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I recently found two translations for the English word "attic", i.e the part of a building, especially of a house, directly under the roof. I found both "Dachboden" and "Speicher". My question is: which one is mostly used in Austria? If "Dachboden" is the most used one as attic, then what does an Austrian think about the word "Speicher"? Where is "Speicher" an attic and where is a "Dachboden" an attic? Is the difference in usage dependent on the different areas? (Let's say South Germany and Austria on one side and the rest of Germany on the other maybe.)

  • As a german I can confirm that both are a legit translation from "attic". Even tho I would prefer Dachboden so there is no confusion. – BlueWizard May 24 '15 at 15:06
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The answer is definitely

Dachboden

The first time I heard the word »Speicher« was when I started to learn programing on a computer (Speicher = storage). Some years later I was a little bit confused when I heard a German say »Ich habe noch eine alte Nähmaschine auf dem Speicher.« (»I have an old sawing machine on my attic«) because I understood »I have an old sawing machine on my computer-storage«.

I never have heard Austrian people use the word »Speicher« in an other meaning then computer storage.

(I was born 1965 in Graz and moved 1997 to Vienna.)

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    Aber natürlich gibt es trotzdem auch in Österreich Speicher außerhalb von Computern. – Carsten S May 24 '15 at 16:43
  • Zumindest in Deutschland sind auch herkömmliche Scheunen und Silos auf Bauernhöfen "Speicher". So etwas wie "Kornspeicher" oder "Wasserspeicher" gibt es in Österreich nicht? – O. R. Mapper May 25 '15 at 8:18
  • Ich kenne Getreidesilos, die schon mal bis zu 50 Meter hoch sein können, und kleinere Schüttkästen, die aber auch gut 10 Meter hoch sein konnten, aber mir persönlich ist die Bezeichnung »Speicher« dafür nicht geläufig. Auch Kornhäuser gibt es in denen Getreide aufbewahrt wird, diese sehen von außen aber wie normale Häuser oder Scheunen aus, und auch die Bezeichnung »Getreidelager« ist üblich. Wasserspeicher kenne ich ebenfalls nicht. Es gibt aber noch einige erhalten gebliebene oberirdische Wassertürme und unterirdische Reservoirs. – Hubert Schölnast May 25 '15 at 9:30
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You can find a very detailed answer to this question in the Atlas der deutschen Alltagssprache. According to this source it is Dachboden in Austria. (I am not Austrian, so I hope either Hubert or Ingmar will confirm ;-)).

I also can confirm the usage of Speicher in Upper Bavaria and simply Boden in Saxony. (At least in my childhood, I had almost forgotten that we said so. Nowadays I would rather say Dachboden, I guess.)

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    Fun fact: in Brunswick, a neighbour told me ‘Sie müssen Ihre Wäsche auf dem Boden aufhängen!’ and it took me a good two minutes to realise she meant Speicher ;) – Jan May 24 '15 at 12:23
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    As a side note: over here in the south-west of Germany (Swabia) we almost exclusively use Bühne, or less often Dachboden (which sounds stiltet to a Swabian's ear). – Takkat May 24 '15 at 13:53
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As an Austrian I can confirm that both are correct. Dachboden is the widely used one, while Speicher is used more rarely. Speicher (as also translated in IT) also means storage. So in former times this area was also used to store Heu (hay) and other goods. So people — especially farmers and people in rural areas still call it Speicher.

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