Learn German

By optilingo

So you’ve decided to learn German. That’s a great decision! German is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet, and a leading language in the European Union. Whether you’ve decided to learn German for personal or business reasons, you’re in luck, because this post is for you.

In this summary post, I’m going to give you a high-level crash course in German. I’m not going to go in-depth in any one area, but I’m going to cover a lot of different areas. If you really want to learn German more seriously, though, I’d encourage you to check out some of my related posts where I go more in-depth.

Across this post and all the related posts, I’m going to touch upon the following topics:

  • The German alphabet
  • The numbers
  • Basic phrases

German alphabet

You probably won’t be asked to say the German alphabet, but it helps to be aware of a few differences it has compared to the English one! Alongside the standard letters you have just learnt, the German alphabet has four extra letters. Ä, Ö and Ü are called „umlauts“ and sound very similar to A, O and U, but they are formed in the front of your mouth and thus have a sharper sound.

The letter „β“ is called „esszett“ – although it often gets mistaken for the letter „b“, it is pronounced as „ss“.

Again, you can check out this link for more about the German alphabet.

German numbers

Whether you are trying to buy tickets or ordering food for several people: Knowing the numbers in German is a must! You will find that they aren’t as difficult to learn as one might think!

Numbers                  German

1                                    eins

2                                    zwei

3                                    drei

4                                    vier

5                                    fünf

6                                    sechs

7                                    sieben

8                                    acht

9                                    neun

10                                    zehn

11                                    elf

12                                    zwölf

13                                    dreizehn

14                                    vierzehn

15                                    fünfzehn

16                                    sechzehn

17                                    siebzehn

18                                    achtzehn

19                                    neunzehn

20                                    zwanzig

Basic phrases

Providing your details

When you are asked to provide your details in a hotel, the following words might come on handy when giving your email address:

@ = at (same as in English)

                         – = Minus (hyphen)

     . = Punkt (dot)

Try saying: ich.lerne.deutsch@deutsch-land.de

Some useful phrases to get you started!

Sprichst du Englisch?/Sprechen Sie Englisch? = Do you speak English?

Ich verstehe = I understand

Ich verstehe nicht = I don’t understand

Bitte sprechen Sie langsamer = Please speak more slowly

Wie sagt man….? = How do you say ….?

Wo ist das Hotel/der Bahnhof/das Geschäft? = Where is the hotel/train station/store?

The following phrases will help you talking about yourself and also asking the other person some questions. This way you will make German friends in absolutely no time!

German English
Hallo Hello
Guten Morgen/Guten Tag/Guten Abend Good morning/Good day/Good evening
Auf Wiedersehen Good-bye
Bis bald See you soon
Tschüs Bye-be
Ich heiβe…/Mein Name ist… I am called…/My name is…
Wie geht’s? How are you?

That just about wraps it up for this post. Like I said, I avoided going too in-depth here, but I have a bunch more on how to learn German in my posts below. Good luck!