The Federal States of Germany and Nationalities in German Language

How do they say your nationality in German?

German flag in map
The Federal Republic of Germany. Jeffrey Coolidge-Photodisc@getty-images

One of the nice things for natives to hear from foreigners is the names of their country in their language. They are even more impressed when you can pronounce their cities correctly. The following list includes an audio pronunciation of cities and Bundesländer in Germany as well as neighboring countries from Europe. Scroll down to see how your or other countries, nationalities and languages sound in German.


 

Die alten Bundesländer (the old German States) + Capital

Schleswig-Holstein-Kiel
Niedersachsen-Hannover (Hanover)
Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia)-Düsseldorf
Hessen (Hesse)-Wiesbaden
Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate)-Mainz
Baden-Württemberg-Stuttgart
Saarland-Saarbrücken
Bayern (Bavaria)- München (Munich)
 

Die neuen Bundesländer (the new German States) + Capital

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)-Schwerin
Brandenburg-Potsdam
Thüringen (Thuringia)-Erfurt
Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt)-Magdeburg
Sachsen (Saxony)-Dresden

 

Die Stadtstaaten (city states)

Those are cities and at the same time federal states. Berlin and Bremen struggle with their finances while in Hamburg you'll find the most millionaires in Germany. It still has some remarkably high debts.

Berlin-Berlin
Bremen-Bremen
Hamburg-Hamburg

 

Other German-Speaking Countries

Österreich-Wien (Vienna) (click here for a sample of their language)
Die Schweiz-Bern (click here for a sample of their language)

 

Andere Europäische Länder (other European countries)

If you take a closer look at the following nationalities you will notice that there are mainly two large groups of words: those ending in -er (m) / -erin (f) and those ending in -e (m) / -in (f). There are only very few exceptions like e.g. der Israeli / die Israelin (not to be mistaken for der Israelit, as that was biblical folk.

The name of the German nationality is quite special it behaves like an adjective. Take a look:

der Deutsche / die Deutsche / die Deutschen (plural) BUT
ein Deutscher / eine Deutsche / Deutsche (plural)

Luckily it seems to be the only one behaving like this. Almost all names of languages end in -(i)sch in German. An exception would be: das Hindi

 

Land/ CountryBürger/ Citizen
male/ female
Sprache/ Language
Deutschlandder Deutsche/ die DeutscheDeutsch
die Schweizder Schweizer/ die SchweizerinDeutsch (Switzerdütsch)
Österreichder Österreicher/ die ÖsterreicherinDeutsch (Bairisch)
Frankreichder Franzose/ die FranzösinFranzösisch
Spaniender Spanier/ die SpanierinSpanisch
Englandder Engländer/ die EngländerinEnglisch
Italiender Italiener/ die ItalienerinItalienisch
Portugalder Portugiese/ die PortugiesinPortugiesisch
Belgiender Belgier/ die BelgierinBelgisch
die Niederlandeder Niederländer/ die NiederländerinNiederländisch
Dänemarkder Däne/ die DäninDänisch
Schwedender Schwede/ die SchwedinSchwedisch
Finnlandder Finne/ die FinninFinnisch
Norwegender Norweger/ die NorwegerinNorwegisch
Griechenlandder Grieche/ die GriechinGriechisch
die Türkeider Türke/ die TürkinTürkisch
Polender Pole/ die PolinPolnisch
Tschechien/ die Tschechische Republikder Tscheche/ die TschechinTschechisch
Ungarnder Ungar/ die UngarinUngarisch
Ukraineder Ukrainer/ die UkrainerinUkrainisch

 

The Awful German Article

You might also have noticed that certain countries use the article while most others don't. In general every country in neuter (e.g. das Deutschland) but that "das" is almost never used. An exception would be if you spoke of a country at a specific time: Das Deutschland der Achtziger Jahre. (the Germany of the eighties). Other than that you wouldn't use the "das" which is actually the same way you'd use a country's name in English. 

Those who use a different article than "das" always (!) use their article. Luckily those are only a few. Here are some more known ones:

DERder Irak, der Iran, der Libanon, der Sudan, der Tschad
DIE : die Schweiz, die Pfalz, die Türkei, die Europäische Union, die Tschechei, die Mongolei
DIE Plural: die Vereinigten Staaten (the United States), die USA, die Niederlande, die Philippinen

This might get a bit irritating for you because as soon as you want to say that you come "from" one of these countries the article will change. An example:

  • Die Türkei ist ein schönes Land. BUT 
  • Ich komme aus der Türkei.
     

This is due to the word "aus" in front of the article which requires the dative case.

 

Edited on the 25th of June 2015 by: Michael Schmitz