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Saying Sorry in German: How You Can Make Everything Right

Did you do it? Well, you’d better fess up.

Or make amends, apologize, beg forgiveness, admit guilt, cop a plea…say sorry.

We’ve got a lot of ways to talk about doing this in English, just like we do for lots of everyday concepts. And yes, apologizing is an everyday concept, even if you’re a good person.

For that reason, it’s important that you learn how to say “sorry” in German. Imagine yourself making several different mistakes, then consult this guide to see exactly how you should atone for each one.

We’ll also break down the language for you so you can understand what you’re saying. All the better for a sincere apology.

Now, the big question:

What have you done?
Was hast du gemacht?

  1. Level 1: You Made a Careless Mistake but it was Okay
  2. Level 2: You Made a Careless Mistake and it was Really Bad
  3. Level 3: You Hurt Someone but They’ll Get Over It
  4. Level 4: You Knowingly Hurt Someone and it was Really Bad
  5. Bonus: Sorry When You Don’t Mean Sorry
  6. Conclusion

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1. Level 1: You Made a Careless Mistake but it was Okay

Spilled Ice Cream

1- You’re Sitting in Someone’s Seat (Du sitzt in dem Platz von jemandem anderen)

Germany is famous for its public transportation and the quality of its trains.

Even in such a well-run system, it’s still possible for mistakes to be made about tickets.

Somebody may approach you and say:

- Entschuldigung, aber das ist mein Platz.
- Sorry, but that’s my seat.

To which you can simply reply:

- Entschuldigung!
- Excuse me!

This first word is interesting. Let’s look at it, because you’ll hear and use it a lot.

It translates pretty well to “excuse me” in English, but why is it so long? We can break it up into ent-schuld-ig-ung with the root, schuld, meaning “guilt” or “fault.” Each of the other parts changes the meaning slightly.

The ent- prefix adds the sense of “removal” to whatever comes after. -ig turns a noun into an adjective, so schuldig means guilty or at fault. And -ung turns it into a noun—think “guilt.”

Therefore, if we really dissect it, the word for “excuse me” in German is kind of like saying “removal of guilt.” Pretty neat! The more German you learn, the more you’ll be able to easily parse long words like this.

So if you’re wondering how to say “sorry to bother you” in German or want to know German for “sorry for the inconvenience,” this is a good option.

And yes, you can use Entschuldigung both to get someone’s attention and to offer an apology. I suppose London isn’t that far from Germany after all. Let’s move on.

2- You Stepped on Someone’s Foot (Du bist jemandem auf den Fuss getreten)

We’ve all done it. Whether at a crowded bar or in a crowded train, accidents like this happen.

This is another great place to bust out the Entschuldigung. Plenty of English speakers would do the same thing—“Oh, excuse me!”

Lots of people also say “oops” for the same situation. In Germany, they make the same sound, but it’s spelled Ups!

- Ups! Entschuldigung!
- Oops! Sorry!

You don’t need to make a big deal out of little mishaps like that.

You’ll probably hear a quick and friendly Kein Ding, meaning “it’s nothing” or “no problem.”

But what if the mishap was slightly larger?


2. Level 2: You Made a Careless Mistake and it was Really Bad

Woman Facepalming

1- You Knocked a Hot Drink All Over Somebody (Du hast ein heisses Getränk auf jemanden geschüttet)

Autsch! Well, you didn’t mean it. And they probably needed to wash that shirt anyway. Still, you can’t brush something like that off with an Entschuldigung alone. Instead:

- Ach nein! Entschuldigung! Tut mir Leid!
- Oh no! Sorry! So sorry!

Tut mir Leid is another extremely common phrase that you’ll see a few times in this article. It’s a shortened form of es tut mir Leid, which literally means “it does me sorrow.” That sounds pretty hefty in translation, but of course it doesn’t carry that strong of a connotation in German.

You’ll probably want to do something to help rectify the situation, like saying:

- Ich hole Ihnen eine Serviette.
- “I’ll get you (some) napkins.”

Or better, if you’re able to:

- Ich kaufe Ihnen … [einen neuen Kaffee, ein neues Bier].
- I’ll buy you [a new coffee, a new beer].

Here we’re using the formal Sie (seen here in its grammatical form Ihnen) because this situation is much more likely to happen to people that you don’t know. And when you’ve just ruined someone’s morning, you’ll want to be as polite as possible.

If you’re not in range of a coffee shop/biergarten, this step isn’t necessary. Something that you might need to replace, though, is…

2- You Dropped Someone’s Phone and the Screen Cracked (Du hast das Handy von jemandem fallen lassen und der Bildschirm ist zerbrochen)

3 Ways to Say Sorry

Yeah, you’re gonna need to offer some assistance here. First, start off with:

- Es tut mir wirklich Leid!
- I’m really so sorry!

Then try to do what you can to fix the situation.

- Ich kenne jemanden, der das in Ordnung bringen kann.
- “I know someone who can fix it.”

If you’re borrowing someone’s phone it’s probably a friend’s, so you can suggest:

- Es war meine Schuld. Ich werde es zur Reperatur bringen.
- It was my fault. I’ll get it repaired.

There’s that word Schuld again from Entschuldigung. While Entschuldigung (despite its length) is a light and common word, to use the root Schuld is more serious and comes out when there’s someone to blame for something.

3- You Made a Business Mistake and Cost Your Company Clients (Du hast einen Fehler bei der Arbeit gemacht und deine Firma um Kunden gebracht)

Say Sorry

Here’s a chance to make amends using much more formal language than in the other examples. Depending on your business, this might be something that can be easily forgiven or it might merit some kind of punishment.

Better to err on the safe side when you fess up.

- Ich hoffe, dass Sie meine aufrichtige Entschuldigung akzeptieren.
- I hope you accept my sincere apologies.

Here we’ve again used the formal Sie and used a great set phrase, aufrichtige Entschuldigung. Now to convince your boss not to give you the boot immediately:

- Ich verspreche, dass ich in Zukunft vorsichtiger sein werde.
- I promise to be more careful in the future.

Vorsicht is another word we can take apart quite cleanly. Sicht means “sight,” and vor is a preposition meaning “before.” So before-sight literally means “caution” or “attention,” and sure enough the word Vorsicht! is often printed in big letters on danger signs all over Europe.


3. Level 3: You Hurt Someone but They’ll Get Over It

Man Asking Woman for Forgiveness

1- You Ate the Last of Your Roommate’s Food (Du hast das letzte Essen deines Mitbewohners gegessen)

Oh gosh. That can actually be pretty rude in Germany, where people are more used to their privacy and personal space.

The best thing to do is to apologize sincerely.

- Es tut mir Leid. Ich hätte das nicht tun sollen.
- I’m very sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.

This is a great example of how the German language can stack up verbs at the end of the sentence. This article isn’t going to go into depth about German verbs and how they work, but I’ll tell you that this is the memory anchor I use to talk about this tense.

Anytime I want to express “shouldn’t have […],” I think about the phrase “I shouldn’t have done it,” and remember how the verbs are ordered. This is faster than applying a list of rules!

In any case, your roommate has probably lost some trust in you. That’s only natural—those cookies were homemade! So you should try to convince them that you’ll change. Here are two great sentences for that:

- Ich werde das nie wieder tun.
- I’ll never do it again.

- Wie wäre es, wenn ich dir ein Abendessen koche?
- How about I cook you dinner?

This is another perfect phrase you can fit into a lot of situations. “How about if…” / wie wäre es, wenn

How about if you were on the other side of that situation—and you overreacted?

2- You Got Angry and Shouted at a Friend (Du bist wütend auf einen Freund geworden und hast ihn/sie angeschriehen)

This is a perfect situation to use that “I shouldn’t have done it” phrase. In addition, you might also try explaining why you were so hurt.

- Ich war schlecht gelaunt, also…
- I was in a bad mood, so…

- Ich war wütend auf dich, weil…
- I was angry at you because…

But just explaining why you lost your temper doesn’t always go far enough. You’ll also have to apologize sincerely (try once more with es tut mir Leid).

Depending on the relationship you have with your friend, it may be appropriate to promise that you won’t do it again. Displays of anger really don’t tend to fit in with German culture, and they may have a bigger effect on your friends than you realize.


4. Level 4: You Knowingly Hurt Someone and it was Really Bad

Woman Sitting Alone

Oh, dear reader, why do you do these things?

1- Somebody Lost their Job Because of You (Wegen dir hat jemand seinen Job verloren)

This would probably be a situation where a lengthy letter of apology is more appropriate than a couple of phrases. And you might want to wait a little bit to give them time to cool off.

Keeping in mind that what you say is going to hinge on your individual circumstances, here are some good things you can try to work into your apology.

- Ich habe einen schrecklichen Fehler (bei der Beurteilung) begangen.
- I made a terrible mistake (in judgment).

- Bitte nehmen Sie meine Entschuldigung an.
- Please accept my apology.

Once more, because this is a work environment, you’ll want to use Sie. Even if you previously used du with that person, if your mistake has really caused a rift between you, it may seem rude to address them with du.

2- You Stole Something from a Friend or Family Member (Du hast irgendetwas von einem Freund oder einem Familienmitglied gestohlen)

Remember that handy phrase from earlier, “I shouldn’t have done it”? Your mistakes here have now provided you with the opportunity to get more German practice in by explaining exactly what it was that you shouldn’t have done.

- Ich hätte es nicht nehmen sollen, ohne zu fragen.
- I shouldn’t have taken it without asking.

Not only that, though, you did something pretty bad. That means that you’ve got to acknowledge that fact in clear and direct language. It’s no good to beat around the bush here—in Germany, blunt honesty about your own faults is the best policy.

- Es war falsch von mir.
- I was very wrong to do it.

Last, let’s add a bit about how much your evil deeds have hurt you too.

- Ich habe dich verletzt, und das tut mir furchtbar Leid.
- I hurt you and I feel awful about it.

Words, of course, are only words. Time will tell if you’ve really changed, and that’s what makes the biggest difference when you apologize.


5. Bonus: Sorry When You Don’t Mean Sorry

Man Shrugging

No, I’m not talking about being unrepentant!

There’s one other time when English-speakers commonly say “Sorry,” and that’s when they don’t hear something clearly.

In German, as in many other European languages, this is expressed with the word for “how,” not the word for “what” as in English.

- Wie bitte?
- Sorry? / What did you say?

If you didn’t quite hear something clearly (or you’ve slacked off on your vocab study) then saying wie bitte will let people know they need to speak up a bit.

The nuances of bitte deserve their own post. Suffice it to say that it often means “please” or just adds a flair of politeness to everyday interactions, such as:

- Bitte schön!
- Here you go!

You’ll hear this all the time in cafes or grocery stores in Germany. Any time you’re handing something over to somebody else, use this phrase and you can’t go wrong.


