Monday 19 Jan, 2015

German Language Immersion 101

German-states-300x192Dive right into a new culture by learning the language, using your newfound skills to interact with locals for a richer on-tour experience. You won’t believe how much you can learn in just a short time!

Here’s our helpful guide to some common German phrases.

German-speaking nations such as Switzerland, Austria, and, of course, Germany, are a major draw for those visiting Europe. Although it may be easy enough to take in the sites without speaking the language, it’s always helpful to have a few phrases on hand to help you get around on your student tour to Germany.

Having a working knowledge of German pronunciation may seem daunting at first, but once you start, you may find that learning this influential language is easier than it seems—and highly rewarding!

German Language Facts & Statistics:

  • German is a West Germanic language, closely related to Dutch and English.
  • 100 million people speak German worldwide, and it is the third most taught second language around the globe.
  • Outside of Germany it is also the official language of Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein and Belgium.
  • In over a dozen European countries, German is recognized as a minority language, making it the most spoken language in the EU.
  • In the wake of the American Revolution—and in an attempt to eschew British influence—German was almost chosen as the official language of the United States!

German Language History:

  • German is a member of the Indo-European language family.
  • Various forms of German have been spoken for centuries by monks, aristocrats and clerics. In 1455, the world’s first printed book, a 42-page version of the Bible, was produced in German, beginning a new age of literacy.
  • Countless important historical figures were native German speakers, including Freud, Beethoven, Mozart and Einstein.
  • Many English words have their roots in German including kindergarten, blitz, delicatessen, doppelganger, uber, and of course our personal favorite, wanderlust!


Useful German Language Immersion Phrases:

German Phonetic Spelling English
Hallo hal-OH Hello
Dankeschön/Danke DAN-kuh-shern/DAN-kuh Thank you
Sprechen Sie Englisch? SHPREK-en ZEE EN-glish? Do you speak English?
Bitte BIT-uh Please
Woher kommst du? VOH-hair KOHMST DOO? Where are you from?
Auf Wiedersehen OWF VEE-der-zain Goodbye
Ich verstehe nicht IK fair-SHTEH-uh NICKT I don’t understand.
Wieviel kostet das? VEE-feel KOHST-et DASS? How much is it?
Wo ist die Toilette? VO IST DEE toy-LET-uh? Where is the bathroom?

And Now Some German Slang:

German Phonetic Spelling English
Gediegen Ge-DEEG-en Cool
Atze AHTZ-uh Buddy
Banane Ba-NA-neh That’s crazy!

With your new German skills, you and your students can leap right into a language immersion tour of Berlin! You can also learn more about the rest of our language immersion tours here.