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Alles auf Deutsch

Being able to speak the language not only connects you to the impression, but it connects you to the people behind the history.  Below is a primer of basic German words and phrases.












It's not just what you know, it's what you do with what you know.




Basic German

In English when we talk to another person we say, “Have you seen any German tanks?” or “Hast du deutsche Panzer gesehen?” Both Du and Sie mean you in German. Du is the informal form that would be used among friends and soldiers of the same rank. Sie is the formal form of you and it is used among strangers and between soldiers of different rank. An NCO and a private would speak to each other using the Sie form. Officers would address each other with the Sie form. Traditionally officers would be addressed by enlisted men in the third person (indirectly) “Herr Hauptmann ist richtig” (the captain is correct) instead of “You are correct.” This changed under Hitler’s regime. At first a direct form of addressing a superior officer became optional and then compulsory. Superior officers are addressed directly as “Herr Leutnant.” The “Herr” means mister. In the SS, NCOs and officers are addressed only by their rank; “Untersturmführer.”


Special Points

AI - As in aisle, ice, right. Example: “Nein” meaning “no.”­

EE - When underlined, as in bee, need, feel but said with the lips rounded. Example: “G’MEE-za” meaning “vegetables.” Below are the words written in English, followed by their German translation.




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