Beginning German for Travelers with Gretchen Strauch | Rick Steves Travel Talks


Gretchen Strauch: Okay.
That’s my name. I have the ridiculously
German name of Gretchen Strauch, which is something I have yet to learn to pronounce
quite right to German satisfaction. I worked at Rick Steves for a long
time, but before that, I’d lived in Germany for a few years and a
few months in Switzerland as well. My German is not perfect,
it’s far from it. Actually, that’s the point
today is that trying in German is way more
important than not trying. German speakers are incredibly,
maybe surprisingly, forgiving of people who
make any attempt in German. I would know, because I
have been attempting and failing to speak perfect
German for quite a while now. One of the main things I
want to stress today is that German is so much easier. As
English speakers, it’s so much easier for us to speak enough
German to get by for the most basic things in German speaking
countries than it seems. I can’t stress that enough. I might find myself saying
Germans, but German is spoken not just in Germany,
it’s also spoken– Students: Switzerland. Gretchen Strauch: Switzerland,yes.
Priced at Switzerland. What else do they
speak in Switzerland? French, Italian, and
there’s a fourth one. The fourth language of Switzerland
is Romansh which is about a blend between Swiss German and
Italian that sounds half and half. You have to be pretty far off the
beaten track to hear Romansh spoken. I’m going to focus on,
of course, German today. Not talk too much about
Swiss German, but Swiss German is a really pretty
different language. It’s about as different
from standard German as, I would say maybe,
Scott English is. If you’ve been to the
highlands of Scotland, you know how hard it
is to understand. We have that joke about
British people and Americans being
separated by a common language, but it’s
not just an accent, right? Completely
different, words, rhythm. German speakers from, especially
Northern Germany, have an extremely hard time
understanding Swiss people. Fortunately, Swiss people all
learned Swiss German, but they also learn rock old German German, but
they would call it written German. Germans would call it High German. Swiss people are like,
“Whoa, what’s that make us?” [laughter] You ask for written
German if you wanted to ask for help in written German. Someone said Switzerland,
Germany, what’s the third one? Student: Austria? Gretchen Strauch: Austria. Yes. Lots of good reasons to bother,
and of course, it’s fun. Anyone know how to say
“good” in German? Gut, yes. Anyone knows how to say “bad”? Student: Schlecht Gretchen Strauch: Schlecht. We’ve got bad and then
German’s got schlecht. [laughter] It sounds bad. Right? It’s so fun. You can really lay
into words like that, right? I think German’s
also fun, so hopefully I can also dispel the
sense that German is difficult or
un-fun or maybe mean. Sometimes I hear that
German speakers are rude. I would say direct. That’s not how it feels to us. We did hello, I heard Guten Tag. That would be pretty much just in Germany and not even
in all of Germany. Anyone know other ways to say hello? Student: Hallo. Gretchen Strauch: Hallo, yes. “Wie geht es” would be “how are you?”
But, yes. Grüss Gott, yes. Where would they say that? Student: Austria? Gretchen Strauch: Austria, yes. Grüss Gott, so I’ll say
it and you say it. Grüss Gott. Students: Grüss Gott. Gretchen Strauch: Yes. It means, technically,
“Godly greetings” but there’s not necessarily
religious overtones. You could just say Grüss, if you want
and you don’t want to say Grüss Gott. One more time, I’ll say
it and you say it. Grüss Gott. Students: Grüss Gott Gretchen Strauch: How
about in Switzerland, how do they say hello in Switzerland?
Grüetzi. [laughter] I’ll do it again and you do it. Grüetzi. Students: Grüetzi. Gretchen Strauch: Grüetzi. Students: Grüetzi. Gretchen Strauch: Yes. You can’t overdo it. I’ve been practicing
this for years because the three years I’ve
spent in Germany, I actually lived right
on the Swiss border, like across the street
from the border. When it was time to go jogging,
I put my passport on my shoe and I cross
the border hoping that I could say Grüetzi,
just well enough that they wouldn’t
know I was a local. “Goodbye”? Students: Auf Wiedersehen. Gretchen Strauch: Auf Wiedersehen. Also a less formal–
I know, what are all those letters? I’ll say
it and you say it. Tschüß. Students: Tschüß Gretchen Strauch: Tschüß Students: Tschüß Gretchen Strauch: Almost
sounds like kiss, Tschüß. In terms of words, basic words
that we share in common, either the exact same word or something
similar. Students: Beer? Gretchen Strauch: Beer. Yes. Students: Ring? Gretchen Strauch: Ring. Yes, I didn’t even
thought of that one. Students: House? Gretchen Strauch: House. Yes. I got them up here. Mann. Haus. Winter, exact same, but
pronounced differrently. Sommer. Mutter. Vater.
Bruder, for brother. Freund. Wasser is a lot a like for water.
You can probably think of those. Sometimes we think,
“Well, I didn’t know that the German word for winter
is winter.” At least if you saw it, you’d think,
“That probably means winter.” That’s one of
the main things I want you to remember today is
that if you see a word in German that looks
like a word in English, you’re pretty safe in
assuming that it means what you think it means
what you hope it means. Most of the time, a word in German
that looks just like a word in English means the same thing
or something pretty close. We pull a lot from Latin
or Romanic languages, at least from French
more than German does. Which means that we have a
much higher vocabulary. There’s a lot of
examples where we have– For example, we have
one word for cow, which is related to
the German word and one word for the cow
that you eat, beef. Cow comes from German
and beef from French. In German, you tend to just
have one word for things. When you’ve meant of
make a compound thing, German does a better
job of just putting words together. We have
a separate word for glove, but in German
this is a Handschuh. A Handschuh. If you see or hear the word
Handschuh and you think, “This a Handschuh?” What would that mean?
