Learn German: Alphabet, Numbers 1-1000, Greetings

Learn the German Alphabet, Pronunciation, Numbers 1-1000, Greetings, Introductions and Common Expressions. Here you will learn how to pronounce German words, how to count in German and how to to greet or to start a conversation in German. Lesson provided by edvog.com

German English Dictionary Common Words
English German Dictionary Common Words
German Travel Vocabulary and Phrases
German Animals Fruits Vegetables Food
German Time Days Months Colors

The German Alphabet

The German language has an alphabet composed of 30 letters, the same letters found in the English alphabet plus four extra letters: 3 umlauts (Ä ä, Ö ö, Ü ü) and one ligature (ß) called eszett or scharfes S. Next you will learn the German alphabet and how to pronounce individual German letters:
A (ah), Ä (ae), B (bay), C (tsay), D (day), E (eh), F (ef), G (geh), H (ha), I (ee), J (yot), K (kah), L (ell), M (em), N (en), O (oh), Ö (oe), P (pay), Q (koo), R (er), S (es), ß (eszett), T (tay), U (oo), Ü (ue), V (fow), W (vay), X (ix), Y (eep-see-lon), Z (tset).

German umlaut and eszett (scharfes S)

Umlaut is a diacritic consisting of two dots placed over a letter, the letter is often a vowel. In German we will find only three letters with umlauts (Ä ä, Ö ö, Ü ü) these letters are pronounced different from their non-umlaut form (A a, O o, U u).

ß is exclusively an lower-case letter and there are no words in modern German that start with this letter. ß is found in some common German words, such as: groß (big), weiß (white), die Straße (the street), der Fuß (the foot)… ß sounds exactly like ss. In Switzerland and Liechtenstein eszett (ß) is no longer used because it was replaced permanently by ss.

German Phonetic Alphabet

In the list below you will find the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and the German Phonetic Alphabet, plus pronunciation tips.

NATO - Germany - Pronunciation
Alfa/Alpha - Anton - an-ton
– - Ärger - erger
Bravo - Berta - berta
Charlie - Cäsar - say-zar
Delta - Dora - dorah
Echo - Emil - ee-meel
Foxtrot - Friedrich - freed-reekh
Golf - Gustav - goos-taf
Hotel - Heinrich - heyen-reekh
India - Ida - ee-dah
Juliet - Julius - yooliews
Kilo - Kaufmann - kowf-mann
Lima - Ludwig - lood-veek
Mike - Martha - mar-tah
November - Nordpol - nort-pole
Oscar - Otto - oh-toh
– - Ökonom - urko-nom
Papa - Paula - powla
Quebec - Quelle - qoo-ehleh
Romeo - Richard - ree-ard
Sierra - Siegfried - zeek-freed
– - Eszett - estset
Tango - Theodor - tee-oh-dor
Uniform - Ulrich - ool-reekh
– - Übermut - iewber-moot
Victor - Viktor - vik-tor
Whiskey - Wilhelm - vil-helm
X-Ray - Xanthippe - ksan-teep-pay
Yankee - Ypsilon - iewp-see-lohn
Zulu - Zeppelin - tsep-pay-leen

Some German speaking countries have made slight modifications to the German phonetic alphabet, for instance, Austria and Switzerland have replaced some of the names with more suitable names for their countries and traditions, this changes are made visible by the following list:

Germany - Austria - Switzerland
Dora - Dora - Daniel
Kaufmann - Konrad - Kaiser
Ökonom - Österreich - Örlikon
Paula - Paula - Peter
Übermut - Übel - Übermut
Xanthippe - Xaver - Xaver
Zeppelin - Zürich - Zürich

German Pronunciation Guide

Start learning how to pronounce German words and avoid mistakes made by beginners with our basic pronunciation guide. In the list below you will be able to study and learn how to pronounce the individual letters in German words.

