If you want to say “What is your name?” in German, you would either say, “Wie heißen sie?” (formal) or “Wie heißt du?” (informal). If you’re wondering what that “ß” letter is, it’s known as the “Eszett,” and is used to denote that the vowel or vowel combination that precedes it is long versus short. That makes it distinct from a regular s or double-s combination.
If the “ß” seems a little confusing, don’t be too concerned. It’s the only extra letter that German has versus English. Plus, German is often considered among the more attainable languages for English speakers to pick up. That’s because these two languages are linguistic siblings—originating from the exact same mother tongue. In fact, eighty of the hundred most commonly-used words in English-speaking countries are of Germanic origin. These most basic, day-to-day words in English and German derive from the same roots, making them extremely similar. That’s why an English word like “half” is “halb” in German. Plus, there are an incredible number of German and English words that aren’t simply related, but identical: arm, hand, kindergarten, and many more.
Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® methodology teaches you the language, not just the words. What makes it effective is that we prepare you to use your new language in the real world. So, it’s not just about the features, but what you’re able to do because of them. With practice, you’ll be ready to handle situations with confidence.
Learn German Words and Phrases
German is the second-most widely spoken language throughout the European Union, falling just after English in its popularity. This is understandable when you take into consideration the fact that German is the official language of many European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Germany, parts of Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, and Switzerland. Worldwide, there are estimated to be more than 229 million German speakers. This widespread use makes German one of the most practical languages to learn for business and travel reasons.
Rosetta Stone language lessons help new German learners focus on foundational language concepts first. Each Rosetta Stone language lesson offers practical exercises to get you speaking German with accurate pronunciation, right from the start. The lessons begin with helping you learn to understand and say common phrases like hello, boy, girl, man, woman, eating, and drinking. From there, the sequenced lessons build on what you’ve learned so you can acquire a true command of the German language. Rosetta Stone language lessons are designed to help you develop the ability to understand and speak German with confidence. Whether you’re traveling across Northern Germany, skiing your way through the Alps, or experiencing city life in Munich or Berlin, learning the German language will serve you well.
One fun aspect of the German language is its distinct characteristic of combining multiple words into one. Where in English you might use two or even three words to describe something, in contrast, with German you might combine those words into one compound word. As one example, the word for orange juice in German is Orangensaft. Orangen + Saft = Orangensaft. Of note: these compounded German words have a gender. The gender of the word which comes last (der, die, das) is the gender of the new compound word. For example, “die Orange” is a feminine word, but “der Saft” is a masculine word, so the resulting combined word “der Orangensaft” is masculine.
It’s fair to say that German does have some challenging vocabulary to learn. Mark Twain is said to have taken issue with the “clumsy” practice in the German language of creating complicated compound, multi-syllable words. Take the lengthy word Freundschaftsbezeugung, for example. The word means “demonstrations of friendship.” Yes, it’s extremely long, but you might be able to break it into recognizable and understandable parts. For example, you can see that the word starts with “Freund.” The word “Freund” is a cognate of the English word “friend” and has the same meaning.
Refining your German pronunciation depends on getting immediate and accurate feedback on your pronunciation attempts. Rosetta Stone’s patented TruAccent™ speech-recognition engine helps you get the pronunciation right in a snap. This proprietary technology instantly compares your voice to native and non-native speakers, so you get real-time feedback for the most accurate pronunciation. It’s also adjustable, which allows you to fine-tune your accent. TruAccent is a powerful tool for helping you learn and speak the German language.
After you have acquired the basics of speaking the language, you will be ready to move onto learning the longer phrases that so often come into play in everyday conversation. Rosetta Stone’s 10-minute language lessons are designed to lead you along the path of learning to understand and speak German with confidence.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with German whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.