Oktoberfest: The worlds biggest language meet up?


Learn some key Bavarian phrases and get ready for the biggest language exchange in the world.

Every Autumn people gather in their thousands around an ancient Bavarian custom of drink and chat. The original and biggest Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, but there are hundreds of other mini-beer-fests happening all over the world this autumn. Chances are there’s one near you!

It’s a fantastic opportunity to practise your small talk. And with such a range of nationalities taking part in the modern Oktoberfest celebration, that could be happening in any language from Bavarian to Mandarin!

The confidence you need to speak the language well.

At Rosetta Stone we talk a lot about the power of our unique immersive approach to quickly give you the confidence to communicate well in another language. In truth though, there is a quicker way. A maß of beer can untighten the pursed lips of even the most timid language learners. Once the heavy, sweet liquor starts to work its magic, words will often start poring out, not just speaking with confidence, but even shouting your opinions out loud in a foreign tongue.

The combination of beer and conviviality makes for a great chance to enter into conversations with just about anyone you choose. Careful when dealing with the real Munich locals, however, you might find them impossible to understand, even if you have good German….


The Bavarian Dialect

The local language of Munich and the surrounding area – in fact a dialect – is unique in Germany and can be quite tough to understand, even for other Germans. Bavarians are as proud of it as they are of their great beer, and Bavarian remains one of the most ‘alive’ of the German dialects; widely used even among the younger generation.

Of course the more Munich residents drink, the more likely they are to slip into their local dialect. So if you’re planning to visit the real festival this year, you might need to brush up a little on the local lingo. To make it  easy for you, we’ve complied a list of some key phrases to use while out and about at Munich’s fest.


Key Phrases of the Oktoberfest

Wie komme ich zur Wiesn? How do I get to the Wiesn?
Wiesn actually means field or meadow in German and it refers to the area in Munich where the festival takes place, Theresienwiese (Therese’s field). It’s the very field where a little over 200 years ago Princess Therese of Saxony married Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and the whole town got drunk in celebration. They enjoyed it so much, they’ve yet to forget an anniversary!

Noch ein Bier, bitte! Another beer please.
In 2014 there were over 65 million litres of beer sold in the two weeks of the Oktoberfest. That’s  enough to fill 2.5 Olympic sized beer halls!

Welches Zelt gefällt Ihnen am besten? Which tent do you like best?
The Oktoberfest all takes place inside massive tents, each run by one of the big breweries of Munich and each with its own distinctive beer, music and atmosphere.

Halt deine Lederhosen fest! Hold on to your Lederhosen!
Lederhosen are the funny leather shorts that locals of Bavaria are so famous for wearing. One pair of lederhosen can last you a lifetime, so try not to lose them!

Die nächste Runde geht auf Sie! The next round’s on you!
Don’t worry, this will never actually be said to you at Oktoberfest. In Germany people don’t buy rounds. Everybody pays for their own beer which, considering it costs well over €10 for 1 litre of the so called Maß, is perhaps just as well.

About the Author Simon Goodall

Language learner, teacher and contributing author to the Rosetta Stone magazine

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