Austrian: A Language or Not

LL   Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:54 pm GMT
I'm sure that some of you have read or heard that Barack Obama referred to a language as "Austrian" recently. What do you think of that?
Do you think he meant the colloquial language spoken in Austria? What do you think the "real" language of Austria is? Allemanisch? German? Austrian?

Civil replies only, thanks.
asdf   Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:10 pm GMT
Maybe he didn't know what language they speak in Austria. Or maybe he confused Austria with Australia--that sometimes happens--there's a Dilbert comic on it. Also, some people look out the train window in Austria, in hopes of seeing a kangaroo.
Skippy   Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:55 pm GMT
I believe he was in Austria at the time. The article I read about it said the woman who asked the question was Austrian, so I'm wondering if he was there at the time.

Judging from the video, it's possible he thought it was a language. However, he could have just been nervous and slipped up (as he often does when he isn't reading off a teleprompter).

And I believe the 'native' language of Austria is Austro-Bavarian.
LL   Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:28 am GMT
"in hopes of seeing a kangaroo."

Hilarious-no kidding.

And how many tourists go to Australia to find no Mozart birthplace, no Sound of Music site, and most of all- no Weinerwald?
LL   Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:31 am GMT
Good call, Skippy. I suppose Barack Obama shouldn't be expected to know that.

Apparently, it's spoken through most, but not all of Austria.
Skippy   Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:31 am GMT
I'm sure he knows "Austrian" is not a language (at least I doubt he has enough background in linguistics to say that they speak a dialect of German called Austrian or Austro-Bavarian or something of that sort; remember he said we need Arabic translators in Afghanistan), but he was on the spot, I think he was in Austria, and that was the first thing that came to mind.
Q.E.D.   Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:48 am GMT
Obama is an ignorant in European culture as his predecessor was, but this is understandable giving the introverted character of the North American society. However, this is not an excuse for his advisors to be ill prepared - they are paid to do a professional job and they should provide some results on acceptable standards.
LL   Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:18 am GMT
I wonder who is advising him on European matters.

He was complaining about Americans being unable to say more than "merci beaucoup" during the campaign season. It's true many Europeans speak more languages than the "average" US citizens, but they have more opportunities to practice in some ways. Still, I have run into a fair number of "young" (late twenties/early thirties) people who aren't conversationally fluent in English.

Certainly Europeans don't expect him to speak multiple European languages. I wish he would stop apologizing about this all the time.

Happily, those of us who are interested in languages and keeping our understanding and fluency updated can use the internet to listen to programs from various countries.

Thanks to those of you who suggest good links from time to time!
JP   Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:28 am GMT
It's no big deal. It's probably a mistake that most Americans would make. It's his advisors that should be hung out to dry for not providing with the proper background for each country he visits. Maybe he inherited the sames ones that Bush had?
rep   Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:39 am GMT
American English: a language or not?
rep   Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:43 am GMT
Shuimo   Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:47 am GMT
not yet
rep   Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:57 am GMT
It is not my post:
<<rep Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:43 am GMT>>
Stop using my nick.
Shuimo   Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:18 am GMT
Shuimo Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:47 am GMT
not yet

Shuimo is so admired that there are many fake Shuimos on this board!
Shuimo   Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:38 am GMT
Shuimo is so retarded that he speaks of herself in 3rd, err...?