German Phrases to Know at Oktoberfest

Instructor: Jens Bargmann

Jens is a native German and has taught adults both in Germany and in the United States. He holds a doctorate in Philosophy/Ethics.

In this lesson, we will learn terms and phrases that will be useful to know when you travel to the Oktoberfest in Munich or when talking to someone who is going there.

O'zapft is!

O'zapft is! This expression in the Bavarian dialect literally means ''It's tapped''! Traditionally the mayor of Munich taps the first keg of beer at noon on the first day of Oktoberfest, exclaiming the above phrase. This marks the official opening of the festival. What other phrases may be heard around that event? It is important to note that the rest of this lesson will give us phrases in Hochdeutsch (High German), not specifically Bavarian, so you will be understood all across Germany. Let's first look at some vocabulary, then some example sentences, followed by an example conversation.

Translation: Cheers!

General Oktoberfest Vocabulary

Vocabulary Pronunciation Translation
das Oktoberfest dass ock-TOH-behr-fest the October festival
das Festzelt dass FEST-tselt the festival tent
die Bank dee bunk the bench
der Sitzplatz dehr ZITS-plahts the seat
der Tisch dehr tish the table
die Musik dee moo-ZEEK the music
die Kapelle dee kah-PELL-le the band
der Kapellmeister dehr kah-PELL-miyss-tare the conductor
die Kellnerin dee KELL-neh-rinn the waitress
das Dirndl dass dirndl name of a certain type of dress
die Lederhose dee LEH-dare-hoh-zah name of a certain type of short leather pants
  • Das Festzelt hat Platz für 500 Leute. (The festival tent has room for 500 people).
  • Bitte halte den Sitzplatz für mich frei. (Save this seat for me, please.)
  • Die Musik ist sehr laut. (The music is very loud.)
  • Schau! Sie tanzen auf den Tischen! (Look! They're dancing on the tables!)
  • Dein Dirndl ist hübsch. (Your dirndl is pretty.)
  • Das Oktoberfest geht bald zuende. (The October festival will soon be over.)

Inside the festzelt

Oktoberfest Food and Drink Vocabulary

Vocabulary Pronunciation Translation
die Brezel dee BREH-tsell the pretzel
das Bier dass beer the beer
die Mass dee mahss literally: the measure; one liter
der Masskrug dehr MAHSS-croog the mug that holds one liter; stein
der Leberkäse dehr LEH-behr-kay-zeh name of a certain type of meatloaf
die Bratwurst dee BRAHT-voorst the brat; type of typical sausage
die Weisswurst dee VICE-voorst literally: the white sausage; type of typical sausage
der Senf dehr zenf the mustard
die Pommes rot weiss dee POMM-mess roht vice literally: French fries red white; French fries served with ketchup and mayonnaise
das Radler dass RAHD-lair name of a certain beverage, half beer and half lemon soft drink
das Diesel dass DEE-zel name of a certain beverage, half beer and half Cola
Die Toilette dee toh-LETT-teh the restroom
  • Noch eine Mass, bitte! (Another liter, please!)
  • Die Kellnerin trägt sieben Masskrüge auf einmal. (The waitress carries seven steins at the same time.)
  • Die Weisswurst ist köstlich. (The white sausage is delicious.)
  • Bitte reiche mir den Senf? (Hand me the mustard, please.)
  • Was ist besser, Radler oder Diesel? (Which is better, Radler or Diesel?)
  • Wo ist die Toilette? (Where is the restroom?)

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