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Just know that you will often hear it from German speakers. Okay, that should just about do us for telling the time numerically. What Time is it, Herr Wolf? There are a few simple ways you can ask for the time in German. If you really just want to know what time it is on the clock, you can ask any of these questions and someone will respond with one expressions you saw in the last section.

Wie viel Uhr haben wir? The third and final option is if you stop someone on the street, or pop into a shop, to ask them what time it is. It is a really polite option. This will be dependent on where you live as well. For example, in Cologne, unless someone is clearly older than you, you could ask in the impolite form. But if you did that in Bavaria, you might get some funny looks. The simplest way to ask for that information is: Um wie viel Uhr sollen wir uns treffen? Could we meet at ? Sollen wir uns um Uhr treffen? Should we meet at ? Could we meet around ?

Should we meet around ? Making plans and booking travel should be a breeze with this information. But now I want to know, do you have any questions about German time? Let me know in the comments! Soaring global demand for airline pilots, and the growing popularity of Airbus A and Boeing aircraft, have jointly sparked major growth in the pilot training division of Etihad Airways.

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On The Clock: Simple Ways To Tell German Time

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Time Expressions and Word Order

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After you learn how to pronounce German words correctly, reading them will be a breeze. Additionally, this same alphabet represents consistent sounds in German. The Famous Umlaut Remember those versatile two dots we spoke about earlier? The umlaut, really just a writing device to indicate another vowel sound, alters the sound of a vowel Achtung and makes a meaning change. Sometimes the change is grammatical, as in a plural form and in An umlaut can be added only to the comparison of an adjective, but most of the a, o, or u.

It can never be added time the change is lexical—that is, it produces an to e or i. Around the year , resulting from a change in word endings, the vowel a, formed in the back part of the oral cavity, slid forward, approximating the front vowel i. This phenomenon of partial assimilation is visible in the Germanization of Attila to Etzel. By the eleventh century, the umlaut had, in general, spread to include other back vowels, such as o and u, and to diphthongs. English has vestiges of the. One of the differences between written English and written German is that German nouns are always capitalized.

Compare this English sentence with the translated German sentence. Note the capital letters in the following sentences: Which famous German writer and philosopher said that pleasure is simply the absence of pain? The answer is Arthur Schopenhauer. When it comes to the pronunciation of vowels, keep in mind that vowel sounds are organized into three principal types.

These three types of vowel sounds are referred to throughout this book as vowels, modified vowels, and diphthongs. In German both of these groups can have long vowel sounds, which, as their name suggests, have a drawn out vowel sound like the o sound in snow or shorter vowel sounds, which have a shorter sound like the o sound in lot. They begin with one vowel sound and end Diphthongs Combinations with a different vowel sound in the same syllable, as of vowels that begin with one in the words wine and bowel keep in mind that the vowel sound and end with a difsound of a diphthong in English can often be proferent vowel sound in the same duced by a single vowel, as in the word rose.

As a Rule Generally, a vowel is long when it is followed by an h as in Mahl mahl , an orthographic device thought up by fifteenth century spelling reformers. A vowel is also long when it is doubled, as in Meer meyR and Aal ahl , or when it is followed by a single consonant, as in Wagen vah-guhn. The vowel i is made into a long vowel when it is followed by an e, think Bier beeR. In general, vowels are short when followed by two or more consonants just as in English. In the following pronunciation guide, each vowel appears in its own section. We try to give you an idea of how vowel sounds are pronounced by providing an English equivalent.

Obviously, we cannot account for regional differences in either the German or English pronunciations of vowels and words. It may help to read the English pronunciation example first and then to repeat each German word out loud for practice. Say A as in Modern For the short a, assume a British accent and make the sound of the vowel in the back of your throat. Say: cast, fast. Now read the following German words out loud: Mann mAn man, husband. The long a is a prolongation of the short a. Wagen vah-guhn car. Say E as in Bed Smile while making the sound of the short stressed e, and your pronunciation will improve.

This shorty is always flanked by consonants. Bett bet bed. When the e is unstressed, as it will be at the end of a word, it is pronounced like the e in mother. Bitte bi-tuh request. There is no exact equivalent of the German long e sound in English, but you can approximate it by trying to make the sound of the stressed e and ay at the same time be careful not to produce a diphthong.

Try saying these words: Weg veyk way. Say I as in Winter The short i is easy. It sounds like the i in the English words wind or winter. Try saying the following words: Wind vint wind. Say O as in Lord In German the sound of the short o should resonate slightly farther back in your mouth than the o sound in English. Mord moRt murder. Say U as in Shook The sound of the short u has just a touch of the sound of the long u in it.

