Teaching German days, months, and seasons

Children’s songs are a fun and easy way to learn and memorize common phrases and vocabulary. German has some short, simple songs that can easily teach the words for days, months, and seasons. The songs serve as a memory aids not only because they are set to music, but also because they embed the language in a context and support understanding with additional meaning.

A few things are worth pointing out to students as they acquire these words:

  • Most of the words for months, days, and seasons are cognates with their English equivalents. However, spelling and pronunciation differ.
  • All the seasons, months, and days of the week are masculine.

Seasons (Jahreszeiten)

VOCABULARY: Frühling (spring) Sommer (summer), Herbst (fall), Winter (winter)

“Es war eine Mutter” is an old German folk song that every German child learns growing up. My favorite version is the one by the German pop singer Nena of “99 Luftballoons” fame, who also produced several children’s CDs after having her own kids. The song is very short.

You can also hear a version sung by a child. The song is short enough that  the whole thing plays within the 30-second music clip that amazon.de posts as a sample.

LYRICS

Es war eine Mutter,
die hatte vier Kinder:
den Frühling, den Sommer,
den Herbst und den Winter.

Der Frühling bring Blumen,
Der Sommer den Klee,
Der Herbst, der bringt Trauben,
Der Winter den Schnee.

TRANSLATION

There once was a mother
who had four children:
spring, summer,
fall, and winter.

Spring brings flowers,
Summer, the clover,
Fall, it brings grapes,
Winter, the snow.

MUSIC: Child singing Es war eine Mutter, die hatte vier Kinder

Click on the play button in the middle of the page to hear the song.

MUSIC: Nena’s version

Months (Monate)

VOCABULARY: Januar (January), Februar (February), März (March), April (April), Mai (May), Juni (June), Juli (July), August (August), September (September), Oktober (October), November (November), Dezember (December)

Rolf Zuckowski is a well-known composer and singer of children’s songs. He has produced over four dozen albums/CDs since the 1970s. His song “Die Jahresuhr” contains a lot of repetition. The first two verses are sung and then repeated, the second two are sung and repeated, and after the sixth verse the whole thing starts over again. And again. And again. And again, emphasizing that the annual cycle just repeats itself year after year.

LYRICS

Januar, Februar, März, April,
die Jahresuhr steht niemals still.
Mai, Juni, Juli, August,
weckt in uns allen die Lebenslust.
September, Oktober, November, Dezember
Und dann, und dann, fängt das ganze
schon wieder von vorne an.

TRANSLATION

January, February, March, April,
The year-clock never stands still.
May, June, July, August
wakes in all of us the love of life.
September, October, November, December
And then, and then, the whole thing
starts all over again.

VIDEOS:

The first video is the shorter studio-recorded version. This two-minute video rendition displays the lyrics as it’s sung.

The second video is older and at over 9 minutes much longer. However, it’s nice because it shows a live concert and demonstrates a way this could be incorporated into teaching the months in a beginning German class if the students are game for it. Mine were! If you’re curious about his method, but don’t want to watch the video, Zuckowski has the audience members quickly stand and then sit again when they hear their birthday month.

Days of the Week (Wochentage)

VOCABULARY: Montag (Monday), Dienstag (Tuesday), Mittwoch (Wednesday), Donnerstag (Thursday), Freitag (Friday), Samstag (Saturday), Sonntag (Sunday)

Detlef Cordes is an amateur songwriter and singer whose main genre is children’s music. He has a very distinctive voice and enunciates words very clearly when he sings, making his music an ideal tool for learning or teaching. The German week starts on a Monday, as is apparent in this song. Additional vocabulary introduced here includes the ordinal numbers from erste to siebte.

LYRICS

Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag,
Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag.
Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag,
Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag.
Das sind die sieben Wochentage,
hörst du was ich sage?
Das sind die sieben Wochentage,
hast du sonst noch ‘ne Frage?

Montag ist ist der erste.
Dienstag ist der zweite.
Mittwoch ist der dritte.
Und Donnerstag der vierte Wochentag.
Freitag ist der fünfte.
Samstag ist der sechste.
Sonntag ist der siebte.
Und dann geht’s von vorne los.

Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag,
Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag.
Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch,
Donnerstag, Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag.

TRANSLATION

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Those are the seven days of the week,
do you hear what I’m saying?
Those are the seven days of the week,
do you have a question?

Monday is the first.
Tuesday is the second.
Wednesday is the third.
Thursday is the fourth day of the week.
Friday is the fifth.
Saturday is the sixth.
Sunday is the seventh.
And then it starts from the beginning.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

VIDEOS:

If that seems like too much for students to handle, or if time is short, here is a much simpler recitation of the days of the week to the music of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

What materials do you use to teach the Germany days, months, and seasons?

4 comments on “Teaching German days, months, and seasons
  1. Jeannette Edwards says:

    Herzlichen Dank. Die Lieder sind sehr hilfsreich.

  2. hol midd says:

    cool vids really help my students

  3. Rajiv says:

    All the videos are very nice and the app or teaching through technology is best as well as excellent

  4. Rajiv kumar says:

    What I can say that is the app or teaching is the beeeeeeesssssstttt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*