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The German Consonant 'q' Includes sound files!

As in English, the German consonant 'q' is always followed by the letter 'u' when it is written. It is pronounced however in a very different manner. It should be spoken as a 'kv' sound, which is only familiar to us from words such as 'kvetch', which is itself a loan word from Yiddish.

Click here to listen to the soundsClick either here or on the sound icon on the left to hear a native speaker pronounce six German words beginning with the letter 'q'. The words themselves are given in the box below along with an English translation:

(to squeak)

In a small number of words imported from French, such as Boutique, the letter 'q' is spoken as a /k/ phoneme if the letter occurs in medial and final position. But these words are very much the exceptions. The 'kv' sound is found in medial position in most other imported words - e.g. in the German word Aquarium.

Weiter! How to pronounce the German consonant 'r'

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