German Phonetic Alphabet. To avoid mistakes, you can use the phonetic alphabet: Any student of German should learn the sounds associated with certain spellings as soon as possible. The diphthong au in German always has the sound OW, as in English “ouch." A – Anton Ä – Ärger B – Berta C – Cäsar Ch (arlotte) D – Dora E – Emil F – Friedrich G – Gustav H – Heinrich German is a much more phonetically consistent language than English. Here are some common German words that will give examples of how the letters of the German alphabet are pronounced: A - der Apparat, der Vater, ab, aktiv, alles, Ä - der Bär, der Jäger, die Fähre, die Ärzte, mächtig, C - der Computer, die City, das Café, C-Dur, die CD, D - durch, dunkel, das Ende, der Freund, das Land, F - faul, Freunde, der Feind, das Fenster, der Fluss, G - gleich, das Gehirn, gegeben, gern, das Image, H - haben, die Hand, gehen (silent h), (G - das Glas, das Gewicht), I - der Igel, immer, der Fisch, innerhalb, gibt, J - das Jahr, jung, jemand, der Joker, das Juwel, K - kennen, der Koffer, der Spuk, die Lok, das Kilo, L - langsam, die Leute, Griechenland, malen, locker, M - mein, der Mann, die Lampe, Minuten, mal, N - nein, die Nacht, die Nase, die Nuss, niemals, O - das Ohr, die Oper, oft, das Obst, das Formular, Ö - Österreich, öfters, schön, die Höhe, höchstens, P - das Papier, positiv, der PC, der Papst, pur, R - das Rathaus, rechts, unter, rund, die Reederei, S - die Sache, so, das Salz, seit, der September, ß/ss - groß, die Straße, muss, das, Wasser, dass, T - der Tag, täglich, das Tier, die Tat, die Rente, U - die U-Bahn, unser, der Rubel, um, der Jupiter, Ü - über, die Tür, schwül, Düsseldorf, drücken, V - der Vetter, vier, die Vase, aktiv, Nerven, W - wenn, die Woche, Treptow (silent w), das Wetter, wer, Y - der Yen, der Typ, typisch, das System, die Hypothek, Z - zahlen, die Pizza, die Zeit, zwei, der Kranz. Even today the words used can vary from country to country in the German-speaking region. German vowel pronunciation a a stressed before one cons. This site was created by the English Department of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in collaboration with the Kennedy Library Multimedia Staff. For example, the K word is Konrad in Austria, Kaufmann in Germany, and Kaiser in Switzerland. An example of this would be st, a very common combination of the consonants s and t, found in many German words. Phonetic Alphabet used in German Language. In addition, the fact that English and German words are often identical or very similar in spelling can lead to pronunciation errors. It is helpful to know, for instance, what diphthongs and paired consonants are. (e.g., the German ei — as in nein — spelling is always sounded out EYE, whereas German ie — as in Sie — always has the ee sound.). This means that German words almost always sound the way they are spelled — with consistent sounds for any given spelling. Get it by clicking on the button below. In German, the rare exceptions are usually foreign words from English, French, or other languages. Here is a post to help you learn the phonetic alphabet in German and also a bit about the history of it. This site is organized into three areas: consonants,vowels and diphthongs. In English, to make the pronunciation and spelling of a word clear, we say "B as in burger" but in German they use names to spell and those names are fixed. A – Anton Ä – Ärger B – Berta C – Cäsar Ch (arlotte) D – Dora E – Emil F – Friedrich G – Gustav H – Heinrich Phonetic Alphabet used in German Language. Each area contains a GPA chart for both sound areas. When it precedes a vowel (Hund), the h is pronounced. The German alphabet is very similar to that of English but it has four letters that English does not have: ä, ö, ü and ß. Here are more examples of paired consonants: Once you've mastered diphthongs and grouped consonants, the next item to concentrate on is how to pronounce other letters and letter combinations found within German words. NOTE: This was originally published on Michael Dorosh's LANDSER website, and with his permission, it is being republished here. An example would be the au combination. The phonetic alphabet Sometimes you have to spell out your name or address, or the person you are speaking to spells something out to you. In order to view some of the animations and sounds found in this web site you will need the following plugin. While diphthongs are always vowel pairs, German also has many common grouped or paired consonants that have a consistent pronunciation as well. The alphabet. *When h follows a vowel, it is silent. Over the years some of the words used for the German phonetic spelling code have changed. **In some foreign, non-Germanic words with v, the v is pronounced as in English: Vase (VAH-suh),  Villa (VILL-ah). ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. maximal aa (generally found stressed) Saal ah (generally found … (e.g., the German ei — as in nein — spelling is always sounded out EYE, whereas German ie — as in Sie — always has the ee sound.) Knowing them, you should be able to correctly pronounce even German words you have never seen before. Opposite is the phonetic pronunciation of the letters of the German alphabet plus the corresponding name. This site is intended for users interested in learning more about German phonetics. Now that you know how to pronounce the letters of the alphabet in German, let's talk about some terminology. The au is also part of the German word autsch, which is pronounced almost the same as “ouch” in English. ", M.A., German as a Foreign Language, Technical University of Berlin, M.A., Turkology Humanities, Freie Universität of Berlin. Michael Schmitz is the author of How to Learn German Faster and the creator of smarterGerman, an online language learning program. A diphthong (Greek di, two + phthongos, sound, voice) is a combination of two vowels that blend and are sounded together. Instead of being pronounced separately, the two letters have one sound or pronunciation. But most of the time the words used for spelling German are the same. In standard German, the st combination at the beginning of a word is always pronounced like scht and not like the st found in English “stay” or “stone.” So a German word such as Stein (stone, rock) is pronounced schtine, with an initial sch-sound, as in “show.”. To avoid mistakes, you can use the phonetic alphabet: Real Audio is a free plugin available for both Windows and Macintosh systems. There are different names for the phonetic alphabet in Germany. 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