Why on earth are there 15 ways to say meatball? All the possible variations of the most used words in German

When deepening your knowledge of a foreign language, you will start to feel more comfortable about it, yet you will keep hearing words that are new to your “personal vocabulary”: there is still much to be done to achieve bilingualism. This is what usually happens with German, for instance, which not only is it harder for its syntax than other languages but it also has a wide range of vocabulary. You will feel discouraged to know that German has a wide range of words that can either vary according to their language register or to the region they belong to. If you have the intention of feeling part of the community, therefore, it is recommended to know, if not all of them, at least a few of the possibile variations of the most used words in German. A few examples listed below are concerning the local cuisine.


If you happen to order some Pfannkuchen in Berlin, you won’t get the usual pancakes you might expect, yet jam-stuffed doughnuts! More broadly, there are 12 different ways to say “pancakes” in German. The Pfannkuchen is a calque of the English word which stands for the actual pancakes. However, in the area of Berlin it is more likely the hear Eierkuchen when referring to pancakes, while das Omelett is typical of Western Germany and die Omelette is commonly used in the area near Switzerland. People living at border with Poland and in Leipzig would call them Plinse or Plinz; Palatschinke in Austria.


Talking about desserts, there are 12 ways to say “gingerbread man” in German. Those typical Christmas cookies are called Lebkuchenmann in Eastern Germany, Munich, Berlin and Hannover; Weckmann o Weckmännchen  in South-Western Germany; Stutenkerl in North-Western Germany. In Austria it is commonly known as Krampus, a legendary creature that, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved. In Stuttgart and Karlsruhe is Dumbedei. The several variations not only depend on the geographical area but also on the ingredients and spices used in the recipe. Spekulatius, from the Belgian Speculoos, is also a widepread way in Berlin to call those spicy cinnamon cookies.


When you first move to Germany, you will notice that most of the German cuisine is based on meat dishes: not only will you taste the well-known sausages but you will  also have the chance to try out the German meatballs, which you can easily find at any local store. Although the most widespread is Fleishkloß, there are actually 15 ways to say “meatball” all over the country: they call them Frikadelle in Northwestern and Central Germany or Fleishküchle in the southwest. In Dresden and Leipzig they are known as Klops o Kloß; Fleishaiberl in Austria. Lastly, Bulette or Boulette are typical of Berlin.

We highly suggest you keeping in mind a few of these terms listed above so that you can figure out what you are about to eat!


Talking about variations of words concerning food, we need to mention one of the essentials of everyone’s diet: bread and, more specifically, the last chunk of a loaf of bread. This term has loads of variations in Italian, according to the region it is associated with, such as “cozzetto”, “cantuccio”, “gomito”or “culetto”. However, there are more than 50 variantions in German: Kanten, Anschnitt, Kipf, Ranft/ Ränftchen, Knorze, Knust, Rankl, Krust, Kirshte and so on. In Switzerland Anhau, Scherz, Mürggu, Mutsch, Chäppi, Houdi  are the most used, while Scherzerl  is typical of Southern Germany and Austria.


Let’s change topic! There are at least 25 ways to hiccup in German. The first word that might cross your mind could be either Schluckauf or Schluchzer. You might hear people say Hädscher in the south of Germany and in the areas bordering France; Schnackler is a typical Austrian variation instead; lastly, Hitzgi is characteristic of Switzerland.


It is an easy-peasy word which has a lot of equivalents in German. You can’t go wrong if you use the word Hausschuhe, which literally means “house shoes”. However, there are 10 ways to say slippers. Pantoffeln sounds like Italian (pantofole) yet it is not spread over cities like Berlin and Hannover, just like Schluffen mostly used in Frankfurt and in the state of Rhine. Bambuschen, again similar to the Italian “babbucce”, is frequently used in the east of Germany. Lastly, if you are in Switzerland you will be more likely to hear Finken.

4 reasons why you should learn German in Berlin right now (and improve significantly your CV)

Studying German in Berlin means learning a key language and enjoying one of the coolest cities of Europe

Besides attracting for its beauty and coolness, the German languages is getting required in most countries, mainly for professional purposes. In fact, Germany is one of the first countries to import and export all around the world. Studying German represents, therefore, a new bulwark for people living in their own countries, as well as for those travelling abroad. Furthermore, by studying German directly in Berlin, you will surely get many advantages (by the way, Berlino Schule is offering new German courses. Why don’t you take a look?)

