German All-in-One For Dummies
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A far greater number of Germans live in apartments, either rented or owned, than do North Americans, and great value is placed on being able to own a single-family dwelling. Land and construction materials are very costly, so German living quarters tend to be smaller and more energy efficient than their North American counterparts.

Typical homes in German-speaking regions are solidly built using materials such as bricks or concrete with stucco-coated walls and slate or clay tile roofs. More traditional homes are half-timbered, and some have thatched roofs. Homes often include a full basement that many Germans use for storage or as a work room.

Windows in homes and apartments often have shutters that unroll vertically over the windows, shutting out all daylight when closed. Windows can be opened fully inward or tipped open a bit for air, and screens are rare. Air-conditioning and clothes dryers are quite uncommon. Smaller kitchens mean smaller appliances, so you’re unlikely to encounter massive, American-sized fridges.

The following helps you talk about your own living quarters — from what type of building you live in to the type of furniture and accessories you have in your living room.

Here’s some basic vocabulary you need to know to describe rooms in a home, along with a few other residence-related details:

  • das Apartment (dâs â-pârt-ment) (studio, efficiency apartment)

  • das Arbeitszimmer (dâs âr-bayts-tsi-mer) (workroom/study)

  • das Bad/das Badezimmer (dâs baht/dâs bah-de-tsi-mer) (bathroom)

  • der Balkon (dêr bâl-kon) (balcony)

  • der Boden (dêr boh-den) (floor)

  • der Dachboden (dêr dâH-boh-den) (attic)

  • die Decke (dee dêk-e) (ceiling)

  • die Eigentumswohnung (dee ay-gên-tooms-vohn-oong) (condominium)

  • das Einfamilienhaus (dâs ayn-fâ-mi-lee-en-hous) (single-family home)

  • das Esszimmer (dâs ês-tsi-mer) (dining room)

  • das Fenster (dâs fêns-ter) (window)

  • der Gang (dêr gâng) (hallway)

  • die Garage (dee gâ-rah-je) (garage)

  • der Garten (dêr gâr-ten) (yard/garden)

  • der Keller (dêr kêl-er) (basement)

  • die Küche (dee kueH-e) (kitchen)

  • die Mietwohnung (dee meet-vohn-oong) (rented apartment)

  • das Reihenhaus (dâs ray-ên-hous) (townhouse)

  • das Schlafzimmer (dâs shlahf-tsi-mer) (bedroom)

  • das Studentenwohnheim (dâs shtoo-dênt-en-vohn-haym) (student residence hall)

  • das Studio (dâs shtooh-dee-oh) (studio/studio apartment)

  • die Terrasse (dee têr-âs-e) (terrace)

  • die Treppe (dee trêp-e) (stairs)

  • die Tür (dee tuer) (door)

  • die Wand (dee vând) (wall)

  • die Wohnung (dee vohn-oong) (apartment)

  • das Wohnzimmer (dâs vohn-tsi-mer) (living room)

  • das Zimmer (dâs tsi-mer) (room)

When you want to tell people what type of place you live in, use the verb wohnen (vohn-en) (to live). Consider the following examples:

Ich wohne in einer Eigentumswohnung. (iH vohn-e in ayn-er ayg-en-tooms-vohn-oong.) (I live in a condominium.)
Wir wohnen in einem Einfamilienhaus. (veer vohn-en in ayn-em ayn-fâ-mee-lee-en-hous.) (We live in a single-family home.)
Ich wohne mit meiner Frau in einem Reihenhaus. (iH vohn-e mit mayn-er frou in ayn-em ray-en-hous.) (I live with my wife in a townhouse.)

Here are some ways you can describe your home:

Wir haben einen großen Garten. (veer hah-ben ayn-en grohs-en gâr-ten.) (We have a large garden.)
Das Haus hat drei Schlafzimmer. (dâs hous hât dray shlahf-tsi-mer.) (The house has three bedrooms.)
Das Wohnzimmer ist sehr bequem. (dâs vohn-tsi-mer ist zeyr be-kveym.) (The living room is very comfortable.)
Unsere Wohnung hat einen schönen Balkon. (oon-ser-e vohn-oong hât ayn-en shern-en bâl-kon.) (Our apartment has a nice balcony.)

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Wendy Foster teaches Business English, German, French, and intercultural communication skills. She also does editing for online German education programs. Wendy received her degree in German studies at the Sprachen-und-Dolmetscher-Institut in Munich and later her MA in French at Middlebury College in Paris.

Paulina Christensen has been working as a writer, editor, and translator for more than 10 years. She has developed, written, and edited numerous German-language textbooks and teachers' handbooks for Berlitz International. Dr. Christensen recieved her MA and PhD from Dusseldorf University, Germany.

Anne Fox has been working as a translator, editor, and writer for more than 12 years. She studied at Interpreter's School, Zurich, Switzerland, and holds a degree in translation. Most recently she has been developing, writing, and editing student textbooks and teacher handbooks for Berlitz.

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