The very first thing you should learn in German is how to introduce yourself. For this, you will need to learn a verb, a pronoun, and basic sentence structure. You will also need to learn some basic greetings. It is helpful to learn the conjugations of new verbs as soon as you learn the verb. This way, you can begin memorizing it right away. This lesson will cover all of these points.
Look at the list of simple greetings and phrases below:
Guten Tag Good Day
Guten Morgen Good morning
Guten Abend Good evening
Gute Nacht Good night
Heißen verb meaning “to be called” or “am”
Wie geht’s? How are you?
Wie geht es dir? How are you? (more formal)
Dir/dich you (not at the beginning of a sentence)
Bis bald see you soon
Bis morgen See you tomorrow
Auf wiedersehen Goodbye
Notice the verb on the chart is “heißen.” This literally means “to be called,” but it is also used for introducing oneself.
Look at the conjugation chart below to learn how to conjugate heißen. Heißen is an irregular verb.
Now, look at the sample conversation below.
Andrea: Guten Tag! Wie geht es dir?
Markus: Guten Tag! Es geht mir gut, danke. Und dir?
Andrea: Mir geht es auch gut. Wie heißt du?
Markus: Ich heiße Markus. Wie heißt du?
Andrea: Ich heiße Andrea. Freut mich dich kennenzulernen.
Markus: Freut mich auch dich kennenzulernen.
And now, the English:
Andrea: Good day/hello! How are you?
Markus: Good day/hello! I am very fine, thanks. And you?
Andrea: I am fine. What is your name? (Literally, “How are you called?”)
Markus: My name is Markus. What is your name?
Andrea: I am Andrea. Nice to meet you. (Literally, “It pleases me to meet you.”)
Markus: Nice to meet you, too.
This conversation represents a simple greeting and introduction between two people who are near the same age. Therefore, this conversation was somewhat informal. For example, if you wanted to speak formally, instead of saying “Wie heißt du?” you would say “Wie heißen Sie?” Notice that the verb changes because of the pronoun. The pronoun went from you informal (du) to you formal (Sie). Sie is always capitalized when it means you (formal), even if it is in the middle of the sentence. On the other hand, I (ich) is only capitalized when it appears at the beginning of a sentence.
Often times in German, you will see verbs at the end of the sentence. This is usually if there are two verbs in a sentence. In “What is your name?” the structure is the exact same as in English.
Ich heiße Andrea. (ich= I heiße=am Andrea=name).
This will not always be the case! When you learn a new sentence, be sure to note the place of the verb. It can be difficult to get the hang of at first, but you will soon recognize which verbs go in last position and which go in second position (after the subject).