Think about the last conversation you had in German.
I’m sure somewhere in that conversation, you or the other person named at least one thing you did that day. Or maybe you talked about something you love doing. Or something you can’t wait to do again!
Oftentimes, the activities we do and the things we enjoy change depending on what time of year it is.
I mean, how many times did you enjoy swimming in Winter?
Basic German vocabulary and studying lists of grammar rules will only take you so far. And if you find you can’t express yourself as freely as you’d like to in German, then perhaps it’s time to learn some new vocabulary—like the months in German and some seasonal vocabulary that goes along with each one!
There are many reasons why learning the months in German will benefit you in the long-run.
For one, they’re incredibly useful. Secondly, they come with all sorts of holidays, weather and seasonal vocabulary. And finally, they’re great for practicing your pronunciation (thanks to the umlauts and common vowel combinations they use)!
And luckily, many of the German months sound similar to English, which makes them easy to learn.
In this blog post, I’m here to teach you how to talk about the months in German, how to pronounce them, tips for studying them and special vocabulary you’ll use a lot during each one!
Tips for Learning the Months in German
To learn the months in German, click on the words in this post, listen to the pronunciation and repeat several times.
But listen carefully!
Although many of the months look the same or similar, there’s always at least a subtle difference in pronunciation compared to English.
While learning the months, make sure you also jot down and practice related vocabulary. This is a great tip for expanding your vocabulary and learning more about German culture.
Learning-related vocabulary makes learning other words easier. This is because our brains are hardwired to naturally learn vocabulary in clusters rather than long lists of words that have nothing to do with each other.
Another great way to learn new German vocabulary is through music, so why not learn a song about the months in German? Singing and listening to music in German works wonders for both your pronunciation skills and passive learning—and it’s both relaxing and fun!
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The Ultimate Guide to Months in German: Tips, Vocabulary and More!
The first month of the year, Januar, teaches you two important pronunciation lessons. First of all, the letter j (sounds similar to the word “yacht”) is always pronounced with a “yuh” sound in German.
The “uar” combination is also a great one to learn here. Any German word with this vowel combination will be pronounced this way.
Some great related words to learn here are Winter (winter), kalt (cold) and Schneeman (Snowman).
Like Januar, Februar is another great example of the “uar” vowel combination.
For this month, why not learn some more frostig (frosty) vocabulary, like Schneestorm und Eisstorm (snowstorm and ice storm)?
Some February-only German words include Valetinstag (Valentine’s Day) and Schaltjahr (Leap Year).
We’re getting into umlaut territory with the German month März.
These pesky little double dots above vowels are always challenging for English speakers to pronounce. But luckily, their pronunciation also stays the same no matter what the word, so what it really comes down to is practice, practice, practice.
Some great March-related German vocabulary to learn include Frühling (Spring), Tulpen (Tulip) and Vogelzwitschern (bird song).
Be careful with this one. Although this month is written the same as the English word, the pronunciation and word stress is different in German.
Some April (and sometimes March) vocabulary include Ostern (Easter), Osterhase (Easter bunny) and Karfreitag (Good Friday).
April is notorious for being the month of unpredictable weather, with t-shirt weather one year and a chilly cold front the next.
Thanks to this temperamental weather spirit, Germans have a saying about the month: “April, April, der macht was er will” (April, April it does whatever it wants), which they like to say while shaking their heads and staring moodily out the window at a late-season April snowstorm.
Think “Why not sip a Mai Tai in Mai?” and you’ll instantly have the right pronunciation for this German month. The “ai” vowel combination is also a good one to learn here.
Mai is (usually) chock-full of Sonnenschein (sunshine) as well as a number of holidays, including 1. Mai/Tag der Arbeit (May 1st; Labor Day) and Muttertag und Vatertag (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day).
Fun fact: Muttertag is basically celebrated the same way as Mother’s Day in the United States, but Vatertag involves a lot more alcohol and even wagon pulling in some parts of Germany.
The next two summer months give us another great pronunciation example of the German “j” and “ju” letter combination (which sounds like the English word “you”).
These Monate (months, singular: Monat) are in the Sommer (summer), when many Germans spend the day at the Strand (beach) in their Badeanzug (bathing suit), or sometimes FKK (Freikörperculture), which means hanging out in the Sonnenschein in nothing but your birthday suit.
Birthday suit is Adamskostüm if you’re a Typ (guy) and Evakostüm if you’re a Mädel (gal), which literally means Adam and Eve costumes!
Since Juni and Juli sound so much alike, some Germans also say “July” (pronounced as you-lie) to help distinguish the two.
In this mid-summer month, most Germans love nothing more than grillen (barbecuing) and chillen im Park (hanging out at a park). And for dessert (Nachtisch)? Eis essen gehen, na klar! (Go out for ice cream, of course!)
Like April, this German month is written the same as the English word, but it has different word stress and pronunciation, so Vorsicht (watch out)!
Since August is usually the hottest month as well as the end of summer, some great German words to learn are Hitzewelle (heatwave), Ferien (vacation) and Schulanfang (back to school).
Except for the “k” in Oktober and the “z” in Dezember, the next four months are written the same in German as they are in English, and the pronunciation is also similar. However, the vowel sounds are softer, and they give you a preview for the “German r,” which is also challenging for English speakers to pronounce. In other words, don’t slack off on learning to pronounce these words correctly!
Some great related German vocabulary for September include Herbst (fall), Altweibersommer (Indian summer) and bunte Herbstblätter (colorful fall leaves).
The German words you should learn for this month are a no-brainer: Oktoberfest (October Fest), Bier (beer) and Brezel (pretzels).
But let’s learn a little culture here, too!
Oktoberfest is not a German-wide phenomenon. Instead, it’s really only traditionally celebrated in München (Munich), which is in the German state Bayern (Bavaria).
In a nutshell, if you want to celebrate this festival in Germany, don’t head for Berlin or Hamburg. Although these cities may still have a small set up of Oktoberfest tents somewhere in the city, they’ll be inauthentic and geared more towards Touristen (tourists).
November tends to be a very wet month, so make sure you learn the word Regen (rain). For a bit of German culture, learn about Laternenfest (lantern festival), a children’s holiday in honor of Saint Martin, and Allerheligen (All Saints Day).
Some great related words for this month are holiday ones, like Weihnachten (Christmas), Heiligabend (Christmas Eve) and Geschenke (presents).
Christmas is celebrated in a similar way in Germany, although there are noted differences. For example, the Geschenke are always opened on Heiligabend and some people still use real Kerzen (candles) on their Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas tree)!
Another great phrase to learn is zwischen den Jahren. Literally translated as “between the years,” this phrase describes the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve (Silvester). Many offices are closed during this time, which makes it one of the most relaxing times of the year when people focus more on family and eating holiday treats than work.
Now that you’re a pro with the months in German and their related vocabulary, why not learn more great basic German vocabulary? As they say in German, ohne Fleiß kein Preis (without working hard, you won’t get a prize), so get cracking!
Rebeccah Dean is a writer and educator who has lived in Berlin since 1999. You can read more of her writing at Rebeccah Dean Writer.
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