Every year anew, Bavarian fests are opened with a loud “O’zapft is!“ (“It has been tapped!“). And “Schleich di!“ is not a polite request to quietly leave but means to get going as fast as possible. Following is a small but very useful Bavarian Translator that might be of great help to you when you’re in Bavaria.
Characteristics of the Bavarian language and phonetics
There are many Bavarian dialects. Following are the most important basic rules to make pronouncing Bavarian words correctly easy for beginners:
- An “a” can be pronounced in two different ways. There is an a that sounds in Bavarian like an o, and one that is pronounced clearly and unstressed. The Bavarian word “do“ is pronounced “da” in High German and means “here” or “there.” The sentence “Do kim i her” = “That’s where I come from.” However, the article “der” (the) or “ein” (a/an) is pronounced clear and soundless in Bavarian. “Wos für a Depp!” means “What an idiot!” or “da Bruader” for “the brother.”
- The phonetic sound sequence “ie” or “il” is pronounced “ui” in Bavaria. The small word “viel” (many) thus turns into “vui” or “hilf” (help) into “huif.”
- If a “ue” appears in a word, the Bavarian pronounces it sequentially as “u” and “I.” Thus, “füllen” (filling) becomes “fuin,” and “Gefühl” (emotion/feeling) turns into “Gfuih” and so on and so forth.
- The consonant “l” at the end of a word is mostly silent, i.e. is not pronounced. Therefore, “schnell” (fast) turns into “schney” and “mal” (once) into “moi.”
Simple greetings and courtesies
You should definitely know the following Bavarian greetings and courtesies so you can appropriately respond to them and will not be regarded as an unfriendly “Saupreiss” (see below). But beware: Native Bavarians often use rather rough expressions and many beginners mistake that for rudeness which is not always the case. So just stay calm and you can’t go wrong.
|Griaß di God||Grüß Gott, guten Tag||Hello|
Pfiat di God
|Auf Wiedersehen, Tschüss||Goodbye|
|Servus, Servas||Hallo, Tschüss||Hello / Goodbye|
|Habedehr(e), gfraid me||Hat mich gefreut, freut mich||My pleasure!|
|Dangschee||Danke schön, vielen Dank||Thank you|
|Wos mägst?||Wie bitte? Würdest du das bitte wiederholen?||Excuse me? Would you please repeat that?|
|Host mi?!||Hast du jetzt endlich begriffen? (rhetorische Frage mit Nachdruck)||Did you understand?|
|Hock di her da!||Setz dich ruhig zu uns||Sit down with us|
|Do legst di nieda!||Donnerwetter (Ausdruck des Erstaunens)||Wow! For crying out loud!|
|An Guadn||Guten Appetit||Enjoy your meal|
|Bassd scho||passt schon, in Ordnung (Vorsicht: manchmal auch „Leck mich am Allerwertesten“)||It’s ok. But beware: Also used as “kiss my butt”|
|Ha?||Wie bitte? Was?||Excuse me? What?|
|Sei ma ned bäs||Nimm es mir nicht übel, sei mir nicht böse||Don’t hold it against me|
|I moan scho aa!||Ich bin der gleichen Meinung||I agree with you|
|Ja mei||Je nach Tonlage Ausruf des Desinteresses, des Erstaunens oder der Anteilnahme||Oh my God (may show disinterest, astonishment or care)|
|Mia wurscht!||Mir doch egal, interessiert mich nicht||I don’t care|
|Woas i ned||Weiß ich nicht||I don’t know|
Other common Bavarian words and phrases
Following are a few more Bavarian words and phrases that you will surely hear when traveling through Bavaria and that belong into every Bavarian dictionary.
|Batzerl||ein kleines Stückchen||a little bit/a small piece|
|Bua||Junge, Bub, junger Mann||boy, young man|
|Madl||Mädchen, junge Frau||girl, young woman|
|Lebakaas, Lewakaas||Leberkäse||Bavarian sausage|
|Dragerl, Dragl||Kasten mit Getränken (meistens Bier)||case of beverages, mostly beer|
|Deandl||Mädchen, junge Frau||girl, young woman|
|Dirndl||Traditionsgewand||traditional Bavarian dress|
|Spezi, Spezl||Guter Kumpel||good friend, buddy|
|granteln||beleidigt sein, meckern, brummen||to be insulted, to gripe|
|Schau moi her do||Schau mal hier her, schau an||look here|
|Aff, Depp, Hirsch||erklärt sich von selbst, allerdings nicht immer eine Beleidigung, sondern herzliche Umgangsform||Ape, idiot, stag (not always an insult, often a friendly way of addressing someone)|
|nüachtan||nüchtern (ja, auch das soll unter Bayern vorkommen)||sober (even happens in Bavaria)|
|bsuffa, zua||besoffen, betrunken sein||druink|
|schnackseln||Liebe machen||to make love|
|Hendl, Gickerl||Brathuhn, Huhn||chicken, roast chicken|
Here, we would like to address the most deadly sin at Bavarian fests: The wrong pronunciation of the word “Maß” (phonetically “Mass”), meaning a liter of beer. Although the word “Maß” does indeed go back to describing a measuring unit for a mug of beer (exactly one liter), it is pronounced with a short, hard “a” as in the German word “nass” (wet). If you do not pronounce it correctly, your Bavarian neighbors in the beer tent will not only laugh at you, they will also make a lot of jokes.
Additionally, you should never call a Bavarian farmer a “Bauer” (German word for farmer). In Bavaria, this word is regarded as an insult. The correct word to use is “Landwirt” (“land keeper”). Using the word “Saupreiss” (Sow Prussian) is a different story: It is a coy name for all persons that come from the other 15 federal states and do not speak Bavarian. But don’t worry, the word is not intended to be a true insult.
Photo Credit: Marco2811 | by-studio – stock.adobe.com
Photo Credit: wikimedia.org (2); Marco2811 – stock.adobe.com