Vienna and the charm of their humor and of the Austrian language

In Vienna I fell in love with the charm of the Austrian humor and of the Austrian flavor of German.

The city tries to avoid dog’s mucks on the pavement. This rhyme only works in Austria.


The dog says: “Take a small sack for my small ….”

In the metro, dogs are only allowed on the leash and with the muzzle, as this nice little sketch clearly illustrates. Note that in Austrian, a muzzle is a “Beisskorb” which means it is a “basket for biting” (hopefully preventing the dog from doing that). In Switzerland we call it a “Maulkorb” indicating that this is just a “basket” for the “muzzle”.


The #echtshopper initiative wants to support the shops in Vienna – and suggests that you go to the “real” shops returning home with a “chic bag” (“chices Sackerl”) instead of buying online and receiving a “brown parcel” (“braunes Packerl” that comes by post). “Sackerl” and “Packerl” – a nice rhyme that no one can resist to, I assume. I do wish Vienna many buyers in their shops.


People from Basel – my town – are called “Basler Bebbi”. In Vienna I come across the “Leberkas-Pepi”. This “Pepi” (resembling our “Bebbi”) provides meat loaf (Leberkas or Leberkäse).


On the Naschmarkt I found the “Zum Gockelhahn”. Literally “Gockelhahn”  translates to “Cockcock”, because “Gockel” means “cock” and “Hahn” also means “cock”. It is two words for the same, combined to one word which makes it all clear that this shop sells products made from cocks, right?


The “Würstelstand” (stand for little sausages) also offers Pizza, Falafel and Kebab – Vienna is international – including the “Würstel” or “small sausage”.


The bakery of the discounter Billa is inventive.  They say: “The bread is fresh from the oven. Honestly.” Well, not exactly… Billa plays with the word “honestly” – in German: “Ehrenwort” (literally “honest word”). Instead of “Ehrenwort” (“honest word”), Billa writes “Ährenwort” or “spike word” (“spike”= Ähre) and, if you speak that out loudly, it also sounds like “Ehrenwort”, but alludes to the ingredients of the bread. This is a punch that only works in German and it was invented in Austria. I have to admit, the Billa bread was delicious, honestly or – excuse me – Ähren-/Ehrenwort.


In Vienna even ATMs have an imperial touch, as the sign for this “Geldautomat” or “money engine” shows.


Yes, Vienna’s humor and their flavour of German have a special charm, do you agree?

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