On the basis of 35 qualitative interviews this article focuses on the pronominal and nominal ways pupils and teachers address each other in German primary schools. It shows that the way of addressing each other in West German schools since the 1960s has seen a profound change towards a certain dominance of nonhierachical and nonformal communication that no longer expresses the different social roles. Sometimes school children even address their teachers with a nickname and vice versa. Since the German unification in 1990, the communication style in East Germany seems to be following this trend. Apparently, the institutionally framed communication in German primary schools has opened itself to a certain degree for the general sociocultural tendency towards informalization and individualization which also determines the long term development of other communicative routines in German society.