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

The charts below show the way International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Standard German language pronunciations in resource articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to resource articles, see {{IPA-de}} and Resource: Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

See Standard German phonology and German orthography § Grapheme-to-phoneme correspondences for a more thorough look at the sounds of German.

DE AT CH Examples English approximation
b bei;[1] ab (AT, CH)[2] ball
ç ich, durch;[3] China (DE) hue
d dann; Kleid (AT, CH)[2] done
f für, von, Phänomen fuss
? gut; Tag (AT, CH)[2] guest
h hat hut
j Jahr, Yo-Yo yard
k kann, cremen, sechs; Tag (DE);[2] China (AT, CH) cold
l Leben last
l? Mantel bottle
m Mann must
m? großem rhythm
n Name not
n? beiden sudden
? lang long
p Person, ab (DE)[2] puck
pf Pfeffer cupful
? r reden[4] DE: French rouge
AT, CH: Scottish red
s lassen, groß, Haus fast
? schon, Stadt, spitz, Champagner, Ski shall
t Tag, Stadt; Kleid (DE)[2] tall
ts Zeit, Platz, Potsdam, Celle cats
t? Matsch, Cello match
v was, Vase[1] vanish
x nach[3] Scottish loch
z Sie, diese[1] (in Austrian German sparsely used) DE: zebra
AT, CH: soup
? beamtet [b?'?amt?t][5] uh-oh!
Non-native consonants
d? Dschungel, Pidgin[1][6] jungle
ð Motherboard[7] this
? Spray[8] rice
? Thatcherismus[7] think
? Genie, Entourage[1][6] pleasure
' Bahnhofstraße
as in battleship
DE AT CH Examples English approximation
a alles, Kalender father, but short
a: aber, sah, Staat father
? Ende, hätte bet
?: spät, wählen[9] RP hair
e: eben, gehen, Meer mate
? ist sit
i: liebe, Berlin, ihm seed
? kommen off
o: oder, hohe, Boot story
oe öffnen somewhat like hurt
ø: Österreich, Möhre, adieu somewhat like heard
? und push
u: Hut, Kuh true
? müssen, Ypsilon somewhat like cute
y: über, Mühe, psychisch somewhat like few
a? ein, Kaiser, Haydn, Verleih, Speyer high
a? auf vow
Euro, Häuser choice
Reduced vowels
? ?r immer[4] DE, AT: frustration
CH: Scottish letter[10]
? Name balance (but not sofa)[10]
r Uhr[4] DE, AT: sofa
CH: Scottish far
i? Studie yard
o? Pointe[11] quite
u? Linguist, Gouache[11] would
y? Etui[11] somewhat like evaluation
Non-native vowels
ã: Gourmand, Engagement, Restaurant, Chance[12] French Provence
: Pointe[12] French quinze
Mail[13] face
õ: Garçon[12] French Le Monde
?: stalken, Motherboard[14] American raw
Code[13] American goat
oe?: Parfum[12] French emprunte
oe: ø:r surfen, Gouverneur[15] roughly like RP bird
Shortened vowels
ã engagieren[12] French chanson
impair[12] French vingt-et-un
e Element[16] roughly like dress
i Italien[16] seat
o originell[16] story, but short
õ fon[12] French Mont Blanc
oe? Lundist[12] French vingt-et-un
ø Ökonom[16] roughly like hurt
u Universität, Souvenir[16] truth
y Psychologie[16] like meet, but with the lips rounded


  1. ^ a b c d e In Austrian Standard German and Swiss Standard German, the lenis obstruents /b, d, ?, d?, ?/ are voiceless [b?, d?, , d, ] and are distinguished from /p, t, k, t?, ?/ only by articulatory strength (/v/ is really voiced, and /s/ is the only alveolar fricative). 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 d e f In German Standard German, voiced stops /b, d, ?/ are devoiced to [p, t, k] at the end of a syllable.
  3. ^ a b and belong to one phoneme traditionally transcribed /x/. The velar allophone appears after back vowels and /a, a:/ and it may instead be uvular , depending on the variety and speaker. In this guide, the difference between velar and uvular allophones is ignored and both are written with ⟨x⟩.
  4. ^ 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 (in this guide [] is used only after long vowels, following the pronunciation dictionaries), and /?r/ is pronounced as [?].
  5. ^ The glottal stop occurs in German Standard German. It is not transcribed phrase-initially, where it is just as likely to be used in English as it is in German. Word- and phrase-internal glottal stops are transcribed. Austrian or Swiss Standard German do not have glottal stops (Krech et al. 2009, pp. 236, 262).
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b /ð/ and /?/, occurring in English loans, may be substituted with any of /d, z, v/ and /t, s, f/, respectively.
  8. ^ Used in some loanwords from English, especially by younger speakers.
  9. ^ In Northern Germany, /?:/ often merges with /e:/ to .
  10. ^ a b As several other Germanic languages, Standard German has mid and open schwas. Care must be taken to clearly distinguish between the two. In English, the former appears in words such as balance, cannon and chairman and the latter variably in sofa, China (especially at the very end of utterance) and, in some dialects, also in ago and again, but one needs to remember that Standard German has no such free variation and is always open, just as is always mid. In some English dialects, an unstressed /?/ in words such as frustration and justiciable is a perfect replacement for Standard German .
  11. ^ a b c /o?, u?, y?/ only occur in certain unadapted or partly unadapted loanwords.
  12. ^ 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).
  13. ^ 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:].
  14. ^ The long vowel /?:/ occurs only in English loanwords, and is often replaced with the native short /?/ or long /o:/, according to the speaker and where it occurs in a word.
  15. ^ [oe:] or [ø:r] is the German rendering of the English NURSE vowel and the French stressed [oe?] (Krech et al. 2009, pp. 64, 142).
  16. ^ a b c d e f [e, i, o, ø, u, y], the short versions of the long vowels [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
  • 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 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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