German phrases: How to Speak Oktoberfest

Some of the German phrases with translations that you’ll hear at the Alpine Village Oktoberfest

If you’ve visited Alpine Village in Torrance for our amazing Oktoberfest celebration, you’ve probably picked up on some of the German words and phrases that we use here. To refresh your memory or prepare you for your first visit, I’ve compiled a list of some of the words and phrases you’ll be hearing a lot of this year. This way, when September 12th rolls around, you can impress all of your friends with how well you can speak Oktoberfest!

Clothing: At Oktoberfest, you’re going to see a lot of German outfits, some traditional and some not so much. Here’s how you can identify what everyone’s wearing.

o   Dirndl: (Dern-dull) The traditional German dress that you’ll see many lovely ladies and a few adventurous men wearing. This dress is German-engineered to highlight every woman’s assets.

o   Lederhosen: (Lay-der-hose-in) This word literally translates to “leather pants.” You’ll see a lot of men wearing these trousers, some short and some to the knee, held up by a pair of leather suspenders. It’s been Oktoberfest-proven that when you wear lederhosen, your Bier tastes better and the Frauleins find you irresistible.

o   Ladyhosen: (Lay-dee-hose-in) Some women at Oktoberfest decide to get in on the leather pants party too. When a lady wears Lederhosen, they are simply referred to as Ladyhosen.

Food and Beverage: Oktoberfest is a celebration of life and happiness, and that just couldn’t happen without great eats and libations. For those that think the German language is hard, I just tell them, “Beer is Bier and bread is Brot. What more could you need to know?”

o   Noch ein Bier, bitte: (nock ine beer bit-a) Because I know you won’t want just one, this is how you ask for “Another beer, please!”

o   Prost!: (Prōst) Its easy to remember because it rhymes with toast. This is how we say, “Cheers!” Sometimes you’ll hear ein Prosit this means “a toast.”

o   Brezeln: (Bray-tsuln) “Pretzel”. You’ll be wanting lots of our giant, soft pretzels to go with your beer.

o   Wurst: (virst) Sausage.

o   Guten Appetite!: (goo-ten app-a-teet) The German version of bon appetite.

Event terms: These are things you’re going to hear on stage. Knowing them will help you understand what’s going on.

o   Gemütlichkeit: (gu-moot-lish-kite) This word has a very broad meaning. It is an atmosphere of comfort, peace, and acceptance, and it is what Oktoberfest is all about.

o   Ozapft is!: (Ō-tsapft is) literally means “It’s tapped!”. This is the traditional opening cheer for Oktoberfest when the first keg is tapped.

o   Familiennachmittag: (fam-ill-ee-in-nock-mit-tog) “Family afternoon”. At Alpine Village Oktoberfest, our Familiennachmittag is on Sunday, and it is German fun for toddlers, grandparents, and everyone in between.

o   Schunkeln: (Shoon-kulln) It’s the perfect dance for drinking because you don’t have to leave your seat. At Oktoberfest we sit on long benches and when the Schunkeln song comes on, everyone locks arms and sways back and forth.

o   Zillertaler Hochzeits Marsch: (tsill-er-tall-er hock-tsites march) This is a traditional Bavarian wedding dance. Couples wrap one arm around their partner and clasp hands keeping the other arm strait like an arrow, and they skip in the direction the arrow is pointing then swap arms and change direction. It’s a lot of fun and a great cardio workout.

The people of Oktoberfest: We at Alpine Village have a designated team of talented performers whose entire jobs are to keep you entertained and promote Gemütlichkeit.

o   Festmeister: (fest-my-stir) “festival master” At Alpine Village, our master of ceremonies is Festmeister Hans. He’s a cheery fellow in lederhosen who sports a fantastic handlebar moustache.

o   O-Girl: Short for Oktoberfest girl, these ladies keep the show going and the crowd pumped up with dances and contests throughout the night. I am one of the O-girls and I’ll be introducing you to the rest of our O-team in another blog.

o   Heino!: (hī-nō) Heino! is an authentic German Zuperstar who flies in every year to join us at Alpine Village (although sometimes he has trouble making it through airport security). He sports some fab 70’s polyester fashion and albino good looks. He does a little bit of singing and a whole lot of flirting with the Frauleins.

Cheers and chants: You’ll want to master these so that even after a couple of beers you’ll be able to cheer loudly with the whole tent.

o   Eins, zwei, drei: (ine tsvy dry) “One, two, three” We use this a lot to count down to the start of a contest or end it with g’suffa for ein Prosit. Make sure when you’re counting with your fingers in German, one is the thumb, two is thumb and forefinger, and three is thumb, forefinger, and middle finger.

o   Oans, zwoa, g’suffa!: (ōnns tswō g’zoo-fa) “One, two, drink up!” This the very Bavarian way of saying it.

o   Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi hoi hoi!: (tsick-a tsack-a, tsick-a tsack-a, hoy hoy hoy) Festmeister Hans leads us in this cheer throughout the night and it’s often followed by Prost! and a swig of beer.

o   Zusammen!: (tsoo-zamm-in) “together!” Festmeister Hans will shout this out when he wants everyone to join in.

Once you know all of these words and phrases you will become the Oktoberfestmeister! So study up, and we’ll see you soon!

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  • Elfriede Knoblach

    I used to Work at Alpine Deli and some off the Dirndl the whear now the did not whear back in the 80’s that is when I worked there and I worked the Oktoberfest twise when I worked ind the Deli because it was only open on the weekend then had a lot off fun when I worked there at Night
    Made good Tips also lol
    Hope one Year to come back to Torrance for the Oktoberfest
    When I worked there my last Name was Whitfield, now my Las Name is Knoblach


    This is the ULTIMATE fun event in your live you will never forget everything has been done possible to make this Year a memory you like to come back to with your family and friends I know this first hand I was there for 35 years
    Sunday is Family day visit us in Alpine Village
    Thank you
    Joe Baars

  • MavEryck

    Ich liebe Oktoberfest (I love Oktoberfest) at Alpine Village!!!

  • susan weiss

    Can anyone give me the lyrics to Ziggy Zakky, Hoi Hoi Hoi.
    Been looking for them but have not had luck.
    Danke Shoen, Susan Weiss