Go to the homepage of this German Course Chapter 2: Talking about yourself University of Portsmouth
2.2 Cities and countries

Most German, Austrian and Swiss cities are written as in English. The major exceptions are listed below, along with some other European cities where the German spelling is quite different. "Berlin" is spelled the same way as in English but is pronounced quite differently. Click here to try our exercise on how to say the names of important cities in German-speaking countries.

Die Stadt City    Die Stadt City
The Swiss flag Basel Basle    The Swiss flag Luzern  Lucerne
The Swiss flag Bern Berne    The Russian flag Moskau  Moscow
The German flag Braunschweig Brunswick    The German flag München  Munich
The Belgian flag Brüssel Brussels    The Czech flag Prag  Prague
The Swiss flag Genf  Geneva    The Italian flag Rom  Rome
The German flag Hannover  Hanover    The Polish flag Warschau Warsaw
The German flag Köln  Cologne    The Austrian flag Wien  Vienna
The Portuguese flag Lissabon  Lisbon    The Swiss flag Zürich  Zurich

The vast majority of countries have their names written differently in German from how we would spell them in English. Here is a selection of the most important ones:

  Das Land Country
The Andorran flag Andorra  Andorra
The Australian flag Australien Australia
The Belgian flag Belgien Belgium
The Brazilian flag Brasilien Brazil
The Bulgarian flag Bulgarien  Bulgarien
The Chinese flag China China
The Danish flag Dänemark  Denmark
The German flag Deutschland  Germany
The British flag England  England
The Estonian flag Estland  Estonia
The Finnish flag Finnland  Finland
The French flag Frankreich  France
The Greek flag Griechenland  Greece
The British flag Großbritannien  Great Britain
The Indian flag Indien  India
The Irish flag Irland  Ireland
The Icelandic flag Island  Iceland
The Israeli flag Israel  Israel
The Italian flag Italien  Italy
The Japanese flag Japan  Japan
The Canadian flag Kanada  Canada
The Colombian flag Kolumbien  Colombia
The Croatian flag Kroatien  Croatian
The Latvian flag Lettland  Latvia
The Liechtenstein flag Liechtenstein  Liechtenstein
The Lithuanian flag Litauen  Lithuania
The Luxembourg flag Luxemburg  Luxembourg
The Macedonian flag Mazedonien  Macedonia
The Mexican flag Mexiko  Mexico
The Moldovan flag Moldawien  Moldova
The Monegasque flag Monaco  Monaco
The New Zealand flag Neuseeland  New Zealand
The Norwegian flag Norwegen  Norway
The Austrian flag Österreich  Austria
The Polish flag Polen  Poland
The Portuguese flag Portugal  Portugal
The Romanian flag Rumänien  Romania
The Russian flag Russland  Russia
The British flag Schottland  Scotland
The Swedish flag Schweden  Sweden
The Slovenian flag Slowenien  Slovenian
The Spanish flag Spanien  Spain
The South African flag Südafrika  South Africa
The South Korean flag Südkorea  South Korea
The Tunisian flag Tunesien  Tunisia
The Hungarian flag Ungarn  Hungary
The British flag Wales  Wales
The Cypriot flag Zypern  Cyprus

Test yourself!
You can test yourself on your knowledge of German words for countries by clicking on the two bars below:

Putting everything together
To say which city and country you come from or live in, you use the appropriate preposition. Prepositions - words like "in", "on" and "over" - stand in front of a noun or pronoun and relate it to the rest of the sentence. The two prepositions which we need for this section are "in" (= in) and "aus" (= from, out of):

Where are you from? I'm from...
Woher kommen Sie ich komme aus
- England
- Portsmouth
(Literally: "I come from England/Portsmouth")
Woher ist Lukas er ist aus
- Hamburg
- Deutschland
(Literally: "He is from Hamburg/Germany")
Where do you live? I live in...
Wo wohnst du ich wohne in
- Wien
- Österreich
(Literally: "I live in Vienna/Austria")
Wo wohnt Maria sie wohnt in
- Polen
- Warschau
(Literally: "She lives in Poland/Warsaw")

Simple enough? Unfortunately not. For all German nouns have a gender and so far we have merely established the rules for neuter nouns...

Weiter!Chapter 2.3: The gender of German nouns

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