Conclusion

Apologies are complex things that rarely conform to a guide.

It’s easy enough to say “oops, excuse me” for little things, but larger mistakes take skill in interpersonal communication more than anything else.

A really great way to pick up on these social cues (which may be quite different in Germany than what you’re used to) is to watch plenty of TV in German. Somebody’s always apologizing for something in a soap opera!

One thing’s for sure: If you ever find yourself in that situation, the more prepared you are, the better. If all goes well, your honest feelings and heartfelt words will save the day.

If you’d like to learn more about German culture, as well as additional vocabulary, be sure to visit us at GermanPod101.com! Also check out our online community forums to discuss lessons with fellow German-learners, and download our MyTeacher app for a one-on-one learning experience.

We here at GermanPod101.com hope that this article gave you the tools you need to apologize in German. Remember, practice makes perfect. So go step on someone’s foot and tell them sorry in German. (No, please don’t!)

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

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Celebrating the German Unification: German Unity Day

At one point, Germany was divided into two sections, separated by the Berlin Wall. This division had many negative effects on Germans of both sides, including the inability to visit friends or family living on the opposite side. In 1990, the Berlin Wall fell at last, reuniting the two sides of Germany, and thus making the country what it is today.

In this article, we’ll be going over some more-detailed history leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and German Unity Day 1990, as well as current celebrations of this day. You’ll also learn additional facts about German Unity Day, such as why the holiday’s date was chosen.

Knowing this facet of German’s history will give you much insight into the Germany of today, and make your German learning that much more meaningful.

At GermanPod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. German Unity Day History: What is Unity Day?

Germany was divided into two states before the fall of the Berlin wall—the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Since reunification in 1990, the East German states have again been a part of the Federal Republic.

The East German government erected the Berlin Wall on the night of August 12 and 13, 1961, because they wanted to prevent the escape of people to the Western part. The wall tore families who lived in East and West Berlin apart and made it impossible to visit friends and relatives. While the East German population could not legally travel to the West, even the West German population had the option of traveling to East Berlin through certain transit routes only.

In the GDR, frequent protests were held in 1989. Many citizens called for “freedom to travel instead of mass exodus” and declared their displeasure in prayers for peace, among others, at the Nikolai Church in Leipzig. The motto of the Monday demonstrations was “We are the people!” The peaceful revolution developed into a mass movement across the GDR and thus increased the pressure on the government of the GDR to remove the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

2. When is Unity Day of Germany?

Unity Day Is October 3

Each year, Germans celebrate the German Unity Day on October 3.

3. German Unity Celebrations

People Waving German Flag

A street festival is held every year in different state capitals of Germany, which is also called the Ländermeile (State Mile), and where everyone celebrates the reunification of Germany. For a few years, people also visit Berlin Concerts at the Brandenburg Gate and Straße des 17. Juni.

The term Ostalgie, which is a portmanteau of “east” and “nostalgia,” describes the currently existing curiosity about the East German way of life and the interest in former East German products such as the Trabant or Ampelmännchen (the walking figure seen in pedestrian traffic lights).

4. Why October 3?

Why was October 3 chosen as the German Unity Day holiday?

With the signing of the contract agreement, the reunification of Germany took place on October 3, 1990. November 9 has some negative connotations because of other historical events, so October 3 was chosen as the Day of German Unity.

5. Essential Vocabulary for German Unity Day

People Coming to Agreement

Here’s a glimpse of the vocabulary you need to know for Unity Day in Germany!

  • Berlin — Berlin
  • Thüringen — Thuringia
  • Sachsen-Anhalt — Saxony-Anhalt
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern — Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
  • 3. Oktober — October 3
  • Einigungsvertrag — German reunification treaty
  • Nationalfeiertag — National holiday
  • Deutsche Wiedervereinigung — German reunification
  • Brandenburg — Brandenburg
  • Sachsen-Anhalt — Sachsen-Anhalt
  • Neue Länder — New states of Germany
  • Bundesrepublik Deutschland — Federal Republic of Germany
  • Zwei-plus-Vier-VertragTwo plus Four Treaty

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced and accompanied by a relevant image, check out our German Unity Day vocabulary list!

How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn About German Culture

What are your thoughts on this German holiday, and the history of division behind it? What’s the most important holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments; we look forward to hearing from you!

To continue learning about German culture and the language, explore GermanPod101.com. We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

  • Insightful blog posts on a variety of cultural and language-related topics
  • Free vocabulary lists covering a range of topics and themes
  • Podcasts and videos to improve your listening and pronunciation skills
  • Mobile apps to learn German anywhere, on your own time
  • Much, much more!

If you’re interested in a more one-on-one learning approach, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own German teacher who will help you develop a personalized learning plan tailored to your needs and goals. Yes, really!

It takes a huge amount of dedication to set out learning a language, and even more to master that language. At GermanPod101, we know it’s not always an easy road. Know that you have our constant support, and that with enough hard work and perseverance, you’ll be speaking, writing, and reading German like a native before you know it!

Happy German Unity Day!

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Celebrating Oktoberfest: Germany’s Most Popular Tradition

We’re sure that the name Oktoberfest rings a bell (or several).

During Oktoberfest, Germany enjoys a long celebration focused on great food, fun music, and of course, lots of beer! But did you know that for Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany even has events for the kids?

In this article, you’ll learn about the traditions of Oktoberfest Munich observes each year. As one of Germany’s most well-known and beloved holidays, knowing the celebrations behind it are essential in understanding German culture. This, in turn, will help you get a better grasp of the language.

At GermanPod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative. So drink up, and let’s get started…

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1. What is Oktoberfest?

Introduced in 1810 by Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, the Oktoberfest, or Wiesn, attracted around seven-million people from all over the world in 2011. This all-day event is held annually in September and October at Theresienwiese in Munich, and lasts between sixteen and eighteen days.

2. When is Oktoberfest in Germany?

Man Going to Oktoberfest

The date of Oktoberfest varies slightly from year to year, but always begins in September and ends the first Sunday in October. For your convenience, here’s a list of Oktoberfest’s start and end dates for the next ten years.

  • 2019: September 21 to October 6
  • 2020: September 19 to October 4
  • 2021: September 18 to October 3
  • 2022: September 17 to October 3
  • 2023: September 16 to October 3
  • 2024: September 21 to October 6
  • 2025: September 20 to October 5
  • 2026: September 19 to October 4
  • 2027: September 18 to October 3
  • 2028: September 16 to October 3

3. Traditions & Celebrations for Oktoberfest

At the festival-opening Wiesn-Einzug parade, which runs through the center of Munich, the festival innkeepers participate with their decorated carriages, musical bands, and showmen. The official opening of the festival is followed not only by the home crowd, but also by viewers from around the world on TV or online. With the slogan O’zapft is and the tapping of the first keg by the mayor of Munich, the festival begins.

Traditional Oktoberfest costumes include the dirndl dress for women and leather trousers for men. People usually visit the Oktoberfest with their friends, work colleagues, or partners. People eat and drink in the tents, and sway and dance while pop music and traditional Bavarian brass music play in the background. The larger of the fourteen tents, such as the Hofbräu festival tent, can accommodate up to 12,000 people.

Many families visit the Oktoberfest in the afternoon with their children. A carousel, Ferris wheel, and other rides are there for their enjoyment. Bavarian specialties such as chicken, pretzels, Bavarian cheese, and pork and veal sausages are very popular. The popularity of the festival is also evident from the fact that some of the cities, like Mainz and Konstanz, organize their own Oktoberfests.

Munich breweries brew a special beer for Oktoberfest that contains more of the original wort and higher alcohol content of around six or seven percent, which is known as Märzen.

4. How Much Beer?

Couple at Oktoberfest

On average, how many liters of beer do Germans consume per capita annually?

Each year, Germans consume an average of 125 liters of beer per capita in Germany. Cheers!

5. Essential Oktoberfest Vocabulary

Woman Drinking Beer

Here’s some vocabulary you need to know for Oktoberfest in Germany!

  • Oktoberfest — Oktoberfest
  • Dirndl — Dirndl
  • Oans, zwoa, gsuffa! — One, Two, Drink up!
  • Obatzda — Obatzda
  • Hendl — Hendl
  • Zur Wiesn gehen — Go to the Oktoberfest
  • Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit! — Cheers, here’s to “cosiness!”
  • Eine Maß Bier — One liter of beer
  • Lederhosen — Lederhosen
  • Volksfest — Folk festival
  • Blaskapelle — Brass band

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Oktoberfest vocabulary list!

How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master German!

We hope you enjoyed learning about Oktoberfest with us, and that you learned some new facts. But most importantly, we hope you’re ready to partake in celebrations. ;)

Have you ever experienced an Oktoberfest celebration in Germany, or do you plan to? Does your country have similar celebrations? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about German culture and the language, explore GermanPod101.com. We offer an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

If you’re interested in a one-on-one and personalized learning approach, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own German teacher who will help you develop a learning plan tailored to your needs and goals. Yes, really!

Learning German isn’t an easy feat, but know that your hard work and perseverance will pay off! And GermanPod101 will be here with you each step of the way to German mastery, with effective tools and constant support.

Until next time, we wish you a Happy Oktoberfest! :)

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German Eye Contact, Facial Expressions, and Hand Gestures

Thumbnail

Have you ever heard about the Italian people using their hands, feet, and all the other parts of their body while they’re talking? Your answer is: Yes?

No worries if you haven’t heard this about German people. The only reason for this is that we’re not that expressive with our body gestures and body language like other nations are. But have you heard about German eye contact? They like to keep eye contact at all times.

Here’s a little side story to help you visualize nonverbal communication in German:

My grandparents travelled in Africa for three months in 2012. Does that sound odd? It gets better! My grandparents don’t speak any French or English at all. All they know is German.

After they came back home, I was impressed and asked them how they expressed themselves to the locals. The dry answer my grandmother gave was: ‘Boy, with our hands and feet.’ This is a common German idiom.

All I want to show you is that body language is such a significant part of our daily life. When you master the common expressions in German, your interaction with locals will improve immediately.

Body language isn’t often covered by German language teachers. Learning some basic principles and gestures will help you right from the start. Maybe some of these postures are already familiar with you if you’re coming from a neighboring country.

I hope I made my point clear and that now you know why body gestures in learning German
are important for your progress. Here we prepared for you some of the most common German gestures in as simple a way as possible.

However, if you’re interested in improving your speaking skills, here’s a helpful vocabulary list.

In the meantime, let’s get on to learning common body language and gestures in Germany!

