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Resources > Resources for learners of German > Useful German vocabulary and phrases> Greetings
GREETINGS AND LEAVE TAKINGS, COMMON WAYS OF SAYING HELLO AND GOOD-BYE. (listen)
 

The most common ways of saying “Hello” in German are to wish a person “Guten Morgen,” meaning literally “good morning,” “Guten Tag,” meaning literally “good day,” and “Guten Abend,” meaning literally “good evening.” The expression “Grüß Gott,“ and variations thereof is used in Austria, Switzerland and southern Germany, but not in northern Germany. The origin of “Grüß Gott” is not clear, but it means something like “be greeted by God,” and can be used at any time of the day or night.

You will now hear these expressions once again.

Guten Morgen. = Hello. (literally: Good morning!)

Guten Tag. = Hello. (literally: Good day!)

Guten Abend. = Hello. (literally: Good evening!)

Grüß Gott. = Hello. (Can be used at any time of the day or
night.)


Common ways of saying “Good-bye” in German are “auf Wiedersehen,” and “auf Wiederschauen,” or the shorter “Wiedersehen,” and “Wiederschauen.” “Auf Wiedersehen” and “auf Wiederschauen” both mean “until we see each other again.” “Wiederschauen” is not used in northern Germany, but is very common in Austria, Switzerland, and southern Germany. A less formal way of saying good-bye is “Tschüss.”

You will now hear these expressions once again.

Auf Wiedersehen / Wiedersehen /
Auf Wiederschauen / Wiederschauen / Tschüss = Good-bye


The literal equivalent of the English “good night,” “Gute Nacht,” is restricted for the most part to wishing someone a good night´s sleep as he or she is going off to bed.

You will now hear this expression once again.

Gute Nacht. = Good night.



Notes
Spelling

All nouns in German are capitalized.

The final symbol in the word “grüß“ is called an “ess-tsett” and can always be replaced by a double “ss.”

Pronunciation

The letter “g” in the word “Tag” is pronounced like the letter “k.” This is true whenever “g” occurs in final position, i.e. as the last letter in a word or syllable, unless it is preceded by the letter “i” in which case “g” is pronounced like the “ch” in the German word “ich” meaning “I.” Otherwise “g” is pronounced as in English.

The letter “d” in the word “Abend” is pronounced like the letter “t.” This is true whenever “d” occurs in final position, i.e. as the last letter in a word or syllable. Otherwise “d” is pronounced as in English.

The letter “ü,” the u umlaut, represents a sound that does not exist in English. It is the same sound as the “u” in the French word “tu.” Rather than producing it back in the mouth cavity as we do with the “u” sound in the word “you,” it almost seems as though the “ü” sound is produced outside the mouth cavity and only with the lips. Compare the unumlauted “u” in the word “guten” preceding “Morgen,” “Tag,” and “Abend” above with the “ü” umlaut in the word “Grüß.”

For more on umlaut, see the file entitled “Umlaut.”


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