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German Vocab That Makes My Life Easier

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Expat in Germany: German Vocab That Makes My Life Easier

Friday, October 15, 2010

German Vocab That Makes My Life Easier

Ironically, the German vocab that makes my life easier is not German vocab that I've learned in my Intensive German course, but German vocab that I've learned while out and about.  Here's a list of some German vocab that makes my daily life so much easier:
  • "Alles?"  As in is that all (used when shopping)
  •  "Hier oder zum Mitnehmen?" Here or for takeaway ( a special thanks to the lady from Starbucks who patiently taught me this German vocab :)
  •  "Brauchen Sie eine Tasche?"  Do you need a bag? 
  •  "Welche Größe?" Which size, to which the correct answer is either"  "klein", "mittler"  or "groß"
  • "Drucken" or "Ziehen" "Push" or "pull" - very handy German vocab to know when reading the sign on doors
  • "Ich möchte zehn SchinkenScheiben des Schinken bitte."  I would like ten slices of ham please.  I was thrilled to have learned this German vocab last week as it now means that I can order the good stuff from the deli and not just buy the mediocre packaged stuff!
I realize that none of this German vocab is mind blowing, but it's such a relief to actually understand what someone is asking me, and being able to respond, rather than just giving them a blank confused stare.

Next on my German vocab list is mastering money.  I know my numbers but when I go to pay and the cashier hurriedly tells me my total is "fünfundzwanzig Euro und dreiundvierzig Cent", (25.43 euros) I freeze, and my comprehension of German vocab goes out the window so I just round up the number.  As a result, my purse is bursting with loose change.  I took  a handful out and put it on our table while J.P. stared in disbelief asking what I was going to do with it.  I calmly told him my dilemma and that since he didn't have the same problem as a fluent German speaker, he should take it and try and use it.  Needless to say he didn't see this as a longterm viable solution, and the coins are still on our table (although he did neatly stack them).  So I guess it's time for me to master my currency German vocab.

What German vocab has made your daily life easier?



At October 15, 2010 at 2:28 PM , Anonymous DDS said...

Wow, your post for today made me laugh! it reminded me of when i first arrived. mind you im here for one year now and i still blink slowly at people when they talk to fast! but its great to read about experiances from someone else....makes me feel more normal!
And most of all, our German other halves dont understand...So JP is going to have to just keep stacking them coins and what ever else his going to find over the next couple of months :)

At October 16, 2010 at 4:11 AM , Anonymous Andrew said...

Haha.. I love the line about him not giving a solution, but neatly stacking the coins. That seems so classically German. :)

One trick for the shopping part is to look at the register and see the number. It doesn't help so much with understanding the numbers, but does get rid of the coins. I like how sometimes the cashier will negotiate asking for different coins to make the change easier.

Luck to you on your learning. I like reading your posts. Gives me an idea of what my girl my experience when she comes this way even though I am an expat as well.

At October 16, 2010 at 4:48 AM , Blogger german-gems said...

Sometimes learning as you go is better than learning in the classroom. Most everything I say regularly in German comes from what I learned in daily conversations.

At October 16, 2010 at 8:49 AM , Anonymous Si said...

it is really the small things that you learn that give you the confidence to speak the language, as they are the starting point for opening a conversation with someone.

At October 17, 2010 at 3:49 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

Thanks DDS and yes I think J.P. will be stacking coins for a while :)

Andrew - I also thought that stacking the coins seemed very German :). You're right, in most cases I could just look at the register until I can understand the exact amount, but I try to listen. However looking at the stack of coins that is still on my table and getting bigger, I may need need to do this.

German-gems, that makes sense, since you learn what you hear frequently or need to say.

Si, I agree, the small things are great confidence builders :)

At October 17, 2010 at 9:07 AM , Blogger Frau Dietz said...

This really made me giggle. I do EXACTLY the same thing! I am so pleased to hear I am not the only one :) Usually I try and get a look at the cash register but even then, after six months of being here, it still takes me so long to work out which are the 1, the 2 and the 5 cent coins in my purse I usually just thrust a note at the lady behind the till and get back a mountain of change. Still, I have great fun putting all my 5s into the ticket machine at the bus stop :)

At October 17, 2010 at 9:22 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

Frau Dietz - Oh good, glad it's not just me :) And I agree, the 1,2 and 5 cent all look so similar, it's hard to tell them apart quickly. Too funny about using your change for the bus. I do the same thing at the train station. You definitely don't want to stand behind me at the train station :)

At October 17, 2010 at 11:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job!

At October 17, 2010 at 4:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree! Learning these expressions make daily life so much easier. Another one I like is Zusammen oder getrennt? (pay together or separately?)

BTW, I'd rather say Schinkenscheiben instead of "Scheiben des Schinken", but I'm not native, so... ;).

At October 22, 2010 at 6:49 AM , Blogger Latief Pakpahan said...

Yes, we must get use to with local language and we need to work hard to learn about it, great post sister ;)

At October 22, 2010 at 6:51 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

Wonkham, oh that is a good one. I'll have to remember that one too. I'll make the change to the schinken, thank you. I'm always learning :)


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