Table of Contents

  1. Zählen
  2. Greetings
  3. Positive Gestures
  4. Negative Gestures
  5. Other Gestures
  6. Why are Germans Heartless and Why is Eye Contact Important?
  7. How GermanPod101.com can Help You Learn Faster

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1. Zählen

Meaning: Counting (One, two, three, four, five)
How: Thumb is one, thumb and index finger is two, thumb and index finger and middle finger is three, and so on.
When: Basically, we use this the same way as people in other nations do, but just in a different way. A good example would be when ordering a drink in a bar where the music is loud, and you want to signal how many drinks you would like to have. Be careful here. When raising just your index finger, the barkeeper might give you two, because he misinterpreted your gesture.

There are different ways of doing this. This is just the way we in Germany do it, and it’s one of the most common hand signs in German.

Here’s a helpful lesson for counting in German.

A Girl Counting With Her Fingers


2. Greetings

When learning body language in Germany, it’s vital that you know about greetings. These German body gestures will help you say “hello” like a native, without even saying a word.

1- Die Hand geben

Meaning: To shake hands
How: German handshakes are firm, with or without up and down movements, while looking the other person straight in the eyes.
When: There are some situations when you should give a handshake instead of a hug (or any other greeting):

  • When meeting someone for the first time (male or female)
  • During formal occasions
  • At work

There are some exceptions to these rules, but we won’t go much deeper into it for now.

Okay everybody, let’s get prepared for the handshake in Germany. I know people from other countries find this part about the German culture a bit boring, but it is how it is. We’re a nation of hand-shakers. This might sound a bit awkward to people from South America, France, or any other country that are used to giving hugs for greetings.

But we just don’t do it in general. Even when you’ve known a person for a long time, you’re not going to just fall into their arms as a greeting.

A Handshake Made by Two Men

2- Bussi Bussi

Meaning: A more romantic way to say hello.
How: Lean forward and slightly touch cheeks while mimicking a kiss. This isn’t like in other countries where they do two or more kisses; in Germany, one is more than enough.
When: This form of greeting is most common when you greet your female friends, your parents, or your close family members.

3- Hallo

Meaning: Hello
How: Raise your hand and swing it from side to side.
When: You can use this in almost any informal situation. This might be a bit too casual for business meetings, though! This is a great substitute if you want to greet more than one person.

If you’re ready to dive a bit deeper into how to say “hello” in German and introduce yourself, take a look at this video. Or if you’re looking for another approach to underline your gestures with words, take a look at all German words for greetings.

Greetings are not everything, though, so you may want to brush up on how to say goodbye in German as well.

A Girl with a Blue Coat Waving Her Hand


3. Positive Gestures

1- Daumen hoch

Meaning: Thumbs up / Perfect / Excellent
How: Make your hand into a fist and extend your thumb upward.
When: This isn’t only a way to show the number one in German, but also a universal hand gesture for showing that everything is okay or perfect.
Be cautious when using the thumbs up, as someone might think that you’re counting. But in general, people understand that you’re signing “perfect” or “okay” when doing this gesture.

Four Hands Showing Thumbs Up

2- Daumendrücken

Meaning: Pressing your thumbs for good luck. / Fingers crossed. / To wish someone luck.
How: Make a fist and hide your thumbs inside of your fist.
When: This is always used in this form in a sentence:

Ich drücke dir die Daumen or “My thumbs are pressed for you.”

This just means that you wish someone luck for an upcoming event. This might be an exam, a sports competition, or a date.


4. Negative Gestures

1- Jemandem den Vogel zeigen

Meaning: To show someone the bird. / To say that someone is crazy. / Tap temple to communicate that a person is crazy.
How: Tap your forehead or temple with your finger.
When: This is similar to the American crazy gesture which in Germany everybody would understand too. This isn’t a formal gesture and is offensive. Don’t do this to everybody; it might be okay with friends as a sarcastic gesture.

German Hand Gestures

2- Waving your hand in front of your face.

Meaning: When waving your hand in front of your face, you want to signalize that something is insane. (It can also mean, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”)
How: Hold your hand flat and use it to wave a couple of times from the left to the right, in front of your face.
When: You can use this in any situation where you think something isn’t appropriate. For example, you see your friend jumping from a high point into the water or someone’s telling you a story that sounds just too crazy to be true.

3- Daumen runter

Meaning: Thumbs down. / Something is bad.
How: Do the same gesture like thumbs up, just reversed so that your thumb is pointing downwards.
When: Basically, you can use this gesture any time you dislike something.

A Man in a Suit Showing Thumbs Down

4- Forearm Jerk

Meaning: Go screw yourself. / Get off.
How: You perform this gesture by making a fist with your right hand and bringing this arm up whilst slapping the upper part of your right arm with your left hand.
When: In German, this is a rude gesture, but it’s known by almost everybody. You really shouldn’t use this with anyone. When you’re faced with this gesture, it may be better to leave the situation. This really is one of the most offensive German gestures.


5. Other Gestures

1- Augenlied herunterziehen

Meaning: I mean this sarcastically.
How: You pull your lower eyelid downwards with your index finger.
When: You should do this gesture when you’re saying something sarcastically and you want to give it a small undertone.

Here is a quick example:

“My brother was not at school today due to his illness.” (Say this while pulling your eyelid down.)

2- Ach

Meaning: Doesn’t matter.
How: It’s done a bit more lightly than in our example, but it should still give you an idea of how it’s done. You just wave your hand once and combine it with the word Ach.
When: There are, in fact, a couple of different situations where you can use this word. Mostly, we use it in combination with other words; it can also be used with or without the gesture. Based on these factors, it can have different meanings:

  • Ach ja? - (no movement; surprised)
  • Ach nee! - (movement; lack of motivation to do things)
  • Ach so! - (no movement; understanding something)
  • Ach was! - (movement; you don’t believe something)

3- Tja

Meaning: Oh well. / I don’t care. / I don’t know. / I’m not sure.
How: Spread your arms open with palms up. Raise and lower your shoulders.
When: This actually refers to a wider range of emotions including thoughtfulness, concern, hesitation, embarrassment, and resignation.

Some good examples for English translations:

  • “It’s not my fault.”
  • “There’s nothing I can do.”
  • “Don’t ask me.”
  • “Well.”

Woman Shrugging


6. Why are Germans Heartless and Why is Eye Contact Important?

1- Are Germans Heartless?

Maybe they’re not. There are some stereotypes out there about Germans that are true, but we’re not heartless at all. Though we do value things like order, privacy, and punctuality which can give the impression of being “heartless.”

Since we value privacy, it might seem like we don’t love the people around us, but that’s not true. We just don’t express ourselves as other nations do and we respect the privacy of others.

Those are important facts when dealing with a German. But no worries, no person from Germany will dislike you if you give him a nice and warm hug.

2- German Eye Contact

In Germany, it’s considered polite to maintain eye contact almost all the time while talking to another person. This is especially important during business meetings. Eye contact is a sign of attentiveness, and you don’t need to be afraid of threatening someone with this. It’s better to maintain eye contact than to overdo it with too many body gestures with German locals.

Here are some hard facts when it comes to eye contact with a German:

  • It’s expected and respected.
  • It demonstrates attention and awareness.
  • It’s a part of proper etiquette.

And now a really important fact:

DO use eye contact while toasting in Germany. Or else you’ll have bad luck for the next seven years of your life.


7. How GermanPod101.com can Help You Learn Faster

When learning a language, especially when you’re at the beginning of this journey, people always say “Go to the country where they speak the language and you’ll master it.”

In my experience, this is good advice. But once you’re there and you start listening to the locals and you ask yourself if they even speak the same language that you’re trying to learn, this feels a bit tough. Here’s when body language comes into play, as it helps you understand the context and anticipate which words might have been used.

Whether you’re just up for a holiday in Germany, or are ready to dive completely into the German language and its nuances, the body gestures we showed you here are just the tip of the iceberg and there’s so much more to discover.

To get started, GermanPod101.com has a lot of free resources that you can use to practice and improve your grammar skills.

With our MyTeacher app, you can get one-on-one practice that perfectly fits your individual needs. With your private teacher, you’ll level up fast.

That said, we wish you the best of luck as you continue learning German and the many facets of its culture. We hope that you learned a lot about German body language and gestures. Be sure to keep practicing with GermanPod101.com! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your German Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Complete Guide of German Slang for Texting and Internet

German slang and German internet words can be tough to understand. But no worries, as we’ll guide you through some of the most used expressions and words, so that you can impress your German friends with some stuff that will make you sound like a native speaker. Just to show you a quick example of how hard it can be to understand German slang, take a look:

A Bunch of Leeks

Der Lauch ist heute auf keinstem am Start.

Literally, this means something like:
“This leek will not be at the start for sure.”

Let’s break this down for you. Der Lauch is used these days to describe a skinny person who doesn’t lift weights, and lifting weights is getting really popular nowadays in Germany. Auf keinstem is a short version of the expression auf keinen Fall and means “under no circumstance.” And finally, am Start just means that he won’t join the group for an event or other plans they might have.

So here you have a sentence that consists almost exclusively of German slang. And you won’t just hear this in a text message, but also in a normal conversation.

Can you imagine yourself in a situation where someone’s saying this in a group chat or amid a group of people, and you’re just staring around with question marks over your head?

As you can see, learning German slang can make you much more fluent in the language. You never know just when it’ll come in handy!

That said, you may also want to see part one of our German slang series and refresh your knowledge of German idioms. When you’re ready, we’ll go over more useful German text message slang below!

Table of Contents

  1. About German Internet Slang
  2. German Texting Shortcuts
  3. Slang Outside of Texting and Internet
  4. Youth Speech
  5. How GermanPod101.com Can Help You Learn More German Slang

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1. About German Internet Slang

Nowadays, the world wide web is becoming more important for nearly all aspects of our lives. This is also true when you’re learning a language and when it comes down to communicating with people. And the communication between people online is much different than it is in a spoken conversation.

Maybe, if you’re an intermediate or advanced speaker, you already have some friends or even colleagues from Germany, and keeping in contact with them has never been easier than today with the help of social media. However, in comments, text messages, and tags, you might find it difficult to keep up on a subject.

To keep you up-to-date, we’ll provide you with some free resources. Maybe you want to improve your speaking skills quickly, or improve your knowledge on any other subject you can imagine.

The German texting style has changed a bit over time and we’ve now arrived at a point where we’re using something that you can call Kurzdeutsch (short German). This simply shows that we’re now using shortened expressions in text messages instead of using full sentences. So we cut out verbs or pronouns which aren’t always necessary, and that can bring learners into trouble when they’ve just started out learning the language with all its specifications. But internet slang, to a native German, is simple and standard.

Here, we hope to alleviate some of your fears and frustrations regarding German internet slang phrases! So without further ado, our guide to German text message slang and how to text in German.


2. German Texting Shortcuts

1- BD (Bis dann)

First on our German internet slang list is BD. When saying goodbye with the intention of meeting again later that day, you can use Bis dann. If you’re referring to meeting again on another day, it may be better to use Bis bald.

