How to pronounce German words — how to say those ä, ö, ü symbols and that weird ß Which letters have a different sound in German than they do in English. Learning Zone (BBC Two). Acquiring a good German accent is about more than knowing the alphabet, and it's very. BBC Languages - Learn German in your own time and have fun with Languages of the world. The German alphabet and what's significant about it.


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German Alphabet ABC |

Strange sounds The German e, eg. The e sounds like the vowel in English 'egg', keeping your lips widely spread. The German i sounds like the 'ee' in the English word 'feet'.

The German final e is never silent, but very short, e. Practise the German vowel combination ei, for example das Ei, egg, which rhymes with the English 'lie'.

Don't confuse it with the the German ie, which sounds like 'ee'. The good news is that, with only a few exceptions, German consonants are very similar to their English equivalents.


Number of speakers Standard German Hoch Deutsch has around 90 million native speakers, and other varieties german language basics alphabets German have some 30 million. There are about 80 million people who speak German as a second language, and many others study it as a foreign language.

Written German The earliest known examples of written German date from the 8th century AD and consist of fragments of an epic poem, the Song of Hildebrand, magical charms and German glosses in Latin manuscripts.

A short Latin-German dictionary, the Abrogans, was written during the s. German at a glance Linguistic affliation: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and German language basics alphabets First written: AD s Writing system: The language used is now known as mittelhochdeutsche Dichtersprache Middle High German poetic language.

German/Grammar/Alphabet and Pronunciation - Wikibooks, open books for an open world

If there are two or more consonants following the vowel — as in falsch falsegerman language basics alphabets elevenimmer alwaysand noch still — the vowel sound is usually short.

There are german language basics alphabets German words that are exceptions to the double consonant rule: It is also the case that the silent 'h' does not count as a consonant and the preceding vowel is always long.

Ihnen is an example. This "rule" is applied to the use of 'ss' vs.


German examples are neun nine and heute today. Note that this appears to be the opposite for these two vowel combinations in English, where the rule is that the first vowel is long and the second is silent. The german language basics alphabets mein in German is the English 'mine'.


In effect, 'ie' follows the same rule as in English, with german language basics alphabets first vowel long ee in German and the second vowel silent; 'ei' is the equivalent sound in German to the English long 'i' as in 'mine'. Details of certain consonant sounds and uses are discussed further here: The German sechs six is pronounced very much similar to the English 'sex', but with a voiced 's' so it's more like 'zex'.

See also german language basics alphabets discussion of "ich-sound" below.

  • BBC - Languages - German - A Guide to German - The German alphabet
  • The German Alphabet - German for English SpeakersGerman for English Speakers
  • BBC Languages links
  • The German Alphabet
  • Cookies on the BBC website
  • German/Grammar/Alphabet and Pronunciation

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