Formelle v. Informelle, Novice Low/Mid, German

Please Note: Many of the activities on the Pathways Project OER Repository were created by upper-division students at Boise State University and serve as a foundation that our community of practice can build upon and refine. While they are polished, we welcome and encourage collaboration from language instructors to help modify grammar, syntax, and content where needed. Kindly contact with any suggestions and we will update the content in a timely manner.  — The Pathways Project

About the Boise State World Languages Resource Center (WLRC) Language Activity Repository

The activities provided by the Boise State World Languages Resource Center (WLRC) serve as foundational activities which can be adapted by any language and scaled up or down on the proficiency scale. Many of these activities offer an English Version that is “language-agnostic” to provide language instructors from around the country a platform to remix these instructional materials, infusing them with their target language and culture! The activities within the Pathways Project OER Repository seek to help students solidify their interpersonal speaking and interpretive skills through task-based situations or communicative activities. These activities should be facilitated in the target language for approximately 90% (or more), per the recommendation of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

How to use the WLRC Repository’s Activities:

1. Use the Activity as is:

Before you begin:

  • Most activities are 30 minutes in duration, unless otherwise specified.
  • Be sure to read through the activity description, and review the list of required materials. You will notice that the activity materials are also highlighted in yellow throughout the activity instructions.

If you have any suggestions about grammar, syntax, and content, please kindly contact

2. Remix for Your Language Classroom:

When you are ready to begin remixing the activity, in order to adapt it for the needs of your language classroom, simply click the blue “Remix This Resource” button at the top of your screen. This will then take you to a screen with a NEW, editable version of this activity. The text provided in purple is a suggestion of what you might say to your students in the target language, and may be altered for different levels and age groups. All activities have “NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do” statements, a warm-up, a main activity, and a wrap-up.

Many of the activities include printable cards and other instructional materials such as Google Slideshows. If you would like to make changes to these materials for your classroom, follow the instructions below:

  • Google Slideshows:
    • To begin, go to File -> Copy to create an editable version of the slideshow.
    • Once finished with your changes, please complete the following steps to share:
    • Click on Share
    • Who Has Access
    • Ensure link sharing is on and allow external access.
  • Materials Saved as PDF: Please email and we will provide you with an editable copy. Please allow up to two business days for a response. For YouTube videos and other websites, hyperlinks are provided. 

3. Adapt for Another Language:

  • See the linked English Version at the top of the activity (English Version may not be available for all activities)

Formelle v. Informell, (Du, Ihr, Sie) originally created by Laurie


Some students struggle with how to address people with different forms of "you" based on formality and familiarity with the person. This activity allows students to decide how they will talk to someone based on the name tag they have on. The expectation is that they will introduce themselves, then ask one or two simple questions using the correct conjugation and form of address. 

Proficiency Level:

Novice, Low/Mid


Du, Sie, ihr, formal, informal, salutations, greetings, profession, 

NCSSFL-ACTFL World-Readiness Standards:

  • Standard 1.1 Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions
  • Standard 1.2 Students understand and interpret spoken and written language on a variety of topics.
  • Standard 4.1 Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons between German and their own languages.

Idaho State World Language Standards:

  • COMM 1.1: Interact and negotiate meaning (spoken, signed, written conversation) to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions
  • COMM 2.1: Understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.
  • COMP 1.1: Observe formal and informal forms of language 
  • CLTR 1.1: Analyze the cultural practices/patterns of behavior accepted as the societal norm in the target culture.

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can provide information by answering a few simple questions on very familiar topics, using practiced or memorized words and phrases, with the help of gestures or visuals.     
  • I can request and provide information by asking and answering a few simple questions on very familiar and everyday topics, using a mixture of practiced or memorized words, phrases, and simple sentences. 

Materials Needed:

Name Tags

Formelle v Informelle Presentation


1. Begin by introducing the Can-Dos for today’s activity and distributing the Name Tags. Display the Formelle v. Informelle Presentation on the projector. 

“Today, we are going to chat about how to address people formally or informally in German. You will also decide how you should address people according to German language and cultural expectations.”

Heute wir werden darüber sprechen, wie man formell und informell mit Menschen in deutsch umgeht. Sie entscheiden auch, wie Sie die Menschen entsprechend der deutschen Sprache und den kulturellen Erwartungen ansprechen sollen. 

“Each person has a name tag. You must take on the role of that person and your classmates will talk to you in the appropriate manner.”

Jeder menschen hat ein Namensschild. Sie müssen übernimm de Rolle dieser Person und Ihrer Klasserkamaraden werden angemessen mit Ihnen sprechen. 

Main Activity

1. Have each student put their name tag on. 

2. They will introduce themselves to 3 people before switching name tags with a classmate and repeating the activity. Have students switch name tags three times before the end of the activity. 

“Introduce yourself to 3 people. Make sure you introduce yourself in a way that is appropriate to the person’s age, societal role and your relationship to him/her. Ask them a question about themselves. After you talk to three people, switch name tags so you are now playing the role of another person.”

Stell dich Leuten drei vor. Stellen Sie sicher, dass Sie sich in einer Weise vorstellen, die dem Alter, der gesellschaftlichen Rolle und Ihrer Beziehung zu der Person angemessen ist. Stellen sie ihnen einen Frage über sich. Nachdem Sie mit drei Personen gesprochen haben wechseln Sie drei Namensschild, sodass Sie jetzt die Rolle einer anderen Person spielen.  

2. Explain to students an example of what the activity will look like. 

Zum Bespiele du könntest sagen...

"Guten Tag, ich heisse Frau Schmidt. Wie heisst du?"

Und du antwortest mit...

"Ich bin Simon. Woher kommen Sie, Frau Schmidt?"

Wrap-up: (5 Minutes)

3. Once the students have had an opportunity to introduce themselves to most classmates, have them stand and introduce themselves, using their name tag  to the entire classroom. The students can then confirm understanding by saying whether they would use formal or informal language. 

Stelle dich der Klasse vor.  Jeder andere wird sagen, ob er eine formelle oder eine informelle Sprache verwenden solle. 

Zum Bespiele..

"Hallo, ich bin Dr. Oppenheimer. Ich bin 64 Jahre alt."       

Formelle oder informelle?

End of lab:

  1. Read Can-Do statements once more and have students evaluate their confidence. (Use thumbs up/thumbs down or download our student cards.) 

  2. Encourage students to be honest in their self-evaluation.

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can provide information by answering a few simple questions on very familiar topics, using practiced or memorized words and phrases, with the help of gestures or visuals.     
  • I can request and provide information by asking and answering a few simple questions on very familiar and everyday topics, using a mixture of practiced or memorized words, phrases, and simple sentences. 

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