Meaning:
See you. / See you later.
CUL8R

Example:
Wir sehen uns später, BD.
We meet each other later, CUL8R.

2- LOL (Laughing Out Loud)

Yes, like everywhere else in the world, we also use “lol” in German. I’m sure you all know what it means.

Meaning:
Laughing Out Loud.

Example:
Er ist die Treppe heruntergefallen, LOL.
He fell down the stairs, LOL.

3- ILD (Ich liebe dich)

The sound of love is beautiful in every language, and yes, even in German.

Two Hands Forming a Heart. The Hands are Painted with the South African Flag

Meaning:
I love you.

Example:
Ich wünsche dir einen schönen Tag, ILD.
I wish you a good day, love you.

4- HDL and HDGDL (Hab Dich Lieb and Hab Dich Ganz Doll Lieb)

This is still a shortcut from the old days when text messaging was born in Germany. Today it might sound a bit odd and old school, but some people still use it.

Meaning:
I like you. / I love you.
I like you a lot. / I love you a lot.

Example:
Du bist meine beste Freundin, HDGDL.
You are my best friend, I love you.

5- IDA (Ich Dich Auch)

This is used as a quick response to the shortcuts we learned in the numbers 3 and 4 above.

Meaning:
I like you, too. / I love you, too. / Me too.

Example:
Du bist auch meine beste Freundin, IDA.
You are my best friend too, love you too.

6- kA (keine Ahnung)

You know the situation when you have no idea what to answer. When this happens, you can just type kA and the other person knows that he or she might better ask someone else.

Meaning:
No idea. / I have no clue.

Example:
Ich habe kA wie das funktioniert.
I have no clue how that works.

7- SuFu (SuchFunktion)

This is commonly used in groups on Facebook or other social media. This is often used by admins who want to suggest to you that it’s better to use the search bar than to open an old subject again.

Showing a Smartphone and a Search Function Button

Meaning:
Search function.

Example:
Bitte benutzt die SuFu.
Please, use the search function.

8- WE (WochenEnde)

This is just a shortcut for “weekend.” You can also type this out, but using the abbreviation offers you a quick way of asking what a person is going to do during their free time over the weekend.

Meaning:
Weekend.

Example:
Was machst du am WE?
What are you doing on the weekend?

9- WD (Wieder da)

With this slang, you let someone know that you’re back from an activity.

Meaning:
I’m back.

Example:
Ich war kurz auf Toilette, WD.
I just went to the toilet, back again.

10- AFK and BTK (Weg von der Tastatur / Zurück an der Tastatur)

This is often used by gamers and in the computer scene. Often, gamers are in a chat with their teammates and go for a quick round to the bathroom, and let them know that they’re away from the keyboard or that they’re back to the keyboard.

Meaning:
Away from keyboard. / Back to keyboard.

Example:

  • Ich bin afk.
    I am afka (away from keyboard).
  • Ich bin btk.
    I am btk (back to keyboard).

11- XOXO (Umarmung und Küsschen)

Like LOL, all the world is using this slang already. You know what it means.

Meaning:
Hugs and kisses.

Example:
Wir sehen uns morgen XOXO.
We will see each other tomorrow, XOXO.

12- Vlt. and Vllt (Vielleicht)

The word vielleicht is used often in the German language. But to be fair, the word itself isn’t really easy to type on a keyboard and in nine out of ten cases you’re making mistakes. So instead, everybody just types “vlt.” And that’s it.

Meaning:
Maybe.

Example:
Hast du vlt. Heute Abend Zeit?
Do you might have some time tonight?

13- Y (Warum)

Meaning:
Why?

Example:
Y hat dich dein Freund verlassen?
Why did your boyfriend break up with you?

14- HDF (Halt die Fresse)

Not a really nice statement, but we wanted to mention it here, as you might come across it. Nowadays, hate speech and bad words are common on social media and the rest of the WWW, so you might stumble across a person who doesn’t agree with you.

Meaning:
Shut up. / Shut your mouth.

Example:
Du bist ein Idiot, HDF.
You are an idiot, shut your mouth.


3. Slang Outside of Texting and Internet

1- Alter

This expression is the short version of Alter Schwede which translates to “old Swedish” and is widely used to express surprise, to greet someone, or even as an interjection. By the way, from some German youth groups, you’ll hear this expression a lot.

Meaning:
Dude.

Example:
Alter! Das sind deine neuen Schuhe?
Dude, those are your new shoes?

2- Moin

Here we just have another way to say hello in German slang. This is widely used everywhere, and by all age groups. So with this slang, you’re set up perfectly. Natively it refers to a way of saying “good morning” in German slang from the south.

Meaning:
Hey. / Hi.

Example:
Moin, was geht ab?
Hey, what is going on?

There are many more ways to say hello in German.

3- Krass

If you’re looking for a German slang word to describe almost everything, then you’ve found it. It can be used to describe things in a good way as well as in a bad one. Mostly, you’ll use this word as an adjective for a situation or a thing.

Meaning:
Cool! / Sweet! / Awesome!

Example:
Krass, wie gut der Junge Fußball spielt.
What?! It’s impressive how good this guy plays football.

4- Assi

Technically, this is a short version of the word asozial which means “antisocial.” It can be used for a person who lives on the street, and is uneducated and unemployed, or as an adjective for something of poor quality. But more so, it’s used around friends in a funny way. For example, you can use it if a friend does something that you think wasn’t appropriate.

Meaning:
Chav.

Example:

  • Hör auf meine Pommes zu essen, du Assi.
    Stop eating my fries, you chav.
  • Der Typ ist echt assi.
    This guy is really chavvy.

5- Hammer

This is the German word for “hammer” but it’s also used when you want to describe something that’s amazing, awesome, or beautiful.

A Hammer and a Nail

Meaning:
Doozy. / Cool.

Example:
Wow, es ist echt der Hammer, wie gut die Frau tanzen kann.
Wow, it’s really cool how this woman can dance.

6- Geil

This one is a bit more difficult because the direct translation is “horny,” and you can use it to express this, but it’s more often used like the word Hammer. If you think something is great, describe it with geil.

Meaning:
Amazing. / Great. / Brilliant.

Example:
Ich habe einen geiles Auto gesehen.
I saw an amazing car.

7- Bescheuert

Meaning:
Dumb. / Stupid.

Example:
Das ist total bescheuert.
This is completely dumb.

8- Jein

This is a mix of the words ja which means “yes” and the word nein which means “no.” We always use this word when something isn’t clear and you can’t decide whether to say yes or no.

Meaning:
Yes and no.

Example:

  • Bist du immer noch mit deiner Freundin zusammen?
    Jein.
  • Are you still together with your girlfriend?
    Yes and no.


4. Youth Speech

The way young people talk today is so different in Germany than from other generations. On Wikipedia, there’s actually a really good article about the German youth speech.

1- I bim’s

This comes from a social media trend in Germany. Some people make jokes about the German language and change them in their own way. From Ich bin es they made I bim’s. If you speak this quickly and with some accent, it sounds almost the same.

Meaning:
Ich bin’s.

Example:
I bim’s ein Baum
Look, I am a tree.

2- Ehrenmann

Meaning:
Man of honor.

Example:
Du hast mir geholfen, du bist ein echter Ehrenmann.
You helped me out, you are a real man of honor.

3- Lauch

As we already explained above in the beginning of this article, a Lauch is a person who looks fairly skinny and doesn’t lift weights. As lifting weights is getting quite popular nowadays in Germany, you’ll hear this word often.

Meaning:
Skinny guy.

Example:
Er ist so dünn, dieser Lauch.
He is such a skinny guy.

4- Babo

Meaning:
Boss. / Leader.

Example:
Er ist ein echter Babo in seinem Viertel.
He is a real boss in his hood.

5- Beef

Pieces of Meat

Meaning:
Dispute. / Argument.

Example:
Er und sein Freund haben gerade beef.
He and his friend are having an argument right now.


5. How GermanPod101.com Can Help You Learn More German Slang

Here, we listed for you almost 30 German slang expressions that we’re using in our daily life, especially the youth and when texting in general. We hope you’re now ready to impress some of your German friends with what you’ve learned here, and that you found our translations of German internet slang to English helpful.

Remember that these expressions can be easily adapted from every German learner from every level. At GermanPod101.com, we provide free special classes and lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced students.

If you want to get a bit more serious with learning German, then we can offer you a private teacher who specializes in helping you learn based on your needs and your goals regarding the German language.

For now, keep on practicing this German internet slang of 2019. You’ll sound like a native before you know it.

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10 Untranslatable German Words Explained in 2018

There are some untranslatable German words that need to be explained.

To be fair guys, the English language is quite easy to learn. This comes from the general structure of your language. For example, compared to many other languages you don’t have genders, there is just ‘the’. Also, the conjugation of verbs follows some easy rules compared to other languages like French or Spanish. There are more good examples, but let’s focus on German now.

In fact, the German language is much more complex than English, and several other languages. But, despite this fact, in German we only have around 300.000 to 500.000 words in our dictionaries and in the English language there are up to 800.000. So congratulations, you win. (But this isn’t the only interesting fact about Germany.)

Even though your vocabulary is so much bigger than in German, we are using words in our daily life that have no proper translation. And you can get excited because we will show you some really strong words that will make you sound more German than some native speakers, which is great if you’re planning to travel there!

We want to show you 10 words that you should know when learning German. There is no proper translation to English, but we will make sure you will understand what they mean.

And, the best for you out of this, those words are actually used in the daily language between native German speakers, so let’s get right to it, though some of those words can be hard to listen to in daily life.

Table of Contents

  1. German Untranslatable Words List
  2. Bonus: Are there untranslatable English words?
  3. Conclusion

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1. German Untranslatable Words List

1- Kindergarten

Showing Kids While Playing with Hand-Colours at the Kindergarten.

Literal Translation:

Children’s garden

Meaning:

Kindergarten is a form of preschool educational approach that is based on activities like singing, playing, drawing and interaction and is the transition period in Germany between home and school.

Example:

A mother or father is preparing their 1 to 6-year-old child in the morning before going to work with a sandwich and a small bag with new clothes. On the way to work the parent is dropping off their child in the kindergarten along with other parents and kids. He or she will get back after work to pick up her son or daughter.

Usage In A Sentence:

A quick note before we continue that sentence patterns are an important aspect of the German language, so you may want to brush up before continuing.

Onkel fragt: “Franz, gehst du gerne in den Kindergarten?” Franz antwortet: “Ja Onkel, ich gehe gerne in den Kindergarten!” (Franz is here the name of the kid) - Uncle asks: ‘Franz, do you like going to the kindergarten?’ and Franz answers ‘Yes, uncle I like going to the kindergarten!’

This form of pre-school education is well known in a lot of countries and usually, they even use the German word to describe it. Did you know that kindergarten has a long history?

