Kölsch lesson continues

The gothic Dom cathedral, its medieval old town, the heart of the city that’s shaped like a half crescent, its fifth season ‘Karneval’ (the city’s most anticipated carnival where people party for six straight days), the thirst-quenching Kölsch beer, the jolly good people who are always in good spirits, the romantic Rhein river meandering through, Schlagermusik (folk party music) from Black Föös and Die Höhner, and its ‘Gemütlichkeit’ (cosy ambience – these are just some characteristics that gives Cologne its flair as one of the most attractive cities in Germany to live and play.

Another distinctive trait that makes this metropolis special is its dialect – Kölsch. While Kölsch is not taught in schools, it’s commonly used in the Schlagermusik and among the older folks who desire to retain the proud tradition. I wished it would have been easier to learn Kölsch than the standard German but after a Kölsch session with my in-laws during our recent roadtrip, the dialect proved to be harder than dancing to PSY.

The easiest part of learning Kölsch for me is probably its focus on articulating the ‘sch’, for example standard German (SG): ‘ich’, Kölsch: ‘isch’ and replacing the ‘pf’ with ‘p’, example SG: ‘Apfel’, Kölsch: ‘Appel’. It’s like Singlish in Singapore where the language is simplified and all extra consonant or vowels can be dropped. That said, I’ve picked up some Kölsch from Papa and Mama cool, and here’s a recap:
– Suffkopp: drunkard (‘suff’ comes from ‘saufen’ in SG which means to get wasted)
– Wie jeht et dir: how are you (wie geht es dir in SG)
– Jooden Morje: good morning (Guten Morgen in SG)
– Jooden Oovend: good evening (Guten Abend in SG)
– Jooden Daach: good day (Guten Tag in SG)
– Lecker Mätche: attractive gal (lecker Mädchen in SG)
– Isch wäis nit: i don’ know (ich weisse nicht in SG)
– Er hät en Eck aff: he’s silly (er ist bekloppt in SG)
– Isch han Doosch: i’ve thirst (ich habe Durst in SG)
– Kualmann: peeled and cooked potato (Pellkartoffeln in SG but still omigod, in a land where potato is THE staple, there is a word and name for every type of potato)
– Äadappel: potato (Kartoffel in SG)
– Hey wirste apfferzockt: you have been cheated (Du bist übers Ohr gehauen, du bist betrogen in SG)
– der Köbes: there isn’t a suitable English translation although in SG it is ‘Kellner’ and means waitor. In a Cologne pub or brewery, these are waitors with an attitude and you don’t get a drink until they serve you.

Kölsch is certainly a dialect with its own attitude and charm. Although it’s going to be an uphill task to grasp the language, I hope to retain some of these words in my limited mental hard disk for the next family gathering in Germany! If you have any Kölsch words to share, just leave me a comment. Nix bliev wie et wor!


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Football German vocabulary 101

With most of the punters’ favourite teams out of the game, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the German team tonight. To prep myself to watch the game with friends tonite, I’ve made a list of common German football slangs and phrases so we can all roar to the opponents “ihr könnt nach Hause fahren, ihr könnt nach Hause fahren!” Thanks to my hubby Chris and my friends Kirsten and Annika for your tips!

Eine Bude machen, Tor schießen, Einen versänken, ein lochen – to strike a goal
Schwalbe machen – to fake a foul
Ecke – corner
Flanke – Cross
Das Spiel war unentschieden – the game was a draw
Der Sieger – the winner
Der Torhüter – the goalkeeper
Der Stürmer – the striker
Rechts und LinksAußen – right and left winger
Der Verteidiger – defender
Der Schiedsrichter – referee
Schieri – short form for referee
Die Weltmeisterschaft – World Cup championship
WM – short for World Cup
Rote Karte zeigen – to flash a red card
Trikot – Jersey
Trainer – Coach
Elfmeter schießen – penalty shot “to shoot at 11 metres”
Faul – foul
Das Spiel geht in die Verlängerung – the game is extended
Kopfball – headball
Fallrückzieher – overhead kick
Wettskandal – betting scandal
Fußballwette / Football bet
An die Latte schießen –
Dribbeln – dribble
Hakentrick –
Schiebung – Used to describe a situation when the referee is unfair
Ihr könnt nach Hause fahren – you can hit the sack (shouted by fans to opponents to break their moral)
Hat Trick – hat-trick
Verlieren – to lose
siegen – to win
Abseits – offside (be it English or German, i still have issues comprehending this term)
Offensiv spielen – play offensively
Auf gehts Deutschland schieß ein Tor – chanted by fans to motivate d team shoot a goal
Die Pille, das Leder – the Football
Das Runde muss in das Eckige – literally the ball must be in the net
Klose vor noch ein Tor – chanted by the fans to motivate a specific player to shoot a goal


