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Sprachressourcenportal Österreichs


Beziehungen und Umgang mit anderen Menschen

Familie und Beziehungen


Urgroßeltern (-enkel)great-grandparents (-child(ren))
Großeltern (-mutter, -vater)grandparents (-mother, -father)
Enkel (-tochter, -sohn)grandchild(ren) (-daughter, -son)
Geschwister (Schwester, Bruder)sibling (sister, brother)
Einzelkind(an) only child
Stiefmutter (-vater, -tochter, -sohn)stepmother (-father, -daughter, -son)
Tante, Onkelaunt, uncle
Nichte, Neffeniece, nephew
Cousin, Cousinecousin (boy / girl cousin)
Pflegeeltern (-mutter, -vater, -kind(er), -tochter, -sohn)foster parents (-mother, -father, -child(ren), -daughter, -son)
Schwiegerelternin-laws = parents-in-law
Schwiegermutter, -vater, -tochter, -sohnmother-, father-, daughter-, son-in-law
Schwager, Schwägerinbrother-in-law / sister-in-law



Partner, Partnerin (auch gleichgeschlechtlich)partner
Verlobte, Verlobterfiancée (female), fiancé (male)
Ehefrau, Ehemannwife, husband
Exfrau, Exmannex-wife, ex-husband
verlobt sein (sich verloben)to get / be engaged
verheiratet sein (sich ...)to get / be married
geschieden sein (sich ...)to get / be divorced
zusammenlebento cohabit
ledig, verheiratet, geschieden, in einer Partnerschaft lebensingle, married, divorced, living in a partnership
Lebensgemeinschaftlong-term relationship
eingetragene Partnerschaftregistered partnership
"Patchworkfamilie"blended family
gleichgeschlechtliches Paarsame-sex couple
Alleinerzieherfamiliesingle-parent family
Alleinerziehende(r) Mutter, Vatersingle mother / father
nach jemandem (verwandt) geraten (Aussehen, Charakter)to take after someone (in looks or character)
Hochzeitstagwedding anniversary


Eine Person beschreiben

Größe und Körperbau

She’s tall / short / of medium height and build / muscular / slim / petite …

(Don’t say “big” as this would mean “fat”!)



He's got dark brown / black / fair hair. 

She's a brunette / redhead / blonde.

length, style

shoulder-length, short, curly, wavy, cropped, straight

She’s wearing her hair loose / in a chignon / in a plait.

beardcovers chin and cheeks
moustachecovers the upper lip


Altersstufen und Phasen

0-1a baby
1-2a toddler
2-12a child (childhood)


a teenager (14 = early teens)

an adolescent (adolescence)


18 +an adult / grown-up
20-29in their (early / mid- / late) twenties
30-39 (etc.)in their (early / mid- / late) thirties
40 +a middle-aged person
60 or 65a retiree (retirement age)
75 +old age (an elderly person)


Den Charakter beschreiben

warm and friendly   cold and unfriendly


sensitiveinsensitive, not caring about people's feelings
punctualusually late
flexibleinflexible; stuck in his/her ways
ambitiousnot ambitious
lots of common senseno common sense (an idiot)


Sexuelle Orientierung

hetero(-sexuell)straight (heterosexual)

homosexuell (schwul/lesbisch)

homosexual (gay/lesbian)


Sich selbst und andere vorstellen

Sich selbst vorstellen - Introducing yourself

FormalHello, my name is Jerry Statler. How do you do?

How do you do? I am Conrad Waldorf.

Neutral/professionalHello, I am Jerry Statler. Good to meet you.And you. I'm Conrad Waldorf.
InformalHi, I'm Jerry, how are you?I'm Conrad, nice to meet you.


Andere vorstellen - Introducing others

FormalMr Statler, may I introduce Mr Waldorf to you? / Please allow me to introduce Mr Waldorf.Please do. Good evening, Mr Waldorf.
Neutral/professionalHello, Mr Statler. Have you met Conrad Waldorf?No, I haven't actually. Nice to meet you.
InformalHi, have you two met? This is Jerry.Hi Jerry, nice to meet you. I'm Conrad.


Mit Gästen umgehen


Attirecan be smart, stylish, trendy, unfashionable

Business professional (formal)

suit and tie, shirt in conservative colours, dress shoes, dark socks (men); suited skirt or trousers, blouse, blazer, moderate heels (women);
Business casual (less formal)jeans and blazer, tie often not necessary (men); dress, cardigan etc. allowed for women


Treffen und Begrüßung


  • Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon
  • Pleased / Nice to meet you, I'm...
  • Welcome to...
  • Good / Nice to see you again.
  • Let me help you with your case / coat.
  • Please follow me. We're on the ... floor.