Gloves, I guess. You’d be right. You can make a lot of smart guesses. For example, we’ve also
got different words for lunch, dinner. Anyone know
the German word for lunch? Student: Mittagessen Gretchen Strauch: Mittagessen. Yes. Midday food. Makes sense. You don’t have to learn the word for
lunch, you’d probably learn the word for midday because it’s noon,
and you can figure that out. Mit-tag. If you happen to know
the word for day, tag. If you had heard or learn the
word for food, essen, then you could say, “Mittagessen, I guess
I do know the word for lunch.” Dinner is Abendessen, evening food. Makes sense. It’s a lot easier than we think. Another thing that I absolutely
love about German is that a lot of words– If I do this in English a
little bit, but more than English. In German, a lot of words that sound alike, actually have
similar meanings. The word for key is Schlüssel. The word for castle is Schloss. The word for closed is geschlossen. To lock something with a
key is to abschließen. You can abschließen your Schloss
and it’ll be geschlossen. [laughter] You can make guesses
just based on how words sound if they
sound like a word you know or a word that you had to learn yesterday for some
travel related reason. It’s also a very
onomatopoeic language. The word for cut, Schnitt. Haarschnitt, haircut. It sounds like it, right? Schnitt. I mean cut kind of sounds like
that, but Schnitt, that’s good. The point I want to make about
why it is easier. German is phonetic, it has pronunciation
rules and it always follows them. We’ll work on that right
now, and then you’re good. English, what a mess. German, so easy. The vowels are pretty much similar, especially if you are
familiar with how it’s pronounced in other
non-English, European language, French, Italian, Spanish. Some of this will be pretty familiar.
I’ll say it and you say it. The sound for the
letter “A” is “ah”. Students: “Ah”. Gretchen Strauch: Easy. As in Mann, for man. Wasser. Students: Wasser.
Gretchen Strauch: Das. Students: Das. Gretchen Strauch: One of
the many words for “the”. The word for “day”? Students: Tag. Gretchen Strauch: Tag. What we call a letter
“E”, German would call the letter, I’ll say it
and you say it, “eh”. Students: “Eh”. Gretchen Strauch: It’s really
close to the sound ey, like say. We put a ey in it, it’s a
really flat sound, eh. Should that distinction
bother you? No. Should you think about it?
Don’t worry about it. Eh. The word for thank you is danke. We tend to say “danka”,
I do too because I get lazy but
technically, it’s danke. The word for “tea”, how will you
pronounce tea but t-e-e is Tee. One “e”, two e’s
together, same sound. Danke, Tee, S-e-e? Students: See Gretchen Strauch: See. Which means sea or lake. What we call “I”, they call “ee”. Pretty straight forward. We use that sound “ee”
for “I” in a lot of English too, but it’s
always “ee” by itself. The word for I in itself is ich. If you’ve heard it before
ish or ich, it just depends on what part of German
speaking you’re from. Same thing, O is always,
oddly enough, O. Same thing. We think how complicated is that,
except two o’s together, also oh. The movie about the guys in
the submarine is Das Boot. Das Boot. Yes, there is no movie called
Das Boot, unless someone has made one about shoes
that I don’t know about. [laughter] The word for emergency
looks like, not fall, kind of like the opposite
of an emergency. This is one of the few
examples of a word meaning where what you would
guess it means is really different, and it’s worth
knowing that one, especially because, safety signs
and things like that. It looks like not fall but
it’s pronounced Notfall. I’ll say it, you say it. Notfall. Students: Notfall. Gretchen Strauch:
It means emergency. Yes, Notfall. U is pronounced U and never U. O is oh and never uh. The word for good is? Students: Gut. Gretchen Strauch: Gut. The country south of Florida? Students: Cuba. Gretchen Strauch: Cuba. Okay, umlauts, this is the fun part. Okay, all of those sounds are
sounds we have in English. It’s really just resisting
the urge to say, “uh” when we see U
and or to say, “ee” when we see two E’s together.
Fortunately, this one we have in English as well. We have this sound. So A with an umlaut is
just like the E in men. So A with an umlaut would be ä. Students: Ä Gretchen Strauch: Not like
“ay” like E in danke, but ä. So one man is ein Mann;
two men, Männer. I’ll say it, then
you say it, Männer. Students: Männer. Gretchen Strauch:
That’s easy, it’s just like English. Man, men, right? The
plural for apple. One Apfel, two Äpfel. Students: Äpfel. Gretchen Strauch: Good. That was really good. I’ll
say it, and you say it. Äpfel. Students: Äpfel. Gretchen Strauch: O with an
umlaut, we don’t have this sound in English, but it’s
not too hard for us to make. You can think of it as an
O with the pressed lips. Let’s try this. We know this word from dankeschön. Students: Schön. Gretchen Strauch: Schön. It almost sounds like there’s an R
in it, right? The author, Göthe. It sounds like I’m saying
Gurte with an R, but it’s actually G-O-E
or G-O, umlaut-T-H-E. The word for beautiful or pretty,
I’ll say it, you say it. Schön. Students: Schön. Gretchen Strauch: Schön. It’s important that you
say schön and not schon. That means actually. Schon means actually,
schön means pretty. Completely different meanings. These umlauts matter. It’s not
like, say, an accent in Spanish which helps you know where to
put the emphasis on a word. These umlauts aren’t decorations,
they’re not for emphasis. This is a different letter, and
it changes the pronunciation. Laut is like loud and so
um is to change something. Umlaut means it’s
changing the sound. That’s what these are there for.
