Monday, June 13, 2011

Saying Goodbye in Austria

This blog post could be very sentimental, sadly recognizing all the things I'll miss about Austria, (Knödel, Gemütlichkeit, teaching... to name a few) but I've decided instead to focus on the actual language involved in goodbyes. So, here goes:

Germans and Austrians have a curious tendency to LOVE greetings. Rarely do they use less than two. In stores or restaurants, perhaps just a simple "Tschüss" or "Wiedersehen" will suffice, but with friends or even acquaintances, one shows a level of affection by racking up numerous goodbyes. It's kind of like teenagers in love on the telephone ("You hang up!" "No, you hang up!").

Here are all the ways I can think of:
Tschüss! (bye)
Auf Wiedersehen! (until next time we see each other!)
Auf Wiederschauen! (until next time we see each other! in Austria)
Tschau!/Ciao! (ciao - obvious?)
Servus! (means both hello and goodbye, like aloha)
Baba! (derived from bye bye)
Pfierdi! (straight-up (Lower?) Austrian)
Auf Wiederhören! (used on the phone)
Bussi! (also mainly used on the phone... since it means kisses, it is kind of is weird in person)

English doesn't provide as many options. In fact, I can think of just a few: (Good) bye, talk to you later, see you later. Do these chronic goodbyers feel limited in my language? I think so! I once received a phone call from a woman I tutor, who left me a message in English. At the end of her message, she said a rather uncomfortable "Talk to you later. Bye! Bye-bye!", which made me laugh.

Well, that's it. I leave Austria tomorrow at 11:50 AM, and don't know when I'll be back. I do believe I'll be back someday though... at least for a vacation. It's been a long, fast, learning-experience-full, fun, stressful, growing year. I look forward to being somewhere where I can usually feel comfortable, while also looking forward to recognizing how I'm different from this year.

Tschüss! Baba! Wiedersehen! Servus! Pfierdi! Bussi! 


  1. I love your picture boo, and can't wait until I see the real you in person! Well said :)
    See you soon! Bye! Buh-bye! Talk to you later! Kisses!


  2. It's been real! Fun blog times.

  3. If you Google "say goodbye in Austria" this comes up first! Did you ever make it back? :) Sincerely, fellow Austria-enthusiast