2- Geborgenheit

Literal Translation:

Secureness, security

Meaning:

This refers to a state a person is in as well as having a feeling or sense of security and well-being.

Example:

You are sitting on the couch with your husband, your wife or even with your family in your home where you always feel comfortable. You have this deep feeling of security, protection, peace, trust. This is when you feel ‘geborgen’ which literally means secure.

Usage In A Sentence:

Mit seinem Partner zu Hause fühlt sie sich geborgen - With her partner at home she feels secure.

The feeling of ‘Geborgenheit’ means just so much more in the German language than you can describe in one word in English. When it all comes together from protection, happiness, warmth, love, trust, peace and comfort, just then you can get into this state. It really is a strong word.

3- Sturmfrei

A Kid at Home Standing on a Chair Filling the Washing Machine with Clothes

Literal Translation:

Storm free

Meaning:

Having the house or apartment to oneself, caused by the absence of parents or flatmates.

Example:

Your parents are away for a couple of days doing a vacation trip and you are alone at home, then you have ‘sturmfrei’.

Usage In A Sentence:

Meine Eltern sind über das Wochenende nicht zu Hause, ich habe sturmfrei. - My parents are not at home over the weekend, I have ‘sturmfrei’.

A suiting English equivalent would be the saying, ‘When the cat’s away, the mice will play’. This refers a bit to making a home party when the parents are not at home. Well, sometimes this might be the case, but in Germany young people just enjoy to be alone at home without their parents, at least for a while.

4- Ohrwurm

A Worm on White Background

Literal Translation:

Earworm

Meaning:

It might sound a bit strange, but and ‘Ohrwurm’ is nothing else than the situation when you have a song stuck in your head.

Example:

You are having a road trip with your friends and in the radio comes to a song that you know really good and you like it. The song is finished and in the next couple of hours, you can still sing the lyrics of it over and over again.

Usage In A Sentence:

Ich liebe dieses Lied, es ist ein echter Ohrwurm”. - I love this song, it gets stuck in my head.

By the way, to fix this issue and you would like that this song gets out of your head, just hear the song completely from the beginning to the end, because this usually happens, when you listen to a song and don’t finish it.

5- Dreikäsehoch

Different Kinds of Cheese Stacked on Top of Each Other

Literal Translation:

Three cheese high

Meaning:

This actually has nothing to do with cheese or food. It refers to a child that is not really tall, that has literally the same height like three wheels of cheese stack on top of each other. Ok, there we have the connection to cheese. To be fair, everybody likes cheese.

Example:

A kid is playing with his uncles and aunties on a family meeting and it gets a bit wild. Maybe the kid says something that he shouldn’t have said, so the uncle or aunt will call him a cheeky ‘Dreikäsehoch’.

Usage In A Sentence:

Sei nicht so frech, du Dreikäsehoch - Don’t be so cheeky, you three cheese high.

Usually, this word is just used when a kid has a bad behaviour or is a bit cheeky (or should I say cheesy) towards adults.

6- Wanderlust

A Person with a Backpack Walking on a Path in Nature Towards Sunset

Literal Translation:

Hiking lust/hiking desire

Meaning:

It describes a strong desire to travel and leave your comfort zone that usually is your home.

Example:

There is no real situation when using this word. It more refers to a deep desire that you feel when you are closed at home and you know you should be out there exploring the world, experiencing new cultures and cities while meeting new and awesome people all over the world.

Usage In A Sentence:

Die Wanderlust überkommt mich. - The hiking desire is establishing inside of me.

This has gotten quite popular around the younger generation all over the world. People use it as hashtags on their Instagram posts and even a movie is now called after this old German word which is filled with history and passion.

7- Fernweh

Literal Translation:

Distance pain

Meaning:

This literally just is the opposite of homesickness and something similar to ‘Wanderlust’.

Example:

You are coming back from a long holiday and you arriving with your plane at the airport, grabbing your suitcase. Then suddenly, you look out the window of the airport and see how planes taking off and a feeling inside of you that wants to go back to the beach or mountains where you just came back from

Usage In A Sentence:

Ich habe Fernweh. - I have distance pain.

‘Fernweh’ is actually something very similar to ‘Wanderlust*, but you need to differentiate here a bit. While ‘Wanderlust’ is the desire to be in a place away from home and exploring new things and feel the experience, with ‘Fernweh’ you are more thinking about a specific place where you have been already.

8- Fingerspitzengefühl

Literal Translation:

Fingertip-feeling

Meaning:

When someone has a great awareness of situations and is good at dealing with people and reading their needs. When having an appropriate and tactful sense for situations.

Example:

You know motorbike races on big tracks with high speed? The driver sometimes looks so concentrated and they navigate those powerful machines around the corner, where other people would struggle to get a car around.

Those drivers have such a good feeling for gas and brake of their bike that you could say in German they have the right fingertip-feeling for the bike.

Usage In A Sentence:

Er hat ein echtes Fingerspitzengefühl beim Verkaufen von Autos. - He has a real fingertip feeling when it comes to selling cars.

Often this term is used for describing how people deal with other people, but it is much more than that. If you are going after a certain hobby or work that requires a calm hand or precision you also can have this ability.

It can be really hard to pronounce the word. But luckily for you, there are resources you can use to get some help with this.

9- Fremdschämen

Showing a Man in the Corner. He Seems Ashamed

Literal Translation:

Be ashamed for a stranger

Meaning:

To be ashamed of someone else’s behalf.

Example:

Imagine you made a new friend and you want to hang out at home with him/her for a bit and present him/her to your parents. Your parents come home and they try to be really ‘cool’ with your friend and they are doing things that are just not appropriate for someone with their age. Then you are ashamed about the behalf of your parents.

Usage In A Sentence:

Ich muss mich für meine Eltern fremdschämen - I need to be ashamed about my parents.

This can happen quite often to yourself and it makes you feel bad, but let’s be honest. It can be really funny seeing a situation when someones else is in it and I am sure everybody of us experienced this before.

10- Erklärungsnot

Literal Translation:

Explanation misery

Meaning:

The state of having quickly explained yourself.

Example:

Everybody of us surely can remember this situation when your teacher asked for the homework and you didn’t prepare anything.

You need to come up with an excuse quickly and everything that drops in your mind is ‘my dog ate my homework’. The word ‘Erklärungsnot’ exactly matches this emergency situation where you need a little lie or excuse.

Usage In A Sentence:

Er ist in Erklärungsnot gekommen. - He came under pressure for failing to give an explanation.


2. Bonus: Are there untranslatable English words?

But not only in German we have words, that you can not translate properly into English. From English to German it is also hard to translate some words. Some examples for you:

  • Pimp
  • Spam
  • Bromance
  • Googly
  • Facepalm


3. Conclusion

Finally, it’s time to say thank you for your patience and interest in this. You learned 10 untranslatable words of the German language.

If you are interested in something even funnier, why not take a look at the 5 longest German words? Can you pronounce them or even find out what they mean?

Are you ready to learn the German language? Here at GermanPod101, we made it our passion to help other people learning this fascinating language. There’s plethora of reasons you should continue your pursuit of German mastery!

If you want to find out more and get more into detail with German, check out the resources we provided in this article. Until then, all the best without 10 untranslatable German words.

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“My Name Is,” in German and More

So how exactly do you say “My name is,” in German? And more importantly, why should you know this?

If you travel, you’re probably going to end up making small talk at some point. And if you’re studying another language and traveling to the place where they speak that language, this is going to happen a lot. It’s happened to me many, many times.

I’ve been very lucky to travel a lot, to countries all over the world. It turns out that no matter where you go, you’re going to find people who are interested in your story. Especially in Germany, because there aren’t tons of foreigners who end up speaking German at a high level.

They want to know who you are, where you’re from, and why you’re learning their language. Natural questions, really. Funnily enough, they usually tend to ask the questions in the same ways. It’s almost like a script.

Fortunately, I’ve rattled off this script so many times that I can do it in my sleep. And each time you do it, you get better and sound more impressive to the next person who asks you.

So let’s take a look at these questions. I’ve broken them down into six handy main topics, and inside each one I’ve included a couple of different questions that I’ve been asked.

You’ll learn how to introduce yourself, say where you come from, describe your job, your hobbies, and your family, say what you’re doing in Germany, and finally say what motivates you to learn German in the first place. So essentially, you’ll learn all you need to know about talking about yourself in German.

I’m going to use informal German here for most cases, just because that’s what I usually experience as a younger man. It’s very likely that, depending on who you are and where you go, you’ll be addressed mostly with Sie instead of du.

So let’s get on with it! Learn all about introducing yourself in the German language with GermanPod101.com!

Table of Contents

  1. Who are You?
  2. Where are You From?
  3. How’s the Family?
  4. What are You Doing Here?
  5. What Do You Like to Do?
  6. Why are You Learning German?
  7. Conclusion

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1. Who are You?

Man Hiding Identity

  • Who are you?
    (Wer bist du?)

Okay, nobody’s actually going to ask that. Not in those words, anyway. That’s far too blunt and direct, even for a people famous for their directness.

Instead they’ll start with something much simpler.

  • What’s your name?
    (Wie heißt du?)

Literally they’re saying “What do you call?” which makes zero sense when translated, but it helps more to think of it like “What do you call yourself?”

The answer is a piece of cake. Here’s some easy German to introduce yourself:

  • My name is Yassir.
    (Ich heisse Yassir.)

Another common way to introduce yourself in German is:

  • I’m Yassir.
    (Ich bin Yassir.)

When it comes to personal information, you should know how to talk about your age. It’s not something that’s likely to come up in conversation, but if it appears on a form or in a more formal setting, then you’ll be prepared.

The question comes in this form:

  • How old are you?
    (Wie alt bist du?)

It’s easy to see how close the German language can be to English. And the answer is a real piece of cake.

  • I’m twenty-six years old.
    (Ich bin sechsundzwanzig Jahre alt.)

With that out of the way, people usually start asking about your life. Below is some information on more phrases to introduce yourself in German.


2. Where are You From?

Picture of Earth

Where are you from?
Woher kommst du?

Note that in German we have to ask (and usually answer) in the form, “Where do you come from.” There are two really common ways to answer:

  • I come from Russia.
    Ich komme aus Russland.
  • I’m an American.
    Ich bin Amerikaner.

The second one’s a little bit more formal and distant—and thus may not be the best way to introduce yourself in German—but it’ll save you if you panic and forget that the preposition for “come from” is aus and not one of German’s many other prepositions.

Perhaps your interlocutor is familiar with your home country, and asks:

  • Which city in Spain?
    Welche Stadt in Spanien?
  • Bilbao. Have you been there?
    Bilbao. Warst du schon da?

And from that point, your conversation is on a roll.

Some people—many people, really—have moved cities or even countries as they’ve gotten older. If that’s the case for you, you can use the verb wohnen, meaning “to live in.”

