Sprache des Österreichers
Austrian German: The language of the Celts replaced the language of the subjugated Illyrians and other Indo-Europeans and similarly, under Roman rule, Latin became the predominant language, which, after the Migration of the Germanic Peoples, gave way to the languages of the Slavs who had settled in the east and south (Romance vernaculars only survived in parts of Tirol and Vorarlberg); similarly, when the Bavarians established their rule from the 8th century onwards, they brought with them the Upper German vernacular and made it the national language. At the same time the Alemanni, who also spoke the Upper German vernacular, came to the westernmost part of Austria, to Vorarlberg. In the north-east of Austria, Frankish settlers contributed to the development of the national language. In the early Middle Ages German spread all over Austria and became the language of the Austrians. Only in the high alpine valleys of Vorarlberg and western Tirol have Rhaeto-Romanic vernaculars continued to be spoken; in southern Carinthia Slovene is still maintaining its hold (even though on the decrease), as is Croatian in Burgenland.
The Austrian language was influenced by the long and independent history of Austria, the development of its own culture and relations with non-German-speaking nations lasting several centuries. The peculiarities of Austrian German lie in its vocabulary and pronunciation as well as in syntactic and grammatical varieties (Austriacism), which can also be observed in literary works. German dictionaries register them as equally valid Austrian varieties. Austrian German is divided into Dialects according to geographical areas; it is only in the province of Vorarlberg that they can be quite different from the common spoken language. Österreichisches Wörterbuch (Austrian Dictionary).
Literature: H. Rizzo-Baur, Die Besonderheiten der deutschen Schriftsprache in Österreich und Südtirol (Brockhaus-Hefte editions), 1961; Wörterbuch der bairischen Mundarten in Österreich, 1963ff.; M. Hornung, Besonderheiten der deutschen Hochsprache in Österreich, in: Österreich in Geschichte und Literatur, 1973.