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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German phrases to excuse yourself…muss mal

Die Maenner verstehen immer noch nicht ,wieso Frauen gerne zu zweit auf die Toilette gehen. Für die Frauen, ist das eine Zeit , um weiter zu (klatschen) tratschen-tuscheln-quasseln   oder um die ‚Nase zu pudern’. Manchmal es ist einfach schoen eine Begleitung zu haben wenn man ‚auf stille Örtchen’ geht.

Was mich aber fasziniert ist die Vielfalt von deutschen Sprüchen , die man benutzen kann nur wenn er ’ums Eck’ geht. Außer „auf die Toilette“ gehen, „Nase pudern“, „ums Eck“ und „auf stille Örtchen“, Ausdrucke wie „gehe mal für kleine Königstiger“, „muss mal“, „aufs Klo“ werden auch benutzt ,ob wohl manche (sind) seltener als die Anderen verwendet. werden

Was ist dann mit Englischen Sprüchen? Vor diesen Eintrag, konnte ich nur an “going to the toilet”, “use the washroom/bathroom/restroom”, “go pee/wee”, “take a leak”, “answer nature’s call” oder “powder my face” denken. Nachdem ich bei Wikipedia eintippt hatte, war die Ergebnisliste erstaunlich viel länger als die Deutsche Auswahl. Einige fand ich echt abgefahren wie „talking to grandma slowly“, „draining the dragon“, „shaking hands with the president“ und einer ist auch ganz süß – “sprinkle my tinkle”. Mehr unter

Ob gross oder klein, auf Deutsch oder Englisch, es gibt immer tolle Toilette Sprüche. Wenn dir auch ein schöner Spruch hast, bitte melde dich.

Ich muss mal dorthin, wohin der Kaiser zu Fuss hingeht  – papacool

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German and English sayings for the cocktail hour

On 11 December 2011, a group of about 20 friends got together at our place for a Charity Christmas Party. My other half came up with this idea after we visited an orphanage, Precious Heritage, some weeks back inPhilippinesand he decided to organise a Charity Christmas Party to raise funds for the children’s home. The Christmas spread was on the house and the guest simply makes a donation towards the classroom building fund for Precious Heritage.

The concept of combining charitable work with festive joy and fun was of course well received by everyone. Old friends catching up before going separate for year-end holidays and building new friendships in an international circle while keeping the less fortunate in our thoughts made the evening wonderfully special. As the host, it is extraordinary rewarding seeing our friends from all walks of life, from every unique culture, come together for a common meaningful cause and leaving the event with new-found friendships.

Fascinating for me was of course learning new German vocabulary again. “Mir egal. Hauptsache es knallt” was the new phrase I picked up from a new German friend (eine Schwaebin) who just moved toSingapore. It means that I don’t give a damn as long as it gets me high. The word ‘knallen’ means ‘to pop’. Quite a nifty phrase and will be practical when we are travel toGermanyfor Christmas this year. I hope my mother-in-law will be proud of me when I use it. In fact I can’t wait.

Since alcohol can never be distanced from a jolly festive celebration, I dedicated some time yesterday to search for booze related sayings and here’re some of my favourites.

  • Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy – Benjamin Franklin
  • Don’t drink and drive, you might hit a bump and spill your drink.
  • Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world. -Kaiser Wilhelm
  • Alright brain, I don’t like you and you don’t like me, so just get me through this exam so I can go back to killing you slowly with beer. -Homer Simpson


  • Ein Leben ohne Wein, oh nein ( A life without wine, oh no!) –  on a board outside a wineery in Mosel, one ofGermany’s famous wine regions.
  • Einen Schluck Alkohol nehmen, um den Kater zu bekaempfen.  (A sip of alcohol to fight hangover)
  • Im Wein liegt die Wahrheit (in wine lies the truth)


  • Lieber Pils-Bier als Shakespeare! (Better Pils-Bier than Shakespeare)
  • •Ich habe kein Problem mit Alkohol! Nur ohne! (I have no problem with alcohol. Only without)
  • Alkohol ist keine Antwort… aber man vergisst die Frage. (Alcohol ist no answer but one forgets the question.)

Prost! (Cheers!)

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German slangs abbreviated

Living in a world ruled by social media, we are unavoidably bombarded with short forms, acronyms (Abkuerzungen in German) daily. It’s sometimes just addictive typing lol, bff, ttyl and brb or your xoxo that has gained overnight stardom with Gossip Girls. Recently, I encountered my first acronyms in a conversation with some German friends. When my girlfriend peppered her lines with ADW, my eyes immediately lit. What was that? My brain was hungry to know the answer. To my question, my husband said, “You know these words. Jurong Island in Singapore is …”. “Arsch der Welt” was my immediate response. That is one of my favourite German phrases because you always get to use it when you’re in one of these ADW places. Am Arsch der Welt is used to describe a place that is in singlish “ulu” or in English, to live in a backwater. German acronyms exist of course! How can I forget? The dat.(dativ), akk.(akkusativ) and gen. (genitiv) that have tormented me for years in my numerous attempts to unriddle German grammar. Then you realized that the easy way out is to stop questioning the rules and simply accept them with VF (viel Freude – much pleasure). Never mind the rules. With German Abkuerzungen, sms-ing (simsen in German) will of course be a lot more finger clicking faster. This thought should’ve sunk in sooner and I wouldn’t have to spend so much formulating a German SMS. Anyway, after ransacking my textbooks, screening throught the Internet and gaining inputs from friends, I have now my Abkuerzungen list!