Of course, it’s a different letter, it’s going
to change the meaning. In this case, it changed
the meaning here, because it goes from Apfel, one,
to Äpfel, more than one. Ä, Ö, and here’s the fun
one, because it looks like a smiley face, the
Ü, the U with an umlaut. You also make the U sound
and purse your lips. Ü. Students: Ü. Gretchen Strauch: Here’s
the thing, this one is really close to what we have
the letter I as in fit, so it’s not quite e, but
it’s really close, and that’s much easier for
us, as English speakers. Here’s a cheat for you. If you see what we say Uber, you
know, instead of a taxi, but they would say über. Über. If you say
über, is it exactly right? No. Is it close? Yes. Is it way closer than Uber? Yes. Here’s your cheat, you can just say
über. People will understand you. The plural for fruit, Früchte. Students: Früchte. Gretchen Strauch: Früchte. Früchte. Ein Frucht, zwei Früchte. Okay, combo letters. Most of these are mysterious
to us, because in English we see the word,
Oscar Hammerstein, “Hammersteen”, “Hammerstine”, Rod “Rosensteen”, Rob
“Rosenstine”, nobody knows. In German, everybody knows,
because the way it’s spelled always tells you
exactly how to say it. It’s really easy. If you have E-I, you say I. Ei. Students: Ei. Gretchen Strauch:
The word for stone? Students: Stein. Gretchen Strauch:Stein. The word for not beer, but wein. Wein. Easy. I-E is the E sound. You can drink wine in? Students: Wien. Gretchen Strauch: Wien. Which is Vienna. Another word for the, die. The word for beer? Students: Bier. Gretchen
Strauch: Bier. You can think of it in terms
of saying how we’d pronounce the English
name of the second letter, between E-I and
I-E, if that helps. Or a friend of mine
knows how to spell Wein and Bier, and she knows how to say those, and that helps her
remember, if that’s a trick for you. E-I, I-E, never breaks the rules. E-U is always oy. We know this from Deutschland. The word for new is? Students: Neu. Gretchen Strauch: Neu. A-I is actually the
same sound as E-I. The big river that Frankfurt
is on, is, it looks like we would say the river Main,
but it’s on the river? Students: Main. Gretchen Strauch: Main. A word for a waterfront, K-A-I, is? Students: Kai Gretchen Strauch: I just
put that in because it’s my nephew’s name,
and he’s great. [laughter] Gretchen Strauch: A-U
is an aw sound, always. Frau. I know that, I know the
word Frau, that’s not so hard, but A with an
umlaut U is not aw. There is no such word as Fraulein. Fräulein. Fräulein. Ä with and umlaut U is the exact
same sound as E-U, so Fräulein. All right? That’s it. You know everything you
know about German vowels. It’s that easy. Most of the consonants
are exactly the same. G is always hard, so you
sneeze, someone says? Students: Gesundheit. Gretchen Strauch: Gesundheit,
yes, healthiness. J, just like a lot of languages
that aren’t English, is a y sound, so yoghurt is
spelled with a J, right? K is a K sound, but the tricky
part is that we put it in front of, say, knife, and
suddenly it disappears. In German, it never disappears. If it comes before an
N, you just say it. The word for garlic is, I’ll
say it, you say it, Knoblauch. Students: Knoblauch. Gretchen Strauch: We
think, “You can’t just put a K in front of an N.” German speakers think, “Why not?
Knoblauch.” It’s not hard, Knoblauch. Knobby leek is what
that breaks down to. So many German words. The R sound is really
tough to get quite right. The important part is
to try to say it at the back of your throat
as much as you can. We tend to put our R right in front. The word for R is pronounced
air, if that helps you remember, because
that’s what you do. You push out air. My name, Gretchen
Strauch, has two Rs, one per name. This is a source of
frustration for me. When I want to order my favorite
drink in the summer, which is beer and 7-Up together, what
British people call a shandy, I ask for ein Radler. Ein Radler,
ein Radler, ein Radler. Takes me a few times but, if I said
radler, that would be even worse. [laughter] I’ll say it, and you say it.Radler. Students: Radler.
Gretchen Strauch: Yes. Or the word for three. Anyone know the word for three? Student: Drei. Gretchen Strauch: Drei. So we think, “dry,” just like wet-dry
but drei, it’s way back there. Yes, I’m still working on that one. S by itself is actually a Z sound. I showed the word
for lake, S-E-E, to make sure we don’t
say, see, we say, See. It’s not s, it’s z. See, the word for lake. V is an F sound. That one surprises us. We know the word for
Volk, we recognize that, but we think they might
pronounce it volk. It’s Volk. Exact same pronunciation as English. And of course, W is the v. “I want to be alone.”
We kind of know that about German,
it’s just the v sound. Wien und Wein. All right? Z, we think we
can cheat on this one. Does anyone here speak
any Italian? In Italian, you always have
to say that T sound. We know this in English
because we always say, pizza. If someone asked for
what you wanted for tonight and you forgot
to put the T in, and you said, “You know, I
don’t know, maybe we’ll have a salad or might
have some pizza.” [laughter] Even in context, you’d be like,
“What?” That’s a city in Italy. That doesn’t make sense. You have to put that
T sound in there. We wouldn’t even figure it out. You would have to say, Pi-tza. We know this about Italian, but
German is the exact same rule. You have to put that
T sound in there or it is confusing to
them, just like pizza. The name of the city
where Mozart is from is: Students: Salzburg. Gretchen Strauch: Salzburg. Right, Salzburg. Salt, Salz, Salzburg. Most famous son is? Students: Mozart. Gretchen Strauch: “Mot-zart”, right?
M-O-T, zart. Mozart. That’s how it’s pronounced. Can’t stress that enough. C-H sound is, that’s where
you really get to huch. You can roll the R’s and ch. Especially in Swiss German, my gosh. We don’t really have that
in English, except in Scotts English, with the
word for lake, loch. I put that up there but the way that
you say attention in German is? Students: Achtung. Gretchen Strauch:
Yes, but lay into it. Students: Achtung. Gretchen Strauch: Yes, that’s better.
