german beer people

The German language, much like the German people, is pretty straightforward: blunt, clear and VERY to the point. So much so that explaining how to pronounce things phonetically is almost unnecessary – you say words how they appear on paper (albeit, with a kind of harsh, heavy accent). So, rejoice English speakers: whether you're planning a visit to binge drink at Oktoberfest, hit up Berlin's clubs, or ski in the Bavarian Alps, speaking a cheeky sentence or two just ain't that hard. Because VIVA's here to help out, we've collected 10 of the most essential phrases – so you can ask for everything from the wifi password to another beer.

BTW, take the phonetic pronunciation with a grain of salt...

I suck at German, can you speak English?

German: Ich spreche schlechtes Deutsch, sprichst du Englisch?
Phonetic pronunciation: Ish spre-che shlech-tus doy-ch, sprisht doo English?

Luckily for us untalented linguists, most Germans people speak a little English these days – especially twenty-somethings in big cities. Failing that, there’s always waving your arms about.

I'm trying to find my Airbnb, here's the address:

German: Ich versuche meine Airbnb zu finden, die Adresse ist:
Phonetic pronunciation: Ish ver-zu-che muy-ne Airbnb zoo fin-den, dee ad-res-e ist

Because hotels are so 2016 and, let’s be honest, who can actually find their way around without Google Maps these days? Not us. Thankfully, this phrase will come in handy if geography isn't your strong point, or if too many hours in a German Bierhalle (beer hall) has gone to your head.

What is the wifi password?

German: Was ist das WLAN Passwort? 
Phonetic pronunciation: Vas ist das vee-lan pass-vort

This has gotta be one of the most important questions to learn how to say... How would you check in on Facebook or update your Snapchat story without it? In all seriousness, Berlin's public wifi is very good (there's about 100 hotspots available for free), but this is a question that's always worth knowing.

Where can I find the best currywurst?

German: Wo kann ich die beste Currywurst finden?
Phonetic pronunciation: Vo can ish dee bes-te curry-vurst fin-den?

Sliced pork sausage slathered in condiments and curry powder tastes as good as it sounds, and is pretty much the best street food (AKA drunk food) around. Germans are so mad about it there's a literal Currywurst Museum in Berlin – but if visiting it is a step too far, just sample the delicious snack for yourself.

What is your name on Facebook?

German: Wie heißt du auf Facebook? 
Phonetic pronunciation: Vee huy-st doo awf Facebook

Because calling someone "hot German guy" in your head is fine, but isn't thaaat useful when you're trying to find (and stalk) them on Facebook. 

Can you recommend a nightclub near here?

German: Kannst du einen Club in der Nähe empfehlen? 
Phonetic pronunciation: Can-st doo uy-nen club in der ne-a emp-fel-un

It's not hard to find a cool club (well, especially if you're in Berlin) thanks to the wonders of the internet, but if you find one too easily, there's always the risk of tourist infestation. So, find a hidden gem (read: a super hipster hangout) and ask a local.

Do you want to stay the night?

German: Willst du hier übernachten? 
Phonetic pronunciation: Vil-st du heer uber-nach-tun?

While it may not be the most romantic phrase to learn, it gets straight to the point. And that's vital when Germans are blunt anyway, and when you're flying home the next day...

One beer, please

German: Ein Bier, bitte.
Phonetic pronunciation: Uyn beer, bi-te

But don't stop at one... why not go for two, three or four? Of the estimated 1,200 breweries in Germany, most are in the southern state of Bavaria (which is also home to Munich's almighty Oktoberfest). So, if you're going to order beer, order it there.

I'm too drunk, I need a taxi

German: Ich bin zu Betrunken und fähre mit dem Taxi nach hause.
Phonetic pronunciation: Ich bin zoo bet-run-ken oont fa-ru mit dem taxi nach haw-su.

This happens to the best of us, so feel no shame. But, pretty please don't get into a cab without your cellphone, wallet and/ or passport. Your minimal German probs won't stretch to begging for a new passport at the embassy...

Where is the nearest Christmas market?

German: Wo ist der nächste Weihnachtsmarkt?
Phonetic pronunciation: Vo ist der ne-ch-stu vuy-nach-smarct?

Admittedly, this is only useful for about one month of the year, BUT there are few places more magical than Germany at Christmas. So, use the phrase and you'll find yourself among the world's best sausages and Glühwein (mulled wine), and full of festive cheer. Insider tip: there are markets all over the country, but venture to Dresden for the tastiest eats and the world's tallest Nutcracker.


If you do want to learn the language a little more fully, then check out these apps that'll genuinely help you out.