Four reasons why you should learn German in Berlin

1 Studying German in Berlin means learning much faster than in Italy

There is no better learning approach than combining theory and practice. What a better chance than studying right in the country in which the language is spoken? By learning German in Berlin (as well as in other cities in Germany), you will in fact put your linguistic skills in practice.

2 German is getting required in every country in the world

Just to make an example: Germany is Italy’s first trading partner. Except for Spain and Portugal, German sets itself as key language for the European trade. Besides that, Germans are also Italy’s most significant customers (39% of incoming tourists comes from Germany). It is therefore clear that a good knowledge of German may benefit you in any circumstances. The results? A more rewarding job and a higher salary. 

3 If you are willing to move to Germany, bear in mind that German is fundamental to find a job

Youth unemployment in Germany is relatively low. This implies great chances to find occupation in Germany. In particular, if supported by a good knowledge of German, it will be easier for you. No advanced level is necessary, though: many companies do not require it. Your German will naturally improve once you get on the spot. 

4 Berlin is still “The city of the moment”

Berlin is timeless: it reinvents itself every year without losing its everlasting charm. It also represents one of the most economical and bustling cities in Europe. Living and working in Berlin is simple and rewarding: public transports are extremely functional and well-organised and connect the whole city even during the night. 

4+1 Why studying German at Berlino Schule may help you settle down

Last but not the least. Berlino Schule can be a big springboard whether you want to settle down in Berlin. Our school, located in Berlin-Friedrichshain, provides you with qualified teachers, who have been teaching German for lots of years. Moreover, it has the best quality-price ratio, providing you with a proper language education, with qualified and German native teachers from just 4€/hour*. Not to mention that, if you are in need of an accomodation, we can help you find the right one for you.

Our German intensive courses

Berlino Schule offers two kinds of intensive course: afternoon and morning courses. Our next afternoon course is starting on 27th November. Classes will take place 4 times a week (from Tuesday to Friday, 14:45-17:15). The course will last four weeks, for a total amount of 48 hours.

Our intensive morning courses are starting on 3rd December at Berlino Schule and they will last 3 weeks, for a total amount of 48 hours: classes will take place 5 days a week (from Monday to Friday), 3 hours per day, from 8.45 to 11.25 or from 11.40 to 14.20.

Price: 192 euro + 20 euro registration fee

Our next German afternoon intensive course

A1.1 27 NOVEMBER – 21 DECEMBER (Tue-Fri, 14:45-17:15)

Our next German intensive courses

A1.1 3 DECEMBER – 21 DECEMBER (Mon-Fri 8.45 – 11.25)

A1.2 3 DECEMBER – 21 DECEMBER (Mon-Fri 8.45 -11.25)

A2.1 3 DECEMBER – 21 DECEMBER (Mon-Fri 11.40 -14.20)

A2.2 3 DECEMBER – 21 DECEMBER (Mon-Fri 8.45 -11.25)

B1.1 3 DECEMBER – 21 DECEMBER (Mon-Fri 11.40 -14.20)

B1.2 3 DECEMBER – 21 DECEMBER (Mon-Fri 8.45 -11.25)

B2.2 3 DECEMBER – 21 DECEMBER (Mon-Fri 11.40 -14.20)

Look at our calendar to find out our intensive German courses 

Our German evening courses

Evening German courses are starting on 7th or 8th December at Berlino Schule and they will last 8 weeks, for a total amount of 48 hours: classes will take place twice a week (Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday), 3 hours per day, from 19.15 to 21.40.

Price: 240 euro + 20 euro registration fee

You can also join the evening courses, which have already started!

