german phrases you'll want to know when visiting

Heidelberg, October 2018

Heidelberg, October 2018

For anyone who doesn’t speak German, heck, even for native speakers, German is a difficult language to learn. Thankfully, most Germans know this already, and are super understanding that (as a visitor) you may not be able to speak much of it. In my experience, most people really appreciate it when you at least try to speak German with them. They may end up switching to English for you, but no one if offended when you try to speak German.

(Unless you’re the lady selling wiener in the marketplace in my town, but that’s a story for another day)

So, if you have decided that Germany is going to be on your itinerary, you may want to memorize a few phrases that will help you out if you need it!

Guten Morgen/Guten Tag/Guten Abend - Good morning, Good afternoon, Good evening. (Guten = Gooten, Tag = Tog)

To Germans, this greeting is extremely important. Upon first encountering someone, you will be seen as very rude if you do not first address them with one of these greetings! Think - “Am I going to be asking them for something?” if yes, then be sure to greet them first!!

Ja, bitte/Nein, danke. (Ya, bitta/Nine, dankuh) Yes, please. No, thank you.

It is also important to always remember “Bitte” (please) and “Danke” (thank you)!

Ich nehme bitte das ______. (ish neigh-may bitta das __) “I will have the ____ please”.

There are many different ways you can order food or drinks in German, but I find this approach to be the easiest for native English speakers! (Such as… myself.)

Können wir bezahlen? (Koonen veer bate-zahlen) Can we pay (the bill)?

It is not a custom to bring customers in a restaurant their bill before they ask for it. You will always need to ask your server for the bill when you would like to pay! In America this is considered rude, but in Germany it is completely normal behavior!

Wo ist ___? (Vo ist ___) Where is ____?

Wo sind die Toiletten? Where are the bathrooms?

Können Sie mir helfen? (Koonen Zie meer hell-fen) Could you help me?

Sprechen Sie Englisch? (Sprecken Zie English?) Do you speak English?

Here are a list of words that will also be good to know!

Flughafen - Airport

Bahnhof - Train Station

Haltestelle - (Bus) stop

Ausfahrt - Exit

Geschlossen - Closed

Geöffnet - Open

Öffnungszeit - Opening times

Kostenlos - Free

Ja/Nein - Yes/No

Kein/Keine - No or None

Bier/Wein - Beer/Wine

Stilles Wasser - Still water