Achtung. Achtung. The S-C-H sound is always
an “sh” sound, never a k sound so we with S-C-H school
we think, it’s hard to tell on context, but it’s
always- for the word for shoe is Schuh and the word
for plural shoes Schuhe. No silent letters
that’s why I said the E, you get to say every letter.
The thing that looks like a Greek
beta is actually two S’s together, you think about maybe the Constitution then they blur
it looks like an F s together, that’s just the stylized way
of putting two S’s together and German still does that. If you see this
interesting letter it’s called an S set and it makes a “suh” sound but it’s equivalent of just two
S’s makes the same sound of two S’s. The word for street is? Students: Straße. Gretchen Strauch: Straße,
yes or you might see it pronounced Straße but
with the s set yes. What it is not is streamed. T-H is a sign it’s an old word in
German, modern German spelling doesn’t use T-H together but German
doesn’t even have a “Th” sound. This is a very difficult thing for
German speakers, a sound for them to make, unless they’re imitating
someone with a lisp, I found that a lot of my students claimed that they
couldn’t make the T-H sound and they were really good at making fun
of someone on TV who had a lisp. They just don’t have
that sound, so you see T-H together don’t be
tempted to say it it’s always “Tuh” just like
Thomas we know it’s not Thomas, we know it’s not
Vomas, it’s Thomas. You mainly see it in
place names in Germany because these would be
older, older spellings. Thun is a is a Swiss town on a
lake in the Vanor Oberland. Okay, a few more things
that to press on you that the C-H-S-H
we see that together and we say “No, this
language, for she said it was easy to pronounce
but what am I gonna do with all these
consonants what a mess.” German does
compound words more than we, do we tend to
say a lot more words compound than we
actually spelled them. German spells them compound,
German loves putting words together, but if you can
separate the words in your head then you can you can make
educated guesses about where the break is and then you realize
that it’s not such a mess. A town near where I used to live
is Friedrichshafen, not too much. One cheat is that there’s
no S and H never go together in German, so
that’s one clue that if I didn’t know either of
those words that that’s a break between the words
in the compound word. If you want a “Sh” sound
that’s always S-C-H then S-H isn’t a consonant combination
in German, Friedrichshafen. We think, “Okay we see a
word M-B-D-R how would you say [babbles]” Guess
what this is English thumb-drive, but we know
that thumb and drive are two different words so it
doesn’t hurt our brain. The word for tap water is? Students: Leitungswasser. Gretchen
Strauch: Leitungswasser, you might think U-N-G [groan], but
Leitungs-wasser, it helps you think “Wassar, I think I know that
it sounds like the word water or maybe I’ve heard that somewhere.”
Leitungswasser, now it’s not so hard to pronounce, right?
Now’s our chance to practice what we just learned because you
now know all that you need to know to pronounce German well enough
to be understood and actually come across as someone who kind
of knows what they’re doing. Okay, but all these words,
except one, have at least one thing in them
that’s gonna trip us up. How do you say the word for highway? Students: Autobahn. Gretchen Strauch: Autobahn. “Tuh” make sure that T pops good. What are you going to drive out on
the Autobahn you’re gonna drive a? Students: Volkswagen. Gretchen Strauch: Volkswagen,
Volks-wagon on the Autobahn. You might drive it from the
city the capital city of? Students: Berlin. Gretchen Strauch: Berlin,
yes you might drive it from Berlin to the Black Forest
which in German is the? Students: Schwarzwald. Gretchen Strauch:
Schwarzwald, the “Vuh” Schwarzwald, Black
Forest, Schwarzwald. Yes, good you might also
drive your cart Rothenburg. You may even drive it all the
way to the word for Munich is? Students: [mumble] Gretchen Strauch: This one’s
hard I’ll say it München. München. München, they actually put an
S sound in here, in München. Yes, munchin they
will not understand- except there’s so
many English-speaking travelers in Munich that they
probably figured it out by now. München is in the
Bundestag, the state of Bavaria which Germans would call? Students: Bayern. Gretchen Strauch: Bayern, Bayern. Yes, the Y works like
an I here, Bayan. In Bavarian Bayern and you
might visit in München the? This tricky
remember Hof-bräu-haus. If you ask for direction to the
hofbraeuhaus everyone will know where it is because that’s
how old English speakers say it, but you will come
across so sophisticated because you’re gonna say it like this
say it after me, Hofbräuhaus. Students: Hof-bräu-haus. Gretchen Strauch: They’re going to
be like, “Come on in you get to the back room where all the beer is
free.” One more time Hof-bräu-haus. Students: Hofbräuhaus. Gretchen Strauch: Good
where you might drink a? I’ll say it, you
say it Hefe-wei-zen. Students: Hefeweizen. Gretchen Strauch: wizen. Students: wizen Gretchen Strauch: That T right?
We want to say Hefeweizen and Hefeweizen
in English, but Hefeweizen. That T, pizza, wizen, yes? You might
order with your Hefeweizen ein? Students: Brezel. Gretchen Strauch: Close. Students: Brezel. Gretchen Strauch: Brezel. Brezel, Brezel it’s got the
“Eh” and “tuh” Brezel, pretzel. You may even visit the beautiful
little town of not fussen but? Students: Füssen. Gretchen Strauch: Füssen. Students: Füssen Gretchen Strauch: Füssen, it’s not
quite Fissen but that’s close enough. Füssen. Füssen, yes, yes. Where you could visit the beautiful Schloss Castle called?
