortunately, I am finding German Literature quite difficult this semester. Although my comprehension of German has vastly improved compared to this time last year I am struggling more than usual. We have a new lecturer this year, and she is Austrian. I have never really had a proper interaction with an Austrian person auf Deutsch until now, and I must say that it is quite difficult to understand. Does anybody else have any experiences with difficult accents? It doesn’t have to be Austrian!

I was wholly unprepared for the Austrian dialect.

When I worked abroad I was located in Bavaria. There is a completely different dialect of German there than I am used to but I was able to understand it with significant ease. Therefore, I was wholly unprepared for the Austrian dialect. (Below is a map illustrating the many varieties of accents in lower-Germany and Austria so you can see the difficulties I was experiencing.) It is becoming an issue as I have had four classes with this lecturer and I am completely lost as to what is happening. The only way myself and my classmates know what is going on is by reading the lecture slides after class.

oberdeutsch
Source in German “Oberdeutschen Sprachen”

However, I refuse to just let this semester of German Literature pass me by. In order to grasp what the lecturer was saying I went online and found a really great website called “Radio Garden“. This website lets anybody access any radio station around the world. I have began to listen to Austrian talk shows when getting ready for bed and while falling asleep. I am really excited to see if this has any effect on my comprehension and understanding of speech over the course of four days.

I really hope that I learn from this as it would open up many new doors for me as I continue studying German as part of my degree. This would be a great way to passively learn about the different dialects and accents of the German language in my free time, and benefit more in class. I will write a progress update after my class tomorrow. Until then I shall just keep listening and learning.

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