Jemanden begrüßen, den Sie kennen

FormalHello, Mr Statler, good to see you again.You too. How have you been?
 How are you?Very well, thank you. And you?
Neutral/professionalHello, Jerry / Mr Statler. How are you?Fine, thanks, and yourself?
InformalHi, Jerry! How're you doing?I'm good, how about yourself?


Smalltalk führen und Kontakte knüpfen

Fragen zur Reise

  • Did you have a good flight / trip?
  • How was your flight / trip?
  • Did you have any problems finding us?
  • Is this your first time in Vienna / Austria / ...?
  • Where are you staying?
  • Is everything OK with your hotel / accommodation?

Menschen / Prozesse vorstellen

  • This is ...
  • This part of the process is called ...


  • Over here/there is ...
  • This is where ...


  • As you can see, ...
  • If you look at ... 

Abfolgen erklären

First ... second ... then ... after that ... and finally ...

Das Thema wechseln

  • OK, let's move to ... 
  • I'm now going to show you ...
  • And I'm now going to talk a little about ...
  • OK, that's everything about ...


  • Please follow me.
  • Please mind your head.


Asking for suggestions

What shall we do tonight?

Where shall we go this evening?

making suggestions

How about going to the cinema?

Why don't we try that new pub?


positiveYeah, great / fine / that's a good idea / sounds great.

Yes, if you like.

I don't mind.

I'm easy.


I think I'd rather go back to my hotel.

Raincheck? (=another time perhaps?)


Ausdrücke für besondere Anlässe

Excuse meto get someone's attention (e.g. "Excuse me. Is this seat free?") or to get past them
Sorryto apologise, e.g. when you stand in someone's way
CheersProst; can also mean "goodbye" and "thanks"
Thank youthe correct reply is "you're welcome" or "don't mention it" (not "please"!)

Bless you

(US: Gesundheit)

when someone sneezes

the reply is "thank you"


Essen und Trinken

  • Can I offer you anything to drink? Coffee, tea, water?
  • What would you like? We've got orange juice, sparkling water and champagne.
  • Can I top up your drink?
  • What are you having?
  • Please help yourselves to the buffet.
  • You must be hungry after your long trip. Shall we go and get a bite to eat before the presentation?
  • We've booked a table at ... for eight o'clock. We'll finish up at about six, so that you'll have plenty of time to freshen up at your hotel beforehand.
  • I'll pick you up at 7.30 for dinner, ok?

Typische Themen für Smalltalk

The weatherIt's very muggy today, isn't it?
 What's the weather like in your country?
HealthHow have you been recently?
 How are you keeping?
HolidaysHave you got any holiday (US: vacation) plans?
 Where did you spend your holiday this year?
FamilyHave you got family?
 How're your family doing?
HobbiesDo you do any sports?
 I'm into chess.
Home countryWhereabouts do you come from in ...?
 How often do you get back to ...?
WorkWhat do you do?
 What exactly does your job entail?
ResponsibilitiesI report to my superior.
 We are in charge of accounts.
 We co-operate with other ministries.
 We are responsible for providing...


Häufige Fragen und Antworten

Personal questions

QuestionsPossible answers

Where are you from? or

Where do you come from?

Where do you live?

Where are you from? or

Where do you come from?

Where do you live?

What do you do? (= job)

I’m a translator.

What are you doing at the moment?I'm working on a big project.
Are you married?No, I'm single.
How old are you?I'm 29.

What’s your address/mobile number?

It’s …

Everyday questions

QuestionsPossible answers

How are you? or

How’s it going?

Fine, thanks.

I’m good, and yourself?

What’s the matter?

Nothing. Why?

What are you doing this evening?

Nothing special/much. Why?

Have you got the time?

Yes, it’s five past three.

How much is that necklace?It's € 450.
What sort / kind of music do you like?I like opera.
Are you enjoying your stay in Vienna?Yes, it's great.
Did you have a good day today?Excellent, and you?

Time questions

How long have you been in Vienna?Wie lange sind Sie schon in Wien?

How long are you staying? or

How long are you here for?

Wie lange bleiben Sie?

Für wie lange sind Sie hier?

How much longer are you staying?Wie lange sind Sie noch hier?

Is this the first time you’ve been to Vienna?

Sind Sie zum ersten Mal in Wien?

When did you arrive?

Wann sind Sie angekommen?

