Cultural experiences and funny musings by two twenty-somethings living abroad

Ich Verstehe Nur Bahnhof – or How To Speak German Like A Local!


Whether you’ve been a long time resident in Germany or you’ve just moved, or maybe you just want to perfect your language skills and sound like the locals do – well, you’re in luck! Because here we’re going to give you some of the best resources out there to not only “know and understand” German but to actually speak it as if you were a local which will help you get a lot more out of the culture as well as feeling more at ease in social, German situations. Well, as social as they can be in Germany!

We can really recommend these tips and resources as we had to learn German the old-fashioned way, ie. grammar books, classrooms, Nazi war films etcetc. It wasn’t exactly ideal when you moved to Germany and wanted to buy some deodorant in a pharmacy or chat to a guy next to you at Oktoberfest. There’s academic German and then there’s the day-to-day stuff you actually use. Although being in the country helps, you don’t have to spend 10 years there to start speaking confidently and with ease. Here, we can show you how to speed up this process:

1)- Lingojam


If only this existed when we were on Erasmus in Munich. This site is new but already pretty developed and teaches you exactly the sort of German you need when you go abroad such as, having an interview for a flat, going to the pharmacy (needed more often than you think after all those beers), signing up at the gym and even some language tips for how to flirt at the bar with a handsome stranger.

They have these scenarios in mini dialogue versions so you can listen, read and pick up new vocabulary at the same time. And because it’s done in German, by Germans – you will learn all the slang and even intonations of how they talk which will get you sounding a lot more authentic. It’s a great website to use if you’re just about to move to the country or if you’re already there trying to settle in. Because it is made for “everyday life”, you will learn all the useful stuff so you do not have to sound like a robot anymore on a night out, and that’s always a plus in our books!

2)- Check Out German Language Blogs

For all those who like reading blogs in their spare time, why not sign up to those ones which will teach you a new German word, phrase or idiom? This one is a great site we found as it has some clear explanations and examples about how to use that specific word/phrase. This is a much better way to learn than looking up new words in the dictionary as they will not give you much context nor explanations. So if you don’t have too much set time to dedicate to learning, then this can be a great option as it’s entertaining as well as informative.

3)- Tandem Partner: (To find a language buddy, try a local Facebook page for internationals or at your local uni)

So when you feel more or less confident with the vocab you’ve learnt, there is no better way to really get to grips with it than to practice it with someone and put everything you’ve learnt in action! What’s great about this is that you can come with some vocab already prepared, so you don’t have to “umm” and “aah” too much (this could just lead to total tandem awkwardness!) and just get informally chatting with your partner. Don’t forget that you can meet at many different places like museums, parks, bars, theatres – that way you can learn more new vocab and also always have something to talk about if you’re left scratching your head a lot. (this always happens to Olesya for some reason)!

Not only that, but you’ll also be speaking a lot more of the day-to-day stuff, so you won’t just be bombarded with formal academic stuff if you’re taking classes. And even if you’re a total beginner (as Jasper is with Russian), it can be good speaking your own language, but any time you feel you have the vocabulary to make a sentence in the target language, have a go at it!

4)- Laugh out loud with some comedy


For those who want to have a laugh whilst learning a language, then this series is brilliant for you! The famous German comedian Henning Wehn has made 10 super funny, short videos about the peculiarities of learning German! Heck, if you’re despairing with all those grammar rules, cases, gender and 60 letter long words – then take a break, and have a laugh with these videos!

5)- Listen and Immerse

If you’re busy doing something else but want to be listening to things in the background, this is a great bit of audio bubblegum you can use to passively soak in some German whilst you’re milling out doing other stuff!

So these are some of our tips for learning German! Whilst you’re taking classes and putting your language into action, these are some great ways to help you immerse in the language and get you speaking it like a pro! Do you have any other ideas for learning German or any other languages generally? We’d love to hear your comments!


2 comments on “Ich Verstehe Nur Bahnhof – or How To Speak German Like A Local!

  1. Amanda Afield
    March 10, 2015

    I’m taking german lessons through an adult Ed program, which is good because it allows us to interact in a group and we have a teacher to correct our pronunciation. I supplement it with the free app duolingo, which I think has helped me along. Still not easy though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • hmsies
      March 10, 2015

      Ah yeah, Duolingo is fab as well! Great to hear that you’re learning German – it’s definitely not the easiest of languages but it’s still a pretty fun one to learn! Even though it sometimes makes you wonder why Germans the words not in the right place put have could.. haha!

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on March 10, 2015 by in Life in Germany, Things that make us go 'hmmmm' and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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