Help:IPA/Standard German
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Help:IPA/Standard German

The charts below show the way International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents German language pronunciations in resource articles.

See Standard German phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of German. For a list of common pronunciation errors, see Anglophone pronunciation of foreign languages § German. For information on how to convert spelling to pronunciation, see German orthography § Grapheme-to-phoneme correspondences.

Germany Austria Switzerland Examples English approximation
b bei[1] ball
ç ich, durch; China (DE) hue
d dann[1] done
f für, von fuss
? gut[1] guest
h hat hut
j Jahr yard
k kann, Tag[2] cold
l Leben last
l? Mantel bottle
m Mann must
m? Atem rhythm
n Name not
n? beiden suddenly
? lang long
p Person, ab[2] puck
pf Pfeffer roughly like cupful
? r reden[3] DE: French rouge
AT, CH: red (Scottish)
s lassen, Haus, groß fast
? schon, Stadt shall
t Tag, und[2] tall
ts Zeit, Platz cats
t? Matsch match
v was[1] vanish
x nach loch (no lock-loch merger)
z Sie, diese[1] hose
? beamtet[4]
the glottal stops in uh-oh!
Non-native consonants
d? Dschungel[1][5] jungle
? Genie[1][5] pleasure
' Bahnhofstraße
as in battleship
Germany Austria Switzerland Examples English approximation
a alles[6] father, but rather short
a: aber, sah[6] father, but rather long
? Ende, hätte bet
?: spät, wählen[7] bed
e: eben, gehen Scottish mate
? ist, bitte sit
i: liebe, Berlin seed
? Osten, kommen RP lot, American law
o: oder, hohe RP law, Scottish code
oe öffnen somewhat like cut or RP bird
ø: Österreich somewhat like RP bird
? und push
u: Hut food
? müssen like hit but with the lips rounded
y: über somewhat like food
a? ein high
a? auf, Haus vow
Euro, Häuser roughly like choice
Reduced vowels
? ?r immer[3] DE, AT: sofa
CH: Scottish butter
? Name ago
r Uhr[3] DE, AT: sofa
CH: Scottish far
i? Studie yard
u? aktuell would
Non-native vowels
ã: Gourmand[8] French Mont Blanc
: Pointe[8] French Chopin
Mail[9] face
õ: Garçon[8] French chanson
Code[9] goat
oe?: Parfum[8] French vingt-et-un
oe: ø:r O2 World[10] roughly like RP bird
Shortened vowels
a Kalender[6][11] father
ã engagieren[8] French chanson
impair[8] French vingt-et-un
e Element[11] dress
i Italien[11] teach
o originell[11] RP thought, American low
õ fon[8] French Mont Blanc
oe? Lundist[8] French vingt-et-un
ø Ökonom[11] somewhat like RP heart
u Universität[11] truth
y Psychologie[11] like meet but with the lips rounded

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g In Austrian Standard German and Swiss Standard German, the lenis obstruents /b, d, ?, z, d?, ?/ are voiceless [b?, d?, , z?, d, ] and are distinguished from /p, t, k, s, t?, ?/ only by articulatory strength (/v/ is really voiced). The distinction is also retained word-finally. In German Standard German, voiceless [b?, d?, , z?, d, ] as well as [v?] occur allophonically after fortis obstruents and, for /b, d, ?/, often also word-initially. See fortis and lenis.
  2. ^ a b c In German Standard German, voiced stops /b, d, ?/ are devoiced to [p, t, k] at the end of a syllable.
  3. ^ a b c Pronunciation of /r/ in German varies according to region and speaker. While older prescriptive pronunciation dictionaries allowed only [r], that pronunciation is now found mainly in Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria. In other regions, the uvular pronunciation prevails, mainly as a fricative/approximant [?]. In many regions except for most parts of Switzerland, the /r/ in the syllable coda is vocalized to [] after long vowels or after all vowels, and /?r/ is pronounced as [?]
  4. ^ Initial vowels are usually preceded by [?], except in Swiss Standard German.
  5. ^ a b Many speakers lack the lenis /?/ and replace it with its fortis counterpart /?/ (Hall 2003, p. 42). The same applies to the corresponding lenis /d?/, which also tends to be replaced with its fortis counterpart /t?/. According to the prescriptive standard, such pronunciations are not correct.
  6. ^ a b c The Austrian and Swiss pronunciation of /a/ and /a:/ is [?] and [?:] (Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter 2015). In some northern German dialects influenced by Low German there may be [æ~a] for /a/ but [?:] for /a:/ thus also having a difference in vowel quality not just length. (see e.g. Wierzbicka & Rynkowska 1992, pp. 412-415).
  7. ^ In Northern Germany, /?:/ often merges with /e:/ to [e:].
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h The nasal vowels occur in French loans. They are long [ã:, :, õ:, oe?:] when stressed and short [ã, , õ, oe?] when unstressed. In colloquial speech they may be replaced with [a?, , , oe?] irrespective of length, and the [?] in these sequences may optionally be assimilated to the place of articulation of a following consonant, e.g. Ensemble [a?'sa?bl?] or [an'sambl?] for [ã'sã:bl?] (Mangold 2005, p. 65).
  9. ^ a b The diphthongs /, / occur only in loanwords (mostly from English), such as okay. Depending on the speaker and the region, they may be monophthongized to [e:, o:] (or [e, o] in an unstressed syllable-final position). Thus, the aforementioned word okay can be pronounced as either ['k] or [o'ke:].
  10. ^ [oe:] or [ø:r] is the German rendering of the English NURSE vowel . It also appears in certain French surnames, e.g. Vasseur (Krech et al. 2009, pp. 64, 142).
  11. ^ a b c d e f g [a, e, i, o, ø, u, y], the short versions of the long vowels [a:, e:, i:, o:, ø:, u:, y:], are used at the end of unstressed syllables before the accented syllable and occur mainly in loanwords. In native words, the accent is generally on the first syllable, and syllables before the accent other than prepositional prefixes are rare but occasionally occur, e.g. in jedoch [je'd?x], soeben [zo'?e:bn?], vielleicht [fi'la?çt] etc. In casual speech short [e, i, o, ø, u, y] preceding a phonemic consonant (i.e., not a [?]) may be replaced with [?, ?, ?, oe, ?, ?], e.g. [j?'d?x], [f?'la?çt] (Mangold 2005, p. 65).


  • Hall, Christopher (2003) [First published 1992], Modern German pronunciation: An introduction for speakers of English (2nd ed.), Manchester: Manchester University Press, ISBN 0-7190-6689-1 
  • Hove, Ingrid (2002). Die Aussprache der Standardsprache in der Schweiz. Tübingen: Niemeyer. ISBN 978-3-484-23147-4. 
  • Krech, Eva Maria; Stock, Eberhard; Hirschfeld, Ursula; Anders, Lutz-Christian (2009), Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch, Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 978-3-11-018202-6 
  • Mangold, Max (2005), Das Aussprachewörterbuch (6th ed.), Duden, ISBN 978-3411040667 
  • Moosmüller, S.; Schmid, C.; Brandstätter, J. (2015). "Standard Austrian German". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 45 (3): 339-348. doi:10.1017/S0025100315000055. 
  • Wierzbicka, Irena; Rynkowska, Teresa (1992), Samouczek j?zyka niemieckiego: kurs wst?pny (6th ed.), Warszawa: Wiedza Powszechna, ISBN 83-214-0284-4 

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