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LEARNING GERMAN

The essential words and phrases for a night out in Germany

Unsure of what to say when you're out with your German friends? Here are a few words and phrases to keep you afloat throughout the night.

The essential words and phrases for a night out in Germany
Friends chatting over a "Bierchen" at a pub. Photo: Depositphotos/DGLImages

When first meeting up

Starting the night off, you'll want to greet your friends or company appropriately.

When first meeting up, you could casually throw out a “Na, wie geht’s?” (“How are you?”), “Wie läuft’s?” (“How’s it going?/what’s up?”) or “Alles klar?” (literally meaning “All right” but typically used as a casual greeting).

Note that adding “Na” makes the sentence sound even more laid-back.

Sometimes you'll find these phrases condensed into a “Geht’s gut?” (“You good?”) or simply “Läuft’s?” (“Is it going?/Things going well?”).

“Wie geht’s?” can be used with someone you have not met before – a friend of a friend, for example – because it's less personal than “Na, wie läuft’s?” 

This latter phrase, or simply “Läufts?”, is used more commonly with good friends, as it implies that you know what is going on in their lives.

Two people enjoying a beer in Bayern. Photo: DPA

They can then directly respond to that, rather than just saying something superficial such as “Mir geht's gut” (I’m good) or “Alles gut” (all good).

So when you ask your best friend “Läuft’s?” he could reply: “Ja, meine neue Arbeit läuft super gut” (“Yes, my new job is going really well”).

This word Läuft by itself can also be used as a reply to indicate that everything is going really well.

You could also say “Läuft” or “Läuft bei dir” as a response to an action of someone else that you approve of, or view as funny or cool – for example, if your friend receives a drink for free.

Essentials during the night

Looking for the right words to fit in during the night? Terms such as “Digga” (often used when something unexpected or noteworthy occurs) or “Brudi” (bro) are terms of endearment commonly used when speaking to friends.

“Digga, hast du gesehen wie geil das Auto gerade war?” (Digga, did you see how awesome that car just was?).

But be careful who you call “Digga” or “Brudi”. If you don't know a person, it could come across as disrespectful.

“Bierchen” (diminutive form of beer) is a vital word to know, as Germans love their beer.

Phrases such as “Willst du ein Bierchen?” (do you want a beer?) or “Soll ich dir auch noch ein Bierchen mitbringen?” (Should I also bring you another beer?) will always come in handy if you want to sound polite before heading up to the bar.

“Feiern” (celebrating, partying) is an essential word in Germany. It not only means partying in the sense of having a good time with your friends at home, or going to a party that someone is throwing at their house, but predominantly it refers to going clubbing.

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Das Feiern

“Wollen wir heute feiern gehen oder in eine Bar?”

“Do you want to go clubbing tonight or to a bar?”

Two men having a conversation at a bar in Mannheim. Photo: DPA

“Gönn dir” (indulge/treat yourself) is also a popular phrase which you would only say to closer friends. It could be, for example, your response when your friend grabs two drinks for himself.

The phrase has a humorous connotation and underlines that you approve of a situation – or encourage it. It is often said as a response to something that is slightly overdone.

“Klopfer” (knocker) is a key word for a night out that involves drinking. It refers to a kind of shot (liquor) that comes in small bottles with various flavours such as plumb or fig.

It is named that way because of the procedure when drinking a “Klopfer”. First you look at the number on the bottom of the bottle, then you tap the bottle, the number of times it said (on the bottle), on the table, and then you “ex” (down) your drink.

When the night is over

After a night of “feiern” you might say “Komm gut nach Hause” (get home safe) – a common phrase you say to someone when parting on you way home. It's friendly but not too informal, meaning that you can say it to anyone from close Kumpel (pals) to people you just met at the ban.

On the other hand, “Ich hau rein” – meaning that you're leaving – is very colloquial, and only something you would say to people that you have known for a while, or feel like they are easygoing.

But not everyone uses this phrase. So if you are unsure, just stick to “komm gut nach Hause”.

