Learn the Months of the Year in German
Use these helpful tips and tricks to memorize and pronounce months in German.
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Most German learners will want to study the months of the year early on in their studies of this fun language. As one of the key concepts for navigating your way through a German-speaking environment, having your months squared away solidly will give you an added boost of confidence.
Well, it seems that you’re in luck! The German names of the months are not as hard to learn as you may think. We’ll make sure to help you remember all twelve without batting an eye by the time you make it to the end of this article. We’ll also make sure you know how to pronounce all of the months in German so that you sound like a natural.
In the article below, we’ll look at each month of the year in order, including their pronunciation and a few tricks that will help you remember them. Let’s jump right in!
Months of the year in German
You’ll likely already know how to pronounce the word “ja” (“yah”) in German. That’s exactly how you’ll start off saying this word in German to honor the Roman God Janus. Just add “nuar” (“nooh-ar”) following the “ja” (“yah”) and you’ve got your first month of the year perfectly pronounced.
February, the month of purification, is named after the Roman Februalia. For this month, just keep in mind that this word starts with the sound “fee” and then adds the “uar” sound from above. Since German is a phonetic language, you’ll be relieved to hear that you can recycle plenty of sounds.
You’ve likely encountered umlauts in German, but it’s really not as tricky as it might look at first glance. Just keep the pronunciation “mehrts” in mind, and you should be good to go. This month is dedicated to the Roman god Mars, by the way.
The pronunciation of this spring month, literally aperire or “opening” in Latin, is what you call a “false friend”. In German, “A” is more likely to be pronounced like the American “ah” and the stress of the pronunciation is on the last part, “pril”.
An easy way to remember the pronunciation of this month is by remembering the cocktail drink “Mai Thai”; it’s not clear what the Roman goddess Maia would have had to say about that. If you can remember to use this same pronunciation, you’ll be sounding like a true German in no time.
The month of June was named in the honor of the Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter. When you combine the letters “j” and “u” in German, you get a sound that is equal to the English word “you”. So if you can recall to pronounce it “you-nee”, you’ll once again be able to impress whoever you’re talking to about one of your favorite months and you will sound like a native.
Juli is the month dedicated to Jupiter. As mentioned above, one of the convenient factors of a phonetic language is that rules don’t have a million exceptions. If you apply the Juni rule to pronounce this month, and just stick with “yoo-lee”, you’ll ace this pronunciation at your first shot at it.
The only real difference between the two languages here is in the pronunciation. Just try saying “ow” a few times, making a round shape with your mouth, and then end it with “gust”. Put the two together and you’ll be just fine. Emperor Augustus would have certainly appreciated having a month named after him. Just like with April, the stress is on the second syllable.
Again, recalling this month is straightforward. All you need to remember is that you will have to replace the hard “s” you're used to in English with more of a soft “z” sound to transform this word into German. Done! Fun fact that you might want to use to impress your friends: this month actually was the seventh month at one point, hence the name September — septem means seven in Latin.
Following the same trend, octo simply means eight, and this used to be the eight month at one point. All you need to keep in mind here — aside from swapping out the “c” for a “k” as mentioned earlier, is that “Os” — in German sounds more like an English “uh”. So pronouncing the first of the “Os” in this word accordingly, will be your ticket to success, while the second “o” is long.
You might have guessed this already, novem stands for nine, hence the name November. Just like its preceding month Oktober, the only significant difference in pronunciation here is the letter “o”. So again, just switch this over to “no-vehm-ber”, and you’ll never have to think about it twice.
And yes, you’d be correct in assuming that decem stands for ten in Latin. Once you’ve remembered to switch out the English “c” for “z”, just keep in mind that the first “e” in this word sounds more like “deh”. The best thing to do is to keep practicing these and you’ll have all 12 months down perfectly in no time at all.
Table for memorizing months in German
Introducing the months in German — less work than you might have thought
Upon closer inspection, you’ll be relieved to notice that English and German in fact share quite a few names of months. We’ll focus on the ones that differ and examine how we can remember them easily.
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As you just saw, the memorization part of the months in German likely won’t be your biggest challenge. That being said, we need to make sure that you also know the German pronunciation.
Take a look back at the chart above to get another reminder of the months and how to pronounce them properly in German (remember: repetition is key).
Months in German in context: A few things you will want to know
Ok, you’ve gotten your first introduction to saying the months in German, but from here how do we actually put this into practice? Well, the best way to make all 12 months roll off the tip of your tongue smoothly and naturally is to — you can probably guess what you’ll hear now — practice and practice again and again. Nothing in this world beats repetition and muscle memory when it comes to learning new vocabulary in German, or any other foreign language, for that matter.
Pro tip: With Busuu’s vocabulary and grammar review tool, you’ll be able to memorize months of the year with much more ease. Happy studies!
But there’s so much more to German than just the months
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