Mutter moo-tuhR mother. Achtung Remember, the German i sounds like the English e. Usually, the German e is soft, like the e in effort or the a in ago. Be careful not to run the two us together when pronouncing uu in words like Vakuum va-koo-oom and Individuum in-dee-vee-doo-oom. In most cases the two letters are read as short us and are given equal stress. They should be treated as separate syllables, as they are in the English word residuum.

In German an umlaut changes the way a vowel is pronounced. Many German words are consistently spelled with umlauts, but other words take an umlaut when they undergo some change in pronunciation and meaning. This guide treats each modified vowel separately, giving you hints to help you make the correct sounds.

Focus on getting the sounds right one sound at a time. Round your lips and say ew sound while tightening the muscles at the back of your throat. For example, a vowel or modified vowel is short when followed by two consonants. When either a vowel or modified vowel is followed by an h and another consonant, however, or even by a single consonant, the vowel is long. Diphthongs Diphthongs are not a provocative new style of bikini.

In English we tend to dipthogize vowels in words like sky, where the y is pronounced ah-ee, and go, where the o is pronounced oh-oo. Following the pattern of German diphthong formation, the o and. Whatever form they take, diphthongs are always made up of two different vowel sounds that change in the same syllable. How do you recognize a diphthong? In German they are vowels that travel in pairs. Here are the diphthongs most frequently used in German. For other diphthongs, each vowel should be pronounced the same way it would be if pronounced separately: Kollision ko-lee-zeeohn , Familie fah-mee-leeuh.

Think Bier beeR versus Wein vayn. The Diphthongs el and al To make the sound of these diphthongs, start with your mouth halfway open, end with your mouth almost—but not quite—closed. Practice with these words: Bleistift blay-shtift pencil. You knit your eyebrows together and cry out in pain: Ow! Try making this ow sound as you say these words: Haut hout skin. All right, you can breathe a sigh of relief now. German friends or, in the absence of live, German-speaking human beings, German tapes from your local library would come in handy now. You should try to listen to native German speakers, particularly because many of the modified vowel sounds do not have English equivalents.

At this point, concentrate on getting the sounds right. Hiss, growl, coo. Start making vowel sounds way back in your throat. Practice making the umlauted vowel sounds, just as you would any new sound. By now you should be able to make the correct sounds of vowels in German.

What good is Astaire without Rogers; Penn without Teller; hamburgers without catsup, lettuce, a tomato slice, and a pickle? The good news is, the sounds of German consonants are not going to be as unfamiliar as many of the sounds you tried in the previous chapter. German consonants are either pronounced like their English counterparts or are pronounced like other consonants in English.

In either case, it should be pronounced like an s. And it gets. Consonants All the letters in the alphabet other than a, e, i, o, and u. Consonants are best described as involving some obstruction of the air stream, whereas vowels do not have any sort of obstruction. In August , Germany decided to implement a spelling reform. Regarding when to spell with the es-tset and when to use a double s, the es-tset is used after long vowels a concept introduced in the last chapter.

Before you start stuttering out consonants, we should probably tell you a little about how this section works. The consonants in the following tables are not given in alphabetical order. They are grouped according to pronunciation type. For each letter, we provide English examples of how German consonants are pronounced along with the symbols used throughout this book to represent the sounds. Keep in mind that the symbols consonants or combinations of consonants, lowercase or uppercase are not the standard ones used in the dictionary.

When you see these letters, just go ahead and pronounce them the way you do in English words.

German Letter s. They are called plosives because of they way their sounds are articulated: with small explosions of air. At the beginning of a word. Utter a b sound with a hand on your throat where your vocal box is. You should feel vibrations. Its counter sound articulated at exactly the same place in the mouth, in exactly the same way, but not involving the vocal cords is a p. Whisper, and you will not feel the vibrations in your vocal cords. This sound is heard in German at the end of a word yet is orthographically spelling-wise represented with a b. The English L is dark, formed with the tongue more relaxed.

The German L—light, nearly as vibrant as the German R—is formed with the tip of the tongue just behind the upper front teeth. German Letter. At the beginning of a syllable, g is pronounced the same as it is in English: Gott got God. The consonant g has yet another pronunciation, thanks to foreign infiltration. In certain words, usually ones that have been assimilated into the German language from other languages—namely, French, pronounce the g as in Massage mA-sah-juh.