Here we go Neu- Students: Neuschwanstein. Gretchen Strauch: Yes. Neuschwanstein, which means? Anyone
want to guess? New Schwan stone, yes. Okay, one more country over where
we’ve left Bayern and now we’re in? Students: Österreich. Gretchen Strauch:
Österreich, the eastern realm in English the country is? Students: Austria. Gretchen Strauch: Austria, I’ll
say you say it Österreich. Students: Österreich. Gretchen Strauch: Österreich, yes. The capital of it is? Students: Wien. Gretchen Strauch: Wien where
you might drink some? Students: Wein. Gretchen Strauch: Yes, okay good. The big river there is the? Students: Donau. Gretchen Strauch: Donau. Danube. Now I’ll say you say it, Donau. Students: Donau. Gretchen Strauch: Yes, so the
Donau is Blau, with blue danube doesn’t really rhyme in
English, it rhymes in German. One of my favorite cities
in Austria, again, is? Students: Salzburg. Gretchen Strauch: Yes, okay and where
Mozart liked to play a lot of? Students: Musik. Gretchen Strauch: Musik not music
[???? 00:28:00] makes music. I’m walking around Salzburg
you would cross the? Students: Straße. Gretchen Strauch: To get to the? Students: U-Bahn. Gretchen Strauch: U-Bahn,
there’s no U-Bahn in Salzburg, but there’s
an U-Bahn in Veen. “You” bahn, but U-Bahn,
right- or u-boat if you’re into war movies-
or you might catch the? Students: Bus. Gretchen Strauch: Bus, yes right,
and you would pay for the bus with? Students: Euro. Gretchen Strauch: Deutschland. Euro. Students: Euro. Gretchen Strauch: Right
so, Neuschwanstein Deutschland, E-U-R-O
in German is Euro. Europa is the continent
Europe and the money is Euro. I know that’s a tough one. If you’re going to go
to Switzerland and you were actually in the
German-speaking areas in? Students: Schweiz. Gretchen Strauch:
Schweiz, in die Schweiz. Switzerland. Rick’s favorite place in
Switzerland actually always says all of Europe is the
tiny little hamlet of? Students: Gimmelwald. Gretchen Strauch:
Gimmelwald you say it. Students: Gimmelwald. Gretchen Strauch: Good, and nearby
is-you can ride a gondola up to? Students: [mumbles] Gretchen Strauch: Yes, Männ-lich-en. Männlichen Students: Männlichen. Gretchen Strauch: Yes, make sense?
Yes? Or you can ride the train all the way up to the highest
train station in Europe the? Students: Jungfraujoch. Gretchen Strauch: Jungfraujoch. Students: Jungfraujoch. Gretchen Strauch: Yes
that one’s got a lot of tricky things in
there, the Jungfraujoch. Yes, good. You might go to the beautiful
town in Switzerland of? Students: Luzern. Gretchen Strauch: Luzern,
which is right on the beautiful shores of Lake?
Okay, let’s break it down. Vier-wald-stätter-see, it’s the four for its
state to the lake. Break it down, it’s a little
bit less absurd, okay. I’ll say and you say it,
Vierwaldstättersee. Students: Vierwaldstättersee. Gretchen Strauch: Not so
bad now right? Right? Student: Right. Gretchen Strauch: Okay, good. Few more. Best thing eated in
Switzerland, that’s maybe cheese is? Schokolade, yes. They also have in German
speaking area is very good. Students: Brot. Gretchen Strauch: Brot, bread, yes. Not brote, brot or suppe. Students: Suppe. Gretchen Strauch: Yes. If you want to order it in
restaurant, you ask for the? Students: [???? 00:30:35] Gretchen Strauch: No, you ask for the
Speisekarte, I was tricking you. [laughter] This is one of those false friends. So, the word Menü, with an
Umlaut is actually the fixed price meal, like the togas or
you can have the togas menu. Like an appetizer and a main
course desert, that kind of thing. That would be the menü. If you walk in, and
you order the menü, they will say it right
away, and they will come out with your
appetizer and then the, “Very well, that’s
now, I just wanted a piece of paper.” If
you want a piece of paper, or you want a
karte, or you want Speisekarte, the meal
card, that what you ask for. I’ll say and you
say it, Speisekarte. Students: Speisekarte. Gretchen Strauch:
Good and the word for the fixed price meal
of the day is the? Students: Menü Gretchen Strauch: Menü. Yes, good. Finally, if someone
sneezes, you say? Students: Gesundheit. Gretchen Strauch: Gesundheit. The only word in German that English speakers all pronounce
preferably perfectly. Okay. We’re going to do some vocabulary. The point isn’t to learn
this forever, but to think about, to get
your mind around it. Just to get some practice and
get a sense of what we might figure out if we saw these
or heard these in the world. If you need to ask somebody, if
they speak English, you could say, “sprichst Englisch,” but you
could just stick to English. The important point here is not
the English, we will understand you, but for some reason we pronounce
ENG in English like an I. Inglish. They actually pronounce in
German like its spelled. I’ll say and you say, Englisch. Students: Englisch. Gretchen Strauch: England,
Englisch, makes sense. Englisch. The word for please is also the
same word for, you’re welcome. I’ll say and you say it, Bitte Students: Bitte. Gretchen Strauch: [???? 00:32:12] Students: Entschuldigung Gretchen Strauch: Entschuldigung. You want to get someone’s
