Advanced German vocabulary

How to Spice Up Conversation Using Advanced German Vocabulary

Using a smoking hot, sophisticated answer or exclamation will make jaws drop and heads turn!

Want to bring these kinds of spicy words to your German vocabulary?

Well, who wouldn’t want to expand their word palette and fine-tune their articulation?

By dropping an advanced word in now and again—regardless of your level—you’ll see the black and white of your German become several shades of awesome in no time.

Whether at your German club meet or over in Deutschland, your everyday chats just got more interesting.

Not advanced? No problem!

Some beginners may be raising an eyebrow at me right now, but I say that endeavors are all about going for it!

Isn’t that what possessed you to tackle a foreign language in the first place? There’s nothing wrong with skipping steps when it comes to advanced words above your learner’s rating—aufgehts! (on-goes—let’s go!).

Why Use Advanced Vocabulary?

Develop and Refine Your German 

The development and refinement of your German skills is clearly the prime directive for learning the lingo.

A wider Wortschatz (word-treasure—vocabulary) weighted with advanced words gives you an edge in carrying out that directive. The more diverse your vocabulary, the more you’ll realize usage parallels, prefixes, suffixes and syntax.

Eventually, even grammar polishes itself up. Through understanding usage more and listening carefully, grammar, albeit slowly, will eventually sink in—keine Sorgen!  (no worry—no worries!).

The directive—Entwicklung and Vornehmheit—carried out, leads the way to advancement.

Be the Life of ze Party!

Everyone wants to be the life of ze party. That’s where a well-placed “big word” or witty phrase as an answer or exclamation comes in.

This will liven up any Stammtisch (locals’ or regulars’ table, also a German club meet) and impress your fellows, teachers and deutsche friends—not just for kudos, but for proving that you’re motivated and advancing, too.

Jaw-drop reactions are fun, but their source promotes conversation.

Master the Rhythm of German Conversation

An elaborate word, even a mere synonym lets you explore more facets of German verbalism. You’ll get to know where best to place these new words—and this in turn encourages you to shape your speech correctly, control emphasis and practice those new things your mouth has to do—ausgesprochen gesagt! (pronounced said—well said!).

Not familiar with the pronunciation and rhythm of German yet? Check out some audio dramas!

How to Choose Your Words

Starting out with advanced, one-word exclamations or verbal reactions eases you up the ladder.

Synonyms provide a plethora of expressive choices—unless you’re happy just saying sehr gut (very good) all the time. Take it slow—intersperse with a phrase or two, and soon you’ll have a nice (but not overdone) word collection and be conjugating what you’ve learned with greater confidence.

Find your German-speaking Style

Everyone has a certain style of speaking. A new language and a new vocabulary allows you to either reinvent or just translate yourself.

Direct, short and sweet, articulately descriptive, idiomatic and slangy or a mix of all—a new language frees you to choose. Until fluent, your speech is limited and you often feel like a dummy of expression. An advanced vocabulary palette can ease that and shape your style.

Keep Good Manners!

Good manners, or gute Manieren, will get you everywhere. Polite behavior is a perfect way to combine sophisticated usage, gesture and expression.

Obviously you’ll stand out and make a gute Eindruck (good in-push—good impression). This is a speech-set that has you exploring a variety of phrases, greetings and practicing formal German usage simultaneously.

Rely on What You Know

Words borrowed from another language always spruce up speech. Using Fremdwörter (stranger/foreigner-words—borrowed words) with German pronunciation is another brilliant speech-set for advancement.

Often the word is derived from or also used in English—being familiar to you, yet advanced for your German level. BTW: loads of English words are used in casual conversation and slang—get to know which!

15 Advanced Words and Phrases to Spice Up Your German

Try these words as answers, exclamations and one-word comments to get you going.

Play around with emphasis depending on the type of usage (answer, exclamation etc.) and situation (serious, casual). Think of how many ways you could use and express the word “awesome” or “absolutely” as a comparison. Drop a couple of these in to spice things up!