As a Rule When the letters -ig occur at the end of a word, they are pronounced the way ich is pronounced in the German word ich: traurig tRou-RiH. But check it out! We have the same word-building suffix in English, derived from Old English into Middle English -lic, meaning like, as in childlike. Eventually, this same suffix doubled its purpose and became the standard way to form an adverb as in the Present Day English friendly or homely. Got a Frog in Your Throat?

To approximate this sound represented in this book by the symbol CH , make the altered h sound you just. Give this a shot: Yoh-hAn zey-bAs-tee-ahn bahhhh gargle and hiss like a cat simultaneously at the end. In general, when ch occurs at the beginning of a word, it is pronounced like a k: Chaos kA-os , Charisma kah-ris-mah.

Exceptions occur, however, as in China, where the ch may be pronounced the same way it is in ich. The ch has a fourth pronunciation: sh. In some cases, h is silent when it follows a t, as in Theater tey-ah-tuhR. Otherwise, the h is pronounced very much like the English h—just a little breathier. Think of an obscene phone caller breathing heavily on the other end of the line and try the following: hallo hA-loh.

As a Rule The English th sound does not exist in German. You produce glottal stops all the time, believe it or not, whenever you disagree, shake your head, and utter: uh-uh. That tiny pause between the syllables is referred to as a glottal stop!


In English, the k is silent in words like knight and knot. Think of it as a fun challenge for any tongue. Position your lips as if you are about to make the r sound but then make the gargling sound you made for the German sound represented in this book by the symbol CH. The sound should come from somewhere in the back of your throat. This book uses the same symbol R for both sounds.

In German sp is a combination of the sh sound in shake and the p sound in pat. Four consonants in a row! Tsch is pronounced tch, as in the word witch. A breeze, right? You will readily recognize these, as English has borrowed them from French, as well! Pronunciation Guide When you are further along in this book, you may not have time to flip through page after page looking for the letter or the symbol you want to pronounce.

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The following table is an abbreviated pronunciation guide of vowels, modified vowels, diphthongs, and consonants that differ in pronunciation from English consonants. Practice Makes Perfect Have you practiced all these new sounds? If you have, we are willing to bet that you have succeeded in making most if not all of the sounds you will need to pronounce German words correctly.

Now, practice some more by reading the following sentences out loud. Ich spreche Englisch. Ich habe gerade begonnen Deutsch zu lernen. Die Aussprache ist nicht so schwer. I speak English. I just started to learn German. German is a beautiful language. So, once you link a letter with a sound, you can pronounce a word 18 syllables long!

What seems peculiar in written German will soon become familiar to you, and soon— particularly if you listen to the German being spoken on a tape or by a native speaker—you will begin to associate letters with their corresponding sounds. Just click on a sound or word and hear it produced.

Kitsch, Wind, Mensch, Angst, Arm, blond, irrational—the list of German words you already know is longer than you think. The reason you know so much German is because many words in German are similar to or exactly like their English counterparts. These words are called cognates.

In addition, many German words have been used so much by English speakers that they have been swallowed whole, so to speak, into the English language to become a part of our vocabulary. Many other German words are so similar to English words that you can master their meanings and pronunciations with little effort. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to put together simple but meaningful sentences in German. She has been living and teaching in Berlin for as long as you can remember, and so you are surprised when you find the invitation in your mailbox.

You have a thousand questions you want to ask her. What has it been like living in Berlin? Has she learned to speak German yet? Cognates Words in German that are similar to near cognates or exactly like perfect cognates their English counterparts—similar in form and in meaning. When the day of the show arrives, you go to the address on the invitation. Shortly after you push the door open and step into a noisy, crowded room, you conclude that something must be wrong. Everyone around you is speaking in tongues.

Just as you are about to turn and leave, your friend pushes through the crowd and grabs you by the arm. You are in the right place. Almost all of her admirers are Berliners, she explains, and what you are hearing is German. You stay close to your friend all night. You listen to the conversations she carries on with other people— auf Deutsch ouf doytsh. You are able to pick up on certain words: interessantes Object, gute Freundin, phantastische Party, modern, blau, braun.

Clearly, a new language—a hybrid, perhaps, of German and English—is being spoken, possibly even invented by this sophisticated crowd. How else would you be able to make sense of so many words? Both languages like to borrow words from the same places—namely, Greek, Latin, and other Romance languages. But back to words that have the same meaning and similar form—the really great part about cognates is that they have the same meanings in German and in English.

