personalized lessons. An example of this is the letter “d”. Note that each rule has audio so you can practice as you go along. The double dots above vowels are called umlauts. Just remember that that pronunciation changes a bit when any of these letters are paired! In German pronunciation, the letter “l” is always produced clearly, whereas in English, it is glossed over in some cases. Germans also have a few vowels that we don’t have in English: ä, ö, and ü. This means the vowel is pronounced longer and louder if it is stressed. However, there’s no need to panic, as it’s only a matter of time and practice until you learn how to speak German. Let’s get started with learning German pronunciation! Learning online has the convenience of flexibility and privacy as well as learning at your own pace, but can also be unsuitable for those who need motivation and prefer traditional methods of study. (ikh At the beginning of words, and when in the middle, it is pronounced as “d”, but when it is the last letter of a word, it is pronounced as a “t”. It just takes practice and a keen ear when listening to German. This is probably because the German letter “s” can vary in the two sounds it represents. used as a real question, guaranteed, ), Kann hier jemand Englisch? See examples below: Whenever the letter “s” occurs at the end of a German word (or after the last vowel within that word), it is pronounced as in the English “s”. There is also a character in German which does not appear in English. A list of Basic German words and phrases translated into English. 3. An example would be the au combination. 2. Although it may come naturally to a native speaker of English, some students experience difficulty with German word stress. The sounds “st” and “sp” however, are pronounced as “scht” and “schp”. Learning the proper pronunciation of the German alphabet can often feel like an overwhelming task. Sign up for a free account at GermanPod101.com, Grüß Gott! nikht), Wo ist die Toilette, bitte? Some letter combinations are pronounced almost as they are in English, but with a slightly different emphasis. Learning German is useful for those who are travelling to Germany for business or pleasure and wish to communicate using the native language, or those who just wish to learn for pleasure. Careful: English speakers tend to confuse the diphthong EI (pronounced “eye”) with IE (pronounced “ee”). The letter combinations “chs” is pronounced as “ks” whereas “ck” is pronounced as “k”. Another example is the letter “l”. / vee HIGH-sen zee? (ikh fur-SHTAY-uh dahs One final note: this symbol is often found in old German words rather than recent neologisms. Required fields are marked *. The actual name of the letter is the “eszet”. If you still feel uncomfortable with it and would like to be sure that you are pronouncing some German work correctly, feel free to use these free online dictionaries with pronunciation. (kahn heer YEH-mahnd Bis das nächste Mal! Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today! If you are speaking a southern dialect, then it is more like ish. The very first German pronunciation hurdle that I help most of my students overcome is learning German vowels. Instead of being pronounced separately, the two letters have one sound or pronunciation. All you have to do is to find the word and click on the speaker icon. (I hope you learned a lot! / Sehr angenehm. German pronunciation of consonants and their various combinations is equally tricky and can catch out unwary students. Ö – in “böse” is long and pronounced as “burn” but in ” Öffnung” is short. There is no equivalent sound in English. To make learning how to speak German easier, we’ve summarized the five basic rules of German pronunciation. There are also letter combinations which are not generally used in English and this can make German pronunciation difficult unless you have had practice in both listening to and speaking with a native speaker. There is actually no true English equivalent to this sound either. ), Nett, Sie kennen zu lernen. The German language might be famous for its exceedingly long compound words, but it’s also famous for its charming sounds and weird symbols. (gruus got) (formal, literally: The diphthong au in German always has the sound OW, as in English “ouch." To introduce you to German sounds, Jens invented a game. Wie geht's? In the words “sammeln”, or “Kartoffeln” many students are tempted to pronounce it “sammen” or “Kartoffen” but the “l” sound should be pronounced in both cases. EI, AI, AY, EYare all pronounced like the English word “eye” or the Y in “by” or “my” or the i in “dine” or “mine”. When you know how each letter is pronounced, things get a lot easier. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. ENG-lish? Ich is not actually pronounced ikh, unless you are speaking a northern dialect of German. (voh ist dee twah-LET-uh, Start by listening to each of the letters and following along with the table below: Although German has a lot of words and sounds in common with English, and the two languages have a history of ‘borrowing’ words from each other, German pronunciation is vastly different from that of English and that is why it is better to learn German from a native speaker than studying alone. In German pronunciation, “Stein” wound be pronounced “schtein” and “Spiel” would be pronounced “schpiel”. (zayr AHN-geh-naym), Servus! It might seem a little intimidating to speak German, especially if you're new to the language. Wie heißt du? doo / shprekhen zee ENG-lish? U- in “Hund” is short as in “bun” but in “Stuhl” is pronounced as”oo”. (shprikhst Mastering a German accent can be difficult. Find Private Teaching Jobs on TakeLessons. Those were the basic rules of German pronunciation. See examples below: This is one easy correction you can make to your German pronunciation to develop a good, understandable German accent. (ZEHR-foos) (to a friend / informal Ü – is long in words such as “Grün” but short in words such as “Stück”. We match you with expert teachers in over 300 subjects so that you can learn something new through 100% kahn nikht zo goot doytsh [shprekhen]), Sprichst du / Sprechen Sie englisch? When you know how each letter is pronounced, things get a lot easier. German Language Tutorial includes a vocabulary and grammar review of the German language, with German realia photos taken in Germany and Austria so you can see how the language is used in real life. Although German has a lot of words and sounds in common with English, and the two languages have a history of ‘borrowing’ words from each other, German pronunciation is vastly different from that of English and that is why it is better to learn German from a native speaker than studying alone. Until next time…). The Basics Of German Pronunciation The German Alphabet. If you do this, you will automatically make the sound “ch”. (SEHR-voos) (to a friend / informal (vee highst doo? In standard German, it is somewhere between ish and ikh. Each word’s stress is enclosed in parentheses: Although the symbol, “ß”, was derived from the Greek alphabet, Germany adopted it to represent the English “s” sound. BIT-tuh? Although it may come naturally to … Your email address will not be published. The Basics Of German Pronunciation The German Alphabet. German diphthongs are usually shorter and tenser (less glide) than English diphthongs. As you listen to the examples below, please take extra time to practice the sounds that do not have an English equivalent. / Wie heißen Sie? They change the sound of the vowel to something that sounds like you’re getting dental work done while trying to speak For example, the “sch” sound is pronounced as “sh” in “show”, but in German pronunciation, the lips are more rounded and protrude slightly to give the emphasis. Double “s” at the end or in the middle of a word is written as “ß” but pronounced “ss” when used after a long vowel or after some vowel combinations. Some people struggle with large classes and learning at an imposed pace, while others thrive on it. There are many different vowel sounds in the German language, and pronunciation depends not only on the vowel combination, but where in the word it is situated, and whether it has an umlaut or other accent. When compared to French or Italian, which are very soft languages, German sounds angry unless pronounced correctly. The easiest and best place to start mastering German pronunciation is with the German alphabet. Here are some audio clips of myself pronouncing each German vowel belonging to the sound inventory of Modern Standard German. ), Ich verstehe das nicht. The German alphabet has all the letters that English does — 26 of ’em — plus four special letters: ä, ö, ü, and ß. The easiest and best place to start mastering German pronunciation is with the German alphabet. There are many subtle differences in how words are pronounced and an umlaut or a letter combination can change the meaning of a word completely. German people will be understanding if you're struggling to get your message across or catch what they say. With students at the centre, our mission is to empower even the busiest people to master a language and unlock their potential – anytime, anywhere, LAST CHANCE: SAVE 30% ON MARATHON COURSES! | , © Copyright 2020 Lingoda - All Rights Reserved, A – in “Bad” is short as in the English “had” but in “Jahr” it is long as in “car”, E- in “Wenn” is short as in “hen”, but in “Sehr”, is long as the “ai” sound in “fair”, I -in “Ich” is short as in “brick but in “Iris” is long as in the “ee” sound in “me”, O – in “Gott” is short as in “hot” but in “Rot” is pronounced as the u in “hurt”.
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