For German learners: You need to know that, unfortunately, the real world looks a bit different from what you learnt, more confusing and less structured with the use of slang. Here we will tell you why you must study slang, and you will learn 5 of the most used German slangs in everyday life and how to use them properly!
Slang is an aspect of language that isn’t usually taught in the classroom but is an important part of becoming proficient in any language. A person learning German might attend daily classes. They might study the grammar and the formalities and might even produce complex and coherent sentences. But, take this student out of the classroom and away from the textbooks, and they will encounter a world of language that breaks the rules they learned.
Although studying proper German rules is important, slang is unavoidable, no matter what language you’re speaking. In drama and music, conversations and advertising, language becomes less formal and goes less and less “by the rules”. Real-life German is so different from the textbooks.
Taking the time to understand slang and informal speech will boost your communication and language skills, and save a whole lot of confusion. Slang will allow you to use language in a current, useful way. No amount of time in class can prepare you for the contemporary nuances you’ll be faced with when you put your language knowledge to practical use out in the real world.
It’s time to cover common German slang expressions that are used every day in Germany!
1. In den sauren Apfel beißen müssen - have to bite the bullet
The phrase In den sauren Apfel beißen müssen literally means “to have to bite into the sour apple.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “have to bite the bullet.” You can use this expression when you have to get through difficult times or if you have to force yourself to get out of your comfort zone. This expression is used often by everyone.
Ich möchte nicht, aber ich muss jetzt in den sauren Apfel beißen und Hausaufgaben machen.
I don’t want to, but I need to bite the bullet and do homework.
2. Alte Liebe rostet nicht - An old flame never dies.
The slang expression Alte Liebe rostet nicht means “old flame never dies.” You can use this expression when you think you are still in love with your ex. This expression is used often by everyone.
Ich bin mit meinem Ex-Freund wieder zusammen. Alte Liebe rostet eben nicht.
I am with my ex-boyfriend again. Old love just never dies.
3. Mit Haut und Haaren - To be involved 100%
The expression Mit Haut und Haaren literally means “with skin and hair.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “to be involved 100%.” You can use this expression when you want to express that you are giving all your efforts to something. This expression is used often by everyone.
Ich bin mit Haut und Haaren dabei.
I’m 100% involved.
4. Auf die Pelle rücken - to crowd someone
The phrase Auf die Pelle rücken literally means “to move to one’s skin.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “to crowd someone.” You can use this expression when you think someone is getting too close to you physically or when someone is getting on your nerves. This expression is used often by everyone.
Du rückst mir zu sehr auf die Pelle.
You’re too close to me.
5. Durch die Lappen gehen - to let slip through fingers
The phrase Durch die Lappen gehen means “to slip through his fingers.” You can use this expression when something gets lost. This expression is used often by everyone.
Das ist mir wohl durch die Lappen gegangen.
That actually slipped through my fingers.
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