Our German evening courses starting from November

A1.1 6 NOVEMBER – 20 DECEMBER (TUE and THU 19.15  – 21.40)

A1.2 5 NOVEMBER – 19 DECEMBER (MON and WED 19.15h  – 21.40)

A2.1 5 NOVEMBER – 19 DECEMBER (MON and WED 19.15h  – 21.40)

A2.2 6 NOVEMBER – 20 DECEMBER (TUE and THU 19.15  – 21.40)

B2.2 12 NOVEMBER – 17 DECEMBER (MON and THU 19.15  – 21.40)

C1.1 5 NOVEMBER – 19 DECEMBER (MON and WED 19.15h  – 21.40)

Look at our calendar to find out our evening German courses 



The German language is becoming easier and easier thanks to foreigners

The Germans and their language

Apparently, German people speak their language in a wrong way, grammatically speaking. The reason is quite simple: they want to simplify it. Mark Twain wrote in his book A Tramp Abroad: “A gifted person ought to learn English in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years.” It’s widely believed that the German language should be in a certain way renewed and refreshed. So, what’s going on with German? In 2008, two thirds of Germany’s inhabitants said that the quality of their language was becoming lower and lower: in fact, people tend to read less. Not to mention, the inexorable process of anglicisation.

Is Hochdeutsch disappearing?

The term Hochdeutsch refers to the most prestigious variety of German, the one without dialect and regional expressions. Needless to say, the spoken language – more flexible and open to cultural and linguistic transformations – easily removes the grammar’s barriers, typical of the written German. In the spoken German, not only the genitive case completely disappears, being replaced by different prepositions, but also word endings, concords and formal cohesion of the sentence inexplicably vanish. Grammatical structures of migrants’ languages, such as Turkish or English, tend to influence the language.

German and multilingualism

Language transformations are due to social changes: believe it or not, an increasingly growing process of immigration leads to a vast multilingualism. This actually means that the language is sensitive to social transformations and changes. In Berlin there are people from 189 different countries, and this contributes undoubtedly to the phenomenon of Multi Kulti Deutsch (multicultural German). There’s a good chance that “the systematic mistakes of today are the new rules of tomorrow”, as Rudi Keller, German linguist, states. To sum up, foreign languages affect inevitably national languages, and schools and universities should make aware of this kind of phenomenon.

Not only in Germany! 10 German words which are commonly used also in other languages

The German language: not as foreign as we think

It’s a fact, that learning German is not easy at all. Anyone who wants to learn this language must deal with a complex grammar, the existence of three genres (masculine, feminine and neutral), the length of the words and the basic unfamiliarity of each sound. In order to make the learning of German easier, we may remember that many words from German are actually used globally as an important part of the common language. For example, look at the following terms: Müsli, Strüdel, Kitsch, Bunker or Realpolitik. As we can see, the Teutonic influence is quite obvious in many different fields: food, culture, military or politics. Now, let’s focus on the most commonly used worldwide German words:


Literally meaning “the land behind”, is a common word in English, French, Spanish and Italian. Hinterland stands for “backcountry” or “a remote area of a country away from the city centre influenced by economics, society and culture”. For example, in Italy we often hear of “hinterland milanese”.


Common word used in English to express “joy” or “satisfaction” for one’s misfortunes. The Italian translation is “gioia maligna”.


Literally “children’s garden”, it can be used in English as a synonym of “nursery school”.


This is a worldwide term used to express “the spirit of the time”. The expression comes from philosophy to indicate the ideal climate, culture and spirit (considered as characteristic of an era).


Literally meaning “desire of walking” is commonly used in English in order to express “the craving for travel”.


Literally “guiding reason” is a global word which indicates “a motif or constant aspect of a literary or musical work” but also of “activities, manifestations and different behaviours”. Apart from the musical field, it has also become common to others.


In English “wonder/prodigious child”.


It means in English “body double/alter ego”.


Literally “play or game”. This term is used in English with the meaning of “eulogistic speech” or “long and boring speech”.


Commonly shortened in Deli in English, Delicatessen means “culinary specialities shop”. The German word Delikatesse, which stands for “deliciousness”, derives from délicatesse, or “delicacy”.

