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If someone asks welchen Wochentag haben wir heute? (“which day of the week do we have today?”), what do you answer? The days of the week are probably one of the first things you learn not just in German but in any language. As a toddler, you probably started with “mom”, “dad”, “hello”, “thank you”, then you probably advanced to counting, colors and, naturally, the days of the week. So, if you are on your way to German fluency, the days of the week in German are surely a good starting point.
If you think about it, the Tage (days) of the Woche (week) is one of the most basic and important language lessons. Simply knowing these seven short words will help you set up meetings, dates and create a weekly agenda that will decide your every social and professional move. After all, our entire life revolves around the concept of time and the many ways we keep track of it: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and so on. So let’s help you get started and see which are the weekdays in German.
The days of the week in German
To go straight to the point, the days of the week in German are:
- Monday – Montag
- Tuesday – Dienstag
- Wednesday – Mittwoch
- Thursday – Donnerstag
- Friday – Freitag
- Saturday – Samstag
- Sunday – Sonntag
Every German weekday (except, of course, Wednesday or Mittwoch) ends with tag which you already know from Guten Tag that it means “day”.
To make German weekdays even easier to remember, let’s get into a little etymology. For example, Montag which is “Monday” in German comes from the German word Mond (“moon”). So Monday in German is literally “moon-day”.
Dienstag (“Tuesday”) on the other hand has connections to the old Germanic god Týr which was the god concerned with the formalities of war (especially treaties) and also of justice. Dienstag was considered Týr’s day which sounds like “Tuesday” because this is actually where “Tuesday” comes from as well. As you already know, English is a Germanic language so there are many similarities between modern-day German and English.
Mittwoch, the only German weekday that doesn’t end in tag, simply means “midweek”.
“Thursday” which is Donnerstag in German literally means “thunder’s day”. The day was originally named after Thor, the super awesome Norse god Marvel made famous. In German-speaking cultures, Thor was known as Donar so this is where Donnerstag comes from. Obviously, the English word “Thursday” comes from “Thor’s day”.
Both Freitag and “Friday” are connected to the goddess Frige (or Frigg in Norse). She was the goddess of motherhood and marriage and her name comes from the verb “fríja” = “to love”.
Saturday is Samstag in German (or Sonnabend “sun-evening” in some parts of northern and western Germany). Samstag originates from the Greek sambaton or older sabbaton which is related to “Sabbath”.
Sonntag (“Sunday”) comes from the German word Sonne (“sun”). So Sonntag and “Sunday” are both literally “the day of the sun” or “sun-day”.
As you can see, the German days of the week are very similar to English, so you shouldn’t have a hard time remembering them. But, if you do, you can always get Mondly, the award-winning language learning app that brings together crystal clear audios recorded by native voice actors, real conversations and practical topics to make German easy to learn.
How to use the German days of the week correctly
If you want to get things even further, here are some basic rules to make sure you’ll use the German days of the week correctly in any situation.
- as opposed to some places where Sunday is considered to be the first day of the week, in German-speaking countries, Montag (“Monday”) is considered to be the first;
- the German days of the week are usually capitalized, but there is also one situation when they are not. When you want to express that something is happening weekly on that particular day, you don’t capitalize, but add an “s” to express the plural: Ich gehe dienstags in die Klasse (“I go to class on Tuesdays”);
- the days of the week are all masculine in German. This means they’ll use the masculine articles der (the) and ein (a);
- use am (“on”) to say that something is happening on a particular day – am Montag (“on Monday”);
- use “von … bis …” to say “from … to …”. For example: Von Mittwoch bis Freitag, bin ich in Paris (“From Wednesday to Friday, I am in Paris”).
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