Funny Things Germans Say In English

I do try to speak as much German as possible here in Germany, and I’d probably say I speak German more than I do English. Sometimes, however, I either get lazy or a German wants to practise their English with me. The level of English I hear is varied – some Germans have perfect American accents from watching all the American series, and some do struggle quite a lot, but generally, I’m pretty impressed with what I hear.

There are, however, times when I just have to laugh out loud at the things that are said to me (I do try to hold it in if I don’t know the person too well). I try and make a note of the things I hear as I thought it would at some point make a good blog post. And a few notes later, here I am writing a post!

I’m not going to name and shame anybody, so it’s all going to be anonymous.

A quite nice mistake was once when somebody wanted to say the whole “what goes around comes around” (I don’t know what I did) and what the German actually said was:

“What goes around, uh, flies around.”

I think that adds a bit of excitement to the whole karma thing really!

I was speaking to a German in English and said German kept itching their ear due to dry skin. After a while, I suggested the German stop as to not irritate it, and I got shouted back at me:

“Leave me alone! I’m an adult man!”

Turns out he was trying to be funny and wanted to say “I’m a big boy!”, but I preferred his mistake so much more.

I was with friends, mixed German and other nationalities, and we were speaking English. I perhaps said a bad swear word (sorry, Mum) and one of the Germans burst out and said the following:

“You should go home and wash your mouth out with… um… shampoo!”

Nearly. Though I’m sure shampoo would have the same effect.

Well, maybe coconut shampoo wouldn’t be as bad as plain old soap…

I was once playing card games with a mixture of British and German people, and we playing the game ‘arsehole’ where at the end of every round, someone is the president and someone is the arsehole. One of the Brits was really good at the game and kept winning, and a German kept being the arsehole, and said German, slightly joking (and possibly slightly being serious) got annoyed and when we told him he was the arsehole yet again, he shouted to the president:

“Yeah?? Well you’re an arsehole of the heart!!”

And I thought I was a sore loser…

There was a group of us together and we decided to order a takeaway from a place from which we often order takeaway. I knew what people often ordered there, so to make conversation I asked one person:

“So what are you going to order? The tagliatelle again?”

The reply I got was:

“Nah, I’m more into flesh at the moment.”

The non-speaking German people around stopped what they were doing and looked in horror until I quickly explained to them that the German word for ‘meat’ is Fleisch, and I explained to the German that ‘flesh’ is probably not something you should be into.




13 thoughts on “Funny Things Germans Say In English”

  1. I really think this is great! Mostly being an actor and i have to use many accents however, German is one of my favorites i get to replace my letters and go flatter etc. I just think its SO Much fun! ~

  2. “Nah, I’m more into flesh at the moment.” This is hilarious! I can imagine the looks people gave you! 😂😂😂

  3. I was still shaking with laughter about the retort ‘you’re an asshole of the heart’ when I had to laugh at Ellen’s landfill dessert! Thanks for the laughs.
    I’m learning all sorts of vocab that I didn’t learn in high school German in Australia. A lot is transferable into Norwegian and I’m sure that I make plenty of mistakes every day. I remember a German student laughing and laughing at me when I spoke to her in German but she wouldn’t explain why and when I try to speak German with a colleague he says oh that’s so cute. Hohum. I’ll keep on trying!

    1. Hey there!

      I’m glad you had a good laugh at my post… the “arsehole of the heart” was a brilliant moment when my friend said it. There were definite signs of him being a sore loser 😉

      I made an embarrassing mistake the other day in German and my friend could only laugh. I’ll no doubt make a blog post with my mistakes at some point for another laugh! 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Having made more than my share of mistakes in Spanish (and probably someone else’s share as well as my own in French, which I’m not very good at), I love foreign speakers’ mistakes in English. I feel like I’ve earned the right to laugh, since I understand all too well how they happen. I was in Spain recently, and a badly translated menu described a dessert as a landfill of chocolate with Nutella in the superior zone.

    We decided not to order it. And I’ve learned never to use the internet to translate a menu.

    1. Hey Ellen!

      Yes, I feel like people like us definitely have the right to laugh. I’ve also made many mistakes in German.

      I’m not sure whether that dessert sounds wrong or actually intriguing tasty. Maybe not the landfill part, but a superior zone filled with Nutella.. hmm…

      Thanks for reading! 🙂


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