If you’re planning to visit Europe, you’ll almost certainly run into some German-speaking people during your travels. Knowing a few fundamental German words and phrases is the difference between looking like a gewinner (winner) or a verlierer (loser). Do you know your basic German language?
We’ll review some of the words that make up the foundation of German. “Danke” and “Deutsche” are rather important. You’ll also want to know those phrases that express gratitude and thanks, as they’ll make you seem less like an overbearing American and more like a gracious visitor. And if all of your language practice seems futile, just remember this one: “Ich spreche nicht gut Deutsch.”
Can you count in German? “Null” is, of course, zero. “Eins” is one, and “zwei” is two. Can you finish counting to 10 in this common language? Or will you be stuck with the “zwei” “nummers” we just gave to you?
Individual words are great, but they’re often useless unless you put them together in phrases. We’ll review phrases like “Es tut mir leid” (I’m sorry), too. Take our basic German quiz now! Soon, you’ll be cruising down the autobahn without “eine Sorge in der Welt” (a care in the world).
It’s one of the easiest German words to remember, particularly if your native language is English. Just say, "hallo."
Be considerate of others while you’re in Germany. "Vee gits" means "how are you?"
“Guten tag" means "good morning," and if you’re driving a Beemer down the autobahn, it’s a good morning indeed.
Woher kommen Sie? It means, "Where are you from?" Just say "America" and everyone loves you no matter where you go. Really.
This is one of the easiest and most important German phrases. It simply means, "thank you."
You’re going to say this a lot if you’re new to Germany. "Was bedeutet das" means, "What does that mean?"
Mein Name ist _____, means, "My name is." Bonus points if you follow that by saying, "Slim Shady."
No, this isn’t a reference to characters from "The Lord of the Rings." "Elf" means "eleven."
You’re going to have a hard time eating that blood sausage without a "gabel," or fork.
After you’ve had too much to drink at Oktoberfest, it’s time to say good night, or "gute nacht."
Shopping in downtown Berlin? "Was kostet das" means, "How much is it?"
As you travel through Germany, you’ll meet a lot of nice people. "Freut mich" means, "Nice to meet you!"
You’ll see your new German comrades at the huge rave in Berlin. "Bis später!" means, "See you later!"
Too much blood sausage? "Es geht mir nicht gut" means, "I don’t feel well."
If you’re a German newbie, you’ll need to say "I’m sorry, but I don’t understand," a lot. Say, "I’m sorry, but I don’t understand."
If you have no cash, ask "Darf ich mit Kreditkarte bezahlen?" It means, "May I pay with credit card?"
Once you get past seventeen, you’ll hit "actzehn," or eighteen.
Want to expedite your conversations? Just say "hallo," followed by "Ich spreche nicht gut Deutsch," which means, "I don’t speak German very well."
Thirsty? "Ein Glas Wasser, bitte." It means you’re asking for a glass of water.
If you’re still thirsty, but just a little, say, "Ein kleines Bier bitte." That means, "A small beer, please."
If you’re not feeling well at the Berlin airport, maybe you "need some medicine." Say "Ich brauche Medizin."
She’s a solid German "frauen," a woman who will show you the value of hard work and engineering precision.
If you need a second, say, "moment, bitte." It means "just a moment."
Lost? Confused? "Wo?" means "where?"
Your new apartment is a bit out of the way — it’s oben, or "upstairs."
If you’re shopping it can’t hurt to say, "Geben Sie mir einen Rabatt?" It means, "Can you give me a discount," and if you say this in fancy Berlin jewelry stores, you’ll undoubtedly be shown the door.
If someone can’t help you, say, "Trotzdem danke." It means, "Thank you, anyway."
The west is the best! West is "west" in both German and English.
If you’re in dire need of medical care ask, "Gibt es ein Krankenhaus in der Nähe?" It means, "Is there a hospital near here?"
All done with your travels in Germany? Time to pick a new country. "Wohin muss ich jetzt gehen?" means, "Where should I go now?"