Short responses

QuestionsShort responses
Are you going out tonight?I think / don't think so.
Will your boss be there?I hope so / hope not.
Are you working tomorrow?I'm afraid so.
Can you come to the reception?I'm afraid not.
Shall we take a taxi?If you like.
Would you like to walk there?I don't mind.

Enthusiastic responses

QuestionsEnthusiastic responses
She's finally passed the test.Really? That's great!
 Oh, that's brilliant/fantastic!
We're going camping in Greece.That sounds wonderful.
 How exciting!

Disappointed responses

QuestionsDisappointed responses
I can't have lunch with you today.Oh, what a pity / shame.
 Oh, that's a pity / shame!
It's raining again.Oh, what a nuisance/pain.
 What a drag!


Sich verabschieden

Positive comments

  • It was nice meeting you. / Nice to have met you.
  • It was good to see you again.
  • It was a very useful (first) meeting.
  • It's been great working with you.
  • Thanks for everything.

Reference to future

  • I'll send you an email / a proposal when I get back.
  • See you again next...
  • Hope to see you soon.
  • I look forward to seeing you next month.

Comment on journey

  • (Have a) Safe journey.
  • Have a good trip home / back.

Final goodbye

  • Goodbye.
  • Take care!


Sie rufen jemanden an

Call recipientYOU

Hello, [organisation], this is [name] speaking, how can I help you?

Hello, this is James Bond, could I talk to Mr / Ms / Col …?

Hello, this is [your name], can I speak to …?


Sie werden angerufen


Hello, can I speak to [your name]?


… to Mr/Ms/Major … XY?

Yes, a moment please.

(Certainly,) I’ll put you through.

I’ll connect you.


If the line is engaged:



Can I hold?

Sorry, the line is busy / engaged. Would you like to hold?

Sorry, he / she is speaking on another line. Could you call back later, please?

His / her extension (number) is 00112233.

Yes, one moment please / Yes, certainly.

If someone’s not here:

Sorry, Mr X is not available now.

Sorry, Ms Y is not in the office today / this week.

She will be back in the afternoon / next Monday / around 3 o’clock.

Can I connect you to his deputy?

Can I connect you to somebody else?

Can I leave a message, please?

Certainly, what may I tell her?

Please try again later / tomorrow.

Can she call you back?

Can she call me back, please? or:

Could you ask her to return my call?

Certainly, could I have your number please?

What is your number?



Can’t hear / understand:

Sorry? / Pardon? (NOT “please”!)

(Can you) Say that again, please?

Sorry, this is a bad line.

The reception is bad / I can’t hear you very well. Are you still there?

Sorry, I didn’t get that. Could you say it again, please?


Die andere Person korrigieren

Actually, it’s 19 (nineTEEN), not 90 (NINEty) (careful ofword stress!)

I’m sorry, but that’s not (quite) right (then say what IS right!)

Weitere Tipps zum Telefonieren

  • Try to speak clearly and don't be afraid to speak more slowly than normal.
  • Think about what you want to say before calling.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your caller to repeat themselves if you don't understand.

If the worst comes to the worst – Deutsch reden! That will stop the most talkative native speaker.

Wortschatz zum Telefonieren

(den Hörer) abhebenanswer (the phone)
am Apparatspeaking
auflegenhang up
besetztengaged (busy)
Besetztzeichenengaged tone (busy signal)
dienstl. Nummerwork number
Durchwahldirect line
erreichbar (sein)(to be) available
jdn. erreichento reach sb
falsch verbunden seinhave (dialled) the wrong number
Freizeichendialling tone
Handymobile / cell (phone) (NOT handy!)
Klappe (Nebenstelle)extension (number)
Landeskennzahlcountry code
Mobilboxvoice mail
Ortskennzahldialling/area code
Privatnummerhome number
Schnurlostelefoncordless phone
sich etwas aufschreibenmake a note of sth
sich verwählendial a wrong number
Telefonnummerphone number
verbindenconnect, put sb through



Letterphonetic letterLetterphonetic letter


E-Mails schreiben

Begrüßung und Abschluss


Formal: You don’t know the recipient’s name:

You know the recipient’s name:

Dear Sir / Madam / job title


Dear Mr / Ms / Dr XY (UK: no full stops after titles!)

Yours faithfully (UK), Sincerely yours (US)


Yours sincerely

Neutral / professionalDear James Bond(Best) Regards


You know someone well

Dear James

Hi James

Best wishes

Take care



OpeningWith reference to you e-mail of 12 January,...Thank you for ... Regarding ..., ...
Reason for writingWe are writing to request / confirm / inform you / ask if / clarify ...Just a short email to ... request / confirm / inform you / ask if / clarify ...
Good newsWe are delighted to confirm that ...I'm happy to ... 
Bad newsWe regret to inform you that ...I'm sorry, but ...


