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GERMAN LANGUAGE

German words you need to know: Das Kostehäppchen

Throughout Germany, there are countless opportunities to try delicious street food. This word is used to describe the exciting offer of a small taster of a dish.

German words you need to know: Das Kostehäppchen
'Kostehäppchen' at an organic food festival in Nuremburg. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | David Ebener

If a vendor asks you, “Möchten Sie etwas kosten?”, they aren’t asking you to pay for anything – in fact it’s quite the opposite, they’re offering you a free sample. 

The verb ‘kosten’, while normally means ‘to cost’ (‘Wie viel kostet das? – How much does that cost?’), can also mean ‘to taste’. 

‘Der Happen’ is the German word for an appetiser or nibble, and with the added diminutive ‘chen’ to make ‘das Häppchen’, means ‘little appetiser’. 

Altogether, ‘das Kostehäppchen’ can therefore be translated as ‘a small sample for tasting’. 

A vendor offers samples of salami at Berlin’s annnual wine fair. Photo: DPA

Germany’s flea markets, spring and summer festivals, as well as its beloved Christmas markets, see chances to try some new street food extend all year round, so keep an eye out for ‘Kostehäppchen’ on offer – they will most likely tempt you to indulge in a full portion.

READ ALSO: 10 mouth-watering foods you have to try while visiting Germany

Examples:

Möchten Sie ein Kostehäppchen von dem Kaiserschmarrn? 

Would you like to try a small sample of the Kaiserschmarrn (pancakes)?

Es war ein toller Abend auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt. Wir haben deutsches Bier getrunken und auch viele Kostehäppchen von verschiedenen Stollensorten gegessen.

It was a great evening at the Christmas market. We drank lots of beer and also sampled lots of different types of Stollen (Christmas cake).

Ich werde um ein Kostehäppchen bitten, damit ich mir sicher bin, dass ich es kaufen möchte.

I’ll ask for a small sample, so that I can be sure that I’d like to buy it.

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German Word of the Day: die Ausrede

If you want to get out of a date, or you haven’t done your homework – you might need one of these.

German Word of the Day: die Ausrede

This little German word can come in handy in a variety of situations.

Ausrede, Meaning “excuse” consists of the verb reden which means “to talk” or “to speak” and the prefix aus which translates as “out”, “off” or “from”.

So, a good way to remember the word is to think of it as a tool you use for talking yourself out of something. 

One thing to bear in mind, however, is that in German, the word Ausrede has a slightly negative connotation and can be used to hint that the reason given is fabricated.

So, if you want to tell your boss that you have a good reason for why you can’t come to work, it’s better to say you have eine Entschuldigung (also meaning excuse) instead.

Another thing to watch out for is trying to use the verb ausreden in the same way as the English “to excuse”. In German, the verb ausreden actually means to finish speaking, for example: ich lasse ihn ausreden means “I let him finish speaking”.

Examples:

Er hat nach einer Ausrede gesucht

He was looking for an excuse

Diesmal habe ich keine Ausrede
This time I have no excuse
 
Besser keine Ausrede als eine schlechte
Better to have no excuse than a bad one
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