Language learning

German Language Immersion Travel Guide

German-speaking nations such as Switzerland, Austria, and of course Germany, are a major draw for those touring or visiting Europe. While it is easy enough to take in the sights without speaking the language, it is always helpful to have a few key phrases in your back pocket to help you get around. While the pronunciation may seem challenging at first, many find that learning this influential language is not as tough as it seems.
TDSpeakingStudents_LargeGerman Language Facts & Statistics:

  • German is a West Germanic language, closely related to Dutch and English.
  • It is spoken by 100 million native speakers worldwide and is the third most taught second language around the globe.
  • Outside of Germany it is also the official language of Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, and Belgium.
  • It is a recognized minority language in over a dozen other European countries, making German the most spoken language in the European Union.
  • Immediately following the American Revolution German was almost chosen as the official language of the United States in an attempt to shed British influence.

German Language History:

  • German is a member of the Indo-European language family.
  • Various forms of German have been spoken for centuries by monks, aristocrats and clerics. In 1455, the world’s first printed book, a 42 page version of the Bible, was written in German, beginning a new age of literacy.
  • Countless important historical figures were native German speakers, including Freud, Beethoven, Mozart, and Einstein.
  • Many English words have their roots in German including “kindergarten,” “blitz,” “delicatessen,” “doppelganger,” “uber,” and of course our personal favorite, “wanderlust.”
    Useful German Language Immersion Phrases:

    German Phonetic Spelling


    Hallo hal-OH Hello
    Dankeschön/Danke DAN-kuh-shern/DAN-kuh Thank you
    Sprechen Sie Englisch? SHPREK-en ZEE EN-glish? Do you speak English?
    Bitte BIT-uh Please
    Woher kommst du? VOH-hair KOHMST DOO? Where are you from?
    Auf Wiedersehen OWF VEE-der-zain Goodbye
    Ich verstehe nicht IK fair-SHTEH-uh NICKT I don’t understand.
    Wieviel kostet das? VEE-feel KOHST-et DASS? How much is it?
    Wo ist die Toilette? VO IST DEE toy-LET-uh? Where is the bathroom?

    And Now Some German Slang:

    German Phonetic Spelling


    Gediegen Ge-DEEG-en Cool
    Atze AHTZ-uh Buddy
    Banane Ba-NA-neh That’s crazy!


Rachel Waldmann

Rachel is a Marketing intern with EF Educational Tours and EF Explore America.

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