Did you ever cut air?

Today we cut air. Say what?

How do you cut air? Generally it depends on the consistency. The consistency on the components. If there are a lot of things that attribute to bad air quality, the Austrian is quite quick to say “Die Luft is zum scheiden”.

But these things that attribute to bad air quality don’t need to be physical necessarily. They can also be verbally and/or nonverbally between two people. Then the outsider would say that “zwischen die zwa kaunst die Luft schneiden”. The saying is just that you can cut the air. It does not tell you how.

In German you would say something like “es herrscht dicke Luft” which translates to “there is thick air”. The meaning is the same. In Austria you would use that phrase if three or more people are involved in changing the consistency of air to be able to cut it.

Not only can you use that phrase in a figurative way, but also when actual physical things make the air so thick that you can cut it: when the air is muggy and humid, just as it is before a cleaning thunderstorm you can apply that.

Not only air can be naturally of a consistency to be cut, it can also get that way from humans smoking. Talking about that subject, and especially making rules regarding smoking is always something that causes thick air between everybody involved. You may find a further, quite advanced lesson regarding smoking in Austria in general and in restaurants and pubs in specific here:

Homework: Relax. Don't take things other people might say to serious and avoid that you can cut the air between you and somebody else.


  1. Can it also be written as "De Luft is zum Schneidn?"

    Is the video posted all in German, are some parts in Austrian or at least some intermediate form between Austrian and German?

    If somenone from Austria claims to be a native speaker of Standarddeutsch, could their actual muttersprache be some intermediate form between Austrian and German?

    1. Hi there, Myrtone, I am very sorry for the delayed response!
      Yes, you can also say "De Luft is zum Schneidn" - De actually that is even Die.

      The video from the WKO which is the chamber of commerce in Austria. The video is in German, Schriftdeutsch, just as the news are. - I would say it is the same as in Australia: The English spoken by people in the pub or on the street is simply different to the one used on television to present the news.

      In Austria "Standarddeutsch" as you call it, "nach der Schrift" as we call it is what is taught and spoken in schools. When I went to primary school, it was forbidden to speak any dialect as soon as entering the building - our principal was very strict on that one. While I am not too sure if it is still that way, you can be assured that every Austrian that finished compulsory school, is able to speak proper German. The difference between German German and Austrian German is more like the difference between UK English and Australian English. They are not completely separate languages (although I might make it sometimes sound that way in the blog) - but you know they difference when you hear it.

  2. No, the English we speak here in South Eastern Australasia is much the same as what is used to present the news, it mostly differs in regard to accent. But transcriptions of the Austrian dialect show that it is much more different from St. German, much like some British dialects such as Yorkshire English.

    So your Grundschulregeln required that only Schriftdeutsch was spoken. Sure every Austrian that finished compulsory school might speak "proper" German, which is really an amalgam of different dialects, but they may still speak a non-strandard variety to they family members (zu Hause).

    Ich habe die Luft nicht geschneiten vs. I hob de Luft ned gschniedn seems like a much bigger difference than between our English and standard British English. Combine that with the Slavic borrowings and maybe differences in the grammar and it's even bigger!
    Your schulleiter sounds very totalitarian considering that Schriftdeutsch was originally only written, not spoken, hence the term. It's as if Old Church Slavonic were the only Slavic language taught and spoken in schools in Slavic circles.


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