Austrian German in the EU/Österreichisches Deutsch in der EU

Hier geht es um den “Marmeladenkrieg” (Marmelade oder Konfitüre) und um einen Artikel (deutsch) von Heidemarie Markhardt in Lebenden Sprachen 1/2004.

Apparently the Austrians may call Konfitüre (jam) Marmelade again, despite the fact that when Austria joined the EU, that word was not in the list of Austriacisms they were to keep. The British wanted the term marmalade reserved for orange and lemon marmalade and some such.
Thus dpa reports. Elsewhere it appears that the Council must yet ratify this decision.

I find this odd. In BE, marmalade means the citrus stuff, jam the strawberry stuff, and jelly the strained clear stuff like bramble jelly. In the USA, I believe jelly is the general term for jam, so you get things like Jelly Roll Morton and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. But how can the British want to control German? And has the German word Marmelade (meaning jam or marmalade) stopped being used on jars and been replaced by Konfitüre? Probably it has. Anyway, serve the Germans right if they claim they can produce Parmesan, but then it’s not the Germans here, it’s the Austrians.

See Wikipedia on Konfitüre.

Google reveals an article in taz in January:

bq. Ein “Marmelade-Diktat” aus Brüssel erregt Österreich
Die Kronen Zeitung, Österreichs größtes Kleinformat, sorgte sich wieder einmal um die drohende Überfremdung. Diesmal ging es nicht um Horden aus dem Osten, sondern um der Österreicher liebsten Frühstückaufstrich: die Marmelade. Schuld war natürlich die EU, die mit einem “Marmelade-Diktat” über die Spracheigenheiten des Alpenvolkes drüberfahre. Entrüstet berichtete das Blatt im Oktober, dass einem Wachauer Gastronomen ein Strafverfahren drohe, weil er selbst gemachte Marillenmarmelade nicht – wie vorgeschrieben – als Konfitüre verkauft hatte. Anders als die Marille (Aprikose) steht nämlich die Marmelade nicht auf der Liste der 23 typisch österreichischen Ausdrücke, die von Brüssel anerkannt werden.

(According to an Austrian newspaper, in October 2003, a restaurateur in the Wachau region was threatened with criminal proceedings because he sold apricot jam under the wrong name. Apricot jam is Aprikosenkonfitüre/-marmelade in Germany and Marillenmarmelade in Austria. Brussels recognized 23 typically Austrian terms, Marille being one of them but Marmelade not. Apparently Austria could have done something about this when the Marmalade Directive was implemented, which should have been by 12 July 2003, but it didn’t, so the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ definition prevailed.)

A comment points out that this is purely an internal Austrian problem. Possibly the newspaper report linked to ‘Elsewhere’ above gives the impression the EU was at fault. See this:

bq. Both Denmark and Greece have arrangements to deal with the fact that, in their languages, the distinction does not exist between marmalade and jam. It seems that in this case over-zealous Austrian officials have fined a businessman for using an incorrect term.RICHTLINIE 2001/113/EG DES RATES vom 20. Dezember 2001 über Konfitüren, Gelees, Marmeladen und Maronenkrem für die menschliche Ernährung

COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2001/113/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption

Here are the 23 Austrian terms with their German equivalents:

|Beiried |Roastbeef |
|Eierschwammerl |Pfifferlinge |
|Erdäpfel |Kartoffeln |
|Faschiertes |Hackfleisch |
|Fisolen |Grüne Bohnen |
|Grammeln |Grieben |
|Hüferl |Hüfte |
|Karfiol |Blumenkohl |
|Kohlsprossen |Rosenkohl |
|Kren |Meerrettich |
|Lungenbraten |Filet |
|Marillen |Aprikosen |
|Melanzani |Aubergine |
|Nuß |Kugel |
|Obers |Sahne |
|Paradeiser |Tomaten |
|Powidl Pflaumenmus
|Ribisel |Johannisbeeren |
|Rostbraten |Hochrippe |
|Schlögel |Keule |
|Topfen |Quark |
|Vogerlsalat |Feldsalat |
|Weichseln |Sauerkirschen|

There’s an article in the latest Lebende Sprachen (print, German) by Heidemarie Markhardt (a long and interesting article). It’s a summary of her doctorate. Originally in Wiener Linguistische Gazette 70-71/2002.

She sees German as a pluricentric language, whereas the EU assumes there is a ‘standard’ German, presumably that of Germany, the largest nation, with the addition of EU terms and the 23 Austriacisms.

She points out that the choice of the 23 words was based on no linguistic criteria. The terms are used in EU law with a slash, e.g. ‘Meerrettich/Kren’. Possibly the offering of 23 terms was intended to give the Austrians the feeling that their national identity was not being overlooked. But the language differences do not consist merely in terminology.

The thesis was based on a large number of interviews and questionnaires, with those responsible for the Protocol, translators and interpreters in EU institutions and others. The remarks of the translators and interpreters comparing German and Austrian Germany are interesting.

6 thoughts on “Austrian German in the EU/Österreichisches Deutsch in der EU

  1. You’re right, of course – it’s a contradiction in terms. Central Europe is the home of bureaucracy and the larger the EU becomes, the better we can preserve it!

  2. But what on earth was the Telegraph thinking of? Apricot marmalade! Another contradiction in terms.

    ‘An Austrian farmer who has sold jars of apricot marmalade made with his grandmother’s recipe has been threatened with jail because, under EU regulations, marmalade may only contain citrus fruits.
    (Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2003)’

    And of course the line that marmalade may contain only citrus fruits creates the impression that if you made a mixed jam you would be breaking the law.

  3. No, you didn’t give that impression at all. I thought the link was interesting anyway, not just for the Austrian marmalade story but also for the other anti-EU propaganda it exposes. And I had to laugh at this notion of a “diktat” from Brussels. There wouldn’t be much work there for us interpreters if the EU could simply issue diktats rather than needing all these working groups and committees to negotiate a compromise or consensus on every issue.

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