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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,

That is the colleague

der zusammen mit Jannik Sternberg auf dem Gerüst gearbeitet hat.

who was working with Jannik Sternberg on the scaffolding.

Caption 41, Großstadtrevier - Von Monstern und Mördern

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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

Together with a former classmate of mine, I

einen Abiturientenlehrgang besucht...

visited a high school graduate seminar...

Captions 8-9, Die Klasse - Berlin '61

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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

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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,

Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim,

ebenfalls Oberst im Bendlerblock,

also a colonel in the Bendlerblock,

ist enger Freund und Mitverschwörer.

is a close friend and co-conspirator.

Captions 4-6, Die Stunde der Offiziere - Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

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Dann hat mein Kumpel gesagt:

Then my buddy said:

„Na, vielleicht wollten wir doch abhauen.“

"Well, but perhaps we indeed wanted to take off."

Caption 9, 25 Jahre Mauerfall - Radtour durch die Geschichte

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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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