German language Le carré

Why should everyone study German according to the British writer John le Carré

During the prize-giving ceremony for the best German professors of Great Britain, John le Carré explains why everyone should study German. A speech extract of the well-known British writer David Cornwell (better known by his pen-name John le Carré) has been published in “The Guardian”

“I started learning German when I was 13 and I still can’t explain why it was love at first sound. The answer must be obvious: my professor’s wit”: that’s how the speech begins. The famous writer John le Carré fondly remembers his first teacher of German, Mr. King, a man who chose to go against the wind. Rather than supporting the anti-German propaganda of the time, the teacher wanted to convey the beauty and the power of the German language, culture and literature to his students. He said that: “One day the real Germany will come back.”

An “out of common” language

Le Carré recalls when he used to listen to CD’s in his classroom and German actors reading poems by Heinrich Heine or Eduard Mörike. It was just listening to those sounds (and reproducing them) that le Carré started to fall in love with German. “I was in love with the idea that these poems and the language I was about to learn, belonged to me and nobody else because then, German wasn’t a common subject and most of my classmates only knew few words: for example Achtung (attention!) and Hände hoch (hands up!) learned from watching war movies.

From being a student in Sweden to becoming a German teacher

In 1948, John le Carré decided to quit the private school in England. Since he couldn’t go to Germany, he moved to Switzerland where
he enrolled at the faculty of German literature at the University of Bern at the age of 16. Le Carré explains that he had an excellent teacher there too, Frau Karsten. While joining the military service, he was transferred to Austria and afterwards he graduated in languages at the University of Oxford. After his studies, he started teaching German at Eton.

A funny language

The writer says “dealing with German is very funny” and he explains why German perfectly matches with the play. “You can easily coin many long words (true words), just for fun. For example, this is the word I learned from Google: Donaudampfschiffsfahrtsgesellschaftskapitän» (captain of a steam shipping company on the Danube)”. Moreover, the author mentions Mark Twain: “Some German words are so long they seem to have a perspective”. Then, he goes on: “you can invent crazy adjectives, like “my Playstation, which has (recently been thrown from the window by my parents)”

The language of gods

And yet German is not only a “playful” language, but rather a language of purity. “When you get really tired of that massive number of nouns and participles used to make compounds, please remember you can always get inspired by Hölderlin, Goethe or Heine poems and never forget that German can reach extremely high levels of brevity and beauty – which is for us, the language of gods”.

Learn a language as friendship act

According to John le Carré, studying a foreign language is a friendship act comparable to a handshake. As soon as you start learning a new language, you start getting closer to the other, her/his culture, behaviour and way of thinking. The writer mentions Carlo Magno: “Getting in touch with another language is like owning a second soul”.

Mental fluency

Le Carré states that “merging these two souls requires mental fluency. It’s important to be clear and never get satisfied unless you find the equivalent word. If the equivalent doesn’t exist, you have to find a complete sentence or periphrasis in order to express the same meaning”. Not without reason, le Carré thinks that his most methodical editors are foreign translators. Then he goes on “the German translator is particularly exasperating”.
The importance of a pure and rational language as truth warranty
Le Carré also mentions the importance of a pure and rational language. Without specifically citing the name of the present U.S. president, the writer refers to “contradictions and incomprehensible declarations from the other side of the Atlantic”. Moreover, he adds “for a man who’s actually in war with the truth and reason, an objective language stands for a threat; the enemy’s voice, or better a fake news, to him”.

The learning of German in the Brexit Era

Le Carré praises language teachers and particularly German teachers of Great Britain which are told to be “dying breed”. Lastly, he says that the teaching of the German language and culture massively contributes to
maintain a balanced and civil debate on Europe. Teachers often refer to those “illuminated young people that, with or without Brexit, consider Europe their home, Germany as their natural partner and language as a natural bond”.


Born in 1931 in the South of England, John le Carré has been considered the most important writer of twentieth century’s spy fictions. His books, also inspired by his professional experiences and set during the Cold War, are famous worldwide. Infact, during the Second World War he joined the British secret services and his novels include “The spy from the cold”, “All men of Smiley”, “The mole”, “The perfect spy” and “The tenacious gardener”. Fascinated by the charm carried by the foreign languages, le Carré studied at the University of Bern and then at Oxford, where he graduated in German literature. He has been taught for two years at the prestigious Eton College and then became an official of the Foreign Office, the British Foreign Ministry. First, he became Second Secretary at the UK Embassy in Bonn and later he went to the Hamburg Consulate as a Political Counselor.