attention you say, Student: Entschuldigung. Gretchen Strauch: Entschuldigung. You trip over someone’s
foot, entschuldigung. You really make a mistake you
want say I am sorry, you say? Students: “Es tut mir leid,” does
mean suffering, es tut mir leid. So much better than sorry. We want to say, “I don’t
understand.” I’ll say it, you say it,
Ich verstehe nicht. Students: Ich verstehe nicht. Gretchen Strauch: Obviously, if you
don’t understand, you’re going argh. People get that, but if
you want to say, “I don’t understand,” and be fancy
about, ich verstehe nicht. Okay. Important words for travelers. The word for train station,
I’ll say and you say it, main word for train
station is, bahnhof. Students: Bahnhof. Gretchen Strauch: Yes, and the main
train station is the hauptbahnhof. Students: Hauptbahnhof Gretchen Strauch:
Haupt-hauptbahnhof. Yes, the word for train is zug. Students: Zug. Gretchen Strauch: You want to
figure out when a train is going to get there, you are interested
in the train’s ankunft. Students: Ankunft and
more importantly most of the time Ausfahrt Students: Abfahrt Students: And, yes, I
just said, fahrt because that is the word for
journey, in German. If you want to tell someone
to have a good trip, you could say, “gute
Reise,” but you could also say, “gute fahrt,”
and that is still funny to me, so you’re allowed
to laugh at that. [laughter] That was always my thing, living
in Germany, they would come by the train every day and they ask
me, “Are you going on your way, or on your way back?” The would
check my tickets, then, they say, “hec fahrt or wuk fahrt,” and
I think, “God, it’s so funny” [laughter] Gretchen Strauch: We go
home and that’s not funny. In big cities like Salzburg, but in
Viena and Berlin, Munich, all the big cities certainly in
Germany, what we’d call the subway, they
call the U-bahn. Students: U-bahn. Gretchen Strauch: The
commuter rail that would go to outer reaches,
outside is an S-bahn. Students: S-bahn. Gretchen Strauch: Bus. Students: Bus. Gretchen Strauch: A bus stop sign,
you think maybe, you’re looking for a B, but actually the word
for bus stop is haltestelle. Students: Haltestelle. Gretchen Strauch: Yes, the
stopping position, haltestelle. This H is within Germany and much of Austria, a Universal
sign for bus stop. The H is for haltestelle. They think if it was being
for bus, but you’re not looking for B,
you’re looking for H. Then when they come
through on the train to check, they’re going to
ask for your fahrkarte Students: Fahrkarte. Student: Yeah, sure Gretchen Strauch: Yes,
fahrkarte, or your fahrschein Gretchen Strauch: Fahrschein. They mean exactly the same thing. They can see the train they say,
“Fahrschein bitte, fahrkarte bitte,” and you hand over
your ticket or you rail pass. All right, you need ask for where
things are, where is, is, wo ist. Students: Wo ist. Gretchen Strauch: Don’t
worry about [German language], when you’re
travelling around. If you want to say, “Where is
train station?” If someone said that to you in English, you wouldn’t
be like, “[German language]” [laughter] Leave out. They would be perplexed if
you said I wanted to eat pizza for dinner. You
would not be perplexed if someone said, “Where is
train station?” Feel free, you have my permission to
say, “Wo ist bahnhof?” Students: Wo ist bahnhof. Gretchen Strauch: If the bahnhof is
to the right? Bahnhof it is, rechts. Students: Rechts Gretchen Strauch: Yes, rechts. Yes, and if it’s to
the left its, links. Students: Links. Gretchen Strauch: If
its straight ahead, because there is also no EA together in German, this is
two words together, its straight-out, it’s geradeaus. Students: Geradeaus. Gretchen Strauch: Gerade,
straight aus, straight out. Geradeaus. Left, links. Okay, pretend I’m lost
in a German city, I want to get someones
attention and, so, I say, Students: Entschuldigung Gretchen Strauch:
“Entschuldigung,” and they hear me, so they say, “Ja,”
and I say, “Where is?” Students: Wo ist? Gretchen Strauch: Let’s
say I want to say, “Bus.” Students: Bus. Gretchen Strauch: Bus, and
someone says, “Ja, links.” Students: Left Gretchen Strauch: Left,
and I say, “Thank you.” Students: Danke. Gretchen Strauch: And they say? Students: Bitte. Gretchen Strauch: Bitte. I need it. Okay. Word for exit, the outgo is the? Students: Ausgang. Gretchen Strauch: Ausgang. Gang, right. I think like, gang
[German language], same route, ausgang, but
what looks to us, like the notausgang, is actually
the very important ausgang, that is the emergency exit. Notfall, I said is emmergency,
notfall is accident and not, is emmergency,
notausgang is emergency exit. If you are looking
for the toilet, you can ask for die Toilette or just WC. Students: WC. Students: WC. Where is the bathroom? Students: Wo ist WC. Gretchen Strauch: WC. I have made this mistake. I thought I was having
a good German day, I accidentally asked for the
badezimmer, bathroom. That would be a room
with bath in it. They problem is I was
at a truck stop. [laughter] And they were like,
“We don’t have that. It’s a truck stop.” And
then, “Who wants to take a bath at a truck
stop?” I was like, “You don’t have a
bathroom?” My friend said, “She wants the WC.”
