At the hotel reception. Absolute Beginner #05

Time for a new absolute beginner episode! This time, we’re going to a hotel, ok? Let’s say, you arrive at the front desk of a hotel. What do you say? First of all, you say „Guten Tag“, or simply „Hallo!“. The receptionist will ask you something along the lines of „Wie kann ich Ihnen behilflich sein?“ meaning „How can I help you?“ and now it’s your turn.

Usually you want to check into your room, right? So you say: „Ich habe ein Zimmer reserviert“, meaning: I have a reservation for a room. You can also tell them your name: „Mein Name ist Annik“. The receptionist will look for your name on her list and then say something like: „Ein Doppelzimmer für 3 Nächte?“ meaning „A double-rooom for 3 nights?“ and you can either answer: „Ja, genau“, or „Nein, das ist falsch“. What’s wrong with the room? You can tell her you want it only for 2 nights. „Ich habe nur zwei Nächte gebucht“. I only booked two nights. Or you are travelling by yourself, in which case you don’t need a double. „Ich brauche nur ein Einzelzimmer“.

She might give you a form to fill out and ask for your passport. „Bitte füllen Sie dieses Formular aus und dann bräuchte ich noch Ihren Pass oder Ausweis“. You can ask whether breakfast is included in the rate. „Ist das Frühstück inklusive?“ and the receptionist will either say „Nein, leider nicht“ or „Ja, natürlich!“. After all this is sorted out, the receptionist will give you directions to your room. Something like „Dort drüben ist der Aufzug. Ihr Zimmer ist im zweiten Stock auf der linken Seite“. You take the elevator to the second floor and your room is on the left. She will then wish you a nice stay „Ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Aufenthalt“. Of course you reply: „Danke!“.

Let’s say you checked into your room and notice somebody smoked in there. Then you call reception or go down and say: „Mein Zimmer ist ein Raucherzimmer.“ or „In meinem Zimmer riecht es nach Rauch“, meaning it smells of smoke. If you want another room, say „Ich möchte ein anderes Zimmer, bitte“. You can ask all sorts of things from the receptionist. Like: „Ich brauche frische Handtücher, bitte“, if you need fresh towels. Or you can ask for directions to the nearest restaurant: „Wo ist hier in der Nähe ein gutes Restaurant?“. You can ask them to call a cab for you: „Könnten Sie mir bitte ein Taxi rufen?“ or ask where the nearest public transportation is: „Gibt es hier in der Nähe eine Bushaltestelle oder eine U-Bahn-Station?“.

On the day you’re leaving, you can ask them to store your luggage for you. „Kann ich mein Gepäck hier lassen?“ And finally you can say goodbye and tell them you enjoyed your stay: „Vielen Dank, es hat uns hier sehr gut gefallen!“ Well, I now wish you „Gute Reise!“ which means have a good trip.

Furniture. Absolute Beginner #4

Furniture. Absolute Beginner #4

Jacqueline asked me to produce this beginner’s show. She wanted to know what the furniture in a room is called in German. So let’s start our tour through a virtual apartment. If you enter a typical German apartment, you open the door, die Türe, die Türe, and get into a corridor. It is called Flur. Here you can take your shoes off and put your coat on a hanger. The place to store your shoes and coat is called Garderobe. Garderobe. It is the cloakroom. But now off on our tour!

We start with the living-room. It is called Wohnzimmer in German. Wohnzimmer. In the living-room there’s usually a place to sit, for example a couch. We also call it a couch in German. Or sofa. If you sit on a sofa and want to drink something, you put it in front of you on a small table. That table is called Couchtisch. Couch-Tisch.

In some living-rooms there’s also a space for dining. But many homes have a separate area that is called Esszimmer. Dining room. Ess-Zimmer. The main piece of furniture here is a table. It is called Tisch in German. Tisch. You sit at a table. And you sit on chairs. Chairs are called Stühle. One chair is a Stuhl. More chairs are Stühle. Stühle.

We go through to the bedroom. It is called Schlafzimmer in German. Schlafzimmer. The main thing in a bedroom is the bed, of course. And that one is easy to remember, it is called Bett in German. Bett. Beside the bed there is a small table to put books on. It is called a Nachttisch. Nacht-Tisch. On it there is a lamp. The Nachttischlampe. Nacht-Tisch-Lampe. You put your clothes in a wardrobe, it is called Schrank in German. Schrank.

What more is there to tell you? If you want to store your books somewhere, you put them on a shelf. A shelf is a Regal. Regal. I think that’s enough for today. Have fun learning German!

The German ABC. Absolute Beginner #3

Hello and welcome to the third episode for beginners – the long summer break is finally over and I hope I can produce more shows for you these coming weeks. Not only episodes for beginners, but also for advances learners.

