I am learning German now, I just learned how to say "where do you come from?" in German. I can say "I come from Beijing, China" in English, and I may say "Ich komme aus Beijing. Ich komme aus China." So, can I say "Ich komme aus Beijing, China." in German? Thanks in advance!

3 Answers 3


From my point of view, that is not a phrase people say in german. There are two ways to tell where you come from:

  • You just either tell them the city (if you expect them to know it because of its size or importance). They will hopefully know the country from that without you mentioning it.
  • You tell them only the country, because they cannot use the information about the town or city anyway (because they never heard of it)

In my opinion, it is perfectly fine to omit some of the information. If your conversation partner wants to know more, there is nothing wrong with requiring a second question.

  • 1
    I disagree in one point. Namely, it's common to say "Beijing, China".
    – Em1
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 16:15
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    I would really like to know what is wrong with saying Ich komme aus Beijing, China? Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 17:18
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    Nothing is wrong with it, it's just not used. So, if someone uses it, than it sounds weird to mother tongue speakers. And sometimes, one doesn't want to sound weird.
    – Toscho
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 18:29
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    @user unknown Der wurde in englischer Sprache gedreht und spielt denke ich mal in Amerika -- das ist nun wirklich kein Hinweis darauf, wie man in Deutschland spricht ...
    – Timbo
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 7:11
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    Stell dir einfach mal vor: Auf einer Insel im Pazifik ist die verbreitete Formulierung der Beschreibung der Herkunft das zweimalige Sagen des Ortsnamen, gefolgt von einem Schrei und danach sagen die Bewohner ganz leise das Land. Man KANN sowas sicherlich auch auf deutsch machen, nur stündest du damit ziemlich alleine da ...
    – Timbo
    Commented Jun 8, 2013 at 17:31

Ich komme aus Beijing in China.

A lot of people will understand the word 'Peking' (incorrectly pronounced [ˈpeːkiŋ] in German) more instantly, which sounds a little naff to people who have been exposed to matters regarding China a bit more, but it was quite normal even among these just 10 to 15 years ago, and it is still widely used in the media.

BTW, I believe you can phrase it this way in English as well: "I come from Beijing in China." The city+comma+state form seems more typical e.g. for people within North America who would say/write something like "I'm from Paris, Texas." (I still have to watch that Wim Wenders movie…) But on the international level there is nothing wrong using 'in'. (Well, except in forms and tabular CVs, where "City, Country" is probably the standard anywhere.)

  • @Takkat: You're right. (I've been exposed to China-related things a bit more, so I might be slightly biased.) 'Beijing' is mostly used in the media when citing international names of Chinese organisations, firms, etc. 'Peking' is easier for us westerners to pronounce, albeit the wrong way. 'Beijing' is the emerging form since 'Mandarin' Chinese along with the Pinyin transcription system has been spreading for some time, internationally and certainly here in Germany where Pinyin is the standard in teaching Chinese. – I'm going to revise my answer.
    – TehMacDawg
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 19:09
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    @TehMacDawg: What's wrong with the pronunciation [ˈpeːkiŋ]? I'd say that this is the correct pronunciation in Germany! Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 19:40
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    It's because of that (IMHO strange) trend that people think one has to pronounce cities as they are pronounced in that country. Try to tell an American that he should not say "Munich" but "München", I don't think you'd be very successful. But in Germany we now are supposed to use names for Chinese cities that are written to give a pronounciation close to the Chinese one when spoken with English pronounciation rules.
    – celtschk
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 19:01
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    @celtschk: Strange to say that this depends on the city. Nobody would pronounce "Paris" like [paˈʁi] or "London" as [ˈlʌndən] in Germany.
    – Chris
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 23:37
  • @celtschk: I think it's not at all a strange trend, but rather a very reasonable one, given that it can hardly be useful to create n * m words (n = language count, m = city count), and at the same time even reduce chances for communication across languages by removing some of the only mutual points of reference that speakers of two different languages might have. That notwithstanding, certain words have become widespread for cities that already used to be relatively significant in past times, and while I suppose those will gradually be phased out over the next few centuries, they are ... Commented May 23, 2015 at 12:32

In case we do not only want to tell people the country where we come from but also the city where we live we would put it similar to this:

Ich komme aus China. Dort lebe ich in Peking.
Ich bin Chinese und wohne in Peking.
Ich stamme aus China und lebe in Peking.

As always there are many more variants to this. All is in common that we put the extra information in a separate sentence or in a subordinate clause introduced with a conjunction.

In written German it is also possible to put the country a city is in separated by a comma:

Ich wohne in Langfang, China.

Most people in Germany will know Beijing from its German name "Peking". Everybody will know that it is the capital of China so there is no need for further explanations. "Beijing" on the other hand is not widely used. Most Germans will not even be able to spell it.

  • 'Beijing' like /bɛi.dʒiŋ/ (don't know the IPA for tonal notation, which is crucial in spoken Chinese.)
    – TehMacDawg
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 20:29
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    My preferred way to say both the country and the city would be: Ich komme aus China, aus Peking.
    – chirlu
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 20:44
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    Your answer sounds more reasonable, I'll also write it to my notes. Thanks! Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 9:06

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