When traveling through Germany, like in other parts of the world, politeness is the key. It helps to be respectful at all times. So be sure to study this list of polite German words and phrases and treat those you encounter with the respect they deserve.
Let’s start with this super useful word in the German language. You may find that bitte is used almost in excess. Germans are a polite people, so be sure to use this word liberally.
|“Ein Stück Apfelkuchen bitte.”|
|“A slice of apple cake please.”
“Here you are.”
Be sure to master the “Danke” if you don’t want to look ungrateful. It’s nice to be nice to the nice! Makes sense?
|“Wie geht es dir?”|
“Es geht mir gut, danke.”
|“How are you?”
“I’m doing well, thank you.”
When you need to be excused for something, this is a polite way to say “excuse me” in German. Don’t worry, we all make mistakes.
|“Bitte entschuldigen Sie mich.”|
“Für mein schlechtes Deutsch.”
|“Please excuse me.”
“For my bad German.”
When you need to express that your spirits are still high, this is the word to use. A good way to show that you are staying positive and not losing faith.
|“Ist Deutsch schwierig?”|
“Ja, aber Ich werde die Hoffnung nie verlieren.”
|“Is German difficult?”
“Yes, but I’ll never lose hope.”
When you are looking to express how you see something, this word will come in handy.
|“Er ist ein guter Tänzer.”|
“Ja, Er wirkte wie ein Fachmann.”
|He’s a great dancer.
Yeah, he seemed like a professional.
An important word for those of you that hate verbal commitments. Or when you want to show a bit of uncertainty.
|“Kommst du zu meiner Party?”|
|“Are you coming to my party?”
When you don’t want to seem rude and abruptly do something that may displease the people around you, show them consideration with this phrase. They will appreciate that you care.
|“Macht es dir etwas aus, wenn ich das Fenster öffne?”|
‘Nein, natürlich nicht”
|“Do you mind if I open the window?”
“No, of course not.”
When you want to show the other person that you are a proper lady or gentleman, this is what to say. Who said chivalry is dead?
|“Nach dir, Herr.”|
|“After you, sir.”
Show that person that you’re not demanding by saying this phrase. After all, it’s respectful to be flexible.
|“Falls du es dir anders überlegen solltest, lass es mich wissen.”|
“Ja, ich will.”
|“If you should change your mind, do let me know.”
“Yes, I will.”
Sometimes, we can all use some help. As a tourist, there is no doubt you will need this phrase to get by. Even tasks that once seemed simple can become a source of much frustration in a different culture. Don’t be afraid to ask for some help!
|“Ich brauche Hilfe.”|
“Was kann ich für dich tun?”
|“I need some help.”
“What can I do for you?”
|“Bitte lehre mich deutsch.”|
|“Please teach me German.”
Sometimes, you need to ask for forgiveness. Don’t fret as long as you got this phrase in your back pocket. Let’s just hope they forgive you.
|“Wieso hast du das getan?”|
|“Why did you do that?”
When “Ja” just won’t suffice, hit them with a “naturlich”. This will help show that you know what you are talking about and the question didn’t need to be asked at all!
|Sprichst du Deutsch?|
|“Do you speak German?”
Did you do something that warrants a grateful “danke”? This is the appropriate way to respond to someone’s gratitude!
|“Danke für den Kaffee.”|
|“Thank you for the coffee.”
When you need to politely refuse something, be sure to thank them for the offer with this phrase.
|“Möchtest du ein Bier?”|
|“Would you like a beer?”
“No, thank you.”
When you want to tell someone that they are indeed correct, this word well help them feel smarter than a simple yes would!
|“Ist das Paul?”|
“ach ja, richtig!”
| “Is that Paul?”
“Oh yes, correct!”
Now you have the tools to carry out polite conversation while you chat your way through Germany. Now get out there, and start talking with confidence---and politely, too!
If you are looking to further enhance your German speaking ability, check out German short stories below!
A FUN AND EFFECTIVE WAY TO LEARN GERMAN
Charity Johnson is a third sector worker and former secondary teacher based in the Scottish Isles. Her blog, Archipelagal, is the (re)telling of her geographical and ideological whereabouts.