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Grammar
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German Grammar
Pronunciation
German - Pronunciation

LetterNameSampaIpaEnglish EquivalentExamples
A aa[a]
[a:]
/a/
central open vowel
/a:/
long central open vowel
• as a in English "father"
• as a in English "bar".
Hand, Mann
Jahr, Bahn
 ☛
Bank
Sack

klar
Glas
Haar
Aal
B bbe[b]
[p]
/b/
voiced bilabial plosive
/p/
voiceless bilabial plosive
• as b in English "boat"
• at end of word, as p in English "pot"
Liebe, Baum
taub, Lob
 ☛
Berg
Robben
Boot
Bank

gab
kalb
D dde[d]
[t]
/d/
voiced alveolar plosive
/t/
voiceless alveolar plosive
• as d in English "dance", "dig"
• at end of word, as t in English "table"
Bruder, Mode
Lied, Rad
 ☛
deutsch
Dusche
Lieder
wieder

Bad
Tod
E ee[E]
[e:]
/ɛ/
open-mid front unrounded vowel
/e:/
long close-mid front unrounded vowel
• as e in English "met"
• as ay in English "day""
wenn, Dreck
sehr, Meer
 ☛
Fell
fett
echt
Nest

Beet
mehr
Teer
Gel
F fef[f]
/f/
voiceless labiodental fricative
• as f in English "fool", "five"
Familie, Einkauf
 ☛
kaufen
Fernseher
F
Prüfung
Fahrrad
fünf
G gge[g]
[k]
/g/
voiced velar plosive
/k/
voiceless velar plosive
• as g in English "go", "game"
• at end of word, as k in English "creek"
gestern, Auge
klug, Katalog
 ☛
gut
Fliege
ganz
Gold

Sieg
Zug
Krieg
H hha[h]
[:]
/h/
voiceless glottal fricative
/:/
long
• at the start of a word, as h in English "house"
• when preceded by vowel, silent
Haupt, Haus
stehen, gehen
 ☛
Bahnhof
hier
Heim
Hochhaus

fahren
Lehrer
I ii[I]
[i:]
/ɪ/
near-close near-front unrounded vowel
/i:/
long close front unrounded vowel
• as i in English "bit" "lip"
• as ee in English "bee", ea in English "team"
ich, Winter
ihnen, politisch
 ☛
Irland
Fisch
immer
sitzen

irisch
Igel
Linie
ihr
L lel[l]
/l/
alveolar lateral approximant
• as l in English "lamb"
subtil, Apfel
 ☛
Fräulein
Polen
Teil
Unheil
M mem[m]
/m/
bilabial nasal
• as m in English "money", "mouse"
Mann, Zimmer
 ☛
Maus
Musik
Riemen
mehr
Minute
kommen
N nen[n]
/n/
alveolar nasal
• as n in English "net", "nap"
Nacht, Miene
 ☛
Nase
Nebel
neu
Tunnel
schön
braun
O oo[O]
[o:]
/ɔ/
open-mid back rounded vowel
/o:/
long close-mid back rounded vowel
• as o in English "off" "not"
• as o in English "so", "go"
Sonne, Gott
Rose, froh
 ☛
von
Dorf

Boot
so
groß
rot
P ppe[p]
/p/
voiceless bilabial plosive
• as p in English "pot"
Park, kaputt
 ☛
Pause
Pullover
Mopp
Post
Person
Galopp
Q qku[kv]
/kv/
• always followed by u and sounds like k+v
Quittung, Quiz
 ☛
Quelle
quer

Qualität
quietschen
R rer[R\]
[R]
[6]
/ʀ/
uvular trill
/ʁ/
voiced uvular fricative
/ɐ/
near-open central vowel
• as r in English "rubber" with a slight trill and like a strong, rasping h
• most common at the end of a word, open, as a in English "Buddha"
rot, Rad
Bruder, erlauben
 ☛
gerade
rechts
Herr
Geschirr
Regen
ren

Schwester
Mutter
führte
Vater
S ses[z]
[s]
[S]
/z/
voiced alveolar fricative
/s/
voiceless alveolar fricative
/ʃ/
voiceless postalveolar fricative
• at the start of a word, as z in English "zoo"
• inside or end of a word, as s in English "seem"
• in consonant clusters st, sp, and str, as sh in English "ship"
Seile, sinken
Reise, Glas
Straße, Hauptstraße
 ☛
sang
Sumpf

Reis
Lose
Preise
Preis

Stein
Ballspiel
Stadt
Profisport
T tte[t]
/t/
voiceless alveolar plosive
• as t in English "table"
Tag, rot
 ☛
tausend
gut
Telefon
Pate
Tier
Tomate
U uu[U]
[u:]
/ʊ/
near-close near-back rounded vowel
/u:/
long close back rounded vowel
• as oo in English "foot"
• as oo in English "hoot", "boot"
Hund, Wunsch
Tuch, Uwe
 ☛
Butter
Pult

