Using Harry Potter to Learn German

Use German Audiobooks to Learn the Language

Harry Potter und die Heilitumer des Todes part 1 movie poster

 Warner Bros

You can use Harry Potter to magically improve your German. The books and audiobooks are available in German, translated by Klaus Fritz. The books are popular in German-speaking countries and are readily available through and other booksellers.

Print and Audiobook Versions of Harry Potter

One reader bought the book and audiobook and read them together to learn pronunciation and rhythm. She often looked up unfamiliar words and phrases in a dictionary. She said that listening to the audiobook the first time was a torrential blur of German. But after a few times, the words became distinct and soon the story emerged. She began reading the page aloud right after hearing it to improve her pronunciation.

Harry Potter Audiobooks (Hörbücher)

One of the attractions of the German Harry Potter books is the audio. Narrator Rufus Beck has won praise for his lively reading of the Potter books in German. Listeners say they are enticed to listen to them over and over again, and repetition is very good for learning. "Just as the repetition of the 'Harry Potter' tapes has made my speech in German class somewhat less stilted and hesitant."

Harry Potter Titles in German

The print books are available in electronic versions for the Kindle reader and app and as audiobooks through and

  • Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen - The German edition of book one: "The Sorcerer's Stone," aka "The Philosopher's Stone"
  • Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens - The second book in the series, "The Chamber of Secrets."
  • Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Askaban - Book three in the series: "The Prisoner of Azkaban"
  • Harry Potter und der Feuerkelch - The fourth book in the series, "The Goblet of Fire."
  • Harry Potter und der Orden des Phönix - The German version of the fifth book in the series was published on Nov. 8, 2003.
  • Harry Potter und der Halbblutprinz - The German version of the sixth book ("Half-Blood Prince") in the series was published on Oct. 1, 2005.
  • Harry Potter und die Heiligtümer des Todes - The German version of the seventh and final book.

Names/Namen in German vs. English Harry Potter Books

Most of the names for people - first and last - in the German Harry Potter books have been left in their original English form. Even Albus Dumbledore, Voldemort, and Severus Snape keep their original names in German. However, for some reason “Aunt Marge” becomes “Tante Magda” or “Maggie” - even though Marge is a form of Margaret, and Magda is short for Magdalene.

Any other name changes are usually minor: “Hermione” becomes “Hermine” in German. But the character named “Wormtail” is called “Wurmschwanz” in German - a logical and literal translation,

Street names are translated fairly directly. “Privet Drive” becomes Ligusterweg in German (Liguster = privet, a bush, genus Ligustrum, used for hedges). But the mythical “Diagon Alley” becomes Winkelgasse (“angle lane”) and the play on words of the original is lost.

English-German Harry Potter Glossary

This list compares words and expressions with keys to the hardcover editions. The sample sentences illustrate everyday vocabulary, as well as terms related to the books.

English, with hardcover volume/page (1/p4)
Deutsch/German with Band/Seite (1/S9)

yell at s.o/bawl s.o. out = jdn. zur Schnecke machen
he yelled at five different people (1/p4)
er machte fünf verschiedene Leute zur Schnecke (1/S8)

stop dead = wie angewurzelt stehenbleiben
Mr. Dursley stopped dead (1/p4)
Mr. Dursley blieb wie angewurzelt stehen (1/S8)

snap at s.o. = jdn. anfauchen
he snapped at his secretary (1/p4)
er fauchte seine Sekretärin an (1/S9)

mantel/mantelpiece = der Kaminsims
Only the photographs on the mantelpiece showed him how much time had passed. (1/p18)
Nur die Fotos auf dem Kaminsims führten einem vor Augen, wie viel Zeit verstrichen war. (1/S24)

booger = der Popel
“Urgh - troll boogers.” (1/p177)
»Uäääh, Troll-Popel.« (1/S194)

argument = der Streit
Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number 4, Privet Drive. (2/p1)
Im Ligusterweg Nummer 4 war mal wieder bereits beim Frühstück Streit ausgebrochen. (2/S?)

scar = die Narbe
It was this scar that made Harry so particularly unusual, even for a wizard. (2/p4)
Diese Narbe machte Harry sogar in der Welt der Zauberer zu etwas ganz Besonderem. (2/S?)

dinner jacket = der Smoking
“Right - I'm off into town to pick up the dinner jackets for Dudley and me.” (2/p7)
»Gut - ich fahr in die Stadt und hol die Smokings für mich und Dudley ab.« (2/S?)

peer intently = konzentriert schauen
Aunt Petunia, who was bony and horse-faced, whipped around and peered intently out of the kitchen window. (3/p16)
Tante Petunia, knochig und pferdegesichtig, wirbelte herum und schaute konzentriert aus dem Küchenfenster. (3/S?)

put up with, tolerate = ertragen
Harry knew perfectly well that Dudley only put up with Aunt Marge's hugs because he was well paid for it... (3/p22)
Harry wusste genau, dass Dudley Tante Magdas Umarmungen nur ertrug, weil er dafür gut bezahlt wurde. (3/S?)

odd, weird; diagonal = schräg
“Always thought he was odd,” she told the eagerly listening villagers, after her fourth sherry. (4/p2)
»Mir ist er immer schräg vorgekommen«, verkündete sie nach dem vierten Glas Sherry den begierig lauschenden Dörflern. (4/S?)

let s.o. go = jmdn. laufen lassen
As there was no proof that the Riddles had been murdered at all, the police were forced to let Frank go. (4/p4)
Da ein Mord an den Riddles nicht zu beweisen war, musste die Polizei Frank laufen lassen. (4/S?)

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Flippo, Hyde. "Using Harry Potter to Learn German." ThoughtCo, Sep. 8, 2021, Flippo, Hyde. (2021, September 8). Using Harry Potter to Learn German. Retrieved from Flippo, Hyde. "Using Harry Potter to Learn German." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).