German BASICS for Beginners: Your first Conversation!

German BASICS for Beginners: Your first Conversation!

When you’re in Germany for an exchange year, have a German friend or a German client, these following conversation basics will save you in every situation.

Los geht’s! Ich bin Spring German Lehrerin Denisa. Fangen wir mit den Begrüßungen an. (Let’s go! I’m Spring German teacher Denisa. Let’s start with the greetings.)

1. Begrüßungen (Greetings)

How you greet somebody, hängt von der Uhrzeit ab (depends on the time of day).

Here are some examples:

  • In the morning you say Guten Morgen (Good morning)
  • In the afternoon you say Guten Tag (Good afternoon)
  • In the evening you can say Guten Abend (Good evening)
  • But a greeting for the whole day is simply Hallo (Hello)

DENISA
Guten Morgen, liebe Schüler.
(Good morning, dear students.)

STUDENT
Guten Morgen, Frau Müller.
(Good morning Mrs. Müller.)

Also an important way to greet somebody (your colleagues for example) at lunch time, is to say Mahlzeit (time of meal) in Germany. You can even say it when people are not eating in the moment, because you wish them a good lunch break in advance.

To learn more about the greetings in German, you can watch Spring German Brunhild’s video about it here.

2. Vorstellungen (Introductions)

After the greetings, you can continue with the Introduction. Start with introducing yourself.

You can do it like this:

  • Mein Name ist Denisa. (My name is Denisa.)
  • Ich heiße Denisa. (My name is Denisa.)
  • Ich bin Denisa. (I am Denisa.)
  • Wie heißt du? (What’s your name?)

Chunk Alert!

You want to ask people how they are doing? Here are some chunks that will help you:

  • Wie geht’s dir? (How are you?)
  • Alles gut? (Everything’s good?)
  • Mir geht es gut, danke. Wie geht es dir? (I’m fine, thank you. How are you?)

What are chunks you ask?

Chunks are word combinations that natives use all the time and that you can learn by heart as a whole. Get the most important German chunks you need for a conversation in our free essential German chunking kit. The link is in the description.

Maybe, you also want to know how old the person is or where she is from. In German, you would ask like this:

  • Wie alt bist du? (How old are you?)
  • Ich bin .. Jahre alt. (I’m .. years old.)
  • Woher kommst du? (Where are you from?)
  • Ich komme aus…  (I’m from…)

Wow, so much information. Let’s see this all in action. Roll the clip.

MARTINA
Guten Morgen.
(Good morning.)

DENISA
Hallo. Wie geht’s dir? Alles gut?
(Hello. How are you? Everything’s good?)

MARTINA
Ja. Mir geht’s gut. Wie geht’s dir?
(Yes. I’m fine. How are you?)

DENISA
Auch gut danke. Wie heißt du?
(I’m fine too. What’s your name?)

MARTINA
Ich heiße Martina. Und du?
(My name is Martina. And you?)

DENISA
Ich heiße Denisa. Wie alt bist du?
(My name is Denisa. How old are you?)

MARTINA
Ich bin 26 Jahre alt. Und du?
(I’m 26 years old. And you?)

DENISA
Ich bin 23 Jahre alt.
(I’m 23 years old.)

MARTINA
Woher kommst du?
(Where are you from?)

DENISA
Ich komme aus Deutschland. Aus München. Und du?
(I’m from Germany. From Munich. And you?)

MARTINA
Ich komme auch aus Deutschland. Aus Berlin.
(I’m from Germany, too. From Berlin.)

Feel free to introduce yourself in the comments down below. Now, let’s learn how to say thank you.

3. Sich bedanken (Saying thank you)

Here are some possibilities to say thank you in German:

  • Danke! (Thank you!)
  • Ich danke dir! (I’m thanking you!)
  • Vielen Dank! (Thanks a lot!)
  • Tausend Dank! (Thousand thanks!)

Another Chunk Alert!

If you can’t find words for the gift or surprise you got, you can say Nicht dein Ernst? which means “You can’t be serious?” Nicht dein Ernst can also be used in different situations. To learn more about this chunk and saying thank you, check out this video here. And don’t forget our free essential German chunking kit down below.

VANESSA
Hier. Das Buch, das du wolltest.
(Here. The book you wanted.)

DENISA
Nicht dein Ernst! Vielen Dank!
(You can’t be serious! Thanks a lot!)

VANESSA
Nichts zu danken.
(You’re welcome.)

4. Sich verabschieden (Saying goodbye)

Here are your options to say goodbye in Germany:

  • Tschüss (Bye)
  • Auf Wiedersehen (Goodbye)
  • Mach’s gut (Have a good day)
  • Ciao (Bye)

Auf Wiedersehen (Goodbye) is a more formal way to say goodbye. You can say it at work for example. The other ones are more informal, so you say “Tschüss” (Bye) for example to friends and family.

DENISA
Also, ich geh jetzt nach Hause. Auf Wiedersehen!
(So I’m going home now. Goodbye!)

BOSS
Auf Wiedersehen, Frau Wagner. Bis morgen.
(Goodbye, Mrs. Wagner. See you tomorrow.)

5. Other important chunks

Other chunks, that are very useful in certain conversations are:

Asking about jobs:

  • Was arbeitest du? (What is your job?)
  • Was studierst du? (What do you study?)

Asking about the family:

  • Hast du Kinder? (Do you have children?)
  • Hast du Geschwister? (Do you have siblings?)

Asking what they like to do in their free time:

  • Was machst du gerne in deiner Freizeit? (What do you like to do in your free time?)
  • Was sind deine Hobbys? (What are your hobbies?)

Now that you know the basics for your first German conversation, you maybe also want to stay in touch with that person. For asking for their phone number you can say: Kann ich deine Telefonnummer haben? (Can I have your number?)

But maybe you want to meet up on the same day. If that is the case, say Wollen wir uns heute Abend treffen? (Do you want to meet up this evening?) Let’s watch Martina and Vanessa having that conversation:

MARTINA
Wollen wir uns heute Abend treffen? Zum Kaffee trinken zum Beispiel?
(Do you want to meet up this evening? To drink some coffee together for example?)

VANESSA
Gerne! Wo willst du dich denn treffen?
(I’d love to. Where do you want to meet?)

MARTINA
Ich lade dich ein. Meine Adresse ist Heinle Straße 1.
(I invite you. My address is Heinle Street 1.)

VANESSA
Kannst du mir das bitte buchstabieren?
(Can you spell that for me please?)

MARTINA
Oh, entschuldige. Ich habe das Alphabet noch nicht gelernt.
(Oh, sorry. I haven’t learned the German alphabet yet.)

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