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German medical terms

Hand in einem SplintOur thumbs help us in everyday tasks like brushing teeth, showering, washing hair, writing, turning the doorknob, gripping and the list goes on. I didn’t realise how absolutely important my right thumb has been aiding me daily until I lost this little friend to one careless moment at the driving range while practising my golf swings. One will think “You’re right. How can anyone get injured with golf?” Well, golf can be dangerous if one is impulsive and ignores the safety precautions, and can like me end up with a broken thumb. While getting ready to hit the golf ball, I geared up my club and once in position, I swung the club upwards and even though I felt the golf bag blocking my way, I continued, exerting full force to the downswing. Alas, the golf bag was tougher than my swing and the club hit against my thumb, overstretching it in the opposite direction. So according to two hand specialists and one MRI scan, the ulnary collateral ligament of my thumb was completely ruptured and an operation loomed before me. That said, thanks to this mishap, I’ve since learnt a number of German medical terms. Here’s the list in a glance:

  • es tut weh – it is painful
  • die Schmerzen – pain
  • eine OP (operation) – operatio
  • die Chirurgische Abteilung  – surgery department
  • die Anaesthesie/ die Narkose / die Betaeubung – anaesthesia
  • Der Anaesthesist – anaesthesist
  • Der Baendeabriss – torn ligament
  • die Verstauchung – sprain
  • mein Daumen ist verstaucht – my thumb is sprained
  • die Schmerztabletten – painkillers
  • diagnostizieren – diagnose
  • eine Entzuendung – inflammation
  • heilen – heal
  • Physiotherapie – physiotherapy
  • die Schiene / der Splint – splint
  • der Gips – plastercast
  • das Fieber – fever
  • die Erkaeltung – cold
  • der Knoechel ist umgeknickt – the ankle is sprained
  • das Medikament – medication
  • der Krebs – cancer
  • leiden an etwas- suffer from s.t
  • der Blutkreislauf – blood circulation
  • Kernspintomographie – MRI scan or magnetic resonance imaging
  • roentgen – to x-ray
  • die Untersuchung – examination
  • die Vorsorgeuntersuchung – preventive screening
  • die Krankkeitsgeschichte – medical history
  • die Spritzer – injection
  • Blut abnehmen – draw blood


To all who are recovering from common flu or surgery, ‘Gute Besserung’ or get well soon!


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It’s the time of the year where old things give space to new. Very often it’s not because the old are worn-out, tattered, shabby or damaged but with the new year, one tends to be attracted to shiny new things, whether it’s a

new gadget, new bag or new job. To make up for the guilty pleasures of shopping, I learnt some German adjectives from my friends last week that’ll be put into good use when I explain to my hubby about my recent purchases.


  • abgegrabbelt – worn out, shabby eg Der Sessel ist schoen abgegrabbelt ( the armchair is worn out)

  • ausgelatsch – very used, meine Schuhe sind ausgelatsch ( my shoes are very used)
  • alt – old eg meine Tasche ist schon so alt, deswegen habe ich eine neue gekauft (my bag is so old, that is why I bought a new one)
  • zerfleddert – tattered eg ihre Kleidung  war zerfleddert (her clothing was tattered)
  • altmodisch – outdated, out of fashion, eg der Stil ist so altmodisch, das zieht keinen Mensch (the style is so outdated that no one will wear it.)
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2013: Looking back

2013 has been amazing, packed with wonderful moments with families and friends, and inspirational time for myself. As I begin the New Year with new resolutions, I will first work on one of them – updating this blog more regularly with new German phrases or words learnt.  Here is a list of unpublished ones from 2013 and ‘Frohes Neues’:

  •  Falle in Ohnmacht: to faint (Er is sehr gutaussehend aber ich falle nicht im Ohnmacht.)
  • Die Idee ins Wasser gefallen (ausfallen,gescheitert): the idea was dropped (Die Idee um die neue Wohnung zu renovieren ist leider ins Wasser gefallen.)
  • Etwas mich vom Hocker reissen: does not blow one’s mind, does not impress me(Das Essen war lecker aber es reisst mich nicht vom Hocker.)
  • Die Lampen an (beschwipst, betrunken): tipsy (Nachdem Rotwein und Schnapps, hatte sie die Lampen an.
  • Hier ist der Bär los (es gibt viel Los): it is crowded here
  • Was ist verkert daran? Was ist falsch daran: What is wrong with it?
  • Schäbig: crummy, shabby (Das Hotel ist nicht gut erhalten und das Zimmer und die Ausrutung waren alles sehr schäbig.)
  • Tod ueber den Zaun hängen: translates to ‚Death hanging over the fence’ but it refers to a place so forsaken and crappy that you will not want to hang out there. Dort will ich nicht Tod ueber den Zaun hängen.
  • Quasselstrippe: chatterbox
  • Wenn Blicke töten könnten: When looks can kill
  • Aus der Nummer auskommen: get away with it (Glaubste, dass mit dem Gesichtsausdruck, kommst du aus der Nummer aus?)
  • Etwas ist gehüpft wie gesprungt (das ist gleich egal): it is the same, nothing changes
  • Jemanden über  den Tisch ziehen (Jemanden übers Ohr hauen): to trick or deceive one. (Zieht mich nicht über den Tisch)
  • Larmarschig: extremely slow. (Der Service war larmarschig)
  • Etwas unter den Tisch kehren: to cover up something
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German conversational words and phrases for foodies

