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] man (Scottish, or RP and Irish but slightly more backed), cot (American) or cut (Australian)
a: aber, sah[6] bad (RP, Irish but slightly more backed), mark (Northern England, Australian)

bod (American)

? Ende, hätte bet (American, Irish, or RP but more open)
?: spät, wählen[7] bed (American, Irish or RP but more open)

square (Australian, but more open)

e: eben, gehen mate (Irish, Scottish, close to American but undiphthongised)

square (Australian but tenser and less open)

? ist, bitte sit (American, Australian, Irish, Scottish, RP)
i: liebe, Berlin meet (American, Irish, or RP but undiphthongised)
? Osten, kommen lot (Australian, Scottish, and RP but slightly more closed)

law (Irish and American if without cot-caught merger)

o: oder, hohe law (Australian, or RP but slightly more closed)

stone (close to American but undiphthongised, Irish, Scottish)

oe öffnen like met but rounded (American, Irish)

also somewhat close to RP hurt but more fronted

ø: Österreich like mate but rounded (American undiphthongised, Irish, Scottish)

also somewhat close to RP herd but more fronted, Australian nurse but more rounded

? und push (Irish, American, Australian, RP but more backed)
u: Hut food (Irish, American but undiphthongised, and RP but tongue more backed)
? müssen like hit but rounded

also somewhat close to Scottish shoot

y: über like heat but rounded

also somewhat close to shoes (Scottish, Australian but with tongue further forward)

a? ein bite (American, RP, Irish)
a? auf, Haus DE: shout (American, RP)
Euro, Häuser like point but rounded even at the end
Reduced vowels
? ?r immer[3] DE, AT: roughly like fun
CH: butter (Scottish)
? Name ago
r Uhr[3] DE, AT: roughly like idea
CH: far (Scottish)
i? Studie yard
u? aktuell would
Non-native vowels
ã: Gourmand[8] chanson (French pron., but long)
: Pointe[8] vingt-et-un (French pron., but long)
Mail[9] late (RP)
õ: Garçon[8] chanson (French pron., but long)
Code[9] goat
oe?: Parfum[8] vingt-et-un (French pron., but long)
oe: ø:r O2 World[10] roughly like herd
Shortened vowels
a Kalender[6][11] man (Scottish, or RP and Irish but slightly more backed) or con (American)
ã engagieren[8] chanson
impair[8] vingt-et-un
e Element[11] Australian dress

mate (Irish, Scottish, close to American but undiphthongised)

i Italien[11] teach
o originell[11] force (Australian)
õ fon[8] chanson
oe? Lundist[8] vingt-et-un (traditional French pronunciation)
ø Ökonom[11] like mate but rounded (Irish, Scottish, American but undiphthongised)
u Universität[11] truth (Irish, American but undiphthongised, and RP but tongue more backed)
y Psychologie[11] like meet but 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 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Connect with defaultLogic
What We've Done
Led Digital Marketing Efforts of Top 500 e-Retailers.
Worked with Top Brands at Leading Agencies.
Successfully Managed Over $50 million in Digital Ad Spend.
Developed Strategies and Processes that Enabled Brands to Grow During an Economic Downturn.
Taught Advanced Internet Marketing Strategies at the graduate level.

Manage research, learning and skills at defaultLogic. Create an account using LinkedIn or facebook to manage and organize your Digital Marketing and Technology knowledge. defaultLogic works like a shopping cart for information -- helping you to save, discuss and share.

  Contact Us