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10 Useful German Phrases for Study Abroad

20th April 2016 Posted by: Holly Smith

RUCKSACK, noodles and Fahrenheit: would you ever guess that these are all German words? You probably already know more than you think!

 If you’re planning to study in Germany and want to make it with the locals, then you’re already on your way! However, it can be a complex language to master, so to help you we’ve come up with the top 10 useful German phrases you need to make yourself sound like a local. Slot these phrases into your everyday conversations and soon your WG will be impressed to say the least!

  1. Krass! – Amazing/awful

(kr-ass)

It’s a word that describes a heightened emotion towards something – mainly in a positive context, but can also be used negatively. We don’t really have an equivalent word in English, but everything can be krass. The great song you heard on the radio – its krass! Your friend just won the lottery – krass. Stepped in something a dog did – krass!

  1. Schwein haben – to have a stroke of luck

(sh-vine harben)

Remember that time when everyone called you lucky? It might happen again while you’re abroad and it might be a good idea to learn this German phrase. Literally it means ‘to have a pig’ – it could be taken the wrong way if you don’t know its colloquial meaning!

  1. Bock haben – to be in the mood for something

(bock harben)

Literally, you are saying that you have a male goat. Colloquially though, this is a great phrase to use to tell someone that you’re up for going to that new bar that opened round the corner!

  1. Die Nasse voll haben – to be sick of something

(dee nass-e foll harben)

‘To have a full nose’ in German doesn’t mean that you’re suffering from the flu, but rather, slang to emphasise the fact that you are completely fed up of something. Ideal to use when you’re bogged down with uni work.

  1. Na – so?

(naaa)

It’s a lazy, one syllable way of saying ‘how are you?’ Try saying it when you walk into your WG after a long day of classes! Don’t forget that it can also be used to say ‘and so?’ if you want to add a little attitude into the conversation.

  1. Das ist mir Wurst – I don’t care

(das is-t me-er vurst)

This is a great colloquial German phrase that can be used to mean that you really have no interest in something, or that you don’t mind. Can’t decide on the film you and your friends are going to watch at the cinema? Let them know that you’re not bothered which one by saying this little phrase. Plus, the best thing about using it - the literal English translation means that something is sausages to you!

  1. Der spinnt – he’s nuts!

(dare shh-pin-t)

Don’t be scared to let someone know how bonkers they are being when they are planning to go sky diving or want to order another round of shots at the bar.

  1. Da steppt der Bär – it will be a good party

(daa sch-tep-t dare bear)

Literal translation: there the bear dances. If you’re studying in Germany or Austria then you might hear this phrase a great deal! It’s also a great way to get people attending your WG party! Make sure you write it on your invitation every time!

  1. Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof – It’s all Greek to me

(ish ver-sch-tear nur barn-hof)

Don’t understand something? This is the ideal German phrase for you! What you are actually saying is that ‘I only understand train station’. Why a train station? I guess we’ll never know. But then again, the Greeks probably wonder why we refer to them in our English equivalent! 

  1. Klar wir Kloβbrühe – crystal clear

(cl-argh v-ear clo-ss-brew-e)

As clear as dumpling soup. Yes, this really is the literal translation! It’s a great German phrase for study abroad that can be found in books and is also said from time to time. Before you say yes to something, make sure that you are as clear as dumpling soup!


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