I’d like to ask a question to our members who lives in Austria. Are there any major differences between German that are spoken in Germany and German that are spoken in Austria?
I can only briefly answer the question for now. There are regional variants all across the German-speaking area. Austrians speak southern German dialects which belong to the Bavarian group of dialects (like in Bavaria/Germany), except for the western-most province of Vorarlberg where they speak Alemannic dialects like in Switzerland and Swabia (part of Bavaria/Germny). Most Austrians can speak Standard German with an Austrian accent. However, there are a certain number of words and phrases that are typically used by Austrians and not by Germans north of Bavaria.
If you compare the accents of e.g. Vera or Irene or northern German speakers of some podcasts in the LingQ library, you will notice differences from my accent, but we hardly use different grammar as long as we speak Standard German (which is close to the written language).
One major difference in the spoken language may be that in southern and Austrian German we don’t use the past/preterite form of verbs except for the preterite of ‘to be’; instead we use the ‘present perfect’. In northern German the tenses of the past are used in a similar way as in English.
Dialects of far-away regions of course show more differences, they can even be like different languages (like Dutch and Flemish or Czech and Slovak or Croatian and Serbian).
I hope this explains the situation a little bit.
Reinhard, thank you very much.