We’ve heard it all before: German is a harsh language, German speakers sound angry all of the time and have no sense of humor.
Certainly they could never be romantic.
Well, believe it or not, German people fall in love just like everyone else!
Learn these lovely, romantic German phrases to win over that special someone in your life.
Why Learn Romantic German Phrases?
In the interest of full disclosure, I am an American who moved to Germany and married a German. When I was still learning the difference between accusative and dative case back in college, learning romantic phrases was not my top priority. But here I am, using them daily. That being said, let’s take a look at all the great reasons to focus yourself on these matters of the heart.
- Romantic phrases will expand your vocabulary and boost comprehension.
If you ever listen to German songs or watch German TV, you’ll eventually hear some love language. In many dramatic stories, the characters are bound to be entangled in romantic affairs. How else will you know what’s going on? Even while reading German novels, these are phrases that will pop up from time to time. It’s important to know the true meaning of what’s being said so that you can appreciate the stories or songs to their fullest potential.
- They’re more commonly used than you may think.
Beyond the world of fiction, imagine how not understanding affectionate phrases might change your understanding of the people around you. The parents in your German homestay family might be lavishing each other with sweet words, and you would never fully know what a lovely relationship they have built in their home. A suave German coworker may be trying to flirt with you, and you would be totally oblivious to their advances! Don’t leave yourself out of the loop.
- It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Before traveling to Germany and seeing some spectacular German landmarks, I bet you’re more worried about learning simple greetings, essential German vocabulary for survival and other basic elements of the language. So, why should you devote your time and energy to romantic German phrases – especially when Germans have earned a less than romantic reputation worldwide?
While there are plenty of “true” stereotypes about German people and their culture, many of the world’s more misguided ideas about Germans probably have their roots in World War propaganda. Hey, times have changed. There are more than 100 million German speakers in the world, and most of us are quite happy. We have crushes, girlfriends, boyfriends, wives and husbands. While traipsing around Germany, who knows who you’ll end up meeting? What if the man or woman of your dreams starts wooing you, and all you can do is tell time?
While German may never catch up to French’s reputation as a smooth language of love, you’d still do well to learn some romantic German phrases. You never know when you might need them! Not to mention, when these phrases are spoken with an expert German accent they can be absolutely irresistible.
- They’ll make German more fun.
You can also throw around these phrases with that special someone just for fun, or to spice things up. If there’s a cute classmate in your German course, or someone who catches your eye while on vacation in Germany, why not show off your skills? Even if you have a significant other who speaks no German at all, you can practice with them by teaching him or her these phrases.
No matter what, learning these phrases still helps you expand your vocabulary and work on your grammar. In fact, some grammatical mistakes here can lead to pretty big misunderstandings. But don’t worry! I’ll walk you through what you need to know.
1. Ich liebe dich. (I love you.)
This is it. The essential phrase. The “three little words.”
Opinions are divided on this just as they are in English, but I advise you to take this phrase seriously and use it with care. You might love baseball or chocolate or shopping (Ich liebe Baseball, Schokolade and Einkaufen, respectively), but declaring your love for another person is a big deal. German speakers of a younger generation, especially girls, will often say this among friends, but it’s not something you should ever say to someone you just met.
2. Ich hab’ dich lieb. (Love ya.)
If you want to express affinity without the full impact of the “three little words, ” here’s your alternative.
Phrase dictionaries may translate the phrase as “I love you, ” but it’s less formal. I’d equate it to something like “love ya” based on the connotation. This sentence is fine to say to close friends, family members and romantic interests alike. It just doesn’t come on as strong or have the same connotation of passion as “Ich liebe dich.” This is why you’re slightly less likely to hear it in romantic songs. One of its most notorious usages was in this wacky song from 1998: (Guildo Loves Y’all).
3. Willst du mein Freund/meine Freundin sein? (Do you want to be my boyfriend/girlfriend?)
The word Freund can mean either a platonic male friend or a boyfriend, and Freundin can mean either a platonic female friend or a girlfriend. Context is everything.
However, if you’re directly asking someone to be your Freund/in, the context is clear. This is one of the most straightforward ways of asking someone to start a romantic relationship with you.
If you’re looking to make the context clear to distinguish your platonic friends, you can always refer to someone as “ein Freund/eine Freundin von mir” (a friend of mine) rather than “mein Freund/meine Freundin.” Just remember to keep the genders straight too!
4. Willst du mit mir gehen? (Do you want to go out with me?)
If you’re looking to avoid the context- and gender-specific pitfalls of “Willst du mein Freund sein?”, then this informal sentence is for you. This question refers to dating someone, either in the sense of simply going on a date or in the sense of having a relationship. Nena, of 99 Luftballons fame, used it as the title of her thirteenth album.