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I've studied German in an academic setting in the US for a number of years. When conversing with native German speakers I've noticed slang and other "non-academic" mannerisms. I'm preparing to travel abroad to Germany and I'd like to hear/see native speakers for exposure to slang and other language nuances not encountered in academia. What online resources would you recommend?

Please keep in mind that I'm interested in current slang/nuances used frequently by 20-30 years old native German speakers.

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4 Answers 4

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Since most phrases in youth language are very temporary, you won't find an up-to-date resource (even online). Also the well-established publisher Langenscheidt already failed to collect such phrases.

Therefore, I would recommend that you just ask if someone uses such phrases. If you insist on hearing some phrases before you travel abroad, try to get in contact with native speakers via learning platforms or listen to german music which is popular for the mentioned audience: Deichkind is one of them and uses a lot of phrases.

Some last words: Only use youth language by yourself if you are absolutely sure what it means. Depending on the context some phrases can become insulting/offensive.

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What an excellent article by the HAZ there, very amusing –  Stefano Palazzo May 31 '11 at 7:54

If you can afford spending a few bucks, I would suggest to give babbel.com a try. It's a learning platform with a great system I think, but it also has a community and a chat, which help you to get in contact with language learners from all around the world. There's the concept of tandem learning, where you will help your partner learn your native language and vice versa. The best way to learn slang is to get in contact with native speakers.

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I used podcasts to learn English to learn some American slang. The unscripted casual conversations often exposed me to phrases, that I was not familiar with.

Unfortunately I am not familiar with a German resource that could do the same for your endeavors. I would also like to point out that the group of 20-30 year old native speakers is very broad. The slang often differs according to the level of education and the region.

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1  
Ehrensenf (ehrensenf.de) is a great vlog that could match the requirements. It's inspired my the American Rocketboom. –  RoToRa May 24 '11 at 21:47

It should also be noted that the youth slang is very dependent on the region: Berlin's slang is not like Stuttgart's slang. I'll try and compose a short list of a few expressions that I often use when I speak with my friends (region is around Cologne).

  • korrekt: Applied to an action performed by somebody, this expresses the speaker's appreciation for this person, and especially that the behavior fits into the peer group.
  • krank: Mostly used as an interjection, in a positive connotation. Applied to a person, however, this can be negative, implying that the person is "mentally insane"; this can however also be positive, e.g. if someone does something that requires a lot of courage.
  • krass: Interjection. Positive; showing the feeling of the speaker that something is uncommon, but interesting or in some other way good.
  • chillen: I believe this exists in English too, as "to chill"; it is far more slang-ish in German, though, and can't have the meaning of "to freeze", but always means "to relax", often with friends.
  • Alter: Used anywhere in a sentence to emphasize.
  • Das geht fit./Das geht klar.: -> Das ist in Ordnung.
  • Was ist denn da kaputt?: Usually directed at someone to express that something the person did is not approved of by the speaker.
  • Was baust du?: In High German: "Was tust/machst du?" Can also have a negative connotation if asked after someone did something stupid.
  • Was da los?/Was ist da los?: Was passiert da?
  • Was geht (ab)?: Often used as a greeting, meaning something like "Wie war dein Tag?"/"Was machst du so?". Can also be used as a question, meaning "Was passiert?".

I hope that helps a bit. I'd like to add that "krass" and "Alter" are considered really stupid by some people, and that you should definitely not use them unless your peer group uses them. ("Krass" does also have the synonym "konkret", which is even stupider and of which I believe that it is completely out of use nowadays.)

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