I am going to either Germany or Austria to study German. I have been told there are differences in the German spoken in different regions, and would like to know what these were before choosing the location.

I mostly want to learn German to be able to read academic texts, would this change depending on the region?

Note: I asked this question on language learning and they recommended I posted it here instead

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    "I have been told there are differences in the German spoken in different regions" These are too many, to answer this concisely in the Q&A format. – πάντα ῥεῖ Apr 9 '18 at 1:09
  • There is only a very few difference in written text. The pronouncation is nearly incomprehensible. However, most of them can talk and understand hochdeutsch quite well. At least... their own version of hochdeutsch. ;-) If you accomodated to a region, it is useful to not switch, you will have to re-learn your hardly acquired... hörverstehen. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Apr 9 '18 at 2:02
  • related: german.stackexchange.com/questions/904/… – Takkat Apr 9 '18 at 7:07

If you are going to a language school, whether in Germany or Austria, they will teach you standard German. But people on the street (especially in Southern Germany or Austria) will use the local dialect.

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You wouldn't understand any German dialect as a foreigner.

But, that isn't a problem as Germans, Austrians, Swiss German speakers don't understand the dialects of other, non-adjacent regions either. That's why everyone settles on one of the three Standard German varieties (German, Austrian, Swiss German) when it comes to talking to people from out of area.

The three standard varieties are mutually understandable, apart from a few words and a few idiomatic expressions, both much less than a hundred common ones, they are pretty much the same.

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    He wouldn't understand as a new foreigner. I am a foreigner too, but I do understand quite few of them, after ore than thirty years in Germany. And many do understand the dialects of other, non-adjacent regions too, at least to some extent. – Rudy Velthuis Apr 8 '18 at 22:35

There are some local dialects in bavaria, saxon or "schäbisch". But the most people there speak a kind of high german (mostly old people are used to speak the old dialects).

So if you want to learn german (especially academic texts) high german is the right way to go. Also the written german is mostly the same in all dialects. You dont have to look for high german, usually 'german' is equal to it.

Austrian german is only slightly different, but with high german you will be able to understand very most of it.

Swiss German is another league, even as nativ german speaker I need subtitles to understand 'switscherdĂĽtsch'. It's way harder to understand than austrian german.

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