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Speaking German as a third language makes me really proud. It has been such a long way to come to this point. Every little single step has helped me a lot: from talking to a waiter while asking for a coffee, to observing the billboards on the street, or reading the news displayed in the U-bahn.
Learning German, as I was telling you here, is not the easiest thing in the world. But there are things that can really help you during your stay in Germany. So here are my top expressions and tips that you absolutely must know!
The basic dictionary of German.
- Guten Morgen: don’t say it if 10:00 in the morning are already passed. Germans will look at you in a strange way. If it’s not early, better to greet with Guten Tag, valid for the whole day.
- Zu mitnehmen: literally “to take away”. This expression will help you a lot in case you don’t want to stop in a café to drink your cappuccino, or if you are not able to finish your pizza. You can easily take it at home: the waste of food is not tolerated here.
- Zu verschenken: you can find this writing everywhere, especially if you walk across the old East Berlin. People here used to leave their old stuff in the street. This is not seen in a rude manner, not at all. If you don’t need an object anymore, there is perhaps someone that does instead. This is how I furnished my own apartment, for example. If you read this sign, feel free to take what you need with you.
- Alles klar! This expression can be used in different ways: it means, alright, ok, perfect, I got it… you will hear it so often that you will repeat it automatically. Alles klar can be also used at the end of a phone conversation, or to ask someone if everything is fine.
- Lecker: delicious! Probably the most used cooking compliment here in Germany. If you appreciate what you are eating, this is a good word to know.
- Genau: literally “exactly”, this word is something you definitely need to know. You will see how Germans overuse this expression. It belongs to the everyday life, and it’s impossible to avoid it.
- Keine Ahnung: this saying it’s used to tell your interlocutor you don’t have any idea about the topic you’re talking about.
- Mach’s gut! Take care! If you’re leaving the office after a working day or just saying goodbye to a friend, this expression will suit you.
- Freut mich, Sie kennen zu lernen: nice to meet you! It’s actually not so common here to say it, at least, not the whole phrase. Freut mich it’s enough, but it’s not something you say necessarily when meeting a person. It’s anyway good to know. If you just arrived in Germany, don’t worry, you can say “Hallo”, and it will be perfect!
- Hallo/Tschüß: hi/bye! In German Hallo it’s used to greet while meeting someone; Tschüß or Ciao, are used instead while leaving a place. Can you imagine my face (the face of an Italian girl), the first time someone told me “Ciao”? I thought it was a joke, or that my hearing is gone. None of those, fortunately! This is the beauty of learning foreign languages.