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LEARNING GERMAN

The best podcasts for learning and perfecting your German

Once you've learned the basics of German, listening to podcasts is one of the best ways of increasing vocabulary and speeding up comprehension. Here are some of the best podcasts out there for German learners.

The best podcasts for learning and perfecting your German

STARTING OUT

Coffee Break German

Coffee Break German aims to take you through the basics of German in a casual lesson-like format. It is extremely easy to listen to. Each 20-minute episode acts as a mini-lesson, where German native Thomas teaches Mark Pendleton, the founder and CEO of Coffee Break Languages, the basics.

All phrases are broken down into individual words. After new phrases are introduced the listeners are encouraged to repeat them back to practise pronunciation.

The advantage of listening to this podcast is that the learner, Mark, begins at the same level as you. He is also a former high school French and Spanish teacher. He often asks for clarification of certain phrases, and it can feel as if he is asking the very questions you want answered.

You can also stream the podcast directly from the provider’s website, where they sell a supplementary package from the Coffee Break German Academy, which offers additional audio content, video flashcards and comprehensive lesson notes

German Pod 101

German Pod 101 aims to teach you all about the German language, from the basics in conversations and comprehension to the intricacies of German culture. German Pod 101 offers various levels for your German learning and starts with Absolute Beginner.

The hosts are made up of one German native and one American expat living in Germany, in order to provide you with true authentic language, but also explanations about the comparisons and contrasts with English. This podcast will, hopefully, get you speaking German from day one.

Their website offers more information and the option to create an account to access more learning materials.

Learn German by Podcast

This is a great podcast if you don’t have any previous knowledge of German. The hosts guide you through a series of scenarios in each episode and introduce you to new vocabulary based on the role-plays. Within just a few episodes, you will learn how to talk about your family, order something in a restaurant and discuss evening plans. Each phrase is uttered clearly and repeated several times, along with translations.

READ ALSO:

Learn German by Podcast provides the podcasts for free but any accompanying lesson guides must be purchased from their website. These guides include episode transcripts and some grammar tips. 

DEVELOPING YOUR GERMAN

Easy German

This podcast takes the form of a casual conversation between hosts Manuel and Cari, who chat in a fairly free-form manner about aspects of their daily lives. Sometimes they invite guests onto the podcast, and they often talk about issues particularly interesting to expats, such as: “How do Germans see themselves?”. Targeted at young adults, the podcasters bring out a new episode very three or four days.

News in Slow German

This is a fantastic podcast to improve your German listening skills. What’s more, it helps you stay informed about the news in several different levels of fluency.

The speakers are extremely clear and aim to make the podcast enjoyable to listen to. For the first part of each episode the hosts talk about a current big news story, then the second part usually features a socially relevant topic. 

A new episode comes out once a week and subscriptions are available which unlock new learning tools.

SBS German

This podcast is somewhat interesting as it is run by an Australian broadcaster for the German-speaking community down under. Perhaps because ethnic Germans in Australia have become somewhat rusty in their mother tongue, the language is relatively simple but still has a completely natural feel.

There is a lot of news here, with regular pieces on German current affairs but also quite a bit of content looking at what ties Germany and Australia together. This lies somewhere between intermediate and advanced.

A woman puts on headphones in Gadebusch, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Photo: dpa | Jens Büttner

PERFECTING YOUR GERMAN

Auf Deutsche gesagt

This is another great podcast for people who have a high level of German. The host, Robin Meinert, talks in a completely natural way but still manages to keep it clear and comprehensible.

This podcast also explores a whole range of topics that are interesting to internationals in Germany, such as a recent episode on whether the band Rammstein are xenophobic. In other words, the podcast doesn’t just help you learn the language, it also gives you really good insights into what Germans think about a wide range of topics.

Sozusagen

Bayern 2 present their podcast Sozusagen! for all those who are interested in the German language. This isn’t specifically directed at language learners and is likely to be just as interesting to Germans and foreigners because it talks about changes in the language like the debate over gender-sensitive nouns. Each episode explores a different linguistic question, from a discussion on German dialects to an analysis of political linguistics in Germany.

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