  • I live in Munich now.
    Jetzt wohne ich in München.

Here it’s easy to see that adding the word jetzt, meaning “now,” causes the verb to jump in front of the subject. That sort of syntax stuff is pretty easy to pick up through examples, so keep on reading this article for more!

Lots of Germans have traveled around Europe or even the world. If you’re talking to someone who’s done lots of traveling before, they’ve almost certainly had to answer these questions too. It’s a nice change for them to be asking!


3. How’s the Family?

Family Eating Outside

How’s the family?
Wie ist deine familie?

Actually, Germans don’t tend to bring up this question. If you’re chatting about other things and your family comes up, however, then it may be a good idea to be familiar with these phrases.

Perhaps you mentioned something about fighting with your sisters when you were younger. In that case, you may be asked something like:

  • Do you have a lot of siblings?
    Hast du viele Geschwister?

This is an excellent opening for you to say something in the neighborhood of:

  • Yeah, I have a brother and two sisters.
    Ja, ich habe einen Bruder und zwei Schwestern.

From there it’s pretty easy to adopt other small-talk or introduction phrases to describe your family members as well.

  • My mother is a lawyer.
    Meine Mutter ist Juristin.
  • My sister lives in Hungary.
    Meine Schwester wohnt in Ungarn.


4. What are You Doing Here?

Couple on Holiday

What are you doing here?
Was machst du hier?

Again, that’s a pretty literal translation and not something you’re likely to hear in a hostel or in a train car.

Germans are polite! They’re going to ask politely about what brought you to such-and-such a place and what you’re doing there.

Let’s assume here that you’re on a vacation in a German-speaking country. It’s just as likely that you’re there on business or that you live there, but as there’s just so much for a tourist to see in Germany it only makes sense to orient the guide in that direction.

Why You’re Here

You should probably respond with a little about the trip that you’re on. How long you’re traveling for, how long you’re staying in that city, and what you’d like to see.

  • I’m here on vacation.
    Ich bin hier im Urlaub.
  • I’m just here for a couple of days.
    Ich bin nur für ein paar Tage hier.

Conversations take two people. For that reason you should definitely know how to ask a couple of questions.

Of course, when they’re asking you different things, you can simply flip the same question around on them by asking Und du? Literally “And you?”

But what if you have a new question? As an example, let’s say you’re asking for recommendations.

  • What should I see here? / What should I see in (Basel)?
    Was soll ich hier sehen? / Was soll ich in (Basel) sehen?

That’s perfect to keep the conversation going and maybe even find out about some cool local trips.

Once you’ve finished discussing the joys of travel, the conversation may turn back to you. And it’ll become even more handy to know some words to describe yourself in German, particularly your career.

  • What do you do for a living?
    Was machst du beruflich?

Actually, if you’re relatively young-looking, a lot of Germans will start with the question bist du noch Student/Studentin? This means “Are you still a student?” A question like that just goes to show how much Germans value education and how many people take advantage of the university system there.

It’s pretty simple to answer this question, though there’s something that can trip you up if you try to overthink it.

Normally in German the structure for talking about what you are is the same as in English, word-for-word.

  • I am a man.
    Ich bin ein Mann.

But when it comes to jobs, that article ein/eine is dropped entirely.

  • I am a writer.
    Ich bin Schriftsteller.

Remember that virtually every job title in German has a male and female version. Women answering this question should say Ich bin Schriftstellerin—and pretty much all female job titles end in -in.

If you don’t have a nice and simple job title, you can just say where you work. In German we use the preposition bei for saying you work at so-and-so company.

  • I work at Google.
    Ich arbeite bei Google.

Now let’s move on to hobbies.


5. What Do You Like to Do?

Man Playing Guitar

What do you like to do?
Was machen sie gerne?

Something tells me that you’re interested in both travel and languages. I dunno, just a hunch.

  • I enjoy learning languages.
    Ich lerne gern Sprachen.

Without a doubt, you’ll get people asking about just how far you’ve taken that interest.

  • So how many languages do you know?
    Also wie viele Sprachen kannst du?

Even if you’re not too proud of your pronunciation or grammar, you can and should include German on the list. If it’s clear that your speaking partner is being patient with you because of your low level, it’s better to be a little humble with your answer.

  • I speak English, Polish, Arabic, and a little German.
    Ich spreche Englisch, Polnisch, Arabisch, und ein bisschen Deutsch.

You may sometimes see others’ language ability described with the verb beherrschen.

  • She speaks six languages fluently.
    Sie beherrscht sechs Sprachen fliessend.

That’s a pretty formal verb and it also implies a great mastery over the languages. You might use it on a resume or to talk about other people, but it’s a bit presumptuous to use it to describe yourself.

Perhaps you’re not a linguist and have other interests in life. Strange as that may be, in that case you can talk about your hobbies or your interests.

  • I like going to art museums.
    Ich besuche Kunstmuseen gern.

This structure is a fantastically easy way to describe something that you like to do in German. Just say that thing—“I go to museums”—and add the word gern to express the idea that doing so is enjoyable.

There’s another way that you can say this, and that’s by using the verb mögen, or “to like,” combined with the noun form of the activity. Easier shown than said:

  • I like photography.
    Ich mag Photographie.


6. Why are You Learning German?

Hamburg

Why are you learning German?
Warum lernst du Deutsch?

Ahhh, the big question. Why would you learn this language? I mean, enough Germans speak English that it’s a good sign of your ability if this question was asked in German!

And this is where guides can’t take you all the way. Every person’s history with German is going to be different.

Lucky for you, there’s no wrong answer to this question. Many Germans feel that more people should learn German, and many others are simply surprised and pleased that someone would do so.

Perhaps you’re learning because your family members were ethnically German or spoke the language at home.

  • My mother came from Austria.
    Meine Mutter kam aus Österreich.

Maybe you’re really interested in European history or enjoy traveling around.

  • I really like German art history.
    Ich mag die deutsche Kunstgeschichte sehr gern.

Or it could be that you have a fascination with German music or film.

  • I find the music of Brahms absolutely breathtaking.
    Ich finde die Musik von Brahms absolut atemberaubend.

All of these are valid answers!

One of the classic questions when talking about languages is how much time you’ve spent on it. Most people take classes for many years and often never really get to a good level. They’re simply curious how long you’ve been into it to get to the level that you’re at.

Here’s a typical way this conversation could play out.

  • How long have you been learning German?
    Wie lange lernst du schon Deutsch?
  • A little longer than… (a year, a month…)
    Ein bisschen mehr als… (ein Jahr, ein Monat…)
  • Then you already speak very well!
    Dafür sprichst du sehr gut!

The word dafür there literally means “for that.” It’s kind of like saying “in that case” or “taking that into account…” Those phrases can sometimes sound a bit rude in English, but not so in German. It’s a pure compliment.


7. Conclusion

Talking about yourself is just one tiny bit of knowing a foreign language, but it’s something you’ll need to do at any level.

Hopefully this article has shown you a couple of reasons why it doesn’t have to be anything to worry about!

On the whole, German speakers are kind and patient when it comes to speaking with learners of their language. I’ve had nothing but excellent experiences traveling in and around three different German-speaking countries.

So whenever you’re ready to take the plunge and move into conversational German, be ready to talk about yourself! And let GermanPod101.com help you along every step of the way by visiting our site and using our effective resources, including free vocab lists and our MyTeacher app!

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

Log

Top 10 German Movies in 2019 to Boost Your German Skills

We know from experience that learning a new language can be time-consuming, hard, and sometimes frustrating. But with German movies, this won’t be the case. For this reason, we always suggest that our learners make the process fun by doing something they like—and everybody likes to watch a good movie. So why not combine watching a movie with learning a new language? Even experts say that watching movies and series is a great way to improve language skills quickly.

When looking for a good movie to watch, remember that fantastic movies extend beyond Hollywood. To drive this point home, consider that Oscars are even awarded to the best movie from a foreign country—and Germany won this prize more than once so far. But even on platforms like Netflix, you can find in-country produced German movies from multiple genres: drama, crime, comedy, sci-fi, cooking, nature, and many more.

Learning with fun and a purpose is the best combination for any beginner, intermediate, or advanced student. At GermanPod101, we give you a complete guide to the best German movies in 2019. Here are some tips to improve your pronunciation while watching movies in German.

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

  1. How to Study German with Movies
  2. List of German Movies
  3. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master German with Movies

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1. How to Study German with Movies

1- What are the Benefits of Learning with Movies and TV Shows?

Interested in the German movies box office,but not sure how you can benefit from watching a movie in German to boost your language skills? We made a list for you:

  • You’re learning better and faster if you actually enjoy the way you’re learning. So if you like watching movies, then German movies to learn German are perfect for you.
  • It’s easier to understand vocabulary in the context of a situation that’s visually presented, with subtitles (and especially a combination of the two). We prepared for you some special vocabulary lists to keep in mind while watching a German movie.
  • You can get a feel for the right pronunciation and proper word stress much quicker.
  • You see daily language, sentence structure, and body gestures within real-life examples.
  • Learning with something we’re emotionally connected to is more practical.

2- How to Make Watching More Efficient

But don’t make the mistake of just turning on your TV and watching a movie in German. Prepare yourself to get the most out of the time you’re putting into watching the movie with these easy hints:

  • Prepare some basic vocabulary around the subject of the movie. If you’re watching a movie about a couple that’s falling in love, then you might want to learn some Valentine’s Day vocabulary.
  • Read a review and a short description of the movie to get used to the situation you’ll face.
  • Take a look at our special listening skills before you start watching.
  • Activate subtitles. When watching a German movie with German speech, use German subtitles. This will help you to learn how words are spoken and written at the same time. (Though you can also watch German movies with English subtitles to begin with.)
  • Enjoy the movie!

Here are the most common German vocabulary that you may find in the movies.

Top verbs


2. List of German Movies

Here you’ll find our list of the top ten German movies. Obviously, this isn’t a complete list of movies produced in Germany, just our favorites that we think will entertain you. On Wikipedia, you can get a more advanced list, and IMDB even offers a rated list.

Movie Genres

If you’re not sure where to watch when looking for movies in learning German, consider these options:

  • ARD and ZDF: The media libraries of these two leading German channels are free. Make sure to use a VPN.
  • Netflix: You already know what Netflix is and how to use it. You can find good German movies on NetFlix.
  • YouTube: Yes, when looking for German movies, YouTube has some you can find (but rather old ones, as this could be copyright infringement).
  • DVD: Just order everything on Amazon that you’ve ever desired.

1- Sonnenallee

Sun Avenue

When it comes to comedy German movies, this is a good choice.

Sonnenallee is a comedy film from the year 1999 about life in East Berlin, the communist party of the divided German nation in the late 70s. Sonnenallee itself is a street in Berlin that was intersected by the border.