  • MFG: mit freundlichen Gruesse (best regards)
  • LG: liebe Gruesse (with love)
  • o.A: oder Aehnliches (or similar)
  • u.: und (and)
  • usw: und so weiter (etc.)
  • JWD: janz weit draussen (like ADW)
  • D&G: dumm und geil (dumb and horny)
  • EDEKA: ein dummer Esel kauft alles (a dumb donkey that buys everything)
  • H&M: Hasi und Mausi (rabbit and mouse)
  • KBM: keinen Bock mehr (no interest)
  • HDGDL: Hab dich ganz doll lieb
  • KITA: Kindertagestaette (preschool/day-care centre for toddlers)
  • bzw: beziehungsweise (in relation to)
  • od: oder (or)
  • WG: Wohngemeinschaft
  • O-Saft: Orangensaft (orange juice)
  • KO: kaputt (like knockout in boxing)
  • akla: alles klar? (is everything ok?)
  • bd: bis dann (till then)
  • biba: bis bald (cya soon)
  • gn8: gute Nacht (good nite)
  • gm: guten Morgen (good morning)
  • gdB: ganz dickes Bussi (super fat Kiss)
  • ild: ich liebe dich (i love you)
  • iO: in Ordung (in order)
  • guk: Gruess und Kuss (greetings and kisses)
  • kP: kein Problem (no problem)
  • kA: keine Ahnung (no clue)
  • omg: oh mein Gott (oh my God)
  • WE: Wochenende (weekend)

I’ve no doubt that this will be a never-ending list and if you have something quirky to add, just send me a msg.

Resources: Eva Decker, Christian Rahnsch, Kirsten Moench,, Langenscheidt Grosswoerterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache

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warming up starts with vorgluehen

Having lived in Singapore for more than one year, my dear friend from Aachen has long been localised. Even her favourite cocktail drink is Lychee Martini, a popular drink in Asia, especially in the Lion City. Bars that are generous serve this aperitif with two lychees and that’s exactly what eM bar did on Friday. eM is a new modern bar along the river at Robertson Quay, one of our favourite hang-outs that’s away from the city hustle and bustle. We met earlier to “vorgluehen“. Vorgluehen means warming up before a party. I was intrigued by the word when she mentioned it in her usual witty conversations – “Wir koennen erst mit Cocktails vorgluehen.” (We can warm up first with cocktails). Pre-party cocktails are simply social-life essentials  because they do in fact prep our spirits to an interesting evening. They warm us up so that I can rattle away in German more fluently. This is why this word liegt mir sehr an Herz (is close to my heart). Learning Koelsch (dialect from Cologne) also happens to liegt mir sehr an Herz although I haven’t made much progress since five years ago. This evening I decided to flip through my mini Koelsch dictionary for some inspirations. The small efforts did pay off and the first word that wants my company is “Freschsack” – cheeky person. The next phrase, “maach disch fott” has the same meaning of “abhauen” – to scoot off e.g. from work. Oh and here’s something that made my eyes lit up and my lips grinning. “Duetschland” – Deutschland – Germany.  The list goes on and my next task is to articulate the lyrics of “Superjeilezick” from Brings, a folk rock band from Cologne and I definitely need to vorgluehen mit Bier before I embark on this tongue-twisting challenge.

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German slangs part 2

It must be a strange wave that engulfed my girlfriends yesterday to lash out full force of sarcasm and of course witty German phrases about people they can’t stand. We all have one of these days when a jerk really clouds your day whether intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or unknowingly. It’s one of these days when you’re so ‘stinksauer'(upset) with this person or ‘genervt'(irritated, someone got on your nerves) from this someone and wished that his skeletons in the closet will run out to haunt him. And when you have a group of three women ‘discussing’ the misdeeds of these pricks, you can expect a train of unsexy, maybe even a bit rude but totally amusing German words that seems to be lodged in my head till today, hopefully longer, that I may have some mirth over the weekend using them ‘unintentionally’.

  • der Angeber: Poser
  • grosse Klappe, nix dahinter: someone who’s bragging but in fact is not capable of doing anything at all.
  • der Kotzbrocken: Kotz comes from vomit, der Brocken means boulder. Together it means that someone is a total jerk.
  • Arschgeige: used to describe one who is a total jerk, mean, arrogant and full of himself. e.g. Was fuer eine Arschgeige?
  • das Grossmaul: someone who’s loud-mouth.
  • die Nervensaege: pain in the neck.
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German slangs related to drinks

A great way to start the week is to bite the bullet for the first eight hours at work and have a drink after that. At least, you have something to look forward on Monday – Afterwork drinks. That’s exactly what my friends and I did yesterday. We caught up for dinner and light casual drinking on a Monday evening. Hanging out with the Germans on a Monday evening was an extra motivation to suss out new words again and here’s what I learnt yesterday :

  • gebechert : gesoffen (present tense: saufen) guzzle Booze
  • Zeche praellen: Leave without paying
  • Dienst ist Dienst. Schnapps ist Schnapps: Work is work, schnapps is schnapps. This means that one should strike a balance between work and play.
  • die Nachteule : night owl
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