When I call somebody I know in English, the call typically starts with something like this:

them> Hello?
me> Hi, it's Michael.

How does that exchange go in German? Typically somebody will answer with their name or a simple "Hallo" or "Ja".

For example, if I'm calling my wife's aunt in Germany, somebody I know well, how do I simply identify myself?

me> Hallo Tante Helga, Michael hier.

  • 1
    That's perfectly fine. If Tante Helga is likely to recognize your voice you might also simply say "Hallo ich bin's"...I do that sometimes at least :) – user35915 Dec 17 '15 at 18:16
up vote 7 down vote accepted

There’s plenty of ways introducing oneself on the phone in German. You already showed one.

Hallo Tante Helga, Michael hier. (Michael here)

Hallo Tante Helga, ich bin’s, Michael. (it’s me, Michael)

Hallo Tante Helga, hier ist (der) Michael. (here’s [the] Michael)

That’s rather colloquial, which was what you asked, right? When calling an unfamiliar person, you’d probably go with one of these:

Guten Tag, Michael Schmidt, …

Michael Schmidt, guten Tag, …

If you’re calling on behalf of your company, you’d name it:

IT-Solutions, Michael Schmidt, guten Tag …

Die Firma IT-Solutions in Musterstadt, Michael Schmidt ist mein Name, guten Tag …

Also note that:

  • There’s actually no immediate counterpart for “this is”. You don’t say »es ist Michael« in German.
  • This is about introducing oneself when calling somebody. Answering the phone might be different.
  • Adding an definite article (to note that the caller is “a particular one which is identifiable to the listener”) is common at least in Southern and Western Germany (like »Hier ist die Michaela«).
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    Those are all valid and good, just one thing I noticed, now that I think about it: in a very colloquial context I'd say "Hallo Tante Helga, der Michael hier" etc.. I.e. I'd add the definite article. Otherwise it sounds strange to me. And I think my family/friends do the same. Is that just us? Maybe a regional thing? – user35915 Dec 17 '15 at 18:36
  • Yes, that does sound better to me as well. The article implies that she should know which Michael I am because I am not a stranger. – Michael Oryl Dec 17 '15 at 19:15
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    @user35915: Good point, I think that’s perfectly fine. While it depends what your region is (perhaps we share the same), it’s even usual to say something like »Hier ist der Michael« or ’»Ich bin’s, die Michaela«. – dakab Dec 17 '15 at 19:18
  • My friends and family are all in Munich, so perhaps that's a southern thing? It certainly sounds the norm to me. They would certainly refer to me as Der Michael, and I'd use the same to refer to them as well. – Michael Oryl Dec 17 '15 at 19:32
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    @user35915 see here: german.stackexchange.com/questions/3937/… – Stephie Jan 29 '16 at 11:02

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