Photo: © Pixabay

The winners of the photocontest #quantoèbellaberlino

Today the photocontest #quantoèbellaberlino ended and we have selected the three winners! The prizes were a German course at Berlino Schule, a dinner for two at MedEATerranean Trip and an artisan bier tasting with apetizers at Birra.

Summer School

The Summer School courses are super-intensive German courses that last two weeks and take place from July to September. They consist of 5 -hour*  daily classes, from Monday to Friday, for a total amount of 50 hours*. The atmosphere is very friendly and the teachers certified and experienced. Here the information about the next courses.

The first winner has the possibility to take a course for free and complete a semi-level in just two weeks!

The contest

The photo contest aimed to represent Berlin and highlight its beauty. Of course there were the Berliner Dom, the Siegessaule and the Brandeburger Tor.

The final ranking

We have selected the final winners taking into consideration the likes each photo had on 2nd of July at 12:00.

The first place: with 1117 likes the winner is Elisa Pozzi with her photo Back to the 90ies.

The second place: with 613 likes Lorenzo Sartori wins the second prize with his picture Berlino è più forte della realtà.

The third place: with 176 likes Maria Stefania Atzori wins the third prize with her photo Duomo di Berlino.

Here the photo album of the contest #quantoèbellaberlino on Berlino Magazine’s Facebook page to enjoy the pictures of the German capital.

To claim the prizes send an email to info@berlinoschule.com


#quantoèbellaberlino, the photocontest dedicated to the most beautiful pictures of Berlin

Berlino Magazine and Berlino Schule organize a photo contest to show the beauty of the German capital.

The contest #quantoèbellaberlino gives you the chance to win a German course during Berlino Schule’s Summer School, which will take place from July to September.
The topic of this year’s contest is Berlin’s beauty: every corner of this amazing city leaves all the people open-mouthed and breathless. Just go for a walk near Hackescher Markt or go to the Kreuzberg district and you will be enchanted. The pictures in the competition must capture characteristic corners or little-known landscapes, which can fully express the magical beauty of the city.

How to take part in the #quantoèbellaberlino photography contest

Follow the instructions:

– Be sure to “like” Berlino Schule and Berlino Magazine on Facebook

– Upload the photo using your Facebook account, making sure that the privacy for the viewing is set to “EVERYONE”

– Provide a title for the picture followed by the hashtag #quantoèbellaberlino

– Tag in the caption of the photo both Berlino Schule and Berlino Magazine

Here an example:

How we choose the winners of #quantoèbellaberlino

All the posts will be reviewed by the team of Berlino Magazine and it will then share every photo within 24 hours from the publication on the album #quantoèbellaberlino – Contest fotografico on Berlino Magazine’s facebook page.
The deadline for entries is July 1st 2018, 00:01 a.m.
Our team will select the winner (aka the picture that will have received the highest number of likes on the page of the magazine – shares do not count, but they definitely help!) on 02.07.2018 at 12:00 p.m. In case of a tie, the picture uploaded earlier will win. We will only consider one photograph for each person.


First prize: Summer School in Berlino Schule

Berlino Schule’s Summer School is the study holiday you’ve been waiting for.
The winner of the contest #quantoèbellaberlino will have the chance to attend a super intensive course of two weeks, five hours per day (from Monday to Friday). The school is located in Friedrichshain, one of the most beautiful, lively and safe district in Berlin.
Summer School will take place from July 2nd to September 7th 2018, as follows:

2 July – 13 July
16 July – 27 July
30 July – 10 August
13 August – 24 August
27 August – 7 September

There will be morning (9.15-13.30) and evening (14.00-18.15) classes.

Second prize: A dinner for two

The second prize is a dinner for two people at the restaurant MedEATerranean TRIP, in Gabriel-Max-Strasse, 19 – 10245 in Berlin. During the dinner two glasses of wine are also included.

Third prize: Beer, beer, beer!

The third prize is a taste of handcrafted italian beers accompanied by an appetizer, at the italian pub Birra in Prenzlauer Allee, 198 – 10405 in Berlin ( here our article about the pub’s history).