Stuhl
Grube
Ute
Uhr
V vvau[f]
[v]
/f/
voiceless labiodental fricative
/v/
voiced labiodental fricative
• as f in English "fool"
• when in foreign words, as v in English "vain"
viel, Vogel
Klavier, Vase
 ☛
vier
Viertel
von
Vater

November
Universität
privat
Verb
Z zzet[ts]
/ts/
voiceless alveolar affricate
• as ts in English "nuts"
zwei, plötzlich
 ☛
Salz
Zug
Zimmer
Dutzend
Ziel
hetzen
 Other Letters
J jjot[j]
[Z]
/j/
palatal approximant
/ʒ/
voiced postalveolar fricative
• as y in English "yes", "yellow"
• in adopted words, as s in English "pleasure"
ja, Boje
Job, joggen
 ☛
Majonäse
jung
jetzt
Jacke

Jazz
Jumper
Jet
Jeep
K kka[k]
/k/
voiceless velar plosive
• as k in English "cook"
Socke, kalt
 ☛
Paket
Kaffee
Kino
kommen
W wwe[v]
/v/
voiced labiodental fricative
• as v in English "vest"
Wagen, Wasser
 ☛
Schweden
Winter
wunderbar
zwei
Y yüpsilon[j]
[i]
[y]
/j/
palatal approximant
/i/
close front unrounded vowel
/y/
close front rounded vowel
• Used normally in foreign words. At beginning or end, as y in English "yes"
• as e in English "be"
• in words from Greek, as oo in English "boot"
Hobby, Yoga
typisch, Physik
 ☛
Party
Handy

Gymnasium
Pyramide
Rhythmus
Hymne
 Special Sounds
ch
• When word beginning or followed by s, as k in English "keep"
• Guttural aspiration, stronger if preceded by a,o,u, lighter with e, i, ö, ü
Schere, Schottland
ach, Bach
 ☛
Schaf
Schiff

Krach
che
Loch
Storch
ig
• Same pronunciation of "ch" (see above); usually occurred as word ending
richtig, Honig
 ☛
lustig
traurig
eilig
fertig
sch
• as sh in English "shoe"
Geschäftsmann, Fleischer
 ☛
Kirschen
Muschel
Schnupfen
Anschluss
tsch
• as ch in English "chain"
Deutschland, Botschaft
sp
• when word beginning, as sh in English "shoe" followed by p in English "pot"
• as sp in English "sport" in other cases
Wespe, Knospe
Sport, Speisekarte
 ☛
Fernsprecher
Schauspieler

Spiel
Sparkasse
st
• when word beginning, like sh in English "shoe" followed by t in English "top"
• as st in English "stay" in other cases
Straße, Stein
Donnerstag, Gast
 ☛
Stadt
Stoff

Liste
Husten
tz
• as ts in English "nuts"
tze, Katze
 ☛
Besatzung
achtzehn
achtzig
Sitz
dt
• like a double t
Stadt, Handtuch
 ☛
Handtasche
ß
• like a double s
Großvater, groß
 ☛
beißen
Großmutter
Großbritannien
Straße
 Vowels and Dipthongs
ie
• when stressed on i, as ea in English "bean"
• ike ye in English "yet" when i is not stressed
Wien, fließt
 ☛
Lieder
Stiel
ei
• as ai in English "aisle"
Teil, breit
 ☛
frei
Rhein
heil
dreist
Kreis
weit
ai
• as ai in English "aisle"
Main, Saite
 ☛
Mai
Mais
Taille
äu
• as oi in English "oil"
Fräulein, Räuber
 ☛
Häuser
Bräuche
eu
• as oi in English "oil"
treu, Freude
 ☛
scheu
neu
au
• as ow in English "now"
braun, Zaun
 ☛
auch
Haus
laut
Traum
ä
• as e in English "get"
Mädchen, wählen
 ☛
kläglich
Währung
ö
• like pronouncing e with rounded lips
Flöte, blöd
 ☛
böse
stöhnen
Löhne
Kröte
ü
• like pronouncing i with rounded lips
früh, Tür
 ☛
grün
über
Bühne
Lüge
Notes:
  • Double vowels (aa, ee, uu) are pronounced as only one long vowel.

Stress

  • In the German writing, no word bears an accent mark

  • Compound words are generally stressed on the root-syllable:
    Krank = ill enkrànken = to fall ill Krànkheit = illness
    Fisch = fish fìschen = to fish Fìscher = fishes

  • Long compound words are generally stressed on the first word:
    Krànkenhaus = hospital
    Vàterlandsliebe = love for one's country

  • Compound verbs with separable prefixes are stressed on the prefix:
    gèhen = to go àus-gehen = to go out
    màchen = to make àuf-machen = to open

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