10 Essential German Phrases Every Expat Should Know


10 Essential German Phrases Every Expat Should Know

Moving overseas and acclimatising to a completely different culture or environment can be tricky, and many new expats find it takes them weeks or even months to settle.

But learning the language of your host nation can make things significantly easier and help you to throw yourself into both the social and corporate sides of life overseas.

Locals are also likely to look on you more kindly if you make the effort to learn their native tongue (rather than lazily assuming everyone will speak English).

Obviously, learning to speak a language fluently can take a while, and learning to speak a language like a native can really only be achieved by immersing yourself in it full-time.

Although English is the second language in Germany and many of the populace speak it as well as UK nationals, your enjoyment of the nation and its peoples will be enhanced if you can speak even the most basic German.

So even if your move is a bit last minute, or the odds of you becoming bilingual before your move are particularly slim, there are several essential German phrases every expat simply must make the effort to learn!

Hello – Guten Tag

Goodbye – Auf Wiedersehen

Yes – Ja

No – Nein

Please – Bitte

Thank you – Danke

My name is… – Ich Heiße (ß pronounced like a double S)

Pleased to meet you – Angenehm

 How are you? – Wie geht’s

Do you speak English? – Sprechen Sie Englisch?

Now, once you’ve committed those phrases to memory (and worked on your pronunciation) you might want to start learning these other basic German words and phrases…

Good Morning – Guten Morgan

Maybe – Vielleicht

Where is/are? – Wo ist/sind?

Where is the? – Wo ist das

How much? Wie Viel

More slowly, please – Langsamer, bitte

I don’t understand – Ich verstehe nicht

Car – Auto

Train – Zug

Plane – Flugzeug

Train Station – Bahnhof

Airport – Flughafen

Left – Links

Right – Richtig

Bread – Brot/Brötchen

Beer – Bier

Wine – Vine

Juice – Saft

Waiter – Ober

Waitress – Kellnerin

And, if you feel like you’re on a roll, try learning some German numbers!

One – Eins

Two – Zwei

Three – Drei

Four – Vier

Five –fünf

Six – Sechs

Seven – Sieben

Eight – Acht

Nine – Neun

Ten – Zehn

The German language is notoriously complex and foreigners often find the syntax, exceptionally long sentence structure and grammar difficult to understand. But like all languages it can be learnt, it just requires patience and persistence.

For some top German-learning tips check out the language section of our Country Guide for Germany.

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