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Forty key phrases to learn for traveling to Germany the first time

When you meet a German local, it’s kind to say Guten Tag, but if they’re young or you know them pretty well, Hallo works great. If you’re interested in learning more phrases like what’s included in this article, take an online group or private class with Lingoda anytime.

If you’re going to Germany, even for a week, it’s a good idea to learn a bit of German. You won’t need to be fluent, but you should be able to communicate the basics, like “hello,” “please,” and “sorry.” Here’s every key phrase you should know before taking a trip to Germany.

Greetings and goodbyes
When you meet a German local, it’s kind to say Guten Tag, but if they’re young or you know them pretty well, Hallo works great. If you’re interested in learning more phrases like what’s included in this article, take an online group or private class with Lingoda anytime.

1. Hello! (informal) 
Hallo!

2. Good day!
Guten tag!

3. Good evening!
Guten abend!

4. Good-bye!
Auf wiedersehen!

5. Please/You’re welcome
Bitte

6. You’re welcome
Gerne geschehen

7. Yes/No
Ja/Nein 

8. Thank you
Danke

9. Sorry
Verzeihung

10. Excuse me (informal)
Entschuldigen Sie

11. My name is…
Ich heiße…

12. I am… 
Ich bin…

13. Pleased to meet you
Freut mich

Basic questions 
At some point during your travels, you’ll need to ask a local for directions, their name, and if they speak English, so they can communicate with you more easily. In order for you to have “eine bessere Reise” (a better trip), learn the following questions and common answers.

14. Do you speak English?
Sprechen Sie Englisch?

15. How are you?
Wie geht es Ihnen?

16. What’s your name?
Wie heißen Sie?

17. Would you help me, please?
Würden Sie mir bitte helfen?

18. What time is it?
Wie viel uhr ist es?

19. What’s the weather like?
Wie ist das Wetter?

20. How much does…cost?
Wie viel kostet…?

21. Where do I find…?
Wo finde ich…?

22. Where is the bathroom?
Wo ist die toilette?

23. Do you have…?
Haben Sie…?

24. Where is…?
Wo ist…?

25. Could you repeat that please?
Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?

26. Could you please talk more slowly?
Können Sie bitte langsamer sprechen?

Eating out and dining
Europeans love to get together over a good meal, and you’ll likely enjoy doing the same. For this section, we’ll stick to mostly formal German because it’s important to come across as polite. The nicer you are to restaurant employees, the more likely you are to get great service!

27. The menu, please
Die speisekarte bitte

28. Excuse me (formal)
Entschuldigen Sie

29. I’d like…
Ich hätte gern…

30. Can you recommend something?
Könnten Sie etwas empfehlen?

31. Another (beer), please
Noch (ein Bier) bitte

32. The check, please
Die rechnung bitte

33. Enjoy your food
Guten appetit

34. A receipt, please
Eine quittung bitte

Only for emergencies
One of the scariest parts of traveling is not knowing the right words or phrases that can get someone's attention during an emergency. Make sure you learn the correct pronunciations for “Hilfe,” “Polizei,” and “Feuer” especially, so you can get the help you need when you need it.

35. Help!
Hilfe!

36. Police!
Polizei!

37. Fire!
Feuer!

38. I’m sick/ill
Ich bin krank

39. Get a doctor!
Holen Sie einen Arzt!

40. I don’t know my way around
Ich kenne mich hier nicht 

While it isn’t necessary to learn vocabulary that includes days, months, colors, time, food and drink, numbers, and basic descriptive words, it’s good to go above and beyond if possible. 

Even though most Germans know English, it isn’t polite to expect people to speak a language they’re uncomfortable with, so learn all that you can. German locals will really appreciate that you, a tourist, tried to learn their language and cultural nuances before you arrived.

Photo by Kai Pilger from Pexels

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