Hervorragend!

(Adj.) Outstanding, excellent. Literal: projecting, jutting.

Selbstverständlich!

(Adj.) Natural, self-evident, goes without saying, of course!

Genau!

(Adj.) Exact; (Adv.) exactly, precisely

Gleichfalls!

(Adv.) Likewise, also, same to you.

Keinesfalls!

(Adv.) Under no circumstances, of course not, no way!

Ausnahmsweise

(Adv.) An exception to the rule, just this once!

Ungern

(Adv.) Reluctantly, rather not, if I really must!

Trotzdem

(Adv.) Nevertheless, even though, I’ll do it all the same!

Rundherum 

(Adv.) Roundabout, around, off the subject.

Angeblich

(Adj.) so-called, alleged; (Adv.) supposedly!

Before you get into longer phrases or complicated idiomatic expressions, try a few short ones. These will give you a bit of wit and begin to make speaking more affable. Remember that emphasis!

vermutlich schon

Meaning: Presumably already

Used as an affirmation; yes probably; more than likely.

mit Vergnügung

Meaning: With pleasure

A great answer to an invitation, or answer to danke.

im wahre Sinne des Wortes

Meaning: In the true sense of the word—in the full sense of the word

Used in absolute agreement, like “that’s the truth.”

auf alle Fälle!

Meaning: On all cases—in any case

An affirmation, expression of certainty.

nie im Leben!

Meaning: Never in life—not on your life!

In disagreement, negation.

How to Keep On Learning German Vocabulary

Improve Your Study Habits

New methods of study may be called for to maintain your new advanced vocabulary usage and continue ascending the advancement ladder.

The golden rule being: Keep it up! Granted, it can be hard to stay motivated hiking up that huge mountain that is the German language without facing fatigue. No matter what level you’re at right now it’s smart to plan ahead by developing a personalized study routine tailored to suit.

Be Resourceful

Be creative in collecting resources for vocabulary depending on what focus you want to take. German magazines like Der Spiegel will provide business and geopolitical powerhouse words and a wide range of anspruchsvolle (demand-full—sophisticated, high-quality) articles.

Whereas watching movies and TV shows will help with everyday German, colloquialisms, slang and—of course—pronunciation. Speaking of which, here’s a word on pronunciation that will help—and there’s always Google Translate for quick soundbites.

And if that won’t do it, never fear—FluentU is here! Through a wide range of multimedia, learn with real-world German videos, interactive subtitles, and personalized flashcards—you can finally learn by immersion without being in Germany.

FluentU takes great videos and turns them into language learning experiences so that you can learn real German as people really speak it:

Learn German with Apps

Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts.

Learn German with Videos on FluentU

You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

Learn German with Videos

And FluentU isn’t just for watching videos. It’s a complete platform for learning. It’s designed to effectively teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

Learn German with Videos on FluentU

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. This is a level of personalization that hasn’t been done before.

Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store.

Try a Stammtisch!

Joining a Stammtisch group is one of the best methods (short of immersion by traveling or living in Germany) for practicing the lingo, in my humble opinion. Here you’ll have a platform to introduce stimulating advanced words into the conversation and practice pronunciation. Not part of a Stammtisch? Start one! Or search online through organizations such as Meetup.

Realize the power of vocabulary as a key to improving pronunciation, conjugation and even grammar. That’s a resource that won’t run out too soon!

Reward your advances and sharpen your study routines as you gain experience. Set high standards, but don’t get discouraged if you reach a plateau of slower learning—that’s a normal learning process.

In short: never stop learning!


Paul France first arrived in Germany New Year’s Eve 1990 celebrating on the fallen, yet still standing Berlin Wall. He’s lived in different parts of Deutschland on-and-off ever since—currently Berlin—and is highly fluent. Otherwise, he writes and travels extensively, primarily as a freelance travel writer/photographer—go figure!

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