Frau Höhne Guten Tag, Herr Jäger!Herr Jäger Guten Tag, Frau Höhne!Frau Höhne Wie geht es Ihnen?
Herr Jäger Gut, danke, und Ihnen?Frau Höhne Auch gut, danke.
Herr Jäger Auf Wiedersehen!Frau Höhne Auf Wiedersehen!
Ms Höhne Hello, Mr Jäger!
Mr Jäger Hello, Ms Höhne!
Ms Höhne How are you?
Mr Jäger Good, thanks, and you?Ms Höhne Also good, thanks.
Mr Jäger Goodbye!
Ms Höhne Goodbye!Informal German
Lisa Hallo Thomas!Thomas Hallo Lisa!
Lisa Wie geht es dir?Thomas Gut, danke, und dir?Lisa Auch gut, danke.Thomas Tschüss!
Lisa Hey Thomas!Thomas Hey Lisa!
Lisa How are you?
Thomas Good, thanks, and you?Lisa Also good, thanks.Thomas Bye!
VocabularyVocabulary Sample Sentences
Du bist gut. You are good.
Heute ist ein guter Tag. Today is a good day.
Herr Smith Mr Smith
Frau Smith Mrs Smith.
Wie geht es Ihnen, Herr Müller? How are you, Mr Müller?
Thomas und Lisa. Thomas and Lisa.
Ich danke Ihnen. I thank you.
Thomas kommt auch. Thomas is coming, too.
Auf Wiedersehen, Professor Martins! Goodbye, professor Martins!
Unlike English, German is spelled almost phonetically. This will be a huge advantage in your studies. First however, you will need to get accustomed to the German pronunciation. Pay particular attention to the vowels, the R and the Umlaute (Ä, Ö and Ü).
Just like German, French and Italian, German distinguishes between a formal and an informal way of addressing people, depending on how familiar you are with them. Here are the main differences between formal and informal language:
Situation Formal language Informal language
Names Use last name Use first name
Word for "you" "Sie" and derived forms like "Ihnen"
Greeting when meeting "Guten Tag"(good day), "Guten Morgen"(good morning), "Guten Abend"(good evening)
Greeting when leaving "Auf Wiedersehen"(till seeing-again)
"du" and derived forms like "dir"
"Hallo", "Hey", "Hi", depending on age and style, also slurred versions of the formal greetings, such as "Tach"(day), "n'Abend"(d'evening) "Tschüss"(Bye)
Germans are very peculiar about wishing to show respect and to be shown respect when talking with others. That is why sometimes even people who have known each other for a long time use ‘formal’ language with each other – as a sign of mutual respect, not of coldness. Even kids were supposed to address their parents formally until about 100 years ago or so. Now this is no longer the case, but you should still watch out who you address how. Generally, you should only use informal language with a new acquaintance if:
- you are talking to somebody under 18
- you and the person you’re talking with are both around student age
- you and the person you’re talking with are relatives
In all other cases, you should wait till you are asked to switch to informal language – it’s up to the older person or the one higher in rank to do so or not. Your boss or teacher will certainly never ask you, as that would diminish his authority in the eyes of everybody. However, even regular acquaintances don’t switch to using first names nearly as quickly as they do in the USA. If you just start by addressing a stranger informally, he may feel offended as you seem to treat him like a child. That being said, as a foreigner you certainly have some leeway in case you should forget.Tschüss!
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