6 odd Moselle slang expressions they teach in no German class

Hello language lovers, yes it's a late blog post today. I'm writing this in Germany after a weekend full of family goodness: a wedding, a lot of time with a small child, and then a long-awaited new life came into this world. All is well then. And on the linguistic front, I have noticed that, once I return all of my good grammar goes out of the window. Wanna know why?

German dialects are strong

The German language plays host to a range of dialects as varied as the country they are from. This place used to be so scattered in different kingdoms and duchies that even across a few miles the language would have varied strongly. 

Are strong dialects cool?

To this question, I would vote quite an emphatic yes. I love being able to understand Mosel German, and in the UK I like hearing the differences between a Scouse (someone from Liverpool), a Geordie (someone from Newcastle) and a Londoner.  Dialects, just like language choices, are all about identity.


In celebration of all that dialect goodness, here are your essential Mosel phrases - if you ever want to sound local around Trier, make sure you say one. 

  1. Bei dich
    This is used where high German would say "zu dir". Note how we use the dative case after the word "bei", so that indicates that the usually stationary "bei" (at) is being used as a "zu" (to).
    Example: Ja, ich komm morgen bei dich. (yes, I'll come to yours tomorrow)
  2. Was ist das denn für Zahnpasta?
    Hmm, this one is quite odd indeed. Jumbly word order meets omission of indefinite article and mixes in nicely with a "für" thrown in. The correct German version of asking this would be "Was für eine xx ist das?", meaning "What type of xx is this?"
  3. dem Leon sein
    The Genitive case, who needs it around here!? Why not just cut it and randomly use dative + possessive? Really, this will make you sound so local. Practice now, then keep it quiet from your German teacher.
    Example: Ich will das T-Shirt anziehen, aber das ist dem Ludwig seins. (I want to wear the T-Shirt but it's Ludwig's).
  4. langsam
    You know this one, it means slow. But when you talk to little kids around here, we also want them to be quiet. I guess it's the Mosel musicality, basically telling a child to go "Adagio".
  5. die Kerstin
    This slang phenomenon is common all over Germany - basically we put a "the" in front of the first name of whoever we're referring to. It's quite informal and very common among children and friends. 
  6. ich hab 20 kilo abgeholt
    We really prefer "holen" to "nehmen" around here, and even use it where no other German would think that holen is a thing that you do...you lose weight, that's abholen (yep, abnehmen in your dictionary), you take medication, that's einholen. Read up about it here (in German language, but it's high German!)

That's it for today guys, I hope you enjoyed the short insight into how Germans really speak. Use these liberally if you want to tear up the rulebook, but never with "Sie", because slang and the polite form of address don't mix.

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