Say it in German
Sequel 1 - New Words
What's your name?

 

Say it in German - the new German short lessons for absolute beginners who can start right away without any background knowledge.

What do you have to say to someone if you want to ask him or her for his name? Here comes the answer.

To listen to a word or sentence, click on the button of the audio player in front of the respective word or sentence. In order to make the pronunciation easier for you to understand, every sentence is additionally written in phonetic script. Besides, every sentence is translated into English language. However, if the German sentence structure differs from the English one, the sentence is translated literally.

    German text     English translation
1. Question: Wie heißen Sie? (polite form)   What's your name?
    [vi:] ['haisən] [zi:]   Literally: How are you called?
             
   
 
  Answer: Ich heiße ... .     My name is ... .
    ç] ['haisə]     Literally: I am called ... .
             
   

 

In order to be able to form further sentences, we need to know the nominative forms of the personal pronouns because the subject of a sentence - the part of the sentence who or which is doing something - always stands in the nominative.

Form German Phonetic Script English Subject Form
1. person singular ich ç] I
2. person singular (familiar) du [du:] you
3. person singular er [e:ɐ] he
3. person singular sie [zi:] she
3. person singular es [ɛs] it
1. person plural wir [vi:ə] we
2. person plural (familiar) ihr [i:ə] you
3. person plural sie [zi:] they
polite form (singular + plural) Sie [zi:] you (polite form)

 

Now that you have learned the forms of the personal pronouns, we have to conjugate the verb "heißen" which means "to be called":

Form German Phonetic Script English
infinitive heißen ['haisən] to be called
1. person singular ich heiße ç 'haisə] I am called
2. person singular (familiar) du heißt [du: haist] you are called
3. person singular er/sie/es heißt [e:ɐ/zi:/ɛs haist] he/she/it is called
1. person plural wir heißen [vi:ə 'haisən] we are called
2. person plural (familiar) ihr heißt [i:ə haist] you are called
3. person plural sie heißen [zi: 'haisən] they are called
polite form (singular + plural) Sie heißen [zi: 'haisən] you are called

 

 

Now we can also ask the following questions:

    German text   English translation
2. Question: Wie heiße ich?   What's my name?
    [vi:] ['haisə] ç]   Literally: How am I called?
             
   
 
  Answer: Du heißt ... . (familiar form singular)   Your name is ... .
    [du:] [haist]     Literally: You are called ... .
             
   
 
  or: Sie heißen ... . (polite form)   Your name is ... .
    [zi:] ['haisən]     Literally: You are called ... .
             
   
 
 
3. Question: Wie heißt du? (familiar form singular)   What's your name?
    [vi:] [haist [du:]   Literally: How are you called?
             
   
 
  Answer: Ich heiße ... .     My name is ... .
    ç] ['haisə]     Literally: I am called ... .
             
   
 
 
4. Question: Wie heißt er?   What's his name?
    [vi:] [haist] [e:ɐ]   Literally: How is he called?
             
   
 
  Answer: Er heißt ... .     His name is ... .
    [e:ɐ] [haist]     Literally: He is called ... .
             
   
 
 
5. Question: Wie heißt sie?   What's her name?
    [vi:] [haist] [zi:]   Literally: How is she called?
             
   
 
  Answer: Sie heisst ... .     Her name is ... .
    [zi:] [haist]     Literally: She is she called ... .
             
   
 
 
6. Question: Wie heißt es?   What's its name?
    [vi:] [haist [ɛs]   Literally: How is it called?
             
   
 
  Answer: Es heißt ... .     Its name is ... .
    [ɛs] [haist]     Literally: It is called ... .
             
   
 
 
7. Question: Wie heißen wir?   What's our name?
    [vi:] ['haisən] [vi:ə]   Literally: How are we called?
             
   
 
  Answer: Ihr heißt ... . (familiar form plural)   Your name is ... .
    [i:ə] [haist]     Literally: You are called ... .
             
   
 
 
8. Question: Wie heißt ihr? (familiar form plural)   What's your name?
    [vi:] [haist] [i:ə]   Literally: How are you called?
             
   
 
  Answer: Wir heißen ... .   Our name is ... .
    [vi:ə] ['haisən]     Literally: We are called ... .
             
   

 

While "du" is the familiar form in the singular, "ihr" is the familiar form in the plural.

Please keep in mind: There is only one polite form which is used for one or more persons. There is no extra plural form.

Click on the button "Word Practice" above to repeat what you have learned so far.