“Yes, we have that. It’s the truck stop,
of course we have that.” WC, or toilette,
but not bathroom. Okay. Most of these are
ones that we know but let’s practice them really quickly. Yes, no? Students: Ja, nein. Gretchen Strauch: ja nein. Good, bad? Students: Gut, schelcht. Gretchen Strauch: Gut schelcht. Schelcht. More is? Students: Mehr. Gretchen
Strauch: Less is? Students: Wenig Gretchen Strauch: Wenig. Wenig. Word for big is? Students: Gross. Gretchen Strauch: Gross, it
doesn’t mean [???? 00:38:05] it just means big, and it doesn’t
mean fat, like in French. It just means big. The word for small is? Students: Klein. Gretchen Strauch: Klein. Klein. The word, I’ve mentioned it
before with, want to get this Umlaut right, the word
for wonderful or pretty is? Students: Schon Gretchen Strauch: Schön. Schön, and if it’s very
pretty its sehr schön. Very wonderful, sehr schön. A waiter comes by and says,
“How are your sausage and potatoes?” Sehr schön, if
that’s what you’re into. The word for open is? Students: Geöffnet. Gretchen Strauch: Geöffnet, because that’s not a combination,
so geöffnet. Students: Geöffnet. Gretchen Strauch: Geöffnet,
and the word for close is? Students: Geschlossen. Gretchen Strauch: Because
you used a schloss to abschließen the door
now it’s geschlossen. Okay. A lot of us know these but
let’s practice them once more, and I’m going to count these
on my fingers because when you count on one and
you order one of something in Germany or around here
we start with the thumb. Do this and you might get two. If you ordering ice-cream, not
such a bad problem, but if you’re ordering something
expensive, you might be in trouble. Okay. One is? Eins, zwei, drei,
vier, funf, sechs. Right was, sechs with a z sound. Seiben. Students: Seiben. Gretchen Strauch: Eight is? Students: Acht Gretchen Strauch: Acht. Nine? Students: Neun Gretchen Strauch: Neun. Ten? Students: Zehn. Gretchen Strauch: Zehn,
that’s right, tz. The word for eleven is? Students: Elf Gretchen Strauch: Elf, yes. Twelve? Students: Zwölf. Gretchen Strauch:
Yes, zwölf, yes, and then just like in
English, then you get to 13, and then said it, but when we
say 13 they say three ten, dreizehn. Yes, okay. Also like in English,
we say forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, twenty
is a little different. They don’t say svaysig they
say is zwansig for twenty. zwansig, zwansig. Thirty, then it gets normal. Thirty is? [crosstalk] dreizig. Forty? vierzig,
fünfzigsechzig, siebzig. They don’t say siebensig
they say siebzig, achtzig, neunzig, hundert, that’s
right and tausend. Students: Tausend Gretchen Strauch: It’s exactly what
you guessed? The tricky part is they say like four and twenty black birds,
they say the numbers different. The word for example,
the way that you say forty-three, they would
say three and forty. Drei-und-vierzig. Students: Drei-und-vierzig Gretchen Strauch: Yes, even
when I’m having a good day then someone would tell me the price,
I’m at the shop counter and they say the prices back to me, and they
say, “The price is drei-und-vierzig zwei- und-achtzig,” and I’m
thinking, okay it’s €43.82. That’s when I look
at the cash register to make sure I don’t
mix the numbers up. Words to listen for, if you
really are in an unusual situation as a traveler
and find yourself needing important information
from somebody who doesn’t speak any English, which
does happen now and then. Key words to listen for are the words
that change the whole sentence, [mumbles] nicht
geöffnet, probably not open nicht, I’m listening for nicht. I’m going to listen for
leider-unfortunately, because if your asking someone, “I’m trying to get into
the museum and it’s closing in 15 minutes but I really want to get
in there because I have to see this one thing and that person
says [mumbles] don’t let me down. [laughter] Word for no or none-kein. Remember the word for small? Students: Klein Gretchen Strauch: Klein, it’s close. Klein is small, kein-
that’s it, kein. I don’t know? Ich weiss nicht. Ich weiss nicht. You don’t hear this so
much but you’d see it posted, you might see
geschlossen on a shop or restaurant that’s closed
but you might also see Ruhetag, the quiet day, this
means it’s closed today. A few more key travel words, the
words for hotel and restaurant are the exact same words, they pronounce
them a little bit differently. Hotel and restaurant,
really close to the French. I’ve got a bunch of
different words for restaurant, gaststätte, gaststube. What’s the difference between these?
I’ve never understood. Gast is guest, so that’s
a clue that it’s some sort of place to stay,
maybe a place to eat. Kneipe, stube, words for bar. Schnell is fast, so
Schnellimbiss is a fast-food stand, sometimes this ‘S’
will be spelled with a Eszett. Gasthaus, Gasthof, Wirtschaft
a place to stay, places to eat the gas is a sign that
there’s guesting involved. Lot’s of different words, Pension. Yes, not pension, but
just doesn’t say Italian pension, a place to
stay, usually pretty inexpensive, you know
bare bones but one of my favorite kinds
of places to stay. The word for room, don’t forget the
‘T’ sound is zimmer. Students: zimmer Gretchen Strauch: Zimmer.