Today, I want to pick up a topic that listener Burt asked me to cover: The German alphabet. I will go through the 26 letters now slowly so that you can hear how they are pronounced.


Then there are the „Umlaute“: Ä Ö Ü and we have a special „s“-sound, the ß. You don’t hear a big difference, I know. Don’t worry about that now.

While we are at the topic of pronounciation: JJ from New Zealand asked me to tell him the difference between Z and S. There’s a big difference there! For example: We say Sahne, meaning cream, but Zucker, meaning sugar. The Z is pronounced like a t and a s. TS. More word with Z? Let me think. How about Zahn for tooth, Zeppelin, Zimt for cinnamon or also words with the Z in the middle like Beziehung for relationship or Katze for cat.

And one last thing: We have another sound in the German language, that is quite hard for beginners to pronounce. The CH-sound. It is either ch or ch. I’ll give you some examples: Koch for cook, Buch for book, wach for awake. Or kichern for to giggle, Becher for cup and seicht for shallow.

So much for this quick lesson in German pronounciation – we’ll end with a repetition of the alphabet. Hope you tune in next time and tell your friends about this podcast! Bis bald, Eure Annik.


In a restaurant. Absolute Beginner #2

Hello and welcome to the series „Absolute Beginners“ here at Slow German. There will be new episodes as before, but I will include a few episodes for absolute beginners. They are meant for people who for example are travelling to Germany and who want to speak a few words in the native language… The first one of these was published some time ago, and today I want to give you all the vocabulary you need to go to a restaurant and eat something. After all, I don‘t want you to starve here in Germany!

At first if you enter the restaurant, you might be greeted by a waiter. This is not at all common in Germany – most people just seat themselves. So if you don’t see somebody steering towards you, feel free to choose yourself where you want to sit. In case a waiter welcomes you, he might ask „Haben Sie reserviert?“ or „Haben Sie eine Reservierung?“. He wants to know if you have made a reservation in advance. You can say, „Nein, tut mir leid“, meaning „No, I’m sorry“, or „Ja, auf den Namen Schmidt“. Of course you have to replace the name Schmidt with your own name.

The waiter might also ask you: „Für zwei?“, meaning „For two?“, if he sees that there are two people in your party. Or „Für vier?“ if there are four. He will then show you to a table that’s big enough for all of you.

Usually, the waiter should present you with the menu without being asked for it. If he’s having a busy day or simply forgot his duty, you might remind him with „Die Speisekarte, bitte.“ meaning „The menu, please“. You can also say: „Kann ich die Karte haben?“, „Can I have the menu?“

Most waiters are not very talkative, so don’t expect them to introduce themselves and ask things like „What would you like to drink today?“. They most simply say: „Zum Trinken?“, meaning „To drink?“. Then they wait for you to answer. Now I don’t know what you would like to order, but I have a few alternatives for you:

„Eine Apfelschorle, bitte.“. Apfelschorle is the favorite non-alcoholic drink of Germans, it is a mix of mineral water and apple juice. „Eine Apfelschorle, bitte.“

„Einen Orangensaft, bitte.“. An orange-juice, please.

„Eine Cola, bitte.“ A coca-cola, please.

„Ein Mineralwasser, bitte.“ Sparkling mineral water, please.

„Ein stilles Wasser, bitte.“

Or, of course, „Ein Bier bitte.“. I guess I don’t have to translate that.

Now let’s think about food. You pick something from the menu and say „Ich hätte gerne…“, and then you say what you would like to eat. If you can pronounce it, I am very proud of you. For example you can order a Schnitzel and say „Ich hätte gerne das Wiener Schnitzel“. If you are a little shy, just say „Ich hätte gerne das hier“, and point to what you would like to have on the menu. If you want something special that you can’t find on the menu, just ask: „Haben Sie …?“. For example: „Haben Sie ein Wiener Schnitzel?“. It simply means: Do you have a Wiener Schnitzel?

Let’s hope everything worked out fine and you’re sitting there with your drink and your food. The waiter will wish you „Guten Appetit“, literally meaning he wishes you a healthy appetite. But something is missing. Just call the waiter by establishing eye-contact, maybe raising your hand and saying „Entschuldigung“, meaning simply „Excuse me“. Then wait until he or she comes to your table. In former times people said „Herr Ober“ or „Fräulein“, but that is thought to be old-fashioned today and some waiters and waitresses even consider it to be rude.

Finally, just ask: „Könnte ich bitte Salz haben?“ if you want to have salt. I give you some more examples:

„Könnte ich bitte eine Gabel haben?“ means „Could I have a fork, please?“

„Könnte ich bitte ein Messer haben?“ means „Could I have a knife, please?“

„Könnte ich bitte einen Löffel haben?“ means „Could I have a spoon, please?“

„Könnte ich bitte einen Aschenbecher haben?“ means „Could I have an ashtray, please?“ But be careful: Most restaurants nowadays are smoke-free.

