How would you translate "Deutschländisch" or "deutschländische Deutsch" into English? Example context from Sprachpflege an Schulen: Österreich kämpft gegen deutschländisches Deutsch

Darin geht es auf 64 Seiten um den Wortschatz der Österreicher - und seine Gefährdung durch das "deutschländische Deutsch", das nach Ansicht des Bildungsministeriums die lokalen Eigenheiten in Österreich immer mehr verdrängt.

I think it's referring to the German used in Germany, as opposed to that used in Austria. It might be a non-standard word, just like asking someone to "Speak American". I suspect that "High German" isn't suitable, as it's describing a different concept.

I tried looking up Wiktionary, but couldn't find anything. The Wikipedia article on Austrian German suggested "Standard German of Germany", which is a bit of a mouthful - but if that's the most acceptable way of translating, then I'll be happy to be told so.

Maybe "Germany German" or "German German"?

  • 1
    Since this is a translation request into English, it should be asked on English Language & Usage or English Language Learners. – Jan Dec 22 '15 at 2:21
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about translating into English and thus belongs onto English Language & Usage or English Language Learners. – Jan Dec 22 '15 at 2:22
  • 5
    @Jan if translations into English aren't allowed, then why do you have a tag for it? Also, I think I've satisfied all the criteria in meta.german.stackexchange.com/questions/628/… – Andrew Grimm Dec 22 '15 at 2:27
  • 6
    I usually use "German" German. I'm not sure there's a good translation without additional explanation. – Ingmar Dec 22 '15 at 4:02
  • 3
    @Jan: While I agree about the translation aspect, this is also a question about terminology specific to the German language and hence on-topic IMHO. It’s for the same reason that questions on design terminology are on-topic on Graphic Design, for example. – Wrzlprmft Dec 22 '15 at 5:35

quick answer:

  • deutsch = German
  • deutschländisch = German

elaborate answer:

I don't like »deutschländisch« either, but this word was invented for this very special case, because »deutsch« has two distinct meanings, that sadly often are mixed up:

Meaning 1 = belonging to the Federal Republic of Germany, which is a political nation:

  • deutscher Politiker
  • deutsches Bier
  • deutsche Autobahn

Meaning 2 = belonging to the German Language, which is official language in 7 European countries and also in the European Union. German is also spoken in France, Namibia and in South-Africa and also in some regions in the USA (Texas, Pennsylvania):

  • deutsche Grammatik
  • deutscher Wortschatz

So, the situation is similar to the word »English«, which can be used when something belongs to a region in the south-east of the United Kingdom (with London as its capital city) as well as referring to a language that is also spoken outside of England.

But there is an important difference:

English is spoken by much more people who are not English then from English people. But only about 20% of all people who speak German are not German. This is the reason why lots of people (mainly in Germany) use Germancountry and Germanlanguage as synonyms.

When you ask a German person, if the word »German« in the sentence »Goethe was a great German poet« is meant as Germancountry or as Germanlanguage, you can generate a long discussion. (Compare with »Shakespeare was a great English poet« and »Edgar Allan Poe was a great English poet«. The latter sounds wrong, because Poe was not English, he just wrote in English. He was an American poet.)

Austrian German (which is my native language) is threatened by the version of German spoken in Germany (without any evil intention!), and it will become extinct in a few decades. So in Austria more and more people recognize that their language is dying, and some of them try to keep our language actively alive. And one of the efforts is to describe the differences between the different variations of German. And to do this, you have to give names to those variations.

While this is easy for Austrian German (Österreichisches Deutsch) and Swiss German (Schweizerisches Deutsch) (which means the standard language, not the dialects), the most obvious name for the version of German that is spoken in Germany sounds a little bit funny:

  • In English: German German
  • In German: Deutsches Deutsch

In the term deutsches Deutsch the second word (»Deutsch«), which is a noun, is the name of a Language, and the first (the adjective »deutsches«) refers to the country Germany (not to the language German). But the German name of the country is »Deutschland« (verbatim: »Germancountry«), and from this word you can derive the correct, but rarely used adjective »deutschländisch«.

The advantages of »deutschländisch«:

  • It is absolutely clear, that is refers to a country, not to a language.
  • It is not a homonym of a languages Name.

The disadvantage of »deutschländisch«:

  • Although it is a correct German word it is rarely used and therefore unknown to many people.

So when talking about the German that is spoken in Germany (contrasting to the other variations of German language) you will find many German names:

  • Deutsches Deutsch
  • Deutsches Hochdeutsch
  • Deutschländisches Deutsch
  • Deutschländisches Hochdeutsch
  • Bundesdeutsches Deutsch
  • Bundesdeutsches Hochdeutsch
  • Bundesrepublikanisches Deutsch
  • Bundesrepublikanisches Hochdeutsch
  • Bundesdeutsch
  • Deutschländisch
  • Deutschlanddeutsch
  • BRD-Deutsch
  • Binnendeutsch

(Where ever you find »Hochdeutsch« you can also replace it by »Standarddeutsch«)

English Terms are:

  • German German
  • German Standard German
  • German of Germany
  • Standard German of Germany
  • High German of Germany

Not really a translation, just a description, but you might also use this term:

  • The standard variation of German used in Germany

So, as written in the short answer at the beginning, »deutschländisch« is »German« in English. I don't see any other way to translate it into English. Its usage is limited to name the version of German language that is spoken in Germany.

I just read the Spiegel article that was linked in the question. It contains a severe error: In this article you can read: »... mit Karten, die verschiedene Begriffe auf Hochdeutsch, Schweizer Deutsch und österreichischem Deutsch benennen und voneinander abgrenzen«. This sentence implies, that Swiss German and Austrian German are not »Hochdeutsch« (Standard German). But this is wrong. All three variatons (German German, Austrian German and Swiss German) are »Hochdeutsch«. They are different, but all three are standard languages. German German is not higher than the other two. It just has more speakers.

  • "the German Language, which is official language in 7 European countries " - just curoius - which? – Mawg Mar 7 '17 at 8:29
  • 1
    @Mawg: Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz, Liechtenstein, Belgien, Luxemburg und Italien (dort nur Südtirol) – Hubert Schölnast Mar 7 '17 at 16:04

If assigning a new meaning to an existing word is acceptable, you could use Teutonic. The motivation for this is twofold:

  • Words that are exclusive to German German are also called Teutonismus.

  • Teutonic as an adjective can be used to refer to:

    Having qualities that are regarded as typical of German people.


To make clear what was mean by deutschländisch in the context you gave I would not use another poorly defined word, or widely unknown expression.

I'd simply say

German as spoken in Germany

This is also in respect to deutschländisch being almost exclusively used in Austria.

I would not recommend to use deutschländisch while in Germany or when speaking to Germans. If we do there will inevitably be an unwanted association with a widely known brand of sausages:

enter image description here

  • 2
    »Würzig wie Frankfurter, knackig wie Wiener.« – Jan Dec 24 '15 at 17:03

To me it's just an expression how Germans love to play with language in terms of neologisms. It's like you could also say somebody is "Germanistic" instead of "German" in a colloquial manner. While "Germanistic" is semantically not correct to describe nationality, it could be understood as such in some contexts…

"Speak American" goes into the same direction…

Or the sentence in your excerpt emphasizes the reference to the country rather to the language itself.

  • 1
    You wrote: »how Germans love to play with language in terms of neologisms«. But fact is, that the word »deutschländisch« (at least in this context) is rarely used by Germans. They, who used this word in the given Text, was Austrians. – Hubert Schölnast Dec 23 '15 at 13:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.