With more than 100 million speakers, German is Europe’s most widely spoken language. According to the Modern Languages Association, German is also the third most popular foreign language in English speaking countries, after French and Spanish.
You can draw many benefits if you choose to learn German as a foreign language, especially given Germany’s economic importance in Europe and the world. Here’s an introduction to the basic aspects of German grammar and pronunciation, as well as a brief list of German phrases.
Learn German: basic grammar and pronunciation
English speakers who want to learn German will find that there are some similarities between both languages in terms of vocabulary. Word order is often also similar to English (subject+verb+object). However, unlike in English, German nouns are gendered, and prepositions, pronouns, and adjectives are slightly modified depending on aspects like subject or possession.
German uses the character “ß”, which sounds like an “s”. “V” can be pronounced as “v” or as “f”, and “w” sounds like “v”. The digraph “ch” has 3 pronunciations: “k” if it’s found at the beginning of a word, hard “h” before “i” and “e”, and like the Scottish “ch” sound before “a”, “o”, and “u”.
The vowels “a”, “o”, and “u” vary their pronunciation if they are used with the Umlaut sign ( ¨ ).
Basic German sentences
- Hello / Hallo
- My name is … / Ich heiße
- What’s your name? / Wie heißt du?
- How are you? / Wie geht es dir?
- Fine, thank you / Gut, danke
- Nice to meet you / Nett Sie kennen zu lernen.
- Goodbye / Auf Wiedersehen
- Where is the bus station / train station / ATM / the bathroom? / Wo ist der Busbahnhof / der Bahnhof / der Geldautomat / die Toilette?
- How can I get to …? / Wie komme ich zu …?
- Is there a restaurant nearby? / Gibt es ein Restaurant in der Nähe?
- How much is this? / Was kostet das?
- Thank you / Danke
- Please / Bitte
- Do you speak English? / Sprechen Sie Englisch?
- Sorry, I don’t understand / Es tut mir leid, ich verstehe das nicht.
- Do you have any rooms available? / Haben Sie noch Zimmer frei?
- Can I have the bill, please? / Kann ich zahlen, bitte?
How to learn German phrases
Motivation and variety are key when it comes to learning a language. There are several ways of increasing your stock of German phrases. Taking lessons online or at a school can help you structure your learning, but do not forget that there are other methods of expanding your vocabulary and fluency, such as making German speaking friends or watching German TV.
Learn German phrases with Babbel
Babbel allows you to increase your knowledge of German through interactive and entertaining lessons. You can take general German courses as well as specialized courses, which include business, colloquial German sentences, vocabulary etc. With multimedia exercises you will learn how to build and pronounce German phrases correctly. Furthermore, in the Babbel community you can chat with German native speakers in order to practice your German. And for those who want to learn on the move, Babbel offers a wide range of free mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod, Android devices, Kindle eBook and Windows 8. Besides the grammar lessons, the courses are divided into different categories; food and drinks, animals, numbers and colors, music, holiday and much more. Give the first lesson a go and discover our german course.