You may need to learn to count to 10 in German due to travel, work, or just out of curiosity. Learning to count in German is easy like eins, zwei, drei! German is a very common language, spoken by 100 million people around the world. So it can be helpful to learn a little.
Part 1 of 3: Understanding how German is pronounced
Step 1. Keep your mouth steady when you speak
It is not good to learn German words if you do not pronounce them well. Remember that Germans retain a lot of tension in their cheeks when speaking. To sound like German, you will need to keep your mouth properly firm.
- When you open your mouth, position your lips as if you were making a big “o” or a small “u”.
- Find videos of people speaking German so you can understand how they hold their mouths when they speak. Germans also pronounce some consonants and vowels differently than Spanish speakers.
Step 2. Learn to pronounce German vowels
While German shares some things with English, some vowels are pronounced differently. This is very important if you are trying to count in German.
- In German, the combination of the vowels "ei" is pronounced "ai". For example, the word "drei" in German means three. However, it is pronounced "drai." Similarly, the word "frei" in German means free and is pronounced "frai."
- It is the opposite for the combination of the vowels "ie". This combination is pronounced as an "i". Therefore, when you pronounce the German word for four (“vier”), remember that “ie” is pronounced “i”.
- The vowel combination "eu" is pronounced "oi" in German.
- If you see an umlaut over a vowel, you must pronounce it differently. The word for "five" in German has an umlaut: fünf. The ü should sound like a "u", but stretching the lips.
Step 3. Understand how to pronounce consonants
One of the key differences between speaking German and English is how the consonants are pronounced. Some are pronounced similar to English, but not all.
- The consonant "v" is pronounced like an "f". Therefore, make the sound "f" and not "v" when you pronounce the word four in German.
- In German, the consonant "s" is pronounced like a "z" with a vibration when it goes to the beginning of a word, like "sieben" (seven in German).
- When the letter "r" goes to the end of a word, it is pronounced lightly, like an "ah" after realizing something. The letter "r" is also pronounced very lightly when in the middle of a word. Place your tongue at the top of your mouth when pronouncing it.
- "Fri", four in German, is pronounced "fiah." If the consonant "z" goes to the beginning of a word, it is pronounced "ts".
Part 2 of 3: Counting in German
Step 1. Start by counting from 1 to 10 in German with the word “eins” for one
To pronounce this word, add the ending "nz" to "ai." It will be quite easy to count to 10 in German once you know how to pronounce some key consonants and vowels.
Step 2. Say "zwei" for number two
In German, "zwei" is pronounced "tsvi." The "zw" is not pronounced like a normal "z". Instead, it is pronounced as a "ts."
Step 3. Say "drei" for number three
Pronounce it as "drai", with a guttural "r".
Step 4. Use the word “fri” for the number four
This word also has consonants that are pronounced differently than in English. Pronounce “vier” as “fir,” but remember not to pronounce the “r” loudly. Pronounce it as "fiah."
Step 5. Say “fünf” for the number five
Pronounce it as "funf" and put a heavy accent on the "u", lengthening the sound.
Step 6. Use the word “sechs” for six in German
In this case, pronounce the sound of a “z” with a vibration. Pronounce it as "zeks."
Step 7. Say “sieben” for the number seven in German
Pronounce it as "ziben." The sound of the "s" when it goes to the beginning transforms into a "z" with a vibration.
Step 8. Use the word "acht" for eight
Pronounce it as "agt."
Step 9. Say "neun" for nine
Pronounce it as "noin."
Step 10. Complete the count with the word for ten, which is “zehn”
Don't forget the rule that if a word starts with “z”, it is pronounced like a “ts”. Therefore, pronounce "zehn" as "tsen."
You may also need to know how to say the word zero in German once you have mastered counting from one to ten. Zero is said "null", but it is pronounced "null."
Step 11. Learn how to count after ten in German
Once you've mastered basic German pronunciation and how to count to 10, try to keep counting! It is easy.
- Put the word “zehn” after each number to indicate that you have added a 10 when counting from 13 to 19. Therefore, “neunzehn” is 19, “achtzehn” is 18, and so on. Eleven is pronounced "elf" and 12 is pronounced "zwölf."
- Twenty is "zwanzig." To count after 20, start with the second number, adding the German word for the numbers 1 to 10, and then enter “und” and “zwanzig”. Therefore, 21 is said "einundzwanzig", which literally means "1 and 20" (without writing the "s" in "eins"). To say 22, follow the same process. The word would be "zweiundzwanzig". So on until 29.
- Follow the same process until you reach 100. However, instead of zwanzig, put the words for 30 (“dreißig”, where the ß is an “ss” in German and is pronounced the same as an “s” in Spanish), 40 ("vierzig", pronounced as "fiatsig"), 50 ("funfzig"), 60 ("sechzig"), 70 ("siebzig"), 80 ("achtzig") and 90 ("neunzig"). The German word for 100 is “(ein) hundert” (pronounce the “d” like a “t”).
Part 3 of 3: Discovering Ways to Learn German
Step 1. Find native German speakers
One of the great things about the Internet is that it is easier than ever to find native speakers of a foreign language to practice with. The same goes for German.
- Various online language sites will match you with native speakers. Some allow the pronunciation to be heard when hovering over a letter.
- Look for videos on YouTube of people who speak German, including counting from 1 to 10, so you can hear the words before you pronounce them. Some sites use music and songs to teach children and others to count in German.
Step 2. Take language courses on the Internet or at a university
German is a very common language in universities. It must be very easy to find an institute that teaches the language if you live in a big city. Otherwise, search the Internet.
- You can also record yourself counting to 10 in German. Then play it back. This is one of the best ways to perfect your speech.
- Traveling or living in Germany will dramatically improve your language skills. Speaking a foreign language repeatedly with a native speaker is the best way to learn it.
- Try to learn them by memorizing the first five numbers and then the remaining five.
- Numbers in German do not have a capital letter, unless you convert them to a noun, as in "The Three" or "Die Drei."
- If you are really willing to learn to count more numbers in German, consider hiring a teacher or enrolling in a teaching program.
- You can try learning with flashcards.