When you see a sign that says, die
macht frei, are the rooms free? Well,
they’re available but they are not free, you’d
still have to pay. [laughter] Frei means customers is free. Most of the time f-r-e-i just means available, so you could
ask if the seat is free, you could ask if
the zimmer are frei, but if it’s not full
then it’s belegt. Okay. Few eating things, you don’t ask
for the menu, you ask for the? Students: Speisekarte Gretchen Strauch: Yes, half right. Speise. Speisekarte Students: Speisekarte Gretchen Strauch:
Speisekarte, the spiesekarte. How do you say please? Students: Speisekarte Gretchen Strauch:
Speisekarte bitte, yes. You want to get the waiter’s
attention, you say? Students: Entschuldigung Gretchen Strauch:
Entschuldigung, yes, good. You want to get your hot chocolate
with cream, you ask for it mit. Mit, Ohne, and if there’s something
that you are allergic to and you want to make absolutely
sure that you don’t eat, ask for ohne, such and such. Word for piece ein stück, ein stück
pizza is exactly a piece of pizza. Stück. Frühstück, breakfast
is supposed to be the early piece or
early piece of bread. You’d see Gericht or Speise
on menus, spiesekarte. Frühstück. To order something,
there’s different ways to say, “I would
like.” I think this is the easiest one for
us to say as English speakers, I’ll say
it and you say it. Ich hätte gern Students: Ich hätte gern Gretchen Strauch: Good. Let’s say you would like water. Ich
hätte gern wasser. Student: Bitte Gretchen Strauch: Bitte, yes, good. It’s just as important in German to
say please as is just in English. Ich hätte gern wasser. You might have
also heard Ich mochte ein wasser, I would like, that also works, I
think hätte is easier to say. Ich hätte gern, I would like. Schmeckt’s isn’t a question you would
ask, but schmeckts’s is a question that waits staff to ask you all
the time eating in restaurants. They walk up to you and it’s kind of like in the States
they come up and they say, “Is everything
okay?” The most commonly what a waiter or waitress would ask you in a German
speaking restaurant is schmeckt’s? and what
they’re asking you is everything okay? Did
you like the food?, and you would say lecker. [laughter] Or not, German speakers, we think
maybe its kind of rude but to them they think it forthright, I’ve heard
people go like, “Yes, it’s okay.” [laughter] That’d be really rude in
an American restaurant but in Germany they’re
like, “Oh Okay, not everyone has a good day”,
back away, they’re not going to comp your
meal or anything. [laughs] Schmeckt’s? [mubles] Oh, yes okay. What you asked for, how do you
say excuse me? Entschuldigung. You want the? Rechnung
or the quittung so the qu doesn’t pop up much but when it does, it’s v because they
don’t have the w sound so quittung. Your going to ask for
reckoning or the quitting. [laughs] The rechnung,
quittung, and of course if you can’t remember you
just entschuldigung, that’s an important word, right? entschuldigung and then
you write it up there. Asking for the bill. It’s quite common in German speaking
countries and around a lot of Europe, except for Scandinavia and
Britain that they only accept cash, they just don’t have a
credit card economy quite like we do so if they only accept bargel,
cash, it will say nur bargel. Nur bargel. Yes, Cash money. Here’s an important one,
we’re going to practice this for a sec, the waiter comes
up and the waiter has a bill for you and they don’t
tend to leave a bill on the table for you, usually the
waiter will come up and actually verbally say the
amount and if the waiter comes up and says that it is
vier und zwanzig dreizig, you think, I heard some
numbers but they’re probably on the wrong order. How do
ask them to write it down? [audience murmurs] [laughs] Gretchen Strauch: They write
it down, they write €24.30 and they’re going to make
the decimal point a comma. The’re going to write
€24.30, let’s pretend that’s the bill for
your two person lunch. Let’s say, “Oh boy, do Iv tip them?
How much do I tip them? How do I do this? Do I leave
money on the table?” It’s really straight forward in
German speaking countries, this is through Germany, Austria,
and Switzerland as well. They come up to say it’s
€24.30, the chances that they speak English
well enough to just tell you €24.30
in English is really high but if not, have
them write it down. What you want to do, tipping
in German speaking countries is round up between zero and
5%, more than 5% is absurd. I would round up either
to the nearest euro or maybe one or two
above depending on the amount, if they said
€24.30 I’d probably pay €26 to €27, not more than that. Let’s say I’m feeling
generous that day and I want to pay €27 for a €24.30
bill, which is a fair amount, if you just paid
24.30 no one’s going to spit in your food if you
go back the next day. That’s because the cost of your food
includes the service cost, the wait staff is adequately paid and you are
not shorting them money like that. The word for tip in German is
Trinkgeld, it’s their drinking money. The bill is €24.30, I could pay €25
no problem,€26, I’m going to pay €27. The easiest way to
do this, let’s say I have €30 on me, I
hand the bill to the waiter and I say 27
and the waiter says thank you and gives
me back €3 change. That makes sense? Students: Yes Gretchen Strauch: You can do
this in German if you want to be fancy but if you’re
doing this in English which is possible most of the time
because most white staff in most places that are
popular for travelers speak at least some English is
that you tell them what you want to pay that’s an amount
that’s slightly over and usually and even euro
amount of what your actual bill and then you hand them
either that exact thing. If you hand them the exact thing,
so they say it’s €24.30, well guess what? I have exactly €27 on me, I
hand them €27 and I say stimmt so. Students: Stimmt so. Gretchen Strauch: It’s fine
as is, so keep the change. Stimmt so is fine as is, I
hand them €27 and the waiter says, “Danke,” because I
just gave him a €2.70 tip. That make sense? Students: Yes. Gretchen Strauch: And
we’re all happy. He’s like, “Wow, she must be
American because that’s a lot of extra money to be on top
of that bill.” Stimmt so. If I don’t have exact change,
then I pay more and I say what I want to pay, they say danke,
and they hand back the change, makes sense? Solve the stress,
it’s so much better. It’s not common to have tap water in a
German-speaking restaurant. If you want some, don’t
assume it’s free but at least if you
ask for tap water it will be less
expensive than getting mineral water, which
is the default thing if you order wasser. The word for tap
water is, I’ll say it and you say it, leitungswasser. Pretty
straightforward, the word for white wine is weißwein. Red wine is rotwein not
rotting wine. Beer. My favorite, I know, Radler.
Let’s finish on the most important thing, let’s
be honest, ice cream. Yes. The word for a scoop of ice
cream, you would ask for a spear of ice cream, a ball
of icecream, eine kugel. Is anyone’s favorite kind
of ice cream vanilla? That’s never true, my mom’s
favorite, it’s strange. Vanilla is the same. Schokolade. Perhaps, one of my favorites,
erdbeere, strawberry. My favorite in Germany is Walnuss. Let’s pretend that at least one
of these is your favorite, let’s say it together. I’ll
say it, then you say it. You can put in your
favorite ice cream. I’m going to hold up one scoop,
eine kugel Walnuss, bitte. And you say it? eine
kugel [crosstalk]. Exactly, great. That’s it, we are done. Thank you so much for
coming, I’ll be out there to answer questions
for a few minutes. [applause] [music]

8 Replies to “Beginning German for Travelers with Gretchen Strauch | Rick Steves Travel Talks

  1. people always forget liechtenstein in the list of german speaking countries.. people of luxemburg speak german as well, but pretty much everything she said was on point! good lecture!

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