Viennese Swearing

Columns | Vienna Review | May 2013




"Und aamoi dazuagschissn", 3 Apr.

by Robert Sommer

In the interviews course director Martha Kellner undertook with journalists, there was much laughing. "Swearing in Vienna" was the subject of her course at the Volkshochschule [Adult Education College] in Meidling. The course was aimed at migrants "with advanced knowledge of German".

[…] The language of the Vienna Würstelstand [sausage stand] is so coarse that one needn’t be surprised if someone becomes a vegetarian in order to avoid this language, Martha Kellner warned the participants, winking.

But this is not yet really swearing. This begins in Vienna with "Drecksau" [lit. "dirty swine", bastard]. The course participants learn so much that is not normally covered in German classes. Martha Kellner devoted special attention to the Schweinereien [obscenities]. She explained in what context Sauschädel [pig’s head] is a swearword and in which it is merely an anatomical or gastronomic term. She strongly warned against using Drecksau: to use that [expression] is considered "unter jeder Sau" [beneath contempt].

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