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Das Deutsche Alphabet/ The German Alphabet

Aussprache des Aussprache des

Buchstabe/ Buchstabenamens/ Buchstaben - wie in/
Beispiele/ Examples
Letter Pronunciation of letter Sound of Letter - as
name in

Aa ah astronaut der Adler (eagle), Januar (January)

Bb approximate: bay baby der Bruder (brother), aber (but)

der Chor, der Christkindlmarkt

creative, Celcius (soft
(south German term for der
Cc approximate: tsay c sound in German
Weihnachtsmarkt/ Christmas
sounds like ts)
market), Celcius

Dd approximate: day dollar Dienstag (Tuesday), oder (or)

Ee approximate: ay elegant essen (to eat), zuerst (first)

Ff eff effort der Freund (friend), offen (open)

Gg approximate: gay gorgeous gut (good), gemein (mean)

Hh haa hammer der Hammer, dieMühle (mill)

der Igel (porcupine), der Imbiss

Ii eeh Igor
(snack), sieben (seven)

Jj yot yellow das Jahr (year), jeder (each)

Kk kah camel das Kamel, der Kuchen (cake)

Ll ell love die Leute (people), das Land (land)

Mm em man der Mann, die Ameise

Nn en nice nicht (not), die Münze (coin)

Oo oh oven Ostern (Easter),rot (red)

Pp approximate: pay party die Polizei (police), der Apfel

das Quadrat (square), die Quelle

Qq koo coral
Note: All German words start with
qu (kw - sound)

der Rücken (the back), der Stern

Rr approximate: er rich

summen (to hum), schön (pretty,

Ss es zoo, shine, mouse
nice), die Maus

Tt approximate: tay tyrant der Tyrann, acht (eight)

die Universität (university), der

Uu ooh ou sound in you
Mund (mouth)

Vv fow father der Vogel (bird), die Nerven (nerves)

die Wange (cheek), das Schwein
Ww approximate: vay van
(pig, wieviel (how much)

das Xylofon/ Xylophon, die Hexe

Xx ix sounds like kz
Note: There are hardly any German
words that start with X

die Yucca, der Yeti

Yy uep-si-lohn yellow Note: There are hardly any German
words that start with Y.

die Zeitung (newspaper), der

Zz tset sounds like ts
Zigeuner (gypsy)

Umlaut + ß
Aussprache des Buchstaben/ Pronunciation of Letter Beispiele/ Examples

ä sounds similar to the e in melon ähnlich (similar), gähnen (to yawn)

ö sounds similar to the i in girl Österreich (Austria), der Löwe (lion)

ü no equivalent nor approximate sound in English über (over),müde (tired)

ß (esszet) double s sound heiß (hot),die Straße (street)

Double Beispiele / Examples
ai / ei Eye bei (at, near), das Ei (egg), der Mai (May)
au Aw auch (also), das Auge (eye), aus (out of)
eu / äu Oy Häuser (houses), Europa (Europe), neu (new)
bieten (offer), nie (never), Sie (you)
ie Eeh

Grouped Consonants
Buchstabe Aussprache
Beispiele / Examples
Consonant Pronunciation
ck k dick (fat, thick), der Schock (shock)
After a, o, u and au, pronounced like the guttural ch in
Scottish "loch" - das Buch (book), auch (also).
Otherwise it is a palatal sound as in: mich (me), welche
(which), wirklich (really). TIP: If no air is passing over
ch >> your tongue when you say a ch-sound, you aren't saying
it correctly. No true equivalent in English. - Although
ch doesn't usually have a hard k sound, there are
exceptions: Chor, Christoph, Chaos, Orchester,
Wachs (wax)
Both letters are (quickly) pronounced as a combined
pf pf puff-sound: das Pferd (horse), der Pfennig. If this is
difficult for you, an f sound will work, but try to do it!
das Alphabet, phonetisch - Some words formerly
ph f spelled with ph are now spelled with f: das Telefon,
das Foto
qu kv die Qual (anguish, torture), die Quittung (receipt)
schön (pretty), die Schule (school) - The German sch
combination is never split, whereas sh usually is
sch Sh
(Grashalme, Gras/Halme; but die Show, a foreign
At the start of a word, the s in sp/st has a sch sound as
sp / st shp / sht in English "show, she." sprechen (speak), stehen
das Theater (tay-AHTER), das Thema (TAY-muh),
th T topic - Always sounds like a t (TAY). NEVER has the
English th sound!

Letters in Words
Spelling Beispiele / Examples
final b p Lob (LOHP)
final d t Freund (FROYNT), Wald (VALT)
final g k genug (guh-NOOK)
silent h - gehen (GAY-en), sehen (ZAY-en)
When h follows a vowel, it is silent. When it precedes a vowel (Hund), the h is pronounced.
German th t Theorie (TAY-oh-ree)
German v f Vater (FAHT-er)
In some foreign, non-Germanic words with v, the v is pronounced as in English: Vase (VAH-suh), Villa (VILL-
German w v Wunder (VOON-der)
Zeit (TSITE), like ts in "cats"; never like an English
German z ts
soft z (as in "zoo")

Similar Words
Pronunciation Pitfalls
Wort Aussprache
Word Pronunciation
BOM-buh The m, b, and e are all heard
zhuh-NEE The g is soft, like the s sound in "leisure"
Nation The German -tion suffix is pronounced
nation TSEE-ohn
pah-PEER Stress on the last syllable
Pizza The i is a short vowel because of the double
pizza z

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