German Lessons


Relationship words - Platonic relationships

For the next two lessons, we’ll look at vocabulary for expressing different types of relationships in German. This week, let’s take a look at platonic relationships.


In professional settings, we often hear der Kollege / die Kollegin. This means “the colleague” or “the co-worker.”


Das ist der Kollege, der zusammen mit Jannik Sternberg auf dem Gerüst gearbeitet hat.
That is the colleague who was working with Jannik Sternberg on the scaffolding.
Caption 41, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern


For young people who attend school together rather than work together, der Klassenkamerad / die Klassenkameradin is a term that means “classmate.” In university settings, der Kommilitone / die Kommilitonin is a common word for referring to one’s fellow students. 


Ich hab' zusammen mit meiner ehemaligen Klassenkameradin einen Abiturientenlehrgang besucht.
Together with a former classmate of mine, I visited a high school graduate seminar.
Caption 8-9, Die Klasse: Berlin '61


You may already know that der Bekannte / die Bekannte indicates an acquaintance, whereas der Freund / die Freundin means “friend” or in some cases even “boyfriend”/“girlfriend.” In this case, the context becomes very important. 


Und dann laden wir viele Bekannte und Freunde ein.
And then we invite a lot of acquaintances and friends.
Caption 18, Mode: mit Niklas


To indicate a close relationship, enger Freund / enge Freundin (“close friend”) and guter Freund / gute Freundin (“good friend”) may be used. Men might also refer to a close friend as der Kumpel, which is more like “buddy” or “mate.”


Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, ebenfalls Oberst im Bendlerblock, ist enger Freund und Mitverschwörer.
Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, also a colonel in the Bendler Block, is a close friend and co-conspirator.
Caption 4-6, Die Stunde der Offiziere: Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944


Dann hat mein Kumpel gesagt: „Na, vielleicht wollten wir doch abhauen.“
Then my buddy said: “Well, but perhaps we indeed wanted to take off.“
Caption 9, 25 Jahre Mauerfall: Radtour durch die Geschichte


Further Learning
We’ll be back next week with vocabulary for various types of romantic relationships. In the meantime, you can learn the plural versions of these words (masculine and feminine), look for other examples on Yabla German, and practice any of the vocabulary above.

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