Pronunciation does vary, of course, but most of the time, these words are familiar to us. Perfect Cognates: Identical Twins The following table lists by article perfect cognates—words that are exactly the same in English and German. As a Rule In English, we have only one definite article, indicating specificity—a certain something is familiar and recognized in the referred to situation: the.

Grammatical gender is arbitrary—unpredictable, in fact! Remember: In German all nouns are capitalized. How do we recommend that you practice pronouncing these new words? Note: Ist expresses is in German. Close, but No Cigar The following table lists near cognates, words that are spelled almost—but not quite— the same in English and German. Although their spellings differ, their meanings are the same. Now would be a good time to recall the consonant shift that led to the separation and distinction of English from German.

Consider, for example, the correspondence between the German t and English d. Practice pronouncing the German words correctly. What Do You Think? Only one other person is sharing your compartment, a very attractive traveler, you are pleased to see—who alternates between reading a book and staring dreamily out of the window. You were tired when you boarded the train, but now sleeping is the farthest thing from your mind.

Use the adjective and noun cognates and near cognates you have learned to engage your neighbor in conversation. The weather is good. Is the book interesting? The author is popular. The perfume is attractive. The wind is warm. The character is primitive. The heart is wild. The infinitive form of a verb does not refer to a grammatical ghost that floats around in German sentences for all eternity. The following table is a list of verbs that are near cognates in their infinitive form.

You can probably already read and understand the following fun and fanciful German sentences: 1. Der Onkel trinkt Wein. Der Tiger und der Elefant schwimmen in dem Ozean. Der Film beginnt in einem Supermarkt. Rey-lee-geeohn o-duhr kah-os? Ayn moh-deR-nuhs pRo-bleym, zAkt deyR yoon-guh, in-tey-lee-gentuh ou-toh. Infinitive form The unconjugated form of a verb. In German the infinitive form of verbs end in -en or, in some cases, simply -n. Verbs are listed in the dictionary in the infinitive form. We utilize this infinitive form when using helping verbs such as had.

Das Baby liegt in den Armen der Mutter. Mein Bruder hat eine Guitarre. No shortcut is without its pitfalls. In language as in life, false friends are misleading. What are false friends in language? They are words spelled the same or almost the same in German and in English that have different meanings. As you can see, these two words, which are spelled exactly the same, have totally different meanings. A word of caution: Cognates can be of help to you in learning German, but false friends can trip you up.

The following table lists some common false friends. Ready, Set, Go! What are idioms? He arranges for you to have breakfast at the hotel with his mother the following morning. The following morning at breakfast your motherin-law asks you how you managed to get through the night without her son.

Without realizing it, you have used the German idiom for having a one-night stand. Idiomatic expressions are speech forms or expressions that cannot be understood by literal translation—they must be learned and memorized along with their meanings. Most differ greatly from their English counterparts in meaning as well as in construction, but perhaps an even greater number differ only slightly. Idioms make a language colorful. Idiomatic expressions tend to be culturally specific because the lexical items a certain language relies on to express nonliteral meanings generally have significance in that culture.

Well, mustard does play a rather prominent culinary role in German, so take a guess. After all, would you rather have some mustard to go along with your Wurst, or two pennies? To help you get a clearer idea of what idiomatic expressions are, here are a few in English: sell down the river. The following table lists some German idiomatic expressions that correspond, more or less, with their English equivalents. As they tend to be frozen in form, they tend not to change, and hence are very much worth learning.

The following table lists a few commonly used German idiomatic expressions, their corresponding English meanings, and their origins—the premise here being that knowing the source of these idioms will help you remember them. Idioms Fixed phrases whose meaning cannot be inferred from the meanings of the individual words. They tend to be frozen in form and thus do not readily enter into other combinations or allow the word order to change. You are at a loss for words. What you need are some expressions for travel and transportation. Look at the following table for some suggestions.

Use the preceding table to fill in the blanks of the following sentences with the correct German expressions. I walk to the university. Sometimes it means tomorrow, sometimes in 10 years. Many time expressions have a wide range of interpretations, whereas others are more grounded and specific. The following table has a few time expressions you should know.

Frauen Fragmente: Wissenschafterinnen: Gestern - Heute - Morgen (Deutsche UT)

What German idioms of time would you use in the following situations? When your partner leaves on a business trip for the weekend, you say: 2. When you say goodbye to a friend you will be seeing later that evening, you say: 3. If the movie begins at 5 P. If you watch TV every now and then, you watch it: 7.

