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.
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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.
10 Romantic German Phrases to Impress Your Crush
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 hat euch lieb (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.
5. Schatz, Liebling, Kuschelbär (pet names)
I have to admit that I don’t use these in my relationship and hear them very seldom from others. When I do hear any of them, it’s usually Schatz, which literally translates to “treasure.” Liebling translates to “favorite” or “beloved,” while Kuschelbär means “cuddle bear.”
There are entire lists of pet names you could dig up, ranging from “sweetie” and “angel” to “mouse” and “snail.” There was even one German politician, Bavarian minister-president Edmund Stoiber, who referred to his wife as Muschi in speeches and interviews. While on the surface this is childlike language for “pussycat,” a more adult connotation of that word applies in German as well as English. Personally, I’d be more likely to take this as a demeaning insult than a term of endearment!
Lastly, if you’re okay with Denglisch (mixing Deutsch and English), it’s increasingly okay to say “baby” and “honey” too.
6. Ich bin bis über beide Ohren verliebt. (I’m head over heels in love.)
Literally translated, this sentence means “I’m in love until over both ears,” but then the English version of being “head over heels” isn’t the most logical either. (When is your head ever under your heels?) As idioms without direct translations, their meaning is the same: you really, really, really like someone.
7. Ich steh’ auf dich. (I’m into you.)
This is another loosely translated idiom for what literally involves the verb stehen, to stand. Be careful to use the accusative dich in this sentence rather than the dative dir. The latter would literally mean you’re standing on top of someone!
This phrase has a slightly stronger sexual connotation than simply saying you like or love something or someone. As a result, you’d never say something like “Ich steh’ auf meine Oma” (I’m into my grandmother). Be careful with this phrase.
8. Du bist die Liebe meines Lebens. (You’re the love of my life.)
This is the most sentimental phrase on the list and, due to its intensity, it’s not one you’re likely to hear often. Its translation is literal and its meaning is strong. If you feel the need to get this feeling off your chest auf Deutsch, you now know how.
9. Du hast wunderschöne Augen. (You have beautiful eyes.)
This phrase works equally well as a sweet compliment to your significant other and as a pick-up line in the club. As usual, it’s all about the context.
10. Küss mich. (Kiss me.)
Here we see our only imperative or command form on the list: kiss me! Command forms in German are easy to use because the du-form usually just involves removing the –en from the verb, which here would be küssen (to kiss). If you’re looking to be a little less direct and demanding, “Kann ich einen Kuss haben?” (“Can I have a kiss?”) will get you the same result… if you’re lucky, that is.
Now you know the essentials of flirting, declaring your feelings and separating your platonic connections from your romantic ones – all in German. It doesn’t matter whether you actively use these sayings to put the moves on someone or if you simply begin to recognize them in the world around you. Either way, reviewing these phrases regularly will improve your German. You’ll start to sound more authentic than ever, because let’s face it, most textbooks and travel guides don’t cover this stuff! So study hard, and viel Glück (good luck) with all of your German romantic endeavors!
And One More Thing…
With all this talk of flirting and romance, it would be perfectly understandable for you to confess your love for the German language right about now.
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