The movie is about the pop culture and pop music in East Berlin. It shows the absurdity of everyday life in East Germany under the socialist government. The movie was well-received by the German audience, especially by those who grew up in the GDR.

You’ll probably notice while going through our list that in German movies, history is a common theme in many!

  • Popular quote: Ich lebe in der DDR. Ansonsten hab ich keine Probleme.
  • Translation: I live in the GDR. Apart from that, I do not have any problems.

    Suggested level of student: Intermediate

2- Good Bye Lenin

Good Bye Lenin

The movie Good Bye Lenin, released in 2003, is a tragicomedy film that features some of the most famous German actors, including Daniel Brühl. This is another story that takes place in East Germany, and centers on the socialist state of the GDR. But this time, the story takes place in 1990, right after the reunion of the two German nations.

A mother falls into a coma in 1989, and when she wakes up, her beloved East Germany isn’t there anymore. Her son tries to protect her from a fatal shock by concealing the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  • Popular quote: Euch Ossis kann man aber auch nichts Recht machen. Hauptsache ihr habt immer irgendwas zu meckern.
  • Translation: It is impossible to please you Eastern Germans. The most important thing for you is that you always have a reason to gripe about something.

    Suggested level of student: Advanced

3- Das Leben der Anderen

The Life of Others

This Oscar-winning drama was released in 2006 and takes place, once again, in socialist East Germany in the year 1984.

Here, an agent of the secret police called Stasi conducts surveillance on a free writer and his lover, and finds himself emotionally touched by the couple’s lives. This is a must-watch for any movie-lover.

  • Popular quote: Bei Verhören arbeiten Sie mit Feinden des Sozialismus—vergessen Sie das nie!
  • Translation: When interrogating, you are working with enemies of socialism—never forget this!

    Suggested level of student: Advanced

4- Der Untergang

Downfall

This historical drama, released in 2004, features the last days of the Nazi regime around the person Adolf Hitler in his bunker. It’s set during the battle of Berlin in WWII. This movie is based on the book from his former secretary Traudl Junge, and other accounts during this time. The movie not only shows the person Hitler as bad and evil, but also plays with the human side of Adolf Hitler.

  • Popular quote: Das ist unerhört! Der Russe steht 12 Kilometer vorm Stadtkern und ich erfahre das sozusagen auf Nachfrage.
  • Translation: That’s unheard of. The Russian is 12 kilometers from the city center and I find out about it on demand.

    Suggested level of student: Beginner

5- Das Experiment

The Experiment

This is one of my personal favorite German films of all time.

This German thriller (not quite a German movie horror) was released in 2001 and shows a social experiment in which twenty male participants are hired to play either prisoners or guards. The ten prisoners have to follow the orders and the guards have to establish order without using violence. This results in an interesting experiment about humanity, leadership, social difficulties, and more. You’ll be emotionally touched by this movie—and shocked at the same time.

  • Popular quote: Ach ja und Herr Strafvollzugsbeamter, da wär’ noch was: Sie riechen streng!
  • Translation: Oh yes, Mr. Prison Official, there would be something else: You smell strong!

    Suggested level of student: Intermediate

6- Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage

Sophie Scholl - The Final Days

This historical drama from 2005 is about the last days of Sophie Scholl who was a part of the White Rose, a non-violent anti-Nazi resistance group.

With her brother Hans, she and their group make leaflets showing the crimes of the Nazi regime and deploy them illegally in the University of Munich. She was found guilty and executed on the same day.

  • Popular quote: Heute hängt ihr uns, morgen werdet ihr es sein.
  • Translation: Today you hang us, and tomorrow it will be you.

    Suggested level of student: Beginner

7- Die wilden Kerle

The Wild Boys

Here we have not just one movie, but five.

A group of friends form a football team and have their own pitch. A group of older and stronger kids take their field and a rivalry forms. These movies have a special character and aren’t formed only around the subject of football. They also show the process of growing up as a boy (and as a girl), basic relationships, family problems, and the importance of a childlike nature.

  • Popular quote: Alles ist gut, solange du wild bist.
  • Translation: Everything is good as long as you are wild.

    Suggested level of student: Beginner

8- Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

The Baader Meinhof Complex

This play is about a German left-oriented terrorist organization from the 60s and 70s called The Red Army Faction. They organized bombings, robberies, and even assassinations. The movie was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.

  • Popular quote: Ich kann keine Kommunisten leiden.
  • Translation: I do not like any communist.

Suggested level of student: Intermediate

9- Keinohrhasen

No Ear Rabbits

This movie, released in 2007, features the famous German actor Til Schweiger playing a press reporter who was sentenced to eight months, but instead chooses to work 300 hours in a daycare center with children. He’s not a family person at all, and fairly free with women. There he meets Anna, who is an old classmate from Ludo. She has unfinished business with him and the film walks a good borderline between love and comedy.

  • Popular quote: Es ist purer Egoismus wenn du den ganzen Tag zu Hause frustriert rumsitzt und von jemandem erwartest, dass er dich permanent glücklich macht.
  • Translation: It’s pure egoism if you are sitting the whole day frustrated at home expecting someone to make you happy permanently.

    Suggested level of student: Intermediate

10- Deutschland: Ein Sommermärchen

Germany: A Summer’s Tale

This documentary film accompanies the German national football team during their preparations, and during the World Cup in their own country in 2006.

It starts at the bootcamp in Sardinia and follow the team through to third place in the playoffs against the national team from Portugal. It does a great job of showing how the excitement that national teams have to play a World Cup in their own country, while also covering topics of sportsmanship and the professional football world.

  • Popular quote: Heute brennt hier der Baum! Heute brennt hier der Baum!
  • Translation: Today the tree is burning here! Today the tree is burning here!

    Suggested level of student: Intermediate


3. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master German with Movies

You got a glimpse of ten German movies you should watch in 2019. By now, you should know how German movies with subtitles can help you to improve your German language skills and why movies in learning German make the learning process more efficient. .

What do you think your favorite German movie will be from our list? Drop us a comment to let us know.

To prepare you a bit before getting into German movies, GermanPod101.com has a lot of free resources on different subjects, as well as free courses for beginner-, intermediate-, and advanced-level students.

But if this doesn’t boost your German fast enough, we can offer you a private teacher service that specializes in your personal needs and the goals you have for your German language learning.

Know that your hard work and practice will pay off, and someday you’ll be speaking German like a true native!

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Vatertag: How to Celebrate Father’s Day in Germany

Father’s Day, celebrated in most countries around the world, is a special day set aside to honor one’s father (or father-figure). There’s something about the love and care of a father that’s unmatched by anything else, so it’s important to show appreciation and gratitude to them on this day.

In Germany, this is called Vatertag, and you’ll soon find that celebrations in Germany are pretty unique compared to celebrations elsewhere. At GermanPod101.com, we hope to make learning about Vatertag in Germany fun, and provide you with great insight into German culture. For in knowing a country’s culture, you can master the language in context of the bigger picture.

Let’s get started, and delve into Vatertag Deutschland (”Father’s Day Germany”)!

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1. What is Father’s Day in Germany?

Father’s Day (Vatertag in Germany) was introduced as a special day for honoring fathers. It doesn’t always have the same calendar date because of Easter, which is movable.

The tradition of Father’s Day comes from the United States. There, the Father’s Day was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father had fought in the American Civil War, so in 1910 she called for a movement to honor fathers. Then, via the USA, this day to honor fathers also came to Germany.

2. When is Father’s Day in Germany?

Father and Child

The date of Father’s Day varies each year, though it’s always celebrated on Ascension Day, interestingly enough. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: May 30
  • 2020: May 21
  • 2021: May 13
  • 2022: May 26
  • 2023: May 18
  • 2024: May 9
  • 2025: May 29
  • 2026: May 14
  • 2027: May 6
  • 2028: May 25

3. Reading Practice: Unique Father’s Day Celebrations

Father Receiving Gift from Daughter

How do Germans celebrate Father’s Day? You might be surprised. ;) Read the German text below to find out, and find the English translation directly below it.

Am Vatertag findet in manchen Regionen in Deutschland die sogenannte Herrenpartie statt, an der, wie der Name schon vermuten lässt, traditionell nur Männer verschiedenen Alters gemeinsam etwas unternehmen. Dies können zum Beispiel Wanderungen oder auch Ausflüge mit der Pferdekutsche oder auf dem Wasser sein. Während oder als Abschluss des Tages kehren die Teilnehmenden oft in Gaststätten ein.

Der Vatertag wird in einigen Familien auch für Familienausflüge genutzt oder um gemeinsam über das verlängerte Wochenende in den Urlaub zu fahren. Der Freitag nach Vatertag ist ein sogenannter Brückentag, das heißt, das Kinder auch an diesem Tag schulfrei haben. Viele Väter oder Eltern gehen mit ihren Kindern beispielsweise in den Zoo oder machen ein Picknick im Freien.

Manche Männer gestalten ihre sogenannte Herrenpartie mit einem Fahrraderlebnis besonderer Art: Ein geräumiges Fahrrad bietet bis zu 16 Personen Platz und ermöglicht durch die Integration eines Fasses in der Mitte des Fahrrades das Biertrinken während der Fahrt.

On Father’s Day, the so-called “gentlemen’s party” takes place in some German regions. As the name suggests, only men of a different age are allowed to take part in this traditional event. It could be a walk, or an outing on horse-drawn carriages or on the beach. During or at the end of the day, the participants often stop at restaurants.

On Father’s Day, some families go out for family trips or go on vacation together on an extended weekend. The Friday after Father’s Day is a so-called bridge day, means it is a school holiday for children as well. Many fathers or parents go out with their children to the zoo or for a picnic, for example.

Some men arrange to have a special bicycle experience for their “gentlemen’s party”: a spacious bike that offers up to sixteen seats and makes it possible for the riders, through the incorporation of a barrel in the middle of the bike, to drink beer while riding.

4. A Shared Holiday

On which public holiday is Father’s Day celebrated every year in Germany?

The holiday is called the Ascension Day. The Solemnity of the Catholic Church is always forty days after Easter, so between April 30 and June 3. Since the 1930s, Ascension Day has been observed as a public holiday in Germany.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Father’s Day in Germany

Breakfast, Gift, and Card on Father's Day

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Father’s Day in Germany!

  • Sonntag — Sunday
  • Sohn — Son
  • Geschenk — Present
  • Tochter — Daughter
  • Lieben — Love
  • Vater — Father
  • Abendessen — Dinner
  • Grußkarte — Greeting card
  • Feiern — Celebrate
  • Geschenkgutschein — Gift certificate
  • Vatertag — Father’s Day

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our German Father’s Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word for accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do Father’s Day celebrations look like in your country? Are they similar or very different from Vatertag (Germany’s Father’s Day)? Let us know in the comments; we always love to hear from you!

