How to use German greetings
German greetings (Begrüßungen) can be formal or informal. In Germany, informal greetings are used with close friends or family, while formal greetings show respect and are used for anyone you don’t know well. Some greetings are neither formal nor informal but can be used in both settings.
Learn more about social etiquette in Germany to know how to interact with Germans in a respectful and culturally appropriate manner.
Informal German greetings
Common informal greetings include:
See you soon!
See you later!
Some of the informal greetings are borrowed from other languages of nearby countries, such as English or Italian:
The more formal ways to say hello or goodbye to somebody are:
Good day! / Hello!
Saying goodnight in German
To wish somebody a good night, you say:
Note that this is not really a greeting, and is only used when you know somebody is going to bed soon and you want to wish them a good sleep.
In addition, you can also say:
Some of the shortened greetings include:
To recap what you’ve just learned about greetings, and hear the words pronounced, you can have a look at this short, friendly video:
Germans greet differently depending on where in Germany they come from! All the above greetings are used country-wide, so don’t worry. If you use them, you’ll be well understood everywhere in Germany.
But it may be useful for you to at least understand some of the most common regional greetings so that you don’t get confused when people address you with them.
Note that Switzerland and Austria are also German-speaking countries!
Saying hello in different regions
Austria and Bavaria (in Southern Germany):
Hello! (literal translation: ‘Greet God!’)
Hello! (literal translation: ‘Greet yourself!’)
How to introduce yourself in German
To introduce yourself to someone in German, you say:
Ich heiße …
I’m called …
Ich bin …
I am …
Greet someone in German
Now you’ve gained an insight into German greetings. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when starting to learn a language. There are many stereotypes surrounding the German language, for example, that it sounds harsh or is difficult to pronounce.
In fact, German is not all that hard to learn. In fact, learning German is much easier than you ever thought possible!