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Talk:German phrasebook

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Surely all phrasebooks should be made out in a standard accent and not in regional dialects. When learning English you don't learn it how Cocknies speak it or how it is spoken in New York. Most foreigners learning English will learn either standard Oxford English or American English. Is there, therefore, any need for so many dialectical forms of the greetings of the language? It simply confuses the article! You wouldn't teach a foreigner to say "ya'reet" as they do in the southwest of England. I suggest removing these regional variations and if necessary, creating separate niederdeutsch, and deutschsprachige schweiz, etc phrasebooks.

I fully agree, and in fact we already have a Swiss-German phrasebook. Jpatokal 09:30, 4 February 2007 (EST)

Alsace in France gets a few mentions, I see. Frankly you can forget using German there. This would go down like breaking wind in Church. Use French by all means!Alsatian German is sadly not as widely spoken, as it was even 20 years ago, but still very much something for family and home. Just because people may have German surnames and live in places with German names, they would be quite offended if addressed in German, unless you knew no French and they NO English. It would very much be a very last resort. Many speakers of dialect would say they can not speak German anyway!They would resent any implication they are in any way German. Alsace was part of France, at the time of the French Revolution, and that was long before any united Germany.This is despite the periods of annexation etc.....No mention of Lorraine (part of which does have a Germanic dialect). Same goes for that area, believe me!

Abzocken - You're cheating me[edit]

Don't say "abzocken", that's street slang and sounds as if you were offering a fist fight. The correct German for "You're cheating me" is "Sie übervorteilen mich" albeit it might sound a bit old-fashioned, it's still far better than "abzocken". "Das ist nicht fair" - "This is not fair" is another possibility.

Why not simply say: This is too much? (Das ist zu viel/zu teuer.) In fact, "abzocken" if not said with a smile on your face might insult the seller. Trying to bargain if you do not speak german is really difficult. Maybe you just say "Das ist mir zu teuer" (This is too expensive for me!) and go away. Slowly, of course. :-) Maybe the seller then will react and reduce the price. Bargaining if don´t speak english may be really useless, I'm afraid.

I want to check out.[edit]

Ich möchte Sie verlassen. (ikh MOOKH-tuh zee vayr-lahs-sen)

No one will understand you, if you say "Ich möchte Sie verlassen" when checking out in a hotel. There is an anglicism for this: The verb "auschecken". I suggest using the phrase : "Ich würde gerne auschecken" or "Ich möchte auschecken" Karl

Actually, a correct high German term would be "Ich möchte abreisen" - "I would like to depart", "auschecken" sounds snobbish.

WOW! This is SO GREAT! -- Evan 20:16, 1 Nov 2003 (PST)

Thanks, Evan. -- Hansm 07:13, 2003 Nov 2 (PST)

Sorry Evan, why did you remove my GFDL agreement??? I think it is my right to agree to different licences and actualy, you have proposed that yourself:

That said, you are welcome to label your contributions as being dual-licensed, as long as you're not basing them on other people's by-sa licensed work. -- Evan 12:47, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)

cite from Wikitravel talk:Why Wikitravel isn't GFDL

-- Hansm 08:00, 2003 Nov 2 (PST)
Hansm: sorry, I was writing the explanation below as you asked. I'm going to try to write up the deal for dual-licensing. I removed the license note, as it was no longer pertinent to the article as it stands on Wikitravel, and I thought it was misleading. -- Evan 08:09, 2 Nov 2003 (PST)

Moved from the article by Evan

Licence note: The author explicitly agrees to the publication under the terms of the GFDL.

NOTE: Once another author besides HansM started working on this article, they had to choose one of the two licenses he made it available under: either the GFDL or the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. That contributor was me (Evan). If I had chosen to use the GFDL, it would mean that either a) we would have to delete the article from Wikitravel, since other contributors could no longer make derived works based on the by-sa license, or b) we would have to figure out a way in our software to mark articles as GFDL-only.

I didn't want to hassle with it, so the derived work I made is under the CC-BY-SA license. Let me reiterate: according to the provisions of the GFDL and by-sa themselves, someone deriving a new work from a dual-licensed work must pick one and only one of those licenses to use for the derived work. I chose by-sa, for the reasons outlined in Why Wikitravel isn't GFDL as well as from pure laziness -- I don't want to have to hack the MediaWiki software to track multiple licenses and the dual-licensing problem.

Hansm's last dual-licensed version is here: Anyone is welcome to derive GFDL'd work from that -- but please don't upload it to Wikitravel, as it's not possible with our software right now.

Sorry for the hassle -- it's inherent in dual-licensed work. See Wikitravel:Dual licensing for more discussion. -- Evan 08:04, 2 Nov 2003 (PST)

Ok, Evan. That seems to be convincing. Anyway, it realy would be a great goal to find some possibility to implement dual licensing features. -- Hansm 08:23, 2003 Nov 2 (PST)

So, I thought I'd answer some of the questions in the phrasebook, at least what I was thinking when I was making the first draft of the Phrasebook template:

Can you change a traveler's check for me?
Sorry, don't understand the exact meaning of 'for me (...)

