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1.2 Saying goodbye Includes sound files!

"Auf Wiedersehen!"
Click here to listen to this phrase!
"Auf Wiederschauen!"
(= South Germany and Austria)
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"Auf Wiederhören!"
("Goodbye!" (telephone))
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"Gute Nacht!"
("Good night!")
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1. When saying goodbye, it is also necessary to distinguish between formal and informal registers:

  • The standard form for saying goodbye in German is "auf Wiedersehen!". It means "Until we see each other again", as does the South German and Austrian variant "auf Wiederschauen".
  • As you obviously can't "see" people on telephones however, you use the phrase "auf Wiederhören" - "until we hear from each other again" - when you put down the receiver.
  • When you are saying goodbye at night, you would say "gute Nacht!".

Click here to listen to this phrase! "Tschüs!"
    Click here to listen to this phrase! "Bis später!"
("See you later!")
Click here to listen to this phrase! "Ciao!"
    Click here to listen to this phrase! "Servus!"
(S. Germany & Austria)

2. When you are saying farewell to friends and young people the above expressions can also be used. Be aware that:

  • The word "tschüs" (sometimes spelled "tschüss") is the most common farewell phrase amongst friends, having the sense of "See you!" or "Bye!". It originally comes, like the Spanish "adiós" and the French "adieu", from the Latin "ad deum", and means literally "God be with you".
  • You might occasionally find "ciao" Germanized as "tschau".
  • One should really only use "bis später" to meaning "See you later the same day".
  • The word "servus" can either mean "hello" or "goodbye" according to context. You will hear it primarily in Southern Germany and Austria.

German nouns
InformationAs you will have noticed, all German nouns - such as "Morgen", "Tag", "Abend" and "Nacht" - are always written with a capital letter. This has the advantage for the learner of making them much easier to spot!

On the other hand, adjectives - such as "guten" in "guten Abend" - are not capitalized unless they occur at the beginning of a sentence.

Hello and goodbye: vocabulary quiz and videos Includes sound files!

You can test yourself on how to say hello and goodbye in German by clicking on the bar below:

The LangMedia site gives you the opportunity to see and hear Germans say hello and goodbye to each other. Watching their body language as they do so is just as important as listening to what they say. There are also transcripts of their conversations in German and English:

Weiter!Chapter 1.3: "Sie" or "du"?

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