Appendix:German pronunciation

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents German pronunciations in Wiktionary entries.

See German phonology at Wikipedia for a more thorough look at the sounds of German.

IPA Examples English approximation
/b/ Ball ball
/ç/ ich, durch hue
/d/ dann done
/dʒ/ Dschungel jungle
/f/ Fass, Vogel fuss
/ɡ/ Gast guest
/h/ hat hut
/j/ ja yard
/k/ kalt, Tag cold
/l/ Last last
/m/ Mast must
/n/ Naht not
/ŋ/ lang long
/p/ Pakt, hab puck
/pf/ Pfahl p + f
/ʁ/ Rast like a French R
(a voiced uvular fricative)[1]
/s/ Wasser fast
/ʃ/ Schal, Stein shall
/t/ Tal tall
/ts/ Zahl cats
/tʃ/ Matsch match
/v/ was vanish
/x/: [x], [χ] Bach[2] loch (Scottish)
/z/ Hase hose
/ʒ/ Genie beige, measure
[ʔ] Beamter[3]
the glottal stop in uh-oh!
ˈ Bahnhof
as in battleship [ˈbætəlˌʃɪp]
IPA Examples English approximation
/a/ Dach bra (but shorter)
/aː/ Bahn bra
/eː/ Beet face
/ɛ/ Bett, hätte bed
/ɛː/ wähle[4] as above but longer; like RP English bared
/iː/ viel meet
/ɪ/ bist sit
/oː/ Boot somewhat like bone
/ɔ/ Post boss
/øː/ Öl somewhat like hurl; French deux
/œ/ göttlich close to hurt or French sœur
/uː/ Hut true
/ʊ/ Putz took
/yː/ Rübe French rue
/ʏ/ füllt much like the above but shorter
/aɪ/ weit tie
/aʊ/ Haut how
/ɔʏ/ Heu, Räuber[5] boy
Reduced vowels
/ɐ/ Ober[6]
/ə/ halte comma
/ɐ̯/ Uhr
/i̯/ Studie magnolia
/u̯/ aktuell visual
Unstressed full vowels
/e/ Methan (short [eː])
/i/ vital city (short [iː])
/o/ Moral (short [oː])
/ø/ Ökonom (short [øː])
/u/ kulant virtue (short [uː])
/y/ Psychologie (short [yː])


  1. ^ In free variation with ʀ and also — in Switzerland, Bavaria, and Austria — the voiced alveolar trill r. Compare /ɐ/.
  2. ^ /x/ is realized as a uvular fricative [χ] after [a], [aː], and often [ʊ], [ɔ], and [aʊ].
  3. ^ The presence or absence of [ʔ] is not phonemic. In most standard varieties of German, all initial vowels are preceded by [ʔ]. However, this does not generally hold true for Swiss Standard German and most colloquial varieties.
  4. ^ [ɛː] is often replaced by [eː], chiefly in northern and eastern Germany.
  5. ^ Some references transcribe this diphthong as /ɔɪ/.
  6. ^ Compare /ʁ/.