As a beginner in German it is important to learn how speak and apply vocabulary to your own life as soon as possible to make sure that words stick. So one of the first things that students learn in our beginner German courses is to introduce themselves.
Let’s start with the various ways in which you can introduce yourself to someone with your first and last name. In this context, we need to learn the verb heißen, which means “to call oneself” or “to be called”. So one very common way to mention your is to say
“Ich heiße Jens” (My name is Jens; literally ‘I am called Jens’)
In more formal situations when you would want to mention both first and last name, you could say
“Ich heiße Jens Olesen” (My name is Jens Olesen)
It is important to pronounce the -e ending because it agrees with the pronoun ‘ich’ as far as the conjugation of German verbs is concerned.
Alternatively, and this is slightly easier for English native speakers, you might want to say
Mein Name ist Jens Olesen (My name is Jens Olesen)
In very formal settings, like a job interview, people might also say
Mein Vorname ist Jens und mein Nachname (or “Familienname”) ist Olesen (My first name is Jens and my last name is Olesen)
After introducing yourself with your name, you might want to learn to say how old you are. In order to do so, you need to learn a few things. First, you need to learn the irregular verb “sein” (to be), and especially its first person singular conjugation for “ich” (I), which is “bin”. Then you need to learn the numbers in German. Finally, you need to learn the phrase “Jahre alt” (years old). So you would say, for example
Ich bin 40 (or as a word “vierzig”) Jahre alt (I am 40 years old)
There are two effective strategies to learn the numbers in German. First, listen to number clips on YouTube or other platforms. Second, write down the numbers as a word.
Next up, you might want to say where you come from and where you live, if you don’t live in the same location where you are originally from. Here, you need to learn the verbs “kommen” (to come) and “wohnen” (to live, to reside) and again their first person conjugation. By now, you might have realised that this involves the pronoun “ich” and the -e ending. In my examples below, I start with the most general information (so with the country where I am from and where I reside) and then go into specifics.
Ich komme aus Deutschland (I come from Germany)
Ich komme aus Köln (I come from Cologne).
Ich wohne in Großbritannien (I live in the UK)
Ich wohne in London (I live in London)
You also might want to learn how say what you do for a living. There are two ways of introducing your profession. The more formal way uses the verb “sein” again and the phrase “von Beruf” (literally, by profession. So you could say
“Ich bin Deutschlehrer von Beruf” (literally: I am a German teacher by profession).
Alternatively, you could use the verb “arbeiten” and say
“Ich arbeite als Deutschlehrer” (I work as a German teacher).
Of course, there are as many words for different professions in English as there are in German, except that in certain sectors like Finance often English job titles are being used.
Ich arbeite als “Finance Controller” (I work as a finance controller).
It’s common in the German language to either combine two or more nouns and form so-called compound nouns or put a hyphen in between. Most professions use the male form as their origin but add the ending -in at the end to refer to a female.
Lehrer (male) vs. Lehrerin (female teacher)
Do you already know your profession in German? If not, below you find some examples.
Journalist- Journalistin (journalist)
Ingenieur- Ingenieurin (engineer)
Informatiker - Informatikerin (IT specialist)
Kellner- Kellnerin (waiter)
Arzt- Ärztin (doctor) Anwalt - Anwältin (lawyer)
Architekt- Architektin (architect)
Finally, you might want to say a word or two about what you like to do in your spare time. Here, the German adverb “gern” is important. It translates as “gladly” and is used to express a preference regarding verbs.
Ich spiele gern Tennis (I like to play tennis; literally: I play tennis gladly).
Ich reise gern (I like to travel)
Ich gehe gern essen (I like to eat out)
Ich lese gern (I like to read)
The options are infinite, of course. Do you already know how to talk about your hobbies in German? Then share yours with us in the comments below.
So, as you might have noticed, in order to introduce yourself in the German language, you need to learn some basics first. The conjugation of regular and some irregular verbs, the numbers, certain prepositions, and some other useful phrases in German. All of this and so much more you can learn in our beginner German courses. And now practice what you learned and introduce yourself in the comments below.
On our German language blog "Auf Deutsch, bitte!", you'll find many helpful explanations and tips to learn German properly. We explain German word order, how to use German articles, prepositions such as im, am and um.