Wednesday, 16 March 2016

10 Most Useful Phrases I've learnt on my Year Abroad

Frankfurt Römerplatz
I've learnt a lot of German on my year abroad. It's crazy how you think you have a decent grasp of a language and then you get thrown in with a bunch of natives and they're basically speaking a different language, with their dialect and colloquialisms. You do adjust pretty quickly though. Learning a language in a classroom is a whole different ballpark to learning it through speaking with natives. Anyway here's some of my favourite/most useful/most said phrases that I've picked up since I moved to Germany (6 months ago!! - time flies!).


1. Na?

Oh the delights of working in Hessen, and with a bunch of workmates who speak fluent Hessisch. This was definitely a challenge at first and I'm still hearing a few things and thinking, what on earth did you just say? My fav is the sort-of greeting Na? It's similar to the English expression/greeting of alright?, to which I also don't know whether to reply with hello! Or good thanks!
Translation: alright?


2. Schönen Feierabend / Mach's gut

You will probably already know these and if not you'll learn them within only a day or two of working in a German office. A Feierabend has nothing to do with actual parties (usually), but is just the evening after work. I can't think of an English translation for it? I'm not sure we have one. But say this to anyone leaving the office and you'll get smiles and an 'ebenso' back. Mach's gut is an alternative, but it's less common.
Translation: Have a good evening outside of work! / Take care!


3. Was war Ihr Name nochmal?

I'm bad enough with English names, but German names is just another challenge altogether. I ask this almost everytime I meet someone or answer the phone, and then usually say 'wie schreibt man das?' Because wow there are some interesting spellings about.
Translation: What was your name again?


4. Geduld zahlt sich immer aus

Because you really are gonna need some 'Geduld' with filling in endless German forms and the slow internet and the online banking or lack of it.
Translation: Patience always pays off.


5. Sag mir Bescheid

I say and hear 'Bescheid' a million times a day, and I'm amazed this was a word I didn't really know before I came here.
Translation: Let me know!


6. Bist du auf Facebook?

There's not much to say here, I feel it's pretty self explanatory.
Translation: Are you on FB?


7. Und zwar...

I hear this ALL the time. Always at the start of phone conversations or informal meetings, but in general conversation too. It sort-of works as a filler and gives you another couple of seconds to decide what you're actually gonna say.
Translation: and so... / and namely…


8. So weiter und so fort

Works the same way as etc. Etc. Can be useful for when you can't be bothered to carry on listing or you're running out of things to say.
Translation: so on and so forth


9. Payback Karte?

It seems like almost every place you shop in Germany will ask you this. And every single time you'll say no. Unless you do actually sign up. It's like the equivalent of a nectar card, except not quite as good. My marketing class teacher said it's not worth it, and you'll never rack up enough points for them to actually be worth something, so I didn't bother! But I guess it depends on how much you'll actually spend here...
Translation: I've said this a million bloody times today but it's my job but don't worry I won't try to hide the fact that this supermarket has drained my soul and I'll take out my frustration by throwing your groceries to the end of the conveyor belt and glare at you while you try to pack them as quick as possible
Hi dear customer, do you have the loyalty card with you today perhaps?


10. Oberaffentittengeil

Okay maybe this isn't all that useful, but I think it's my favourite word I've learnt since I've been here. I need to try slip this into conversation more often...
Translation: Cooler than the monkey's tits.

What are your favourite non-English phrases?


Hannah Lane


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