Beispiele für E-Mails (halbförmlicher Stil)

Organising a meeting

I am writing to arrange our next meeting to discuss … . I would propose 1 – 4 p.m. on 15 January in/at (venue). Please let me know if these times are convenient. 

Confirming a meeting

Thank you for the invitation to the meeting. I can confirm that 15 January is convenient for me. Could you please book a room for me at the Hilton? I look forward to seeing you.

Informing about changes/delays

As I shall have to go to Brussels on Monday next week, I’m afraid I won’t be able to make our meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Would it be all right with you if we moved the meeting back one day to Wednesday afternoon, 16 January? Please let me know whether this will be convenient for you.

Requesting information

I am writing to request a copy of your latest issue of … Please could you also send me some information on …


Just a quick note to inquire about the documents I asked you for on Monday – have you been able to find them? I’d appreciate it if I could have them by Friday at the latest, as I need them to prepare for my presentation.

Announcing absence (out-of-office reply)

Thank you for your e-mail. I am currently out of the office and will return on 20 January. If you need assistance during this time, please contact my deputy, Sandra Huber, at shuber@nixda.gv.at or phone her on extension 123.


Regeln der Zeichensetzung


full stop

or dot  

or point
  • at the end of a sentence / abbreviation
  • in email or Internet addresses
  • in numbers (before the decimal)



  • no comma before that (e.g. I think that’s true.)
  • no comma in restrictive relative clauses (e.g. The statue that you see over there is of Maria Theresa.)
  • used after initial adverbs / adverbials (e.g. However, you may need to book in advance.)
  • in lists before “and”: a, b, and c (“Oxford Comma”)
  • in numbers to separate the thousands (e.g. 2,365,812)
  • in compound sentences (two+ main clauses) (e.g. This is the conference hall, and over there’s the restaurant.)
  • to introduce direct speech (e.g. He said, “I don’t agree at all.”)



in compound words, especially adjectives

e.g. a three-year-old boy, a small-talk topic



before a longer list or statement; NOT to introduce direct speech!



to link two clauses without an additional linking word

e.g. There are many advantages to this process; it has a lot of disadvantages, too, though.


  • for short forms e.g. don’t, I’ll
  • possessive case (“Saxon Genitive”) e.g. Peter’s, men’s, ladies’



For direct speech and quotations. Top of the line!

( )


to add information, e.g. a citation

! ?


exclamation mark, question mark


used to insert another thought into a sentence



Nach einem Termin fragen

FormalI would like to arrange an appointment to discuss ...
 Please would you indicate a suitable time and place to meet?
NeutralWould it be possible for us to meet on (date) at my office to discuss ...?
InformalCan we meet (up) to talk about ...?


Eine Zeit vorschlagen

NeutralWould Tuesday suit you?
 Would you be available on Tuesday?
InformalWhat about ...?
 Let's say...


Einen Termin / ein Datum vereinbaren

FormalThank you for your email. I would be available to discuss ... on (date) at (time and place).
Neutral / InformalTuesday sounds fine. Shall we say around (time) at (place)? Thursday suits me.
 Thursday would be perfect.


Eine Zeit festlegen

  • What sort of time would suit you?
  • Is 3 pm a good time for you?
  • If possible, I'd like to meet in the morning.
  • How does 2pm sound to you?

Sagen, dass eine Zeit nicht passt


Unfortunately, I will be away on business during the week of 6 to 11 July so I will be unable to meet you then. However, if you are available in the following week, I would be glad to arrange a meeting with you.


I will be out of the office on Wednesday and Thursday, but I will be available on Friday afternoon.


I'm afraid I can't on the 3rd. What about the 6th?


Einen Termin absagen


Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen business, I will be unable to keep our appointment for tomorrow afternoon. Could we arrange another time later in the week?


I’m afraid that I have to cancel our meeting on Wednesday, as something unexpected has come up. Would you be free to meet early next week?


I’m sorry, but I won't be able to make it on Monday. Could we meet on Tuesday instead?


Something has just cropped up and I won't be able to meet you this afternoon. Can we make another time?


Sich entschuldigen

FormalI apologise for any inconvenience.
InformalI'm sorry about cancelling.


Um Bestätigung bitten


Please confirm if this date and time is suitable / convenient for you.


Can you please let me know if this is OK for you?


Jemandem schreiben, den Sie nicht kennen


I am … and I would be interested to meet you to discuss …


I would be grateful if you could indicate a convenient time to meet during this week


I look forward to hearing from you.