I think that "Can you change a traveler's check?" is fine. Or "Do you cash traveler's checks?", "Would you accept a traveler's check?", etc.

Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?
Sorry, don't know what ATM means (...)

An "automatic teller machine" is a public computer kiosk people use to extract cash from a bank account or credit card. "ATM" is an abbreviation for it. I think they're sometimes called "cash machines" or "automated cashiers" (here in Quebec it's a guichet automatique, I can't recall if it's the same term in France or not).

Can I look in the kitchen?
Note: This is a very unusual question in Europe. You risk that poeple feel offended.

It's a pretty unusual question in North America, too. In parts of Asia, though, it's considered a little finicky but perfectly all right -- kind of like looking at a hotel or motel room before you pay for it. I'd say that in general, for phrases that would be unusual or just plain rude, it's probably best to just leave the phrase out.

Can you make it "lite", please?
lite, lard???

Well, y'know. Maybe "low fat" would be a better word here than "lite".

Bier (...)

I think maybe you should add all those beers to the "Bar" section, eh?

Please clear the plates.
??? Don't understand (...)

A way of saying "Please take these plates and bowls off the table, because we're finished eating."


Agreed as to the uselessness of this for most metric-using countries (Quebec has pints, by the way -- I have to order une pint). Maybe we should have instead something like "little beer", "big beer"?

_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.

In the US and I think other English-speaking countries, you ask for a cocktail or mixed drink by naming the alcohol and mixer that go in it: "whiskey and soda", "rum and Coke", "vodka and tonic". I was trying to figure out a way to say this without listing every possible combination. Apparently I failed. B-)

club soda

This is just carbonated water, used for mixing drinks. I don't know where the "club" part comes from. It's also called "soda water" or "seltzer" in English.

You're cheating me.

This was actually for those times when you get in a transaction with a street vendor, tour guide, or someone else, and you realize that they're trying to trick you. (Making mental note: Common scams might be a good travel topic). The idea is just to say, "I know this is a trick, and I'm walking away now." I guess also it might be good to have a statement like, "I know that this is not the regular price."


This is a street sign in the USA and I think also in Canada and some other English-speaking countries. You see it when two streets merge together, and drivers on one street -- usually the smaller one -- have to wait until there's no traffic on the other street before joining.

Let me finally say that I think this is a fabulous phrasebook. Very, very good work! -- Evan 09:21, 4 Nov 2003 (PST)

Do you speak English?[edit]

  • I used to ask that before I received the answer "some times".
  • A better phrasing of the question is "Can you speak English?" -- 14:21, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  •  :-) "Some times" was simply a joke I guess, the question "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" is quite okay and is understood by everyone. It´s just like in english: "Do you speak English? - Some times. "Can you speak Englisch?" or "Können Sie englisch sprechen?" is a phrase simply not used in the german language. Everyone will understand you, though, but the usual phrase is: Do you speak German?/Sprechen Sie Englisch?. So stick to it, there was nothing wrong with your question.

Tonicwater revert[edit]

I reverted tonic water : Tonicwater (TO-nic-woh-tuh ) because I do not think that is quite right. Surely it would be tonic water : Tonicwasser (TO-nic-vas-sa ) or something like that. But then that is only a guess on my part. -- Huttite 05:51, 14 Dec 2005 (EST)

I'm not quite sure what you really mean but if you say Tonicwater everybody understands you. Actually I think there exists no word like "Tonicwasser" as far as I know. Anyway they sell it everywhere as "Tonicwater" oder simply "Tonic". --User:unknown


It's not true that a ch at the beginning of a word is always pronounced as a k sound. It's only true for south Germany and when there's a consonant following the Ch. Chor (choir) or Charakter (character) are pronounced with a k sound, but e. g. Chemie (chemistry) or China have the sound as in ich. People will understand you though, because it is common in Bavaria etc. after all. Most words starting with ch are not originially German anyway and are pronounced roughly as they are in their original language (mostly French and English), that is with a sh sound (as in Chance) or tsh (as in Chips).

Entschuldigen Sie / Entschuldigung[edit]

In everyday usage they are identical, there is no difference in usage. People apologize with both and people ask for attention with both.-- 02:15, 25 March 2010 (EDT)

Low German[edit]

Why is it only related to Dutch and Danish? Why not other mainland Scandinavian languages (excluding Icelandic and Faroese of course)? They are very similar to Danish as well, and the Danish pronunciation is very different from the Swedish and Norwegian ones, and the Low German pronunciation is (mostly, but not always) more similar to Swedish and especially Norwegian. In written form all are very closely related.