German Words and Phrases : Oktoberfest is coming and you should duly be preparing. What’s fun with the festival is you don’t need to speak German if you want to fully enjoy Oktoberfest. All you have to bring is your happy heart and love for beer. But to make interactions and transactions easier for you, it’s important that you know essential words and phrases. Not all Germans are fluent in English and it’s best if you could tell them exactly what you want and need when you’re interacting with them. With over 6 million guests at the festival, you wouldn’t want to make it harder for servers and festival point persons to tend to you.
To help you fully enjoy your Oktoberfest adventure, we’d teach you 10 German words and phrases that will make it easy for you to interact with everyone at the festival! Read on, learn, and enjoy!
German Words and Phrases
1. Hallo / Hello!
This is the easiest word to remember and it will be most important when interacting with locals. It shouldn’t be confusing as it’s pretty much the same as saying ‘hello’ in English as only one letter changed. Use this phrase when you’re approaching someone and you’re to ask for help. Using it will mean that you want to say ‘Hi!” in a pleasant and respectful manner.
2. Vielen Dank / Thank you very much!
This is a very important phrase because saying thanks is a basic sign that you have good manners. You will be served so much food and drinks so it’s best that you always know how to give thanks and communicate your appreciation for everything. Germans appreciate well-mannered guests and tourists!
3. Ichsprechenicht gut Deutsch / I do not speak German very well
This phrase is essential because you would want to be prepared if someone will approach you and ask you a question in German. Given that you’re not fluent in German, it’s always best to know this word to make it easy for people to know what they’re getting into. Once you say this, any German speaker would immediately know what to do and how to interact with you. You won’t feel confused and pressured in any way if you say this as soon as possible in any interaction with locals.
4. Wies’n / Oktoberfest as referred to by locals
Everyone in the world knows the legendary beer festival as Oktoberfest but locals refer to it as Wies’n. It’s important to know this to avoid confusion. This is best used when you’re asking for directions and sharing that you’re there for Oktoberfest. Locals would immediately know what you mean and what you may need when you use this term.
5. Tracht / Official traditional German attire consisting of Dirndls (plaid dresses) for women and Lederhosen (leather pants) for men
You will hear this word quite a lot so it’s best that you know what it stands for. You could enter tents and get asked why you’re not wearing one or if you want one so it’s best that you have an idea. It’s pretty confusing for non-German speakers as most are only familiar with ‘Drindl’ and ‘Lederhosen.’
6. EineMaßbitte / One liter of beer, please.
Did you know that the first Oktoberfest festival did not even involve alcohol? It wasn’t a beer festival when it was first celebrated, it was actually a wedding celebration. Fast forward to now and it’s currently the world’s biggest beer festival. It is imperative that you learn this phrase as you would need it when ordering. Knowing this will make it easier for you and for everyone when it’s time to give your order. And yes, you read it right. That’s one liter. Beers are served in one-liter mugs in Oktoberfest. To know more juicy and useful Oktoberfest beer info, check out Thirsty Swagman.
7. Servus! / A friendly greeting in Bavarian!
This word is handy if you want to greet someone warmly in Bavarian. This is a little better than ‘hallo’ because it feels warm and extra thoughtful. Locals will be surprised that you know this if you’d use this and they’d immediately warm up to you.
8. O’Zapft is! / The keg is tapped
This is a fun phrase to know because Oktoberfest will be all about beers! Beer, beer, beer.Non-stop beer. It’s fun to say this phrase as it indicates that more beer is to come. More beer means more fun and more fun is what everyone is all about in Oktoberfest! A freshly tapped keg is always exciting!
9. Prost! / Cheers
You will hear this word the most as Germans say it before drinking beer! As Oktoberfest involves over 6 million people drinking beer just about every second, you will be most familiar with this term. It’s perfect if you simply need to say it when you feel that it’s time to start drinking your beer. This is especially useful when you’re with company – regardless if with friends or strangers. Prost! Always!
10. Wois’nsHaisl? / Where is the toilet?
Never underestimate this phrase. You will need to have this memorized as you would want to have easy access to toilets at all times. Signs for toilets are plenty but if you’re particularly rushing and you can’t find one, you can simply rely on this phrase and you’d immediately have someone tell you which way to go.