I'm sorry about cancelling.


Culture tips: wedding and marriage; pregnancy

Don't confuse marriage (Ehe) and wedding (Hochzeit)! 

If a woman is pregnant, don't say, "She's getting a baby" but "She's having / expecting a baby"!

Culture tip: Titles

Native speakers of English have little time for titles. For instance, the title “Doctor” is normally just given to a GP (not to specialists or dentists) as well as to scientists in certain contexts, but not to lawyers, for instance. For men, we use “Mr”, for women “Ms” [Miz]. Never introduce yourself with a title!

Culture tip: Introductions

Neither the question "How do you do?" (antiquated or extremely formal) nor, normally, the question "How are you?" is directly answered at first-time meetings.

Culture tip: greetings

The greetings "good morning" and "hello" are neutral, whereas "good afternoon" and "good evening" are considered rather formal.

Culture tip: first names

In Anglo-American contexts, people tend to be on first-name terms very quickly. This does not mean, however, that they are close friends!

Culture tip: education

When talking your qualifications, don't confuse education (=what you get at school/university) and training (more practical, e.g. an apprenticeship)! Of course, sometimes the two overlap as there are various types of vocational schools (Berufsschulen) and Universities of Applied Science (Fachhochschulen) that offer very practical courses.

Culture tip: keeping the conversation flowing

Asking questions is a good way to get a visitor to open up and start talking. However, asking too many questions might make you come across as a bit pushy. You should concentrate on questions that keep the conversation flowing. There should be a natural balance between questions and statements so don't forget to share some information about yourself!

Culture tip: "short answers"

Just answering with "yes" or "no" is considered impolite in English. The minimum is the so-called short answer, which is, e.g., "Yes, I did." or "No, he isn't." Use the same auxiliary (except sometimes in case of TO BE) as for questions.

Culture tip: taboos

Some topics are off limits in some countries or cultures, such as death, illnesses or someone's income - stick to topics that are "safe"!

Culture tip: HOW? and WHAT…LIKE?

Please note the difference between these two questions:

How was the party? (= tell me your opinion of it)

What (NOT how!) was the party like? (= describe it to me)

Culture tip: tenses

Careful of tense usage! We say how longwehave been staying or how oftenwe’ve been TO a certain place (e.g. I’vebeen to Vienna before); as soon as we talk about a specific situation in the past, we use the past tense (e.g. I first came two years ago and really enjoyed my stay). If you use the wrong tense, you could confuse others!

Culture tip: remember to respond!

When you are talking to someone, it is important to show them you are listening. You can do so by using sounds like “mmm” and “uh huh”, or words such as “OK”, “right”, “sure”, or “I see”. Such feedback is slightly more frequent among English than among German speakers.

Culture tip: saying "auch nicht"

Don’t use TOO in negative statements when agreeing with someone. E.g. don’t say, “I don’t like veal, too” but “I don’t like veal EITHER”.

Culture tip: “Foot-in-Mouth Disease”

In a foreign language, it is very easy to “put one’s foot in one’s mouth” (= ins Fettnäpfchen treten). One such pitfall would be the use of expletives (such as “Sh…” or “F…”), which is common in German but should be avoided at all cost in English – so no four-letter words please!

Moreover, the German word “Rückseite” is translated with the English “back”. You should only use “backside” if you wish to refer to the part of someone’s anatomy they usually sit on – because this is the ONLY meaning of the word! The word “bottom”, on the other hand, is also used in other contexts, e.g. “the bottom of the hill” or “the bottom of the sea.”

Culture tips: first contact

NOT “my name is” but always “this is”

NEVER “Bond James” but always “James Bond”

CAREFUL of the pronunciation of Ms [Miz]!

Often, people don’t say their names but just “Hello?”, especially on their mobile phones.

Culture tips: spelling numbers and letters

  • Say digits singly, except: double (55… double five), triple (555… triple five); 0… zero / oh
  • Use the international (NATO) spelling alphabet!
  • Saying email addresses on the phone:

@ ... is pronounced 'at'

/  … is "forward slash"

-  … is called a "hyphen" (NOT a “minus”!)

_              …  is an "underscore"

Culture tip: careful!

Don’t say, “I don’t understand you”, it’s rude!

Culture tip: different preposition

To spell e.g. a name, you should say “A AS IN Alpha” or A FOR Alpha” (not “A like Alpha” as you would in German!)


English punctuation rules are quite different from those in German, especially the use of the comma – careful!

Culture tip: tell them!

If you don't know the person, you'll need to give some background information about yourself or your company.