The other day I came across a blog post about 25 German Loanwords. It’s a good list, but I felt, out of the 25 words only five or six are used frequently. And yet, there are many German words in everyday English, especially food items.

How about –

  • Bratwurst (a sausage)
  • Frankfurter (another sausage)
  • Hamburger
  • Gummibear (spelt Gummibär in German)
  • Kohlrabi (type of turnip)
  • Quark (type of soft cheese)
  • Muesli (spelt Müsli in German)
  • Rollmops (lovely bit of  pickled herring fillet)
  • Strudel (who hasn’t heard of Apfelstrudel?)
  • Sauerkraut (fermented shredded cabbage)
  • Schnaps (alcoholic drink)
  • Marzipan (Yum :-))
  • Pumpernickel (very dark and heavy, but nice, bread)
  • Schnitzel (breaded cutlet, escalope style)
I have eaten or drunk all of these at some time in my life. Have you?
Do you know any other German words?


27 Responses to Don’t want to speak German? But you already do!

  1. Sarah Arrow says:

    Schnaps is one of yours as well! Interesting that every day words like Hamburger and Franfurter are so common, yet not thought of as German.

    As for Rollmops, that is one you stole from us Cockneys 😉

  2. Sorry, Sarah, even Wikipedia doesn’t mention Cockneys:

    Must be wishful thinking 😉

  3. Jeremy Dent says:

    These are ones I use, partly because they have no direct equivalent in English:

    Lots of dog names!!

    Probably a lot more that I don’t use so often but recognise.

  4. Anita says:

    Glad to know I know some German! I am absolutely terrible, so embarrassing, I do apologise Angelika! But thanks for the great list 🙂  Hopefully I will learn a few more.

  5. Very good points there, Angelika. It’s interesting to note that in the USA and Canada, frankfurter sausages are called wieners … which I believe refers to Vienna. How did they escape from Germany??!!

    • I was about to reply with a cheeky ‘they emigrated’  as I didn’t know the answer myself. But I checked…. and found out, my answer would have been correct. Apparently the argument about the origin of the Wiener Würstchen is old. It seems that the original sausage is the Frankfurter, but a butcher from Frankfurt emigrated at the beginning of the 19th century to Vienna and sold his sausages there.

  6. You don’t usually hear “Gummibär”, it’s used in the belittled form “Gummibärchen”

    • You’re absolutely right, Graham. I wanted to stick closely to the English but should have mentioned that they are called Gummibärchen in Germany.

      Oh dear, I’ve been living in England for too long 😉

  7. Andreas Felis says:

    Great article, Angelika. – I collect Denglish = English words which are used in German far tooooooo often (as it sounds kind of higher educated / brighter than using simple words we already have in German language) … and sometimes forget about the fact that you’ve the same kind of “problem” in English language 🙂

  8. Ida Horner says:

    I had 1 year’s German tuition but have lost most of it! It would be great to pick this up again as i would really like to be fluent!

    • Hi Ida,
      Why don’t you pick it up again? Colleges should be advertising for evening classes now (to start again in September). Or chose some one-to-one. For example I do lessons via Skype. iI that interests you, you can chose the frequency (once a week or fortnight or even a month). In the meantime, have a look at my Links page for websites where you can revise some German. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

  9. Ida Horner says:

    I had 1 year’s German tuition but have lost most of it! It would be great to pick this up again as I would really like to be fluent!

  10. Mary C. Weaver, CSCS says:

    All I can add is that one of my favorite words sounds the same in English and German: beer/Bier!

  11. Quark appealed to me, probably because I first came across it as a page layout software for design and publishing professionals and I thought that was quite a leap from cheese to IT… 

    Not so, it would seem, as the humble (or not so humble?) quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter…

    An official website for QuArK games…

    And features on the Star Trek Wiki…

    As well as having its own TV series back in 1977, a film…

    Think I’ll stop now and save the other words for another time 🙂

    • LOL, Linda, I always thought Quark was a weird name for a design software. But then again, soft ware – soft cheese – not much difference, isn’t there?

      As for the film, I’d never heard of it. I just googled it and don’t think I missed much!

      Looking forward to hearing more from you 😉

  12. […] weeks ago I wrote a blog post about  German food words in everyday English when my friend Suzan St Maur told me she got hungry reading my post and where could she buy some […]

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