Learning German – Why You Say Goodbye, I say Hello

So I realize that I am not doing my readers a service by actually teaching them more useful things about German. I have covered the Formal/Informal ‘You’ as well as how to order food in a restaurant. But what about the most basics? What about hello?

I will cover that today.

Greetings in German are quite easy for an English speaker because of the similarities:

Hello – Hallo

Good Morning – Guten Morgen

Good Day – Guten Tag

And we’ll add Gute Nacht for good measure (Good night)

Farewells are also nothing too complicated:

Aufwiedersehen – See you later (literally)

Tschüß (pronounced Chuss) – very similar to the Italian ‘Ciao.’

I do love how the Germans pronounce Tschüß because they literally sing it every time.

Then we go about introducing yourself.

In English, we say “hello, what is your name?” but most other languages (like German and Spanish) asks the same question differently.

“What do you call yourself?”

Spanish: Como te llamas? (Como te yamas)


Como se llama usted? (Remember informal vs formal you)

Deutsch: Wie heißt du? (Vee heist doo)


Wie heißen Sie? (Vee heisen zee)

You can actually ask ‘What is your name?’ in German; it’s just not as common.

Was ist dein Name (Vas ist dine Nah-meh)


Was ist Ihr Name (Vas ist ear Nah-meh)

I know this looks silly, but because there are a lot of similar spellings between German and English – the way they are pronounced is very different.

Anyway, I hope this helps for when you finally make it to Germany. 😀

2 thoughts on “Learning German – Why You Say Goodbye, I say Hello

  1. I particularly enjoyed today’s post – it brought back memories…. We lived in Germany for about 3 yr when I was a kid (Army brat), and your post reminds me of my first baffling day in German class, in 6th grade. After a while, I was able to get along in German stores, etc,, but I’ve forgotten most of the German I learned during that time. Thank you for reminding me!

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