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German Slang Part 1

In the lesson on The Many Ways to Say "Well" we covered one way to sound more like a German speaker. This time we'll talk about another: using slang or colloquial language. Tschüss (bye) is a good example of this. It's an informal way of saying goodbye and in many situations of even passing familiarity, it's how people part.

Let's look at some more slang you can sprinkle into your German speech.


In the following example, we learn that:


Die Catwalks der Welt sind voll von schicken

The catwalks of the world are full of chic

und vor allem nicht ganz billigen Klamotten.

and, above all, not exactly inexpensive clothing.

Caption 2, Highend-Fashion aus dem Kloster - Ein Mönch als Maßschneider

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Klamotten is a very common colloquialism for "clothing." As with all such words, you might use it with a hip store clerk or a friend, but not with a complete stranger or even a less familiar coworker.

Another common slang word is blau, meaning "drunk":


Ich find' diese Aktion "bunt statt blau" total wichtig.

I think this campaign "Colorful Instead of Blue [Drunk]" is totally important.

Caption 3, Luxuslärm - rockt gegen's Saufen

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Slang can vary greatly according to region. The word Kiez, used in the following example, is fairly specific to Berlin, where it means a small, cohesive neighborhood. It is also used in Hamburg, and to a lesser extent in Hannover, where it is suggestive of prostitution. By contrast, it is entirely unfamiliar in most of southern Germany.


Gitarrist Jürgen Ehle wohnt seit fünfundzwanzig Jahren

Guitarist Jürgen Ehle has lived for twenty-five years

in dem Kiez und schwelgt in Erinnerungen.

in the neighborhood, and luxuriates in memories.

Captions 3-4, Pankow - Rolling Stones des Ostens

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That just about wraps things up for now. Tschüss and till next time!



Learning Tip

Getting frustrated with the pace of your learning? Try this fun exercise. Watch a video that is a level of difficulty higher than usual and then go back to one you had to work particularly at to master. You will find that you have come a longer distance than you had thought.


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