A - like the sound ah or like a in art
Ä - like the sound eh or like ay in say
B - like b in best
C - before i or e, like ts in bits
- otherwise like k in king
D - like d in dog
E - like e in bed
- like the sound eh or ay in say
- at the end of a word, like er in master
F - the same as in English
G - like g in gold
- at the end of a word, like k in king
H - like h in horse
I - like i in fill, never like i in idea
- like ee in see
J - like y in yes
K - the same as in English
L - like l in live
M - the same as in English
N - the same as in English
O - like the sound oh or like o in top
Ö - like ur in turn
P - like p in pick
Q - the same as in English
R - the same as in English
S - at the beginning of a word, like z in zoo
- otherwise like s in smile
ß - like s in smile
T - the same as in English
U - like oo in moon
Ü - like iew in view
V - like f in food
W - like v in voice
X - like the sound ks
Y - the same as ü
Z - like ts in bits

Now that you know how to pronounce each German letter, you need to learn when they should be pronounced differently, this is why the following table will be very helpful for you and every person who wants to avoid some pronunciation mistakes made usually by beginners. Some letters in particular combinations change the way the words are pronounced, below you will be able to study how to pronounce letter combinations that do not follow the same patterns learned in the above list.

AU - like ow in how
ÄU - like oy in toy
EI - like igh in right or like the word eye
EU - like oy in toy
IE - like ee in see
CH - like k in king
SP - at the beginning of a word, like shp
ST - at the beginning of a word, like sht
SCH - like sh in sheep

German Alphabet and Pronunciation Facts

A list with some of the most interesting and important facts about the German alphabet & pronunciation:

- there are more than 26 letters in the German alphabet
- the German alphabet has 30 letters
- the four extra letters are 3 umlauts (Ä ä, Ö ö, Ü ü) and one ligature (ß)
- the most commonly used letters in German are e and n
- individual letters have neuter gender: das A, das B, das C...
- there is no English equivalent for the sound ü.

How to spell my name in German? In English to spell Adams you would say A for Alpha, D for Delta, A for Alpha, M for Mike, S for Sierra, the same formula may also work in German if we use wie instead of for and instead of the NATO phonetic alphabet we will use the German phonetic alphabet, e.g: A wie Anton, D wie Dora, A wie Anton, M wie Martha, S wie Siegfried.

German Numbers 1-1000

Now, you will learn the German Numbers 1-1000 and how to count in German with pronunciation tips. In order to properly sustain simple conversations in German, about: time, age, prices, money, etc. you have to know the numbers and how to count. The table below will start with the number 1, and among our readers may be some people wondering How do you say zero in German? Zero in German is null and the pronunciation nool.

Counting in German - German Numbers 1-20

First step is to learn the numbers from 1 to 20 in German. The numbers from 1 to 12 should be memorized exactly as they are. The numbers from 13 to 19 end in -zehn. Attention when you write sechzehn (sixteen) and siebzehn (seventeen).

English - German (Pronunciation)
one - eins (eyenz)
two - zwei (tsveye)
three - drei (drigh)
four - vier (feer)
five - fünf (fiewnf)
six - sechs (zeks)
seven - sieben (zee-ben)
eight - acht (akt)
nine - neun (noyn)
ten - zehn (tsen)
eleven - elf (elf)
twelve - zwölf (tsvurlf)
thirteen - dreizehn (drigh-tsen)
fourteen - vierzehn (feer-tsen)
fifteen - fünfzehn (fiewnf-tsen)
sixteen - sechzehn (zek-tsen)
seventeen - siebzehn (zeeb-tsen)
eighteen - achtzehn (akt-tsen)
nineteen - neunzehn (noyn-tsen)
twenty - zwanzig (tsvan-tsik)

Counting in German - German Numbers 21 to 99

Numbers in German from 21 to 99, may seem totally reverse, if they are literally translated into English, because in German, units are used instead of tens and tens are used instead of units, e.g: vierundsiebzig (seventy-four) literally translated in English would mean - four and seventy. The numbers from 21 to 99 in German, are formed according to the following pattern: units + und + tens. e.g: zweiundzwanzig (twenty-two), vierundsiebzig (seventy-four), zweiundachtzig (eighty-two). und is used to separate units from tens only for numbers between 21 to 99 (121 to 199, 221 to 299, 321 to 399...), it is not used to separate tens from hundreds or hundreds from thousands. All the exact tens from 20 to 90 end in '-zig'. (except for dreißig (thirty) that ends in ßig) The most important thing to remember from this second table are the names of the tens. Since you already know the numbers from 1 to 20, this second table will start from 21.