If you have to use the bathroom, you can ask: „Entschuldigung, wo ist die Toilette?“.

At the end of your meal, the waiter will clear the table and say something like „Hat’s geschmeckt?“, he wants to know if you enjoyed your meal. You can simply answer by saying „Ja, danke.“, or if you really liked it, say „Sehr gut, danke.“.

You can then order some coffee or dessert, and if you’re done, ask for the cheque by saying „Die Rechnung, bitte.“ or „Ich möchte zahlen, bitte!“. Remember, there’s one big difference between dining in Germany and dining in the US. In Germany, you can usually sit at a table as long as you want. After your meal, you can just sit there and enjoy your coffee or drink some more wine or beer and just talk for hours. You don’t have to rush out of the restaurant as soon as you’re done eating. But it is polite to not sit at an empty table, but order some drinks.

That’s it for now – for more information on this podcast visit or check out the new iPhone app. You can also follow Slow German on Twitter and Facebook. Have fun learning German and Auf Wiederhören!

Yes, no, hello! Absolute Beginner #1

Yes, no, hello! Absolute Beginner #1

]Hello and welcome to a new series here at Slow German. There will be new episodes as before, but I will include a few episodes for absolute beginners. They are meant for people who for example are travelling to Germany and who want to speak a few words in the native language…

First of all, you want to be able to say yes and no. That’s the easy part. If you want to say yes, say „Ja“. „Ja“. If you want to say no, say „nein“. Nein.

When travelling in a foreign country, it is important to be nice to the people you meet. After all, everything you do will reflect on your own country. If you’re an American and you’re acting loud the Germans will say: Americans are loud! So be careful what you do!

Our next words are please, thank you and sorry or pardon. If you want to thank somebody for something, you simply say „Danke“. Danke. In reply to that, the other person will answer „bitte“. Bitte. If you want to attract the attention of somebody, for example a person working in a store, or if you bump into somebody, you say „Entschuldigung“. I know this is a hard word to say and everybody will understand if you say „sorry“, but the correct German word is Entschuldigung. Ent-schul-di-gung.

Alright, very good so far! Now let’s get to four words that you can use for directions. There is left and right. Left is links, links, and right is rechts, rechts. It’s easy to memorize, because the first letter of the words is the same. Links and rechts. In rechts you have a sound that is not common in many other languages, the „ch“-Sound. Your mouth forms a wide grin, like if you want to say „eeeee“. Now if you lift the middle part of your tongue a little bit, you will get this sound. „Ch“. Two more words for directions: Up and down. Up is „oben“, oben, and down is „unten“, unten.

Let’s get to different greeting formulas. You can always say „Guten Tag“, no matter what time it is. It jus means „A good day to you“. If you want to specify, you can wish a good morning or good evening. Then it is „Guten Morgen!“ or „Guten Abend“. Guten Morgen. Guten Abend. The more colloquial form is „Hallo“. Hallo. If you are in Southern Germany, in Bavaria or even in our neighbor-country Austria, you will often hear „Grüß Gott“. This means „God is greeting you“, meaning „God bless you“. I am not a Christian and I say it anyway – it is very common in Southern Germany. Grüß Gott.

If you want to leave, there are also different possibilities. You can say „Auf Wiedersehen“, auf Wiedersehen, meaning „until we see us again“. The more colloquial form is „Tschüss“ or the Italian „ciao“. Tschüss. Ciao. Auf Wiedersehen!

Four more words to go, then we are through with this first episode of Slow German for Absolute Beginners. Let’s say you enter a hotel, or you want to introduce yourself to somebody. Then you say  „Ich heiße…“ and then your name. I would say „Ich heiße Annik“. In a hotel, you would follow up with something like „Ich habe eine Reservierung“, if you have a reservation for a room. We also copied the English form of that sentence, so you can also introduce yourself by saying „Mein Name ist…“. Mein Name ist Annik.

Ok, now three important places for every traveler. If you travel by train, you need the trainstation. Bahnhof. Bahnhof. If you fly to Germany, you will arrive at the airport, the Flughafen. Flughafen. And if you need a taxi, guess what? You can call a Taxi! I guess that word is the same in almost every language. We just pronounce it a little differently. Taxi. Taxi.

That’s it for now, in the next easy episode I will tell you what to say if you’re in a restaurant. If you have questions or ideas what to teach next, write me an e-mail at . You can find the text and the vocabulary to this episode as well as many infos on Auf Wiedersehen! Or better: Auf Wiederhören!