Telling the time in German – Wie spät ist es, bitte?

Now we can count in German we can also tell the time.

Here’s the question to ask:

Wie spät ist es, bitte?   What time is it, please?

and here’s how the answer will start:

Es ist … Uhr … .    It is … o’clock.     

We learned the 24 hour clock, but we also learned the more conventional way of telling the time using

nach and vor  (past and to)

including Viertel nach  and Viertel vor   (quarter past and quarter to)

Then we covered:

Es ist Mittag / Mitternacht   (midday / midnight)

and, finally

halb  (half past)

Can you remember the crazy thing about halb which made me miss the beginning of all those films when I first went to live in Germany?

Here’s Henning, talking on the BBC about telling the time in German.  Enjoy! Henning Wehn tells the time


Asking for someone’s telephone number

In session two, we covered the numbers in German from one up to several thousand.

They are very logical.  You just have to remember the four and twenty blackbird thing.

To ask someone their telephone number, say:

Wie ist Ihre Telefonnummer, bitte? 

If someone asks you, your answer begins like this:

Meine Telefonnummer ist …

The main thing to remember is to give your number in pairs.

Session Two: vocabulary

Here is a selection of the words we learned in session two.  They are all to do with travelling to Germany.

das  Auto


die Autobahn  motorway

der Zug


die Haltestelle (bus/tram) stop

der Bahnhof station

die Straßenbahn tram

das Flugzeug aeroplane

die Fahrkarte ticket

der Paβ passport

das Boot


Kraftwerk – so kühl!

Especially for Chris, who wasn’t even born then, here’s the link I promised to Kraftwerk’s 1980 performance of “Das Modell”.

·  Kraftwerk: Das Modell

      And here is Nena with her 99 Luftballons.  We’ll be learning the numbers next session.

     Nena99 Luftballons new version (2009) with lyrics – YouTube

     Hint: 99 = neunundneunzig

Session One: vocabulary

First we found out that there were 3 different words for the:  der  die  das

Try to remember whether it’s der, die or das with each new word you learn.  I’m sure you know what all of these words mean.  Use the vocab sheet to help you.

der Mann    man

die Frau      woman

das Kind     child

das Baby    baby

das Haus    house

die Fabrik   factory

das Café    café

der Bahnhof    station

der Supermarkt    supermarket

die Schule    school

Please and thank you – Danke! Bitte!

It’s very important to be polite in German, so don’t forget your pleases and thank yous.

To thank someone, you can say:   Danke   or   Danke schȍn   or   Vielen Dank. 

Please is:  Bitte   or   Bitte schȍn  or  Bitte sehr.  

And you have to play ‘please and thank you tennis’ when passing things to people:

Would you like a beer?

Ja, bitte.  Danke schȍn!       Bitte schȍn!

Not thirsty?

Nein, Danke.

Introducing people – Darf ich vorstellen … ?

Saying what your name is:

Mein Name ist Soo

Wie ist Ihr Name?    What’s your name?    

Mein Name ist …     My name is …

I told you about another way of saying the same thing, so that you will recognise it if you hear it:

Ich heisse …                        Wie heissen Sie?

You can still answer: Mein Name ist …

Introducing people:

Das ist …     This is …

Watch the BBC clip again: introducing people

Did you notice how to say “Pleased to meet you”?

Freut mich – did you remember to rrroll your rrr?!

How are you? – Wie geht’s?

In session one we also learnt to ask how people are and how to respond.

Wie geht’s?

Wie geht es Ihnen? (formal) or Wie geht es Dir? (friends, family and work mates)

Can you remember how to answer?

Danke.  Gut!  or  Danke! Sehr gut!  Which means: thanks, I’m well or very well

Now ask them how they are:

Und Ihnen? or  Und Dir? and you?

Watch the BBC video clip again: asking how you are in German

Did you notice they said a little bit more?

Danke, auch gut!  That means “Thanks, I’m fine, too”

Greetings – Hallo!

In session one we covered general greetings.

We learned to say hello and goodbye at different times of the day.

Can you remember?

Guten Morgen

Guten Tag

Guten Abend    

or            Hallo!

Follow this link to the BBC on-line course see and hear German people greeting you: saying hello in German

And what about goodbye?

Auf Wiedersehen!  But can you remember the more informal way to say this? 


And late at night?

That’s right!  Gute Nacht!