German Phrases For Dummies
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Meeting, greeting and conversations in German often requires introductions. You might be accompanied by friends when you meet somebody, or you might have to introduce your wife or husband to your boss at a formal dinner party. On some occasions, there won't be anyone to introduce you to the person you want to meet, and you have to do it yourself.

Introducing your friends

Commonplace, everyday introductions are easy to make. All you need are the words

Das ist . . . (dâs îsst) (This is . . .)

Then you simply add the name of the person. To indicate that it is a friend of yours, you say

Das ist meine Freundin (f) / mein Freund (m) . . . (dâs îsst my-ne froyn-dîn / myn froynt) (This is my friend . . .)

If you are introduced to somebody, you might want to say "Nice to meet you." In German, there's no very casual way of saying this, and if the introductions have been informal, you might just want to reply with a "Hallo" or "Guten Tag."

If the introductions have been slightly more formal, you express "Nice to meet you" by saying

Freut mich. (froyt mîH) (I'm pleased.)

The person you have been introduced to might then reply

Mich auch. (mîH owH) (Me, too.)

Talkin' the talk

In the following dialog, Frau Berger, Herr Schulte, and Frau Lempert meet for the first time and are therefore using formal introductions.

Frau Berger: Herr Schulte, das ist Frau Lempert. (hêr shûl-tê, dâs îsst frow lêm-pert) (Mr. Schulte, this is Ms. Lempert.)

Herr Schulte: Freut mich. (froyt mîH) (I'm pleased.)

Frau Lempert: Mich auch. (mîH owH) (Me, too.)

More informally, the introduction would sound like this.

Karin: Michael, das ist meine Freundin Ute. (-Hâ-êl, dâs îsst my-ne froyn-dîn oo-te) (Michael, this is my friend Ute.)

Michael: Hallo Ute. (-lo oo-te) (Hello, Ute.)

Introductions for special occasions

You might find yourself in a situation that calls for a very high level of formal introduction. Here are some of the phrases you would use then:
  • Darf ich Ihnen . . . vorstellen? (dârf îH ee-nen . . . fohr-shtêln) (May I introduce you to . . .?)
  • Freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen. (froyt mîH, zee kên-nen-tsû-lêr-nen) (I'm pleased to meet you.)
  • Meinerseits. (my-ner-zyts) / Ganz meinerseits. (gânts my-ner-zyts) (Likewise.)
Though you would probably use the English expression "likewise," it is not the literal translation of the German expression used here. Meinerseits just means "mine" and Ganz meinerseits would be "all mine," which, in this case, is a short form of "the pleasure is all mine."

Talkin' the talk

Here is a dialogue between the directors of two companies. Listen to Herr Kramer and Herr Huber. They meet at an official function, and Herr Huber introduces his wife.

Herr Kramer: Guten Abend, Herr Huber! (gûtn ah-bnt, hêr hoo-ber) (Good evening, Mr. Huber!)

Herr Huber: Guten Abend! Herr Kramer. Darf ich Ihnen meine Frau vorstellen? (gûtn ah-bnt! hêr krah-mer. dârf îH ee-nen my-nê frow fohr-shtêln) (Good evening! Mr. Kramer. May I introduce you to my wife?)

Herr Kramer: Guten Abend, Frau Huber! Freut mich sehr, Sie kennenzulernen. (gûtn ah-bnt frow hoo-bêr! froit mîH zehr zee kên-nen-tsû-lêr-nen) (Good evening, Mrs. Huber! Very nice to meet you.)

Frau Huber: Ganz meinerseits, Herr Kramer. (gânts my-ner-zyts, hêr krah-mer) (Likewise, Mr. Kramer.)

Introducing yourself

There might be situations where you can't rely on somebody else to introduce you and have to do the job yourself. It's an easy thing to do, since people often introduce themselves by just stating their name, even in a more formal setting.

In German, there are two ways of telling people your name. One of them is

Mein Name ist . . . (myn nah-me îsst) (My name is . . .)

There also is a verb that expresses the same idea, heißen (hy-ssen), which means "to be called":

Ich heiße . . . (îH hy-sse) (My name is . . .)

Talkin' the Talk

In the following conversation, Herr Hauser arrives at a meeting with several people he hasn't been introduced to yet and is looking for a seat at the conference table.

Herr Hauser: Guten Tag! Ist der Platz noch frei? (gûtn tahgk, îsst dehr plâts nôH fry) (Good day! Is this seat still free?)

Frau Berger: Ja, bitte. (yah, -te) (Yes, please.)

Herr Hauser: Vielen Dank. Mein Name ist Max Hauser. (fee-lên dângk. myn nah-me îsst mâx how-ser) (Thank you very much. My name is Max Hauser.)

Frau Berger: Freut mich. Karin Berger. (froyt mîH. kah-rîn bêr-ger) (I'm pleased. Karin Berger.)

The previous conversation would sound entirely different if it took place among younger people who meet in an informal setting, like a party. They would forego any formalities and would probably introduce each other like this:

Martin: Hallo, wie heißt Du? (-lo, vee hysst dû) (Hello, what's your name?)

Susanne: Ich heiße Susanne. Und Du? (îH hy-ssê zoo--ne. ûnt dû) (My name is Susanne. And you?)

Martin: Martin. Und wer ist das? (mâr-tîn. ûnt vear îsst dâss) (Martin. And who is that?)

Susanne: Das ist meine Freundin Anne. (dâss îsst my-ne froyn-dîn ân-ne) (This is my friend Anne.)

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