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Lesson 1: Getting Started

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The German alphabet

Knowing the German alphabet will be useful for you to learn pronouncing German words. German uses the same 26 letters as English plus four more. See whether you can locate these four letters in the German alphabet. Which letter does each of the new letters follow?

A'a'K'kah'T'te'
Ä'ae'L'ell'U'u'
B'be'M'emm'Ü'ue'
C'tse'N'enn'V'fau'
D'de'O'o'W'veh'
E'e'Ö'oe'X'iks'
F'eff'P'pe'Y'ypsilon'
G'ge'Q'qu'Z'tset'
H'haa'R'er'
I'i (ee)'S'ess'
J'jot'ß'ess-tset'


The four letters in German that do not exist in English are ä (ae), ö (oe), ü (ue) and ß (ess-tset).
German words may begin with ä, ö or ü, but never with ß. Therefore the ß-letter does not exist as an upper case letter, whereas we have Ä, Ö and Ü.
In German dictionaries, ß immediately follows s, whereas ä, ö and ü are treated as 'ae', 'oe' and 'ue', respectively. If someone does not have her/his keyboard set up for the German alphabet, the following replacements are commonly accepted:
ä = ae
ö = oe
ü = ue
ß = ss
You will learn later how to pronounce these letters and all others in German. For now, simply treat these new letters as derivatives of a, o, u and s, respectively.

Exercise
You are on a vacation in Austria and have to go to the eye doctor. How would you read the letters on his chart?

move mouse over ?-fields
for correct answers
A
?
K
?
L
?
F
?
Ü
?
Y
?
Z
?
S
?
D
?


Exercise
Help the following foreigners in Germany spell their names using the German alphabet:

Example:
Lucy
ell u tse ypsilon

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for correct answers
Dave
?
Roberto
?
Henry
?
Lisa
?
Michael
?



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