10 German Words in English

10 Words a Day: German Words in English


It’s story time! Welcome to a true story about my friend, Nina, who is from Berlin, Germany. In the story of our friendship you’ll learn 10+ German loanwords in English. A loanword is a words borrowed from a foreign language.

If you’d like to listen to Part 2 of this episode, which contains another 10 Words in English, stay tuned! 

Back in 2015

Hi, everyone. Welcome back. Hope you’re having a nice day.

A while back, I posted an episode about French words in English, and I got great feedback. For that reason, I’ve decided to follow that episode up with another episode about a similar topic. Ten words a day: German words in English.

Just like in the last episode, you’ll learn ten new words in English. First, I’ll present the words in a story, then you’ll get the definitions and new example sentences. If these words in particular are not new for you, that’s fine. In that case, this audio will hopefully refresh those words in your mind and increase your confidence using them.

As with the French episode, we’re dealing with loan words. Loanwords are words that are borrowed from other languages, they aren’t originally English words, so it’s important to pay attention to pronunciation.

You may be wondering, Well, how do you pronounce German words in English?

The pronunciation of a word depends on how common a word is. If a German word is common in American English, naturally there’s an expected way to pronounce it, even if it’s not how it would normally be pronounced in German. If a word is uncommon, the average American will do one of three things:

Number one, they will try to pronounce it correctly, but not super correctly.

Number two, they’ll pronounce it wrong and very wrong because they’re pretty sure they’re not going to get it right. Or number three, they’ll describe whatever it is using English words.

I’m an advocate for trying to pronounce a word somewhat correctly. However, you should do whatever you feel comfortable doing.

A quick tip for German, their Ws, which they pronounce as va va va, we would pronounce as a regular w a wa wa wa sound. For their V, which sometimes sounds like an f- a fa fa fa sound, we would pronounce that like an American V, So instead of Volkswagen, which sounds a little bit like an F to me, we would say Volkswagen, Volkswagen.


Do you remember the first time you traveled abroad? I do. And really well. When I was 16, a group of friends and I took a trip to six different countries in Europe. Along the way, I wrote in a journal documenting my thoughts on the culture and the history of the places I visited, and also took hundreds, if not thousands of pictures, which of course really help me remember the different places we were.

That’s the end of the free version of this transcript. If you would like access to the full transcript as well as mp3, interactive transcript reader (to work on accent) and quiz, be sure to sign up to Season 3 or All Premium Content.