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Lesson 1: Getting Started

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German Pronunciation (I)

When you study German pronunciation on this page, each sound is associated with a letter or a letter-combination, some examples of English words that have this sound, and then some German words plus sound-examples.

Vowels:
Note: The umlauts (ä, ö and ü) are particularly difficult to master. Listen carefully to the sound examples and always repeat after every single one.

sound/ letter: German ExamplesEnglish Examples
long a
Rad
,
fahren
master (brit.), after (brit.)
short a
lachen
,
Kamm
cup, buck
long ä
Käse
,
ähnlich
non-existent
in
  English
short ä
härter
,
lächeln
letter, fresh
long e
Feder
,
lesen
non-existent
in
  English
short eWetter,
gelb
lettuce, yellow
long i
Igel
,
ihnen
eel, Steven
short i
innen
,
schwimmen
inner, swimming
long o
Sofa
,
Los
close to: owl, goal
short o
Gott
,
Topf
opera, pot
long ö
lösen
,
böse
close to: fern, nerd
short ö
Börse
,
gönnen
non-existent
in
  English
long uSchule,
Krug
school, fool
short u
Luft
,
Bus
non-existent
in
  English
long ü
Güte
,
lügen
non-existent
in
  English
short ü
schütten
,
lüften
non-existent
in
  English

Consonants:

sound/ letter: German ExamplesEnglish examples
c
Centrum
,
Computer
center, computer
g
Griff
,
geben
grip, give
h
helfen
,
Hand
help, hand
j
Jahr
,
jung
year, young
r
Rathaus
,
rechts
,
richtig
non-existent
in
  English
s
sicher
,
Neuseeland
zebra, New Zealand
ß
Fuß
,
Straße

Switzerland: use ss instead of ß
sweet, kiss
vVater,
Vogel
father, feather
w
wenn
,
Wasser
vase, vast
z
Zebra
,
Zar
tsar


  1. We produce the r in German by using our throat and creating some sort of gurgling sound. The r is probably the most difficult sound for native English speakers to master. Don't be afraid though to simply pronounce it your way. By the way: There are big differences in the way, the r is pronounced throughout the German speaking world. For example in Switzerland and parts of southern Germany, the r is rolled like in Spanish or Italian.
  2. The ß in German is like an s or ss in English.



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pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12        vocabularies       Exercises [A] [B] [C] [D]

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      Epilogue I
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