10 German Words in English

10 Words a Day: German Words in English

My German friends and I in 2017


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 1 of this episode, which contains another 10 Words in English, click here.

Hi everyone. Welcome back to this week’s episode. First off, I’d like to thank Guilherme Krause and Wolfgang Reinhardt, (Wolfgang?) for the very nice contribution to this podcast. They clicked on a link called "Support" in the episode notes and yeah, supported me and the work I do here. I really appreciate it, thinking of you guys, and let’s get on to today’s show.

Today we’re going to be going through the second part of episode number 147, which was all about German words in English. I spoke about my dear friend Nina, who is German. She’s from Berlin. And throughout the story about our relationship, I introduced ten German loanwords that are common in everyday English. If you haven’t listened to that episode, I recommend listening to the first part of this one, Episode 147. We went over doppelgänger, wanderlust, schadenfreude, Volkswagen, Porsche, Mercedes, kindergarten, Rottweiler. gesundheit, fest, angst or angsty, and kaput. Remember, since these words are in English, there’s an expected pronunciation for them, even if they are not pronounced that way in German.

So where did we leave off in our story? Let’s recap. In 2006, Nina was an exchange student in California, and she lived with my family for eight months. After her stay,she went back to Germany and I was distraught. In other words, I was very sad because I wasn’t sure if we would keep in contact. Fortunately, we did, and we’re still best buddies today.

In today’s lesson, you’ll hear ten more German words that are commonly used in English, and I’ll wrap up the story about this special friendship. Once again, I hope that by telling this story, you start to think about the special relationships you have with your friends and maybe even reflect on some memories you have together. Stay tuned until the very end of this episode; after the story, we’ll have some pronunciation exercises and we’ll go through the definitions of the ten key words.

If you would like the transcript, the MP3, or a listening comprehension quiz that goes along with this episode, and the transcript reader to practice your pronunciation, be sure to sign up to Season 3 or All Premium Content. You’ll find the links to those in the episode notes.


Without further ado, let’s begin our story.

When Nina was living at my house, we took a trip to a super kitschy or uber kitschy German beer garden. It had old goofy beer mugs, funky wallpaper and lederhosen hanging from the walls. And that was in Davis, California, just about 30 minutes from where I grew up.

Nina sat down and read the menu and saw a lot of German items listed on it, including schnitzel, bratwurst with sauerkraut and strudel. To someone from the US, all of these words feel like they’re English, they’re that common. We don’t have English translations for these food items, right? But we pronounce them schnitzel, bratwurst, sauerkraut and strudel. And while we were at that restaurant, something funny happened. The waitress who was American corrected Nina’s pronunciation of German menu items. Obviously, a German knows how to pronounce German words. The point is, it can cause confusion if you pronounce it correctly.

Back in 2015

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.