Berlino Schule has entered many agreements with apartments tenants and hostels, all over the city to make the search for an accommodation easier for its students.

For further information send an email to: info@berlinoschule.com

Good luck to everyone – we look forward to your submissions!

Brad Pitt nominated as testimonial of the German language in the world. Here’s why.

Throughout his career Brad Pitt has been called a lot of things, but surely he missed the title of being “a promoter of the German language”.

When not busy with the big screen or with humanitarian actions, the actor added another talent to his extensive curriculum. We are talking about the nomination to the tile of Sprachwahrer for the year 2014, an initiative promoted by the notorious German newspaper “Deutsche Spachwelt”. The award was given to someone that has demonstrated its dedication to the language, giving it value and merit. We can therefore define them as “language promoters”.

The actor, that has distant German origins, is in fact one of the most famous German scholars as well as a regular visitor of the country. We recall Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” of 2009 that was shot in the studios of Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam. Estimator of the Teuronic art, he expresses with enthusiasm his passion for the language by saying “I like German, I even find it beautiful and melodious” as reported in Kölner Express.

The title is, however, very controversial and amongst the other formidable contenders we remember: Monika Gruber, the German cabaretist famous for her politically correct linguistic manipulation, Heike Diefenbach and Michael Klein with their battle fought with words and petitions, working towards an ideological and free scientific language. Last but not least Johannes Singhammer, vice-president of the German Parliament, appointed for his tireless actions in promoting the German language.

Amongst the winners of the previous editions we remember the Deutsche Bahn (the German railway), Loriot (a famous German comedian, in 2011) e pope Benedetto XVI (in 2005).

Photo © Red Romero Ramos CC BY SA 2.0

Wish to become like Brad and get nominated yourself as “promoter of the German language”? Then take a look at the German courses that Berlino Schule organizes in the heart of Berlin by clicking here!



Germans and English? They are very good, but not all of Germany is Hamburg or Berlin

For many foreigners coming to Germany without any knowledge of the language, it is quite reassuring to know that worst comes to worst they can rely on English. It won’t take long to realize that a lot of Germans speak it very well considering that it is their second language (better than Italians, to pick an example). Concurring to a study released by Education First (EF), Germans belong to the global Top 10 ranking for the best non-native english speakers, establishing themselves at the 9th place out of 72 countries taken into considerations. According to the research the average knowledge of English in Germany reaches the B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference.

The most diligent Lands

Education First praised the efforts of Germany to better the standards of the last decades, with positive and encouraging results due in particular to the introduction of mandatory English classes in schools. Even Germany could however better its standards and reach a B2 level, just like Holland, which is ranked first. Moreover from the study it has emerged that the level of knowledge of English varies considerably according to regions and gender. The standard levels of knowledge of English are better in the north-western regions, led by Hamburg and soon after followed by Bremen and lower Saxony. Amongst the most english – friendly cities we also find Berlin, whereas the regions that have registered the worst levels of knowledge of the language are those confining with France, which prioritize French as a second mandatory language. The Saarland is in fact the Land that had the worst result.

© EF

Women know better: Regarding gender differences, women have demonstrated to be more fluent in English.

Cover photo © Flickr – Sascha Kohlmann CC BY SA 2.0 Man, Linkin Park, Teddy

Are you starting to learn German or wish to perfect your knowledge of the language? Then take a look at the courses that Berlin Schule organizes by clicking here!

100 German books that you can download for free on Amazon. Here’s how.

Do you want to read books in German without paying or risking of spending money on texts that you can’t fully understand because the language is too complicated?? Amazon allows you to download for free a list of books written or translated in German for Kindle (eBook).

From “Ein Koffer voller Vorurteile” by Loki Miller to “Notting Hill Blues” by Tania Kindersley passing through “Made in Nature” by Atlant Bier. They are about a hundred and the reviews of readers varies between 5 and 3 stars. There are some very interesting books and you can rely on either the readers’ reviews or by looking for other reviews online. You can read through the list by clicking here!

Enjoy the reading!

Photo: © goXunuReviews CC BY SA 2.0

Are you starting to learn German or wish to perfect your knowledge of the language? Then take a look at the courses that Berlin Schule organizes by clicking here!