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If I'm at the supermarket and want to order a piece of chicken breast, do I say

Ich möchte ein stück Hähnchen bitte.

9

"Stück" needs to be uppercase because it's a noun, and if you specifically want chicken breast, it's "Hähnchenbrust". Also, the "bitte" should be separated by a comma because it's not an actual part of the main clause. These three are pretty minor mistakes though (two of them inaudible), so your order would be well understood already. This is the correct version:

Ich möchte ein Stück Hähnchenbrust, bitte.

For even more politeness (yours is already polite enough, don't worry), you could also say:

Ich hätte gerne ein Stück Hähnchenbrust, bitte.

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  • Grammatically, why does it make sense to have two nouns right after the other (Stück and Hähnchenbrust)? – Don't Worry. Be Happy. Jun 19 '17 at 13:43
  • @Don'tWorry.BeHappy. There are lots of examples like that. Ein Glas Wasser - eine Flasche Milch etc. – Ad Infinitum Jun 19 '17 at 13:47
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    Grammatically, it's makes the same sense as "a piece of chicken breast". The "of" is not critical to get the meaning of the sentence across. It is also correct to say "ein Stück von der Hähnchenbrust" - and this time the German version has one more (non-critical) word than the English one! (the article) It's all a question of style, basically. Each language has its own one. – Annatar Jun 19 '17 at 14:09
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    It's »Hähnchenbrust« in Germany, not in Austria. In Austria you call it »Hühnerbrust« or »Hendlbrust«. – Hubert Schölnast Jun 19 '17 at 15:35
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    Of course, using speech in the supermarked nobody hears whether you use upper- or lowercase, and whether you have a comma. – Paŭlo Ebermann Jun 19 '17 at 17:48
10

If I would sell chicken and parts of chicken, and you say to me:

Ich hätte bitte gerne ein Stück Hähnchen/Huhn.
I'd like to have a piece of chicken.

Then I would ask you:

Was für ein Stück?
Which piece?

Because I would think you don't want a whole chicken, but just a part of it, but you didn't tell me if you want a leg, a wing, a breast or whatever.

If you want a whole chicken, order it like this:

Ich hätte bitte gerne ein Huhn.
I'd like to have a chicken, please.

or, even better, and to make it sure:

Ich hätte bitte gerne ein ganzes Huhn.
I'd like to have a whole chicken, please.

You also can order a half chicken:

Ich hätte bitte gerne ein halbes Huhn.
I'd like to have half of a chicken, please.

If you want one complete breast, order it this way:

Ich hätte bitte gerne eine Hühnerbrust.
I'd like to have one breast of a chicken, please.

Maybe you want just 100 grams of the chicken breast:

Ich hätte bitte gerne 100 Gramm Hühnerbrust.
I'd like to have 100 grams of chicken breast, please.


Addendum

I give you some more information about Huhn/Hähnchen/Hendl/Güggeli. (You did not ask for it, but maybe you want to know it if you travel to Austria or Switzerland)

The female adult chicken is called »Henne«, and the adult male chicken is called »Hahn«. Since chicken are small animals, you often use a diminutive. But the diminutive is built different in different regions:

Austria and Bavaria:
In Austria, the diminutive is built from the female name, and there is a kind of dimutive that is only used in Austria and Bavaria: You add »erl« to the noun to build the diminutive (Sack -> Sackerl, Krug -> Krügerl, Kind -> Kinderl), and so you get: »Henderl«. But due to sloppy speaking, the e and the r got lost, only the l is left, and so Chicken is in Austria and southern parts of Germany (Bavaria):

das Hendl

Germany, north of Bavaria:
In Germany the diminutive is built from the male form, by adding »chen« to the noun. This a way of building diminutives, that is used everywhere where German is spoken. So in most parts of Germany it is:

das Hähnchen

Switzerland:
In Switzerland you will find a very different word, that also is a diminutive (Swiss and Swabian style diminutive: adding li to the noun), but derived from an old and outdated Swizz word for Chicken (»Gugg«). But this diminutive is only used for roast chicken. It is:

das Güggeli

Note, that all three diminutives are used for male and female chicken, although the Austrian and German variations are derived from words for just one of both genders.
Note also, that all this words are not dialect words, but part of standard German, but with regional usage (there are many of such regional variations in standard German).

Everywhere:
If you want to be understood everywhere, don't use a diminutive for chicken. You'd better use the normal noun for chicken of any biological gender instead:

das Huhn

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    Güggeli is colloquial. When speaking standard German in Switzerland, you would use Poulet instead. – mach Jun 20 '17 at 4:44
  • @mach Which, ironically, is a French word. And would be pronounced accordingly (poo-'lay). – Dubu Jun 20 '17 at 8:33
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    "Ich hätte bitte gerne ..." is a bit over the top in my opinion. It's not like you're begging for food. I feel it's much more natural to just ask "Ich hätte gern ..." or even "Ich nehme ..." – moooeeeep Jun 20 '17 at 9:01
  • @Dubu Which is correct here, but not always. There are some words in swiss-german which are the French words but pronounced more German. Example: the "e" in Glace (for ice cream) is pronounced. – Graipher Jun 20 '17 at 13:18
4

That depends on what exactly you want to order, I usually go with

Ich hätte gern x Gramm Hähnchenbrust, bitte.

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