English - German (Pronunciation)
twenty-one - einundzwanzig (eyen-oond-tsvan-tsik)
twenty-two - zweiundzwanzig (tsveye-oond-tsvan-tsik)
twenty-three - dreiundzwanzig (dreye-oond-tsvan-tsik)
thirty - dreißig (drigh-seek)
forty - vierzig (feer-tsik)
fifty - fünfzig (fiewnf-tsik)
sixty - sechzig (zek-tsik)
seventy - siebzig (zeeb-tsik)
eighty - achtzig (akt-tsik)
ninety - neunzig (noyn-tsik)

Counting in German - German Numbers 100 to 1000+

Forming hundreds and thousands in German is easy and almost the same as in English. All the exact hundreds from 100 to 900 end in '-hundert'. Suppose you want to form the number five hundred in German: in English you take the number five and next to him you put the word hundred to obtain the number five hundred but in German you take the number five (fünf) and you glue him to the word hundert, the result will be fünfhundert (five hundred), the same rule is applied, to all the exact hundreds in German. All the exact thousands from 1000 to 9000 end in '-tausend'. Earlier you learned how to form hundreds in German, the same rules applies here, but instead of the word '-hundert' you have to use '-tausend'.

English - German (Pronunciation)
one hundred - ein hundert (eyen hoondert)
two hundred - zweihundert (tsveye-hoondert)
three hundred - dreihundert (drigh-hoondert)
one thousand - ein tausend (eyen taoo-zent)
two thousand - zweitausend (tsveye-taoo-zent)

Counting in German - Complex numbers in German

If you want to form complex numbers in German, you need to know that a big part of the number is written together: millions, tens and units are written separate. Suppose you want to form the number: seven thousand two hundred ninety-one. You already know that hundreds and thousands are form almost the same as in English, only difference is that words are united and not separated, so all you have to do now is to replace them with the German version. After you do that your word will look like this: siebentausendzweihundert. Now, according to our pattern, you need to unite, the number of units with und, and only after, you can unite the resulted word, with the number of the tens: one in German is ein, ninety in German is neunzig, now let's join them with the word und > einundneunzig. seven thousand two hundred ninety-one = siebentausendzweihundert einundneunzig

Mathematics in German

Here, you will find some of the most used words in mathematics translated in German:

English - German (Pronunciation)
divide - dividieren (dee-vi-dee-ren)
divided by - durch (doork)
equals - ist (ist)
minus - minus (mee-noos)
multiply - multiplizieren (mool-tee-plee-tsee-ren)
plus - plus (ploos)

German Greetings with Pronunciation

Below you will learn basic greetings, introductions and common expressions useful when you want to greet or to start a conversation in German. In almost all the lessons provided by Edvog.com you will find pronunciation tips and examples. Only this way we think the learning process is faster and easier for all the learners. What do you think about our lessons? Leave us a message.

German Greetings

Now, let's learn how to say Hello, Goodbye, Thank you and You’re welcome in German. The greetings and goodbyes found below are used formal and / or informal, if a greeting is used mostly formal you will see the word formal in brackets.

How to say Hello in German?

If you want to say Hello in the formal way, try to use the German equivalent of Good morning, Good evening or Good day, depending on the time of the day. Note! If you want to be formal in a conversation with a German speaker use the word Sie (the equivalent of you) instead of du (the more casual way to say you). The formal way of greeting someone in German can be used also casual, depending on your preferences, but be careful because the other way around doesn't work (the word Hallo nowadays is an exception, tends to be semi-formal). Below you will find a list with common German greetings, in the third column are the pronunciation tips.

English - German (Pronunciation)
Hello / Hi - Hallo (hah-lo)
Hello / Hi - Hi (hi)
Hello / Hi - Grüß dich! * (grews deek)
Hello / Hi - Grüß Gott! * (grews got)
Hello / Hi / Bye - Servus * (servoos)
Hello / Hi - Moin! ** (moin)
Hello! / Hello, everyone - Mahlzeit (mahl-tsaheet)
Good morning - Guten Morgen (formal) (gooten morgen)
Good day - Guten Tag (formal) (gooten tak)
Good evening - Guten Abend (formal) (gooten ah-bend)
Good night - Gute Nacht (goote nakt)
Welcome! - Willkommen! (vill-kommen)
A warm welcome - Ein herzliches Willkommen (ighn herts-lihes vilkoh-men)

* – The greeting it’s used mostly in Southern Germany and Austria
** – The greeting it’s used mostly in Northern Germany.

