This week, we'll look at vocabulary for describing German apartment buildings, which is often no easy task. Even when a building is not particularly large in comparison to what you might find in other cities, there are some essential words for describing where you are located.
The architecture of many apartment buildings involves a central courtyard, der Hinterhof. The part of the building that is immediately on the street is called das Vorderhaus, while the apartments accessed by going through the courtyard are in what is generally called either das Hinterhaus, das Quergebäude, or das Gartenhaus. The part of the building that runs along the sides of the courtyard and connects these two parts is called der Seitenflügel and is often specified with links or rechts.
So, if you have a visitor and need to describe where your apartment is located, this may be what you specify first. Next, however, you will also need to describe what floor you are on. There are three nouns for this: die Etage, das Stockwerk (der Stock), and das Obergeschoss (sometimes abbreviated OG). Do keep in mind that the ground floor (das Erdgeschoss or das Hochparterre when it's elevated from street level) is not considered the first floor in German-speaking countries!
Unser Büro befindet sich im vierten Stock.
Our office is located on the fourth floor.
Caption 47, Berufsleben: das Vorstellungsgespräch:Play Caption
Das Zimmer ist in der vierten Etage.
The room is on the fourth floor.
Caption 13, Nicos Weg: Im HotelPlay Caption
Wir können damit ins erste OG [Obergeschoss] hoch.
We can hoist it onto our shoulders, we can go up to the first floor [US second floor] with it
Caption 43, Feuerwehr Heidelberg: LöschfahrzeugPlay Caption
In order to reach these floors, a visitor will need to either take the stairs, or if they're lucky, find an elevator. There are also two different words used for "the elevator" in German.
Du, ich bin schon im Treppenhaus.
Hey, I'm already in the stairwell.
Caption 64, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf AnfangPlay Caption
Den Aufzug finden Sie vorne rechts.
You'll find the elevator in the front on the right-hand side.
Caption 20, Nicos Weg: Im HotelPlay Caption
Ich hab grad gehört, der Fahrstuhl bleibt stecken.
I just heard that the elevator is stuck.
Caption 3, Die Pfefferkörner: EndspurtPlay Caption
With any luck, they will then find the door of the apartment. Like the front door of a house, there is also a special word for this in German:
Ich stelle den vollen Müllbeutel deutlich sichtbar vor die Haustür.
I place the full trash bag clearly visible in front of the front door.
Caption 37, Deutsch mit Eylin: PutzenPlay Caption
Dieser Brettschneider hat doch gesagt, dass die Typen direkt vor seiner Wohnungstür gestanden haben.
This Brettschneider guy told us that the guys were standing right in front of his apartment door.
Captions 43-44, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und MördernPlay Caption
Practice describing where a friend or relative's apartment is in their building. You can also choose an office you've been to and describe which floor it's on. For more information about this topic, including common abbreviations, you can check out this Wikipedia page.