Conversational German: Learn German Language with 5 Tips

Okay, let’s talk about what being conversational means in German, shall we?

Of course, it’s not about heavy technical jargon or completely formal expressions. It should sound relaxed and casual, almost like you’re chatting with a buddy. In this blog post, we’ll go over some essential of reaching conversational German as fast as you can! After that, you can easily answer questions like the ones Easy German asks: What are you doing today?

First of all, a few tips:

  1. use a relaxed, chill way of speaking (maybe even use German slang here and there)
  2. ask questions, so it feels like a real back-and-forth (Wie siehst du das denn? Oder verstehst was ich meine?)
  3. avoid complex sentences (no need for academic German, right?)

Sure, you still need to pay some attention to grammar and such. But that’s why this blog post was made. Let’s go through the 5 tips together!

1. What is considered conversational German?

Conversational German refers to the language used in everyday informal interactions and conversations.

It can be different from the formal or academic German used in official circumstances or formal settings, like in an office or during a meeting.

In everyday casual conversations on the street and while living in Germany, conversational German is the norm. It has colloquialisms, slangs, and idiomatic expressions (or we can even call them chunks!) that aren’t covered in textbooks or formal language courses.

For Goethe certificates or academic levels, conversational German may not be the primary focus.

These exams tend to emphasize more formal language usage, grammar rules, a strict view on sentence structures, broader vocabulary. The Goethe test typically consists of 4 parts:

  1. Schreiben (Writing)
  2. Lesen (Reading)
  3. Hören (Listening)
  4. Sprechen (Speaking)

The Sprechen part is all about speaking alone and with your partner, and thus, really tests your conversational skills.

You can learn more about these test on the official Goethe-Institut website.

2. How to approach people in German-speaking countries?

People in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria can be somewhat more reserved compared to other regions (e.g., Spain), and they may not engage as readily in small talk with strangers.

But fret not!

It’s still a good idea to have basic chit-chat here and there, as the locals are generally lovely people who will be happy to help you – if approached respectfully.

You might need help on the street getting to a certain sight or tourist attraction.

conversational german can be used on traditional german streets

When approaching German local speakers, it’s good to start with simple greetings and basic conversation openers.

A tip for you: be mindful of personal space and avoid overly familiar or intrusive behavior.

Once a mutual connection is established, most German speakers will warm up and engage in friendly conversation, and will certainly help you out.

3. Basic German phrases to speak German

It’s good to know the basic German phrases for greetings and asking basic things when visiting a German-speaking country or interacting with German speakers.

Here’s a table with some essential German phrases at the A2 or B1 level of the CEFR standards:

GermanEnglish
Guten Morgen/Tag/AbendGood morning/afternoon/evening
BittePlease
DankeThank you
EntschuldigungExcuse me
Wie geht es Ihnen?How are you? (formal)
Wo ist die Toilette?Where is the restroom?
Ich verstehe nichtI don’t understand
Können Sie bitte langsamer sprechen?Could you please speak slower?
Wie viel kostet das?How much does it cost?

4. Learn conversational German words and phrases

After learning the basic German phrases, it’s time to expand your knowledge with conversational German words and phrases.

These will help you engage in more natural and fluid conversations:

GermanEnglish
Ich denkeI think
ZunächstTo start with
Im GegenteilOn the contrary
Zum BeispielFor example
Meiner Meinung nachIn my opinion
TatsächlichActually
Wie dem auch seiAnyway
Lass uns…Let’s…
Das ist eine gute FrageThat’s a good question
Wie sagt man…?How do you say…?
Ich stimme zuI agree
AndererseitsOn the other hand
GenauExactly
Es tut mir leidI’m sorry
Keine AhnungI have no idea
Ich versteheI understand
Entschuldigen SieExcuse me
Wie bitte?Pardon?
Nicht schlechtNot bad
Ich bin der Meinung, dass…I’m of the opinion that…
Soweit ich weißAs far as I know
Wie war das noch mal?How was that again?
Moment malHold on a second
Das ergibt SinnThat makes sense
Ich bin damit einverstandenI agree with that
Lass es uns so machenLet’s do it that way
Sag mal…Say…
ÜbrigensBy the way

5. Step-by-step guide with Conversation Based Chunking method

To learn conversational German effectively, we recommend following our step-by-step guide with the Conversation Based Chunking method.

This program includes:

  • A weekly study plan tailored to your level and goals
  • Recommended resources like podcasts, audiobooks, and online courses
  • Chunking lists with common conversational phrases and expressions
  • Practice exercises and tips for improving pronunciation and fluency
  • Cultural insights and guidance on everyday situations in German-speaking countries

Conversation Based Chunking method isn’t a strict structured approach: you can follow it, it can be your guide, and it’s best to combine it with other resources and methods.

Sign up now and get your German Conversation Based Chunking Guide!

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