German is a prominent language of both business and culture in the EU and beyond. There are over 229 million German speakers worldwide. After English, German is the most widely spoken language of the European Union, and is an official language in numerous countries— including Austria, Belgium, Germany, parts of Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, and Switzerland.

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Learning to speak German sometimes can be thought of as a daunting task. At first glance, German does have some intimidating vocabulary. It was Mark Twain who famously took offense to the “clumsy” tendency of the German language to create compound, multi-syllable words. However, with about 128 million people worldwide who speak German as a second or learned language, you will not be alone as you conquer some of these tricky vocabulary pieces.

Whether it’s for vacation, curiosity, or necessity, you can hit the ground running and learn German by familiarizing yourself with some of these basic German phrases. Grammar alone won’t teach you how the language is used by the 229 million German speakers worldwide , so it’s a good idea to begin with simple phrases like how to say “Hello,” or how to say “I love you” in German.

Here’s a German language primer for the basic aspects of German grammar and pronunciation, as well as a short list of common German phrases to get you started speaking German today.


Learning German might not be as difficult as you imagine after you take note of the numerous similarities between the English and German languages. In German, a sentence with a simple main clause can be written in a similar order to that in English (subject+verb+object). However, unlike in English, the word order in a main clause can also be rearranged to emphasize something other than the subject by putting it first.

A huge leg up for English speakers is that the German alphabet shares the same 26 letters as the English alphabet, plus the characters ä, ö, ü, and ß. However, the German language does have a few sounds not found in English. Let’s take a look at some of the more challenging sounds.

In German, the digraph “ch” sounds like the hiss a cat might make in words such as ich (I), mich (me/myself) and Licht (light). In words like Buch (book) and Bach (stream), it sounds like the Scottish pronunciation of the “ch” in Loch Ness. “V” can be pronounced as “v” or as “f”, and “w” sounds like “v”. While the scharfes S, ß, looks tricky, you can make its sound as an “ss.”

The vowels “a,” “o,” and “u” have differing pronunciation if they are used with the umlaut (¨) as in ä, ö, and ü.


German is a language with some tricky parts , but the basic conversational building blocks are a great place to start. Simple German phrases like “Good morning” and “How are you?” grease the wheels of daily conversation in most every language, including German. Here’s how to say a few basic German phrases.

Guten Tag = Good morningHallo = HelloIch heiße … = My name is …Sprechen Sie Englisch? = Do you speak English?Wie heißt du? = What’s your name?Wie geht es dir? = How are you?Gut, danke = Fine, thank youNett, Sie kennen zu lernen = Nice to meet youTisch für zwei bitte = Table for two, pleaseWo ist die Toilette? = Where is the bathroom?Danke = Thank youWie komme ich zu …? = How can I get to …?Gibt es ein Restaurant in der Nähe? = Is there a restaurant nearby?Ich liebe dich = I love youWie viel kostet das …? = How much is this …?Es tut mir leid, ich verstehe das nicht = Sorry, I don’t understandHaben Sie noch Zimmer frei? = Do you have any rooms available?Auf Wiedersehen = Goodbye

Rosetta Stone has one very specific goal: to get you speaking confidently. We go beyond standard lessons to let you practice whichever way works best for you–whether that’s studying common phrases, reading interesting blog articles (like this one featuring German shows, movies, and songs ), or talking to our native-speaking tutors–so you’ll be ready to have real-world conversations.

German is a language that may take you a bit to find your footing in, but once you have a handle on the grammar and basic structure, it’s much like any other language: practice makes perfect.


At Rosetta Stone, we believe every person can learn to read, write and speak German with confidence. Learning German phrases is much like learning vocabulary in any other language: practice makes perfect.


Surround yourself with German whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .

Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .

The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.

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