When you are learning a new language, saying "yes" and "no" is one of the first things you learn. The easiest and most common way to say "yes" in German is simply "ha" (Ya). However, just like in Spanish, there are many other German words and phrases that you can learn to indicate agreement or acceptance.
Method 1 of 3: Say "Ha"
Step 1. Pronounce the "J" as a "Y"
This letter in German is pronounced like the "Y" in "yoyo". If you are a native Spanish speaker, train yourself to think of that loud "Y" sound every time you see the "J" in German. You will need a little practice to make it automatic.
Step 2. Lengthen the "a" sound
This sound is basically the same whether it is long or short, as if you open your mouth to say "ah". If you want to pronounce it correctly, don't open your mouth as wide as you would in English, for example, and form the sound more from behind in your throat.
Combine this sound with that of the "J" and you can say "yes" in German in its most basic form: "ha" (YA)
Step 3. Add the word "bitte" (BI-te) to be polite
In German, this means "thank you." Say "ja, bitte" to answer a question when you want to say "yes, please" in Spanish. You can also say "bitte" on your own, especially when they offer you something.
For example, let's say someone asks you "Willst einen Viertel Rotwein?" or "would you like a glass of red wine?" If you want one, you can say "Ha, bitte" or just "Bitte"
Method 2 of 3: Use Other Affirmative Words
Step 1. Start with "okay"
German speakers also say "okay" instead of "yes". It has the same meaning in German as it does in English or Spanish and is pronounced very similar. You may not feel like you are speaking German when you say it, but German speakers will understand what you mean.
Step 2. Use "genau" (ge-NAU) to say "exactly"
The word "genau" is used very frequently among German speakers. Although it literally means "exactly", you will hear it almost as "aha" is used among Spanish speakers.
The letter "G" is almost always a loud sound in German, as in "cat" or "guttural"
Step 3. Use "gern" or "gerne" (gern or GER-ne) to express your agreement to go somewhere
The word "gern" means "with pleasure", but in German it is used more frequently than in Spanish. Often, it is used as an answer to a question or an offer instead of "ha."
- For example, let's say someone asks you "Wir gehen ins Kino. Willst du mit?" or "Let's go to the movies. Do you want to come?" You can reply "Gerne!" instead of "ha".
- Add an "e" to the word if you are talking about a feminine noun. This letter is not silent.
Step 4. Agree to do something by saying "natürlich" (NA-tur-lish)
This word means "of course". To remind yourself of its meaning, see how similar it looks to the word "natural" in Spanish.
Since this phrase has a couple of unique German sounds, it might be difficult for a Spanish speaker to pronounce at first. Just practice them and be patient
Step 5. Test gebongt (ge-BONGT) to indicate that an agreement has been reached on something
This word is related to resolving a transaction and indicates that two parties have agreed or resolved something. It's slang, but it's still very commonly used anyway.
For example, someone might ask "Treffen wir uns morgen um drei?" or "Can we meet tomorrow at three?" Your answer could be "Ha, ist gebongt" or "yes, okay."
Method 3 of 3: Perfect Your German Pronunciation
Step 1. Keep your lips close together
In general, the German language is spoken with tightly pursed lips. For example, when you speak English words, your mouth opens wider. If you practice closing it more, your pronunciation will automatically improve.
Go online and search for videos of native German speakers. Watch her mouth and the tension in her cheeks. The more you can replicate it, the easier it will be to pronounce German
Step 2. Start with the German alphabet
When you learned your first language as a child, the alphabet was probably one of the first things you were taught. Similarly, memorizing the German alphabet is a good way to master its pronunciation.
Each consonant in German has a sound that could be different from the sound in Spanish of the same letter, as you saw with the "j" in "ja". You will be able to pronounce these letters correctly in German automatically with practice
Step 3. Practice the diphthongs
A diphthong is the combination of the sound of two vowels forming one. There are several of these vowel combinations in German and they are pronounced the same way every time, regardless of the word.
- Ei is pronounced like the vowel sound in "ay" or "caray".
- Ie is pronounced as the vowel sound of "yes" or "end".
- Au is pronounced "au", like the sound you would make if someone steps on your toe.
- Eu and äu are both pronounced as the vowel sound in "hear" or "I'm".
Step 4. Work on your "ch" sound
This sound in German is more throaty than in Spanish and can be difficult for a Spanish speaker. To pronounce it correctly, the sound must come from the back of the throat.
- When the "ch" is followed by "a", "o", "u" or "au", it sounds very similar to the "ch" in the word "loch" in English or "loj" in Spanish.
- If the "ch" is after some other letter, it is softer, almost like a "sh" sound.
Step 5. Pronounce all the consonants
In English, for example, it is not common to put the consonants together and when it happens, they blend into a single sound or one of the letters becomes silent. However, in German, each consonant is pronounced separately, as in Spanish.