You should brush your teeth: 8. If you follow a ritual every Friday:. Go Left, Right, Straight, and Then Left Again Some of the most useful vocabulary you can learn, particularly if you plan to travel through Germany, are the words for expressing location and direction. See if you can fill in the blanks correctly by following directions in German. So, What Do You Think? Some of us seem to have more of them than most people. We express them. We tell you how the food tastes. We tell you whether we liked the movie. See the following table. I feel similarly.

Das ist viel besser. No need. She or he suggests ways for the two of you to spend the afternoon. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate German suggestions and the English meanings. Denkst du dass es regnen wird? Today looks like a beautiful day. Do you think it will rain?

Ich habe den Wetterbericht nicht gelesen. Your friend: Hast du Lust heute Nachmittag schwimmen zu gehen? Do you feel like going swimming this afternoon? Ich schwimme gern! I love swimming! Maybe we should read the weather forecast first. The weather may change. Das ist mir schon oft passiert. Your friend: Welche Zeitung sollen wir kaufen? Which newspaper should we buy? Ich glaube in jeder Zeitung finden wir einen Wetterbericht. I think that we can find a weather report in any newspaper. Your friend: Gehen wir ins Kino? Should we go to a movie?

Ich will den neusten Arnold Schwarzenegger Film sehen! How Do You Feel? Feelings that are expressed with the verb haben are followed by a noun. Feelings that are expressed with the verb sein are followed by an adjective. Chapter 9 discusses these verbs and how their form changes to agree with the subject. For now, concentrate on expressing how you feel: ich bin iH bin for expressions with sein; ich habe iH hah-buh for expressions with haben.

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I am cold. I am hot. Express how you feel, using the expressions in the preceding table. I am tired. Sie weint. She cries. She is sad. Mein Magen knurrt. My stomach is growling. Ich kann nicht mehr! Ich trainiere jeden Tag und mache Bodybuilding. I train every day and do bodybuilding. I am in shape. Neither do I. Still, sayings are everywhere in language, embodying familiar truths and generally accepted beliefs in colorful, expressive language.

Here are a few German sayings and their English counterparts. Wer zuerst kommt, mahlt zuerst. Wer zuletzt lacht, lacht am Besten. Iss, was gar ist, trink, was klar ist, sprich was wahr ist. Wer wagt, gewinnt. He who lies, steals. Eat what is cooked, drink what is clear, speak what is true. It never rains, but it pours.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Time will tell. Such colorful expressions help personalize and individualize a language—rendering it culturespecific. Although the sense may be the same in both languages, they use different words. Your best bet is to learn these sayings and be proud to sound like a real German!

Think your female baby-sitter is female der Babysitter? Not to a German. If you have taken any French or Spanish, you have already dealt with nouns that have two genders. Believe it or not, the English language used to share this fixation on gender with its German cousin. But very early on, even before Chaucer was writing his bawdy Canterbury Tales, English speakers were quite politically correct. We began referring to everything as a genderless the. All plural nouns are preceded by the plural article die dee.

Unlike the English the, these articles show the gender and number of a noun, but both English and German definite articles indicate specificity. Grammatical gender is arbitrary, unpredictable— basically, a matter of rote memorization. Walk on the noun, shake it, turn it upside down, throw it against the wall and still you will be no closer to uncovering its gender. It would, of course, be quicker and more effective to look up the noun in a dictionary; masculine nouns are followed by m. Scholars have come up with many theories about why some nouns take certain definite articles, but the truth is that in German there are no simple rules or explanations for determining gender.

Why is the meat you eat at dinner neuter das Fleisch , the potato feminine die Kartoffel , and the cauliflower masculine der Rosenkohl? Your guess is as good as ours. The only fail-safe way of ensuring that you are about to use the correct gender of a German noun is to learn the gender and plural of a noun along with the noun itself.

The gender of a noun affects its relationship to other words in a sentence, and if you learn the definite articles along with the nouns, it will be easier for you to form sentences correctly later. Nevertheless, a few tricks can help you determine the gender of certain nouns as well as alter the gender of certain other nouns, as in English when you change the word waiter to waitress. Keep reading! Absolutely, Definitely Definite Articles Before you get into German nouns, you must take into account one little diversion: the noun marker that precedes most singular nouns.

We use the term noun marker to refer to an article or adjective—something that indicates the gender of the noun— whether it is masculine m. As a Rule The noun marker for plural nouns die should not to be confused with the feminine singular definite article die. Because of this homophony in form, only the singular noun markers der, die, das clearly indicate the grammatical gender of a noun.