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How do you say, "how do you say..." in German

Hi everyone, I didn't find this in previous post, so please forgive me if this has been covered.

I'm looking for the phrases that are needed to help stay in German and not revert to English. I don't know enough grammar to put these phrases together on my own, but I gave it a try.

"How do you say X in German" "Wie sagen Sie X in Deutsch?"

"What is this called?" "Was heißt das?"

"Speak slowly please" "Sprechen Sie langsam, bitte"

Can anyone else think of any other handy phrases?

February 29, 2016



For "How do you say X in German?", I would ask: "Wie sagt man X auf Deutsch?"

Your sentence is grammatically correct but sounds as if you are asking your listener how he/she personally says it in German, rather than how it is said in German in general.

And "What is this called?", I would say "Wie heißt das?"

For other useful phrases, I second solopipe's suggestion of "Was ist der Unterschied zwischen A und B?".

Another useful one is "Könnten Sie mir das bitte aufschreiben?" (Could you write that down for me, please?)

Or "Wie schreibt man das?" (How is that written?) which is one way to ask someone to spell something -- or to clarify part of the spelling. (The answer may only provide the non-obvious part, e.g. "mit Ypsilon" = with a wye/letter Y.)


^ This guy nailed it... again. :p


Very useful discussion! Can someone explain "man" in "Wie sagt man das auf Deutsch?" and "Mir fällt nicht mehr ein, wie man auf Deutsch “X” sagt."? I looked it up and it seems to be some form of "you." Does German have a "hypothetical you" word too? :-)


man in German is most like "one" in English -- or for those who don't use "one" much, you could compare it with "hypothetical you", or "people", or "anyone".

It does not refer to anybody in particular. (Specifically, it does not refer to the listener, the way that [non-hypothetical] "you" can in English.)

Nor does it specify that the referent must be male, though some people take offense at the similarity of the pronoun man with the noun Mann and use lower-case frau as a pronoun referring to an arbitrary female.


So the he/she feminist issues with pronouns in English also exists in German as well? Fascinating! :-)


Would "Wie Heist dies" work? (I know I need the swirly B, but I don't know how to get it on the computer) On a separate language learning app, I learned that "dies" means "this"


Would "Wie Heist dies" work?

It could.

(I know I need the swirly B, but I don't know how to get it on the computer)

You can replace ß by ss: Wie heisst dies?

But it would be more common to use Wie heißt das?

dies is used less than "this" in English, and das is often a bit vague between "this" and "that".


Here's a few I use. I'm not sure if the German is totally correct - any corrections welcome.

Wie spricht man das aus? - (how is that pronounced?) Was ist der Unterschied zwischen A und B? - (what is the difference between A and B?) Wie sagt man 'pen' auf Deutsch? (how do you say 'pen' in German?) Sind A und B gleich? (are A and B the same?) Ist A genau dasselbe wie B? (are A and B exactly the same?)


Thanks for bringing this up! I just realized I have never seen this phrase in any of my Duolingo courses. It would be a useful addition.


I think these sentence are helpful, but 'Was heißt das?' can also mean: 'What does that mean?' or 'What do you mean?' You can say this if it's not clear to you why someone said something. I'm not a native speaker, so i'm not sure, but I've learnt it that way.


Thank you! I imagine if I point at something and say "Was heßt das in Deutsch?" it would mean "What is this called in German?"


I would say "wie heißt das auf Deutsch".


Or "Wie nennt man das auf Deutsch?" as another option for "What is this called in German?"


Was bedeutet X : What does x mean


Another useful one - 'Wie bitte?". Equivalent to "Sorry?" or "Pardon?" in English. Has less of an implication of not understanding, but just that you didn't catch it so they'll likely just repeat themselves.


Living in Austria, I can say the most common way to say it here is: "Wie heißt das auf Deutsch?"



"Sprechen Sie langsam(er), bitte" sounds like an order from a teacher or a boss.

Better is: "Bitte sprechen Sie langsam(er)" oder "Könnten Sie bitte etwas langsamer sprechen" oder "Sprechen Sie bitte etwas langsamer"

Viel Erfolg! Schöne Grüße!


"Wie sagen Sie X in Deutsch" is correct! "Wie sagst du X auf/in Deutsch" less formal, when talking to friends. "Was heißt das?" is more like "what does that mean", "Wie nennt man das" and then you point at an object ... "Sprechen Sie langsamer" needs the -er as you want to express slower... "Können Sie/ Kannst du das wiederholen?" Can you repeat that please.


Thank you! I just joined a local German group so I'm scrambling for phrases :)


"Entschuldigen Sie" "excuse me"


When we were in Germany we just said "Langsam, bitte." In Munchen they were very informal.


Wie sagt man "blah blah blah" auf Deutsch?

[deactivated user]

    normalerweise "bla bla bla" oder "und so weiter und so fort".


    I always say: Wie sagt man __ auf Deutsch?


    Es ist sonnig ~ it is sunny Es ist kalt ~ it is cold Es regent. ~ it's raining Wie heißt dein Vater? What's your father's name? Wie heißt deine Mutter? - Mother Ich bin tolerant - I am tolerant ! Was machst du? - What are you doing? Wie geht's? - How are you? Danke, gut. - Fine, thank you.

    Hope this helps


    "Es regnet" - letter order


    Okay! Es schneit = it's snowing Es ist kalt = it's cold Es ist sehr heiß = it is very hot And Es regnet = it's raining Aber, Leider regnet es so oft hier in Berlin !


    Can we say "Wie Sie X Sagen?"


    Being polite: the subjunctive of model verbs --- Entschuldigung, könnten Sie Mir bitte sagan "Excuse me, could you please tell me..."


    Don't capitalise "Mir", though -- you capitalise pronouns for politeness but you shouldn't be polite to yourself :)


    That's not question sentence word order -- you'd need the verb in the second position (Wie sagen Sie X?) but that literally means "How do you (personally) say X?" rather than "How do people (in general) say X?".

    Your word order would only work as a subordinate clause, e.g. "Ich mag, wie Sie X sagen" (I like the way you say X).


    wie sagt man ___ (auf Deutsch)?


    Maybe Duolingo can put together a module of "Useful phrases for non-native speakers".

    What is the difference between "...auf Deutsch" and ".....in Deutsch". And is "man" analogous to the French third person pronoun "on"?


    Auf Deutsch means "in german" as in how one says something in german.

    "In Deutsch" is generally more suited for describing whether you are good or bad at German. Example: Ich bin schlecht in Deutsch/Mathe. "I'm bad at German/Math." Ich bin gut in Computers. "I am good at computers"

    To answer your last question, yes.


    du kannst "Was willst du sagen" auch sagen. :)


    look it up on Google translate


    Buying a dictionary is always a great idea ! Look for old school Text books !!

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