wild boar pasta with saladFood is a universal buzz topic and when it comes to a lip-smacking meal, one would want to pay some compliments to the cook. Instead of saying ‘lecker’ (tasty) or ‘gut’ (good) all the time, I plan (still trying) to add some snazzy German words when I’m dining out with the German folks. Here is a list of German adjectives and phrases to describe food, good and bad, a Feinschmecker (foodie/gastronomer) will find handy.


  • fein: fine
  • saulecker: damn delicious
  • ausgezeichnet: outstanding
  • koestlich: delectable
  • schmackhaft: palatable
  • delikat: exquisite
  • herzhaft: tasty
  • vorzueglich: excellent
  • appetitlich: appetising
  • klasse: swell


  • pfui: yikks
  • furchtbar: awful
  • unschmackhaft: tasteless
  • fies: nasty, yucky
  • ekelhaft: disgusting
  • unappetitlich: unapetising
  • ekelig: yucky/disgusting
  • fade: tasteless
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Business German / Wirtschaftsdeutsch

As one of the world’s leading economies, Germany is naturally the heart of most trading activities in Europe. It is also no surprise that this country houses some of the largest international fairs and trade shows like CeBit in Hannover. According to GNTB, “Germany is the world’s number 1 location for hosting international trade fairs.” Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich are some of the key cities where these trade events happen.

This is why, business german or ‘Wirtschaftsdeutsch’ is handy when one travels to such events or for business in Germany. For me, business german is useful when I correspond with my colleagues in Germany. In a place where rules and etiquette play a major influence in the people’s lives, you don’t wish to commit a business faux pas by using  inappropriate language.

So here is a list of common words and phrases for ‘Business German/Wirtschaftsdeutsch’ I think will make reading business related news, business correspondence in German or making small talks at event easier.

  • die Mutterfirma/Muttergesellschaft/Stammfirma – parent company
  • die Tochterfirma/Niederlassung – subsidiary
  • die Konkurrenz – competition
  • der Wettbewerb – competition
  • der Konkurrent – competitor
  • der Umsatz – revenue
  • die Steuer – taxes
  • der Aufschwung – growth
  • der Gewinn – profits
  • der Verlust – loss
  • die Konjunktur – economic situation
  • Markt aufbauen – to build presence in a market
  • ein neues Produkt auf den Markt bringen – to launch a new product in the market
  • der Absatz steigern – to increase the volume
  • neue Auftåge bekommen – to get new contracts
  • der Handel – trade
  • handeln – trade (verb)
  • die Ausfuhr – export
  • die Einfuhr – import
  • die Ausfuhrung – execution
  • die Waren – goods
  • das Produkt – product
  • das Warenzeichen – trademark
  • die Produkte und Dienstleistungen – products and services
  • der Prospekt – brochure
  • die Broschüre – brochure
  • Kontakte knüpfen – to connect with contacts
  • das Marketinginstrument – marketing instrument
  • führend – leading e.g eine führende Position ( a leading position)
  • die Messe – fairs (Fachmessen – specialised fairs for e.g. CeBit is ‘eine Fachmesse’ for IT & telecommunications)
  • die Ausstellung – exhibition
  • der Aussteller – exhibitor
  • der Besucher – visitor (at fairs)
  • die Produktvorführung – product demonstration
  • der Einzelhåndler – retailer
  • der Großhåndler – wholesaler
  • ein umfangreiches Angebot – an extensive offering
  • der Vertreter – representative
  • ein etabliertes Unternehmen – an established company
  • der Sektor – sector
  • die Industrie – industry
  • Ansprüche der Kunden herausfinden (find out) – to find out the requirements of the customers e.g. Unser Ziel auf der Messe ist um die Ansprüche der Kunden herauszufinden.
  • die Schwellenlånder – growing markets like Brazil, Russia, India and China
  • Markt kennenlernen – to know about the market
  • den Absatz steigern – to grow the sales volume
  • Produkt vorstellen – introduce products
  • der Vorstand – managing board
  • der Aufsichtsrat – board of directors
  • der Vorstandschef – chief executive officer
  • der Markt wachsen – to grow the market
  • die Finanzkrise – the financial crisis
  • die Beteiligung an der Messe – participation at the fair
  • detailierte Auskunfte – detailed information
  • einen Termin vereinbaren – to fix an appointment
  • die Visitenkarte – business card
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