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A Guide to German Pronunciation Includes sound files!

EszettWelcome to the new location of this online guide to German pronunciation, which I originally developed with support from the University of Exeter. The guide forms part of my Ab Initio German Course and is aimed therefore at beginners and intermediate learners of German rather than advanced students of phonetics. The sounds of German are explained with reference to the letters that students encounter in German words, and although key German phonemes are explained, a knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet is not a prerequsite for reading this guide. Anyone interested in German phonetics should click here for my PowerPoint letter on the phonemes of German or here for the page on German phonetics on my German Dialects linklist.

This pronunciation guide is subdivided into sections on German consonants, German vowels and pronunciation exercises. Clicking on the links in the tables below will take you to pages in which the sounds associated with each letter of the German alphabet are explained, accompanied by sound files to help you practise forming the sounds. Visitors who were familiar with the previous incarnation of this site will note that over a hundred new sound files have now been added to this updated version and that the number of pages on German consonants has been doubled.

The voices that you will hear on this site are those of my colleagues Uta Grimm, Markus Spitz and Barbara Arnold. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support on this project and for their generosity with their time.

As the older version of the site at Exeter has now been removed, please amend your bookmarks for this site to the new URL:

[new url]

German Consonants Includes sound files!

The letter 'b'    The letters 'ch'
'chs' at the start of words    'chs' and 'ck' sounds
The letter 'd'    'd' + another consonant
The letter 'f'    The letter 'g'
'gn' and 'ng' sounds    Loan words containing 'g'
The letter 'h'    The letter 'j'
The letter 'k'    'k' + another consonant
The letter 'l'    The letter 'm'
'm' + another consonant    The letter 'n'
'ng' and 'nk' sounds    The letter 'p'
'p' + another consonant    The 'pf' sound
The letter 'q'    The consonantal 'r'
'r' + another consonant    The vocalic 'r'
The letter 's'    The 'sch' sound
'sp' and 'st' sounds    The letter 't'
't' + another consonant    The letter 'v'
The letter 'w'    The letter 'y'
The letter 'z'

German Vowels  Includes sound files!

Long vowels    Short vowels
Long and short 'a'    Long and short 'ä'
'au', 'äu' and 'eu'    Long and short 'e'
Unstressed '-e' and '-er'    'ei', 'ey', 'ai' and 'ay'
Long and short 'i'    The letters 'ie'
Long and short 'o'    Long and short 'ö'
Long and short 'u'    Long and short 'ü'
The letter 'y'

Pronunciation Exercises Includes sound files!

  Pronunciation exercises
Anglicized German words How to pronounce German words that have made their way into the English language.
Similar words in English and German These words in this exercise may look familiar to us, but are spoken very differently in German.
Anglicized German names How should the names of these famous people from the German-speaking countries actually be pronounced?
German names for cities How do native German speakers refer to the following towns and cities?
German tongue-twisters Listen to and then try to repeat a collection of German tongue-twisters.
  Alphabet exercises
Spelling your name Listen to some German names being spelled and see if you can write them down.
German abbreviations Read out some German abbreviations and then hear how they should sound.
MFG - mit freundlichen Grüßen Watch a video for a German rap video made up of abbrevations and then sing along to the instrumental!

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