Endangered Languages


Austrian Linguistic Inheritance

Many Austrian and German landlords had possessions of parts of Istria from the early middle ages, but it was not until 1815 that the whole of Istria passed under the administration of Austria after a brief period of French rule which began in 1797.

For a full century, Istria remained part a valued territory of the Austrian Empire which was called Kustenland, principally because of its strategic position for the Austrian war Navy (Pola), and also because of the fashionable resort that evolved for the Austrian nobility in Opatija (Abbazia). The Austrians were fair administrators and  left a good impression in the minds of many nostalgic Istrians.

For strange reasons, the Austrians never forced their language on Istria. On the contrary, even in the military Navy Istro-Venetian was the language spoken in common rather than German. However, after a century of contact with officials and a numerous garrison in Pola, many German words infiltrated the Istrian speech of the common people.

The table below lists such words, some of which were of localized usage, whereas some others were widely accepted throughout Istria (the bolded words are of wider usage).

Istrian Words of Possible Germanic Origin

Istrian speeches Original German Istrian meaning German meaning Italian meaning
ainpren  Einbrenne  (soffritto) - soffritto
andivier Grenadier?? soldier soldier soldato
armiraise Armenreisender beggar, ragamuffin Vagabund straccione, vagabondo
àuf! auf! up! up! Su!
befel, bafel Befehl order, reprimand order rimbrotto, rimprovero
crama / krama (mainly used in plural form) kram stuff, odds and ends, junk trash, rubbish stuff (colloquial); junk; kramer = shopkeeper or peddler)  
drek Dreck shit dirt -
dugan ? - - -
falbebe Feldwebel sergeant-major (Feldwebel - sergeant-major?)  -
fangel  fangen - - cazzuola
fertig, firte fertig finished finished finito
flika, fleica ? coin, money - moneta
fiasca Flasche bottle bottle bottiglia a fondo largo
fodra  - - - fodera
forbir, forbire - - - pulire
fraila  Fräulein Miss Miss (old-fashioned word not in use) signorina
frajar  freien - - abboffarsi ,sperperare
fuch  futsch - - andare in malora
ganzo, ganz ganz clever complete, entirely -
gije! gehe! go! go! grido per far andare avanti il cavallo
gostoina Gasthaus - - osteria
granfo Krampf - - crampo
graniza Grenze - - confine
gries Gries coarsely ground maize  coarsely ground maize  semolino
gropo  Kruppe - - nodo
kaput kaputt defeated, derelict  defeated, derelict  rotto
kaiser Kaiser (-brötchen)  of little value (a pun with a similar veneto word)  - panino condito a forma di roseta 
kibla Kübel bucket bucket -
kifel Kipfel? - - -
klanfa Klammer hook peg, clamp -
klanfer Klempner tinsmith tinman -
krafen Krapfen donut donut -
kraut Kraut cabbage cabbage crauti :-)
kuguluf Gugelhupf- Kuchen Gugelhupf - cake Gugelhupf - cake dolce austriaco Gugelhupf
mahaz machen to have a knack to do something to do fare qualchecossa
marot  marode - - ammalato
mismas  misch-masch  - pell-mell?, mix up guazzabuglio 
nichel, nichelio Kupfernickel - - monetina
ofizir Offizier sergeant - -
patrona  Patrone (Gewehr) - - pallottola
pek  Becker - - panettiere
placato  Plakat - - affisso
presni Presse? - - -
ribes Reibe - - grattugia
rucsac Rucksack rucksack zaino sacco da montagna, zaino
saiba  Scheibe disk, plate disk rondella
satul  Schatulle casket casket cofanetto
sbicia  schwitzen (cafe) - - caffe legero (acquoso)
scheo  Scheidemünze - - soldo
sina Schiene train or tramway rail  train or tramway rail  -
sinter ? dogcatcher  - -
slaif Schleifzug  grind, abrade grind, abrade freno a mano
slampete  Schlampe - sloppy trasandato 
slinga  Schlinge - - laccio, cinghia 
spaisa  Speise (-kammer) - - dispensa
spacher, spaher, spaker (unknown dialactal form) cooking oven  - -
spanzir spazieren walking up and down - passeggiare, andare in giro
spriz  Spritz (Wein+Sprudel) - - vino e acqua gassata
srid parade Schrittparade military parade - -
smir Schmiere grease to lubricate axles grease grasso con cui si ungono le ruote
steura  Steuer (Abgaben) tax tax tassa, imposta
stik  Stück part part pezzo, tozzo
strudel, strucolo Strudel Strudel cake Strudel cake strudel austriaco, dolce a forma arrotolata farcito di ricotta o di frutta
suber Schober stack, rick stack -
tarteifel der Teufel strict, severe  the devil diavolo, cattivo
taulig  tauglich - - idoneo, abile 
urlabe  Urlaub vacacion vacacion permesso, ferie, vacanze
valzer  walzen - roll -
vinthofen Wind offen forge to heat the solderer  wind open focolare a carbone dolce 
viz  Witz joke joke barzelletta
zlai (->slaif) Schleifzug brake on a cart  - -
zucàr  zucken, zuckeln - - tirare, strappare 
zurik! zurück! back back grido per far andar indietro i cavalli

 German Language Toponomy

Istrian speech Original German Where to find
Monte Bergo, Brgot Berg near Cristoglie - Hrastovlje
Fiserkitte Fischerhütte in Pola Veruda
Giovanin Bloch Giovannis Loch  place near Grimalda hill
Kaiserwal Kaiserwald near Pola (bosco del imperatore)
Krajzar breg Kreutzerberg near Zminj - Gimino
Paz Pass near Pazin - Pisino - Mitterburg
Plaz Platz principle place in Grimalda village
Scisplaz Schießplatz between Pola Saccorgiana and Stoia
Sumberg Schömberg Sumber village near Pisino
Vicumberg Fünfenberg near Bagnoli della Rosandra (I)

German - Austrian Surnames

Istrian Name Original German or Austrian Name Known Places
Aikler Eichler Novo Vas (Noselo)
Bolterstein (?) Bolterstein Pazin (Pisino)
Cramerstetter / Kramersteter Kramerstetter Buje - Buie
Grubešic Gruber Loborika - Laverigo
Junk Junck, Jung Labin - Albona
Krajcar Kreutzer Zminj - Gimino
Kramar Kramer Karojba - Caroiba
Krizman Krismann Boljun - Bogliun
Lutenbergar Luttenberger Opatja - Abbazia
Mattias, Matjas Matthias Pula - Pola
Obrekar Oberecker, Oberegger Pula - Pola
Paic Peitsch Pula - Pola
Paus Paus Orihi - Orichi
Rihter Richter Pula - Pola
Sciulci Schulz Paladini - Paladini
Šikman Schickmann Vizinada - Visinada
Stemberga Stemberger Labin - Albona
Stiglic Stiglitz Pula - Pola
Šumberac Schömberger Šumber - Sumberg

Main Menu


This page compliments of Vladimiro Gagliardi, Guido Villa and Michael Plass

Created: Saturday, July 15, 2001. Last Updated: Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Copyright © 1998 IstriaNet.org, USA