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German letters

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Let’s discuss with you the letters of the German language. We all know that the letters of the German alphabet are almost the same as in English, but many of them are read differently. Plus in German there are letters: “ä”, “ö”, “ü” and “ß”. Consider everything in order:

A [a] – Apfel [upfel];
B [бе] – Buch [бух];
C [tse] is usually found in conjunction with other letters: chronisch [chronish], Zucker [zucker].

On its own, the letter C is used only in borrowed words and sounds different: Cyklon [cyclone] – C in front of e, ö, i, y, ü; Clown [clown]. Often it is replaced by the usual K-Germans: not Canada, but Kanada.

D [de] – der [Der];
E [e] – Empathie [empathic];

There are also several combinations with this letter:

ei [ay] – Einstein [Einstein];

ie is long [and:]: Lied [liid];

eu is not “eu” or “hey” at all, but [oops]. A prime example is Sigmund Freud, who in German is, in fact, Freud [Freud].

F [eff] – Freund [freund];

The sound [f] can be expressed through the letter combination ph: Alphabet [alphabet];

G [ge] – Galaxie [galaxi];
H [ha] – Hemd [hemd];

The letter H has another function, it extends the vowel in front of it:

ah [a:] – nah [to:];

eh [e:] – gehen [ge: en];

oh [o:] – Lohn [lo: n];

uh [y:] – Uhr [y: p].

I [and] – international [international];
J [yot] denotes the sound [st] – ja [i];
K [ka] – Kinder [kinder];
L [el] – Lava [lava];

L almost always softens: Kumpel [kumpel];

M [uh] – Masse [w: e];
N [en] – neu [Noah];
O [o] – Ost [ost];
P [pe] – Parad [parade];
Q [ku] is not a German letter at all, it can be found only in the letter combination qu [q] – Quark [quark]. This is the most unused letter of the German language;
R [er] causes the most problems for students. At the beginning of a word, sometimes it is a rolling sound, like in Russian, in the middle you need to lisp, and in the end it is usually swallowed and replaced with [a], but these are already features of pronunciation, and not the alphabet.
S [es] is a letter that participates in a large number of letter combinations:

sch [br] – Schritt [shrit];

tsch [[h] – Deutschland [Deutschland];

And our usual borsch is generally able to scare anyone: Borschtsch ([w] + [h] = sch + tsch).

The letter S is pronounced as [s] before vowels: Sonne [zone], sehen [zeen];

Before the letters T and P at the beginning of the word, it is pronounced as [br]: Steuer [Stouier], Sport [Sport];

In other cases, it is [s]: “uns” (uns);

T [te] – Termin [termin];

In addition to the already mentioned letter combinations with T, there is th. Read as one short consonant sound [t]: Theorie [teori];

U [y] – Ulm [ulm];
V [fau] is an unusual letter for those who just took on German, because it reads like [f], not like [c]: Vater [Vater].

Therefore, many foreign names of their own are written differently than in other languages ​​with Latin characters, for example, not Kiev, but Kiew.

W [ve] – Weber [Weber];
X [x] is a borrowed letter, its frequency of use is 0.03%. It is found in foreign words: Text [tackst];
Y [upsilon] is something between [yu] and [y] (but closer to [y]): Physik [fyuzik].
Z [tset] is pronounced exactly as [n], and not [3]: Zebra [cebra];
Ä [e] (a-umlaut) – Ästhetik [aesthetic];

The combination of letters äu is read [oops] (similar to eu): äußern [oisern];

Ö transmits a sound that is not from display in Russian letters. It is closest to the letter e, namely, as it sounds in the name of Goethe.
Ü looks like a soft [y], for example, like [Yu] in “love.”
ß [cc] is called an “escet”, is rarely used, or is generally replaced by ss (Switzerland): Straße [Straße]. When reading, doubling [c] is almost imperceptible.

So we figured out each letter in order. If you are interested, then in our blog there are many