All My New Favourite German Words

The view from the top of Stanserhorn, a mountain near Luzern. My favourite part of Switzerland so far!

The view from the top of Stanserhorn, a mountain near Luzern. My favourite part of Switzerland so far!

It’s been a while!

Apologies for the silence – wifi at my new apartment is ropey etc etc EXCUSES. But, I’m here! I’ve just finished my first month at my new job, so I guess that makes me pretty much fully integrated.

Except that I speak about 10 words of German, and precisely 1 word of Swiss-German.

This evening at the supermarket a siren went off, they evacuated everyone (“Raus! Raus!”) and a bunch of emergency services turned up. About five minutes later, the fire engines and police cars drove away. They let everyone back into the shop. A bit more German would have been handy in this situation I think! I’m going to assume it was a false alarm, but I’d have a much better story to tell if I’d understood anyone..

Nonetheless! Here are my top 5 German words:

  1. Kichererbsen – Chickpea. But, literally “giggle pea”. I’d like to say this has been useful – even in my households quest to find hummus in Swiss supermarkets – but it really hasn’t.
  2. Bluesliebehaber – A blues enthusiast or “blues-love-haver”. I found this gem on a poster for Luzern Blues Festival. Compound words are the way forward, seriously. I’ve tried telling people I’m vegetarian by claiming “Ich bin ein tofuliebehaber”, but I’m told that “vegetarier” is also acceptable.
  3. Kopfkino – “head cinema” ie. mentally picturing something. Is this also used in the nadsat language in A Clockwork Orange? I feel like it is..
  4. Naschkatze – “nibbling cat”. Someone who has a sweet tooth is considered a “naschkatze”.
  5. Doch! – An exclamation/response/adverb/intensifier that seems to be able to mean literally anything depending on the context. I know it’s used to express disagreement or doubt but beyond that, no idea. Anyone?

So thats pretty much all I have – apart from the word for every piece of equipment in my lab.  Can anyone suggest any more reasonably useless German words (or even better, Swiss German words!) for me to add to my vocab?


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