How to say Goodbye in German?

If you want to say Goodbye in the formal way use Auf Wiedersehen! (Goodbye / Bye), if you are on the telephone use Auf Wiederhören! (Goodbye / Bye). Note! Servus is the casual way of saying Hello / Hi, but also Bye. The formal way of saying Goodbye in German can be used also casual, depending on your preferences, but be careful because the other way around doesn't work. Below you will find a list with common German goodbyes, in the third column are the pronunciation tips.

English - German (Pronunciation)
Goodbye / Bye - Auf Wiedersehen! (formal) (owf veeder-zen)
Goodbye / Bye - Auf Wiederhören! (formal) (owf veeder-hur-ren)
Bye - Tschüss! (tshiews)
Have a good day - Schönen Tag (shurnayn tak)
Have a good weekend - Schönes Wochenende (shurnays vokhayn-aynday)
See you later! - Bis später! (bis shpay-ter)
See you soon! - Bis bald! (bis bahld)
See you tomorrow! - Bis morgen! (bis morgen)
Have fun! - Viel Spaß! (feel shpass)
Farewell! / All the best! - Alles Gute! (alles goote)
Take care! - Mach’s gut! (maks goot)
Good Luck! - Viel Glück! (feel gliewk)
Let’s go! - Gehen wir! (gheken veer)

How to say Thank you and You’re welcome in German?

In the list below you will find how to say Thank you and You’re welcome in the German language, in the third column are the pronunciation tips.

English - German (Pronunciation)
Thanks! - Danke! (danke)
Thank you! - Danke! (danke)
I thank you - Ich danke Ihnen (formal) (eek danke eenen)
I’m very grateful - Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar (formal) (eek bin eenen zehr dankbar)
Many thanks! - Vielen Dank! (feelen dank)
Thanks a lot! - Besten Dank! (besten dank)
Thank you very much! - Danke sehr! (danke zehr)
Thank you very much! - Danke schön! (danke shurn)
You’re welcome! - Bitte schön! (bih-tay shurn)
Please! / You’re welcome! - Bitte! (bih-tay)
You’re welcome! - Gern gescheh'n! (gern geshayn)
You’re welcome! - Keine Ursache! (keye-nay oorsahay)
You’re welcome! - Kein Problem! (keyen problaym)

How are you? in German - Ask & respond

Sometimes asking a question like How are you? is a way of saying Hello!, the same pleasantries are found between German speakers.

English - German (Pronunciation)
How's it going? - Wie geht's? (vee gates)
How's it going? / What’s up? - Alles klar? (alles klar)
How are you? - Wie geht es dir? (vee gate es deer)
How are you? - Wie geht es Ihnen? (formal) (vee gate es eenen)

There are many possible responses to give when someone asks you How are you?, below we have listed some of the most popular answers translated in German.

English - German (Pronunciation)
I'm fine, thank you. - Gut, danke. (goot danke)
I'm fine - Es geht mir gut (es gate meer goot)
I'm very well - Es geht mir sehr gut (es gate meer zehr goot)
I'm so-so - Es geht (es gate)
I'm rather well - Ziemlich gut (tsim-leek goot)
Much better - Viel besser (feel besser)
Not well - Nicht gut (neekt goot)

After you answer, it is customary to ask how the other person is doing. You can do this easily by saying Und dir? (And you?) if is a casual meeting or Und Ihnen? (And you?) if you want to be formal.

How to make introductions in German

Meeting and greeting often requires introductions and knowing the proper way to make introductions in a particular language can help you make a good first impression. Note! In this type of situations the German language tends to be a bit more formal than American English.

