Thursday, July 31, 2014



(My 100th post!  So, please, for the love of God, somebody BUY ME A DONUT!)


The Dunkin’ Berliner Glossary of Zee Deutsch  


Have you ever read one of those Paris expat writers’ books where they drop a French sentence on every page, expecting us to know what the fuck they are parlez-vous-ing about?  Maddening, isn’t it?

Well, I realized that I may have taken for granted that some of my gentle readers don’t live in Germany and/or have just arrived and wouldn’t know a Deutschbag from donut hole.  So I’ve put together a Dunkipedia, a glossary of sorts—not just for the occasional Deutsch bomb I may drop; but for any and all of the local slang I may resort to or even make up when I’m soaking in beer.

So grab a donut, a bratwurst or a beer (or all three if you live on the edge), and dip/dunk right on in…


- Altbau flat:  ‘old building’ apartment, usually built pre-war (both).  Thick bricks and wood floors, oh yeah.  Preferable to the soulless, Soviet-style housing blocks with concrete floors and cardboard walls (see Plattenbau).

- Ausländer:  'outlander' or 'foreigner.'  The single word that goes through every German's mind when they encounter you--even if Berlin is the most liberal city in Germany.  I've heard catcalls of 'DEUTSCH!' uttered and even shouted when walking by groups of feckless German yoots while speaking English with a friend.  Some of these Deutschbags have even got t-shirts proclaiming 'You are NICHT ein Berliner!'

- Berliner pfannkuchen:  the raw fuel for this here blog, a jelly donut, apparently first made here. Everywhere else in Germany they call them Berliners; in Berlin they simply call them pfannkuchen.

- Berliner Schnauze: the special sense of humor of the average Berliner, characterized by curt, sullen quips, ironic or black humor and an apparent lack of common courtesy in any public place.  In any other language or culture, see ‘Rude Fuck.’

- Bratwurst: a low grade sausage with mostly grease and filler found everywhere beer is sold outdoors.

- Bullscheisse:  Ami-German swearing, Dunkin’ Berliner style.  One Deutschbag even criticized me for writing the word.  Heh.  Loser.

- Currywurst:  the official food of Berlin.  Sadly it is just a garden variety boiled hotdog cut into pieces and soaked in ketchup with a tiny pinch of yellow curry powder.  Like most Central Europeans, Germans are total pussies when it comes to spice.  Or flavor in general.

- Deutschbag: part douchebag, part Deutsch; not all Germans are Deutschbags, just as not all douchebags are German.  A Deutschbag is like a douchebag, with more anal retentiveness and slightly fewer social skills.  And in some cases, sporting a Hitler moustache.

- Friedrichshain:  F’hain, The ‘Hain, etc.  A neighborhood in former East Berlin characterized by gentrification, yuppies, hipsters, groovy punk rock squats and a flat previously occupied by a grumpy old American writer who drinks too much beer and eats too many donuts (I didn’t lose the flat, dammit!  I know where it is!  It’s just that when I go there now some yuppie fuck is living there).

- Gentrification:  not a German word; rather, an international word meaning 'fuck you' from developers and landlords.  A purposely planned and engineered plot for the rich to squeeze the poor out of their very homes.  It is the reason rents went up 900% in the last 10 years in East Berlin.

- Kebab:  the second official food of the average Berliner.  Available anywhere there is a street with people on it.  Sometimes there are even five kebab joints in a row.  Go to the ones which sell beer.  If they don’t sell beer, they are probably strict Muslims who don’t believe in alcohol and are probably sending all their kebab money to Uncle Al (Qaeda).  Why else wouldn’t they sell beer?

- Kiez (keets): a superkuhl way to say 'neighborhood.'  A bit like the way those who speak Ebonics say 'hood for short.  But kiezes (kiezen?) have only the bullets of gentrification ripping through them--and the hip hop is in Deutsch (ouch).

- Kneipe:  an old Berliner pub.  Meaning it's mostly full of old Berliners.  With mullets. And enough smoke to choke a donkey (see RAUCHER KNEIPE).

- Kreuzberg (xberg): the only hip neighborhood in West Berlin, characterized by punk rockers, Middle Eastern hordes, students and the uberhip.  You will never find a flat in Kreuzberg because you are not cool enough.  And by 'you' I probably really mean 'me.'

- Lumberjackoff: Not a Deutsch word, but most certainly a Deutschbag.  A sub-group of Hipsterus Loserus also known as Lumbersexuals.  They dress like lumberjacks with hipster glasses.

- Plattenbau:  Soviet styled concrete housing blocks full of mleh.

- Prenzlauer Berg: The Prenzl, P’berg, Parentslauer Berg, etc.  A neighborhood in former East Berlin characterized by breeders, gentrification, yuppies, hipsters, and for five years, home to one grumpy old American writer who drinks too much beer and eats too many donuts.  Until they gentrified my ass right out of there.

- Raucher Kneipe 'smokers pub.' A real experience, like a visit to the inside of a coal mine or a factory chimney. They refuse to open the windows, even in summer. Berlin avoided the public smoking ban common in most other German cities by simply saying 'fuck off.'  And putting a sign in the window saying 'Raucher.'

- Scheisse (shit):  the single most common word out of the mouths of Berliners from cradle to grave.  Even more commonly heard than ‘guten tag.’

- Spaetkauf (spaeti):  ‘late shop’ - open late convenience store specializing in the basics:  beer, booze and smokes, often with outdoor bench seating filled with mullets.


  1. many of these also apply to Leipzig (just moved here from Aus). Never seen so many smokers in my life.

  2. Thanks for pointing out a glaring omission to my DUNKIPEDIA: the RAUCHER KNEIPE! This is a particularly smokey pub that defies belief. Will add it now...