Do Austrians speak German differently than Germans?
There are existing threads: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/14085983/Austrian-German
There's also a very nice thread about the specific vocabulary, but unfortunately, I can't find it right now. In short: Yes, Austrian German is a little different from the Standard German we learn here (in the northern part of Germany). But there are several dialects and dialectal influences in the various regions of the German-speaking countries. So wherever you'd go, you would always encounter deviations from the Standard German as taught in textbooks. But Standard German will be understood everywhere.
Edit: I just realize that you posted this in the "Duolingo" forum. Could you please move the thread to the German forum by clicking on "Edit" and then selecting the correct forum from the drop-down box? Thanks!
Every region has some level of local flavour. Some Germans have a strong accent for me. ;-) I am not sure about this anymore; but i think a certain region in Germany is considered to speak by default the "best" German. In a way all others are bilingual.
Wienerisch ist anders wie Steirisch ist anders wie Kärtnerisch ist anders wie Tirolerisch ist anders wie Bayrisch, Hessisch, Berlinerisch, Sächsisch... and some few words are limited to a very tiny region.
Some differences are minor. And especially if we want to understand each other, we all have a certain capability to speak proper German (which will be different already in nuances, words and even grammar; different prepositions come to my mind) but if someone speaks with his full local specialities, some different words, very different intonation, it can really be not at all understandable. Or at least it takes a little bit to get used to it.
The difference is like Scottish Accent, Australian, British English and American English. Boston accent, New Jersey Accent, Texas...
German, and i think most Languages, was not at all a unified language up until 1770 (around that) i think. Also different neighboring countries always influence the language or rather people nearby. So i guess Austria has some words from Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Italy. While Swiss might use a lot more French words and Germany uses probably more words that came from Poland, Scandinavia and Netherlands.
Only after 17whatever all countries started to create more or less one German language. Kids had to go to school the first time and this language standardization was started the same time and there then one language was thaught. This process is still not complete and possibly never will be. Because people want their own identity, want to be different to a certain degree.
The mentality is also quite different. Excluding Bavarians Germans are in average just different in their attitude when compared to the average Austrian. And the Swiss are too. But so are Australians, Irish and Texans...
Arnie, as we call him, speaks like nobody else. No matter if it's English or German.
Waltz is Austrian, sort of, born and grew up in Vienna.
Falco (singer, Amadeus) spoke also in a unique style.
And so does Nikolaus Lauda (Formula 1 champion)
And also Hermann Maier (internationally known for his legendary stunt at Winter Olympics in Nagano)
But you are right that Austrians speaking English should sound distinct when in speaking German we already sound different to Germans and Swiss.