English - German (Pronunciation)
What is your name? - Wie heißt du? (vee highsst doo)
What is your name? - Wie heißen Sie? (formal) (vee highssan zie)
What is your last name? - Was ist Ihren Nachname? (formal) (vahs ist eeren nakh-namay)
My name is... - Ich heiße... (eek highssay)
Glad to meet you - Freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen (formal) (froy mikh, zie kennen-tsoolernen)
Glad to meet you - Schön, dich kennenzulernen (shurn, deekh kennen-tsoolernen)
Can you spell the name, please? - Können Sie den Namen bitte buchstabieren? (kurnen zee den namay bee-tay book-shta-bee-ren)
Can you spell your name, please? - Können Sie bitte Ihren Namen buchstabieren? (kurnen zee bee-tay eeren namay book-shta-bee-rane)
Yes, I can - Ja, Ich kann (ya, eek kann)
yes ; no - ja ; nein (ya ; nine)
Where are you from? - Woher kommen Sie? (vo-hair koh-men zee)
Where do you live? - Wo wohnen Sie? (vo voh-nen zee)
How old are you? - Wie alt sind Sie? (vee alt zint zee)
I do not understand - Ich verstehe nicht (eek fershtea neekt)
I do not speak German - Ich kann nicht Deutsch zu reden (eek kahn neekt doytche tsoo reden)
I do not speak well German - Ich kann nicht so gut Deutsch zu reden (eek kahn neekt soh goot doytche tsoo reden)

How to apologize in German

Below you will study some common German expressions of forgiveness useful for situations like squeezing through crowds, to more serious situations where a personal apology is necessary.

English - German (Pronunciation)
Excuse me - Entschuldigung (ent-shool-dee-goon)
I apologize - Es Tut mir Leid (ehs toot meer laeet)
Sorry for forgetting - Entschuldige bitte, dass ich es vergessen habe (ent-shool-deege bee-tay, dass eek es fergessen habay)
Excuse my mistakes - Entschuldigen Sie bitte meine Fehler (ent-shool-deegen zie, bee-tay meye-nay fayler)
I didn't mean to do that - Ich habe das nicht gewollt (eek habay das neekt gevolt)
I didn’t mean it that way - Das habe ich nicht so gemeint (das habay eek neekt zo gemeyent)
It wasn’t meant in that way - Das war doch nicht so gemein (das var dok neekt zo gemeyen)
Forgiveness! - Verzeihung! (fer-tseye-oong)

Common German Expressions

Now, let's study some common German expressions used by German speakers in everyday life. Some popular idioms of a language may sound obscure or meaningless, but if you know what they really mean you will also know how to use them appropriately.

English - German (Pronunciation)
Great! - Prima! (pree-mah)
Great! - Klasse! (klahsay)
Great! - Toll! (toll)
Really! - Wirklich?! (veerk-leek)
Really! - Echt?! (aykt)
What nonsense! - Was für ein Quatsch! (vahs fur eyen kooahch)
What nonsense! - Was für ein Unsinn! (vahs fur eyen oonzeen)
Nonsense! - Quatsch! (kooahch)
Exactly. - Genau. (genahoo)
I beg your pardon? / What did you say? - Wie, bitte? (vee, bee-tay)
Never mind. / That’s okay. - Das macht nichts. (das maht neekts)
Friend - Kumpel (koompel)
What's new? - Was gibt's Neues? (vahs geebts noyees)
One moment please! - Einen Augenblick, bitte! (eyenen owgen-bleek, bee-tay)
Hold on please! (phone) - Bleiben Sie dran, bitte! (bleyeben zee drahn, bee-tay)
I couldn't care less. - Das ist mir wurscht. (das ist meer voorsht)
I don't care. - Es ist mir egal. (es ist meer aygahl)
That is not of my concern. - Das ist nicht meine Sorge. (das ist neekt meyenay zorge)
I'm exhausted. - Ich bin kaputt. (eek been kahpoot)
I'm in a bad mood. - Ich bin in schlechter Laune. (eek bin in shlaykter lone)
The nerve! - Was für eine Frechheit! (vahs fur eyenay frayk-keyet)
It’s a stone’s throw away. - Das ist ein Katzensprung. (das eest ayn kahts-ayn-shproong)

Important! Because some German sounds are not found in English we have tried to come up with something that sounds similar, for this reason the pronunciation tips from above are simply informational and does not offer any guarantee.

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