Aug 31, 2010

German Pronunciation Rules

Writing system

German is written using the Latin alphabet. In addition to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowels with Umlaut, namely ä, ö and ü, as well as a special symbol for "ss", which is only used after long vowels or diphthongs, the Eszett (ß).



a: ah as in the a in father
e: a sort of cross between the English short e and the English long a
i: a sort of cross between the English short i and the English long e
o: the English long o
u: the Englihs long u (as in the oo in root)

b:same as English
c:English hard c
d:same as English
f:same as English
g:English hard g
h:is sounded (like the h in hat)
j:like the y in yet
k:same as English
l:same as English
m:same as English
n:same as English
p:same as English
r:same as English
s:same as English
t:same as English
v:like the f in fat
w:like the v in vest
x:same as English
y:same as English
z:the ts sound

Special Letter:
ä: a cross between the English a in cat and the English a in mat
ö: sort of like the ir in stir, but not exactly
ü:a cross between the short i and short u. Difficult to explain
ß:Like the s in sat

Vowel combonations:
ai:like the y in my
au:like the ow in cow
äu:like the oy in employ
ei:like the y in by
ie:like the e in me

Consonant combonation:
st:when at the begining of the word, sht
ch:sort of like the ch in the Scottish word loch

qu [kv]


* b = [ p ] at the end of a syllable or before s or t, [ b ] before a vowel
* ch = [ χ ] after a, o or u, [ k ] when followed by a, o or u at the beginning of a word, [ ç ] elsewhere
* d = [ t ] at end of a syllable or before s or t, [ d ] before a vowel
* e = [ ə ] in unaccented syllables
* g = [ k ] at end of a syllable or before s or t, [ g ] before a vowel, [ ʒ ] in some loanwords, ig = [ iç ]
* h when appearing after a vowel, makes the vowel long, [ h ] elsewhere
* j = [ ʒ ] in loan words, [ j ] elsewhere
* r = [ɐ], e.g. fort [fɔɐt] or silent, e.g. Haar [haː], between a vowel and a consonant, [ʁ] or [ʀ] elsewhere
* s = [ z ] between vowels, [ ʃ ] before t or p at the beginning of words and [ s ] elsewhere
* v = [ v ] in loan words
* y = [ y ] in words derived from Greek, [ i ] or [ j ] elsewhere
* dsch, ph, qu and y only appear in loan words


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