If you want to learn more about German culture and holidays, and of course the German language, visit us at GermanPod101.com! We offer learning tools for every student, ensuring that every student can master German—at their own pace, and in a way that’s both fun and informative. Check out our free vocabulary lists, insightful blog posts, and online community forum to get started! By upgrading to a Premium Plus account, you can also take advantage of our MyTeacher program, and learn German one-on-one with your own personal teacher.

Feeling determined? Your hard work will soon be well worth it, and soon you’ll be speaking German like a native!

Until next time, Glücklicher Vatertag (”Happy Father’s Day” in German)!

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Top 11 German TV Shows to Boost Your German

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Learning a language from home can be stressful and frustrating, but with the help of German TV Shows, you can improve in less time than you imagined. Language learners and experts alike say that watching movies and series is a great way to improve your language skills. And the good thing about this is that you can do it by watching the type of movies or TV shows that you actually like.

Each country produces TV shows in the genres of drama, crime, comedy, sci-fi, cooking, nature, and many more. Germany is certainly no different, with plenty of good German TV shows for language-learning.

By watching television shows or movies in German, you’re allowing yourself to learn while having a lot more fun, and this is a big advantage for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. Here at GermanPod101, we give you a complete guide to the best German TV shows. German television has so much to offer!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Study German with TV Shows
  2. Watch German TV Shows on Netflix and Co.
  3. List of German TV Shows
  4. How GermanPod101.com Can Help You Master German with TV Shows


1. How to Study German with TV Shows

1- What are the Benefits of Learning with Movies and Series?

The benefits of watching TV shows in a foreign language should be quite obvious. If not, here’s a list of some of the benefits watching German television series offers:

  • It’s fun and efficient at the same time. You’re learning better and faster if you like the way you learn.
  • It’s easier to understand new vocabulary with situational context, subtitles, visuals, and any combination of these. (Keep in mind that we have vocabulary lists for all subjects.)
  • You get a feel for pronunciation and word stress.
  • You can practice sentence structure and daily language, as well as special body gestures.
  • We learn faster and more efficiently when emotions are involved.

2- How do You Make Watching More Efficient?

You shouldn’t just turn on a German TV show and start watching. First, you should prepare yourself for learning to get the most effective outcome from your invested time. Here are some hints on how to do this:

  • Prepare some basic vocabulary about the subject the TV show covers. For example, if you’re watching a TV show about love and drama, you might want to learn some vocabulary for Valentine’s Day beforehand.
    Inform yourself about the TV show by reading a one-page description.
  • You might also want to take a look at how to improve your listening skills before starting.
  • Activate subtitles in the language you’re learning. For example, if you’re watching a German TV show, activate German subtitles. This helps you to see how a word is written and spoken at the same time.
  • Just enjoy it. Make yourself comfortable with a glass of your favorite drink and some popcorn.

2. Watch German TV Shows on Netflix and Co.

You have different options for watching German TV shows from your home country. Here are some of the best ways to access German television shows.

  • Satellite TV: You can get a subscription to Sky Germany and watch many TV shows on demand. This would be at an additional cost to you, but hell, it’s worth it.
  • Netflix: You can get a subscription to Netflix and this is definitely our choice. You get a great value as well as a nice array of German TV shows to watch. Make sure to use a VPN, because Netflix localizes its content by country.
  • ARD / ZDF: These two channels are the two big public channels in Germany. You can access the ARD and ZDF media library (Mediathek) only from Germany. So you should use a VPN here as well.
  • Other streaming services: Other German channels also have online content available.
  • YouTube: You can find some other German series on YouTube as well. German TV shows on YouTube are especially good for seeing television shows from the past.
  • DVD: Of course you can just go to eBay or Amazon and order the DVD boxes from every German TV show you would like to see.

As you can see, there are several options for finding German TV shows online.

3. List of German TV Shows

We prepared a list for you with the eleven best German TV shows. Note that this list isn’t complete, but we chose German TV shows with English subtitles because their language is easy to understand and you’ll get a glimpse of what kind of shows German people watch. On Wikipedia, you can find a big overview of each, and on IMDB you can get a list of the 50 best shows in Germany.

In our list, you’ll get a short description of the subject the TV show covers, a popular quote from it alongside the English translation, and our suggestion for who should watch the series: beginner, intermediate, or advanced students. So, let’s get a glimpse of popular TV series in Germany.

1- Tatort (Crime Scene)

If you’re a fan of CSI and other crime shows from the US, then you might like Tatort as well. This TV show has been around since the 70s and is still running. It changes its location to different German cities and covers realistic cases, without the Hollywood style. It just feels more real than other crime shows. With the show’s special characters for each city, it has a funny but still serious enough tone.

Popular quote: Am liebsten sind mir die Menschen, die ich nicht kennenlerne.
Translation: “My favorite people are the ones that I do not meet.”

Suggested level of student: Advanced

2- Berlin Tag und Nacht (Berlin Day and Night)

The 'Fernsehturm' of Berlin on the left side by day and the right side by night

Berlin Tag und Nacht (“Berlin Day and Night”) is a so-called Seifenoper (“soap opera”) that plays in the German capital Berlin. It shows different people from Berlin, from teenagers to adults, living their lives and dealing with everyday problems. Don’t expect too much quality from this TV show, due to its unprofessional actors and style. But somehow, the audience in Germany loves it. (When it comes to German TV shows, drama is pretty well-received.)

Popular quote: Kriegste wat nich mit?
Translation: “Do you not getting something?”

Suggested level of student: Intermediate

3- Verbotene Liebe (Forbidden Love)

The actors of the German TV show Verbotene Liebe with a banner of the logo

Here’s another soap opera which was made in 1995 and played until 2015. As the name suggests, it’s all about love and relationships. But here, the story mainly revolves around families of the high society and it does well in showing the differences between rich and average people.

Popular quote: Wenn es um Liebe geht, kann man drei Dinge tun: leugnen, akzeptieren oder weglaufen. In meinem Fall wäre weglaufen das Richtige—aber sind wir auf der Welt, um das Richtige zu tun?
Translation: “When it comes to love, you have three options: deny, accept, and run away. In my case run away would be the right choice—but aren’t we alive to do the right thing?”

Suggested level of student: Intermediate

4- Der letzte Bulle (The Last Cop)

Showing the main actor of Der letzte Bulle, Henning Pflaum

This story takes place in the area around the city Essen and in parts of Cologne, where the main character and policeman Mick wakes up from a coma after 20 years and realizes that a lot of things have changed.

Popular quote: Sach ma’, seh ich aus wie mit dem Hammer getauft?
Translation: “Tell me, do I look like I was christened with a hammer?”

Suggested level of student: Advanced

5- Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahnpolizei (Alarm for Cobra 11 - The Highway Police)

Logo of the series Alarm fur Cobra 11 - Die Autobahnpolizei

This TV show describes the police operations of two policemen from a special department that’s responsible for the German highway—the Autobahnpolizei. Together, the two policemen build the Cobra 11.

Popular quote: Nicht Python, sondern Cobra 11. Das solltest du dir vorübergehend merken.
Translation: “Not Python, it’s Cobra 11. You should remember that temporarily.”

Suggested level of student: Intermediate

6- Die Sendung mit der Maus (The Program with the Mouse)

A person in a costume of a mouse on a stage in front of kids

This is one of the most successful TV shows for kids in German TV. In every episode, it features a combination of short animations with a mouse and a small blue elephant, which don’t have any dialogue, and a short knowledge film about different subjects such as the production of a hammer. It has a educational character and is well-recommended for beginners.

Popular quote: Lach- und Sachgeschichten
Translation: “Laugh and fact stories”

Suggested level of student: Beginner

7- Stromberg (Stromberg)

A portrait of Christoph Maria Herbst

Stromberg, which is the name of the TV show and the main character, is a comedy series that features the ordinary life of a boss of an insurance company called Capitol Versicherung AG. This TV show has a lot of sarcastic and ironic content, and shows strange behavior in dealing with people. It’s just hilarious to watch, and German TV shows with comedy are fantastic for learning.

Popular quote: Was dem an Grips fehlt, das gleicht er durch Blödheit wieder aus.
Translation: “His lack of nous he compensates with stupidity.”

Suggested level of student: Advanced

8- GZSZ - Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten (GTBT - Good Times Bad Times)

The logo of the TV show Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten

Again, we have a soap opera on our list. Apparently, German people do love soap operas. It features the lives of different ordinary people and deals with subjects such as the highs and lows in the process of becoming an adult, personality changes, how to deal with love in your life, and also political subjects. It’s one of the most popular TV shows for teenagers in Germany.

Popular quote: Man, mit dem Kleid meiner Oma kann ich den ganzen Saal schmücken.
Translation: “Man, with the dress of my grandmother you can decorate the whole hall.”

Suggested level of student: Intermediate

9- Löwenzahn (Dandelion)

The logo of the TV show Lowenzahn with the same name and a dandelion

This is, by far, one of the best kids’ TV shows for educational purposes ever made in German TV. Unfortunately, there are no new episodes, but it’s well worth it to watch the classics. Every episode shows a story about the character Peter Lustig who lives in a blue mobile home. During the story, you can learn something about a lot of subjects. One special aspect of this TV show is that the main character interacts with you, the viewer. It’s hard to describe—better just watch it.

Popular quote: Ihr seid ja immer noch da! Abschalten!
Translation: “You are still there! Switch off!”

Suggested level of student: Beginner

10- Schlag den Raab (Beat the Raab)

The TV personality Stefan Raab

This German TV show features one of the most popular German persons, Stefan Raab, in a game show. He’s playing fifteen different games against a candidate who has the possibility to win 500.000 €. If the candidate doesn’t win, then in the next episode the next candidate plays for 1 million €.

Popular quote: Barbie wird 45—oder wie Frauen sagen: 29.
Translation: “Barbie turns 45—but how a woman would say: 29.”

Suggested level of student: Advanced

11- Germany’s Next Topmodel (Germany’s Next Topmodel)

The model Heidi Klum as a portrait

This is a casting show to find the next top model of Germany. It’s produced by the famous German model Heidi Klum and is an adaption of the American TV show.

Popular quote: Es ist schöner, wenn du in die Kamera schaust.
Translation: “It looks better if you would look into the camera.”

Suggested level of student: Intermediate

4. How GermanPod101.com Can Help You Master German with TV Shows

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In this article, we showed you eleven of the best and most popular German TV shows. By now, you should know how watching German TV shows in the German language with German subtitles can help you. You should also have a good idea of what to expect from popular German TV shows.

Have you chosen the next TV show that you’ll watch? Let us know which one it will be and why you chose it.

To get started, GermanPod101.com has a lot of free resources about several subjects, as well as free courses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students.

And if that free stuff isn’t enough for you and you want to boost yourself to the next level quickly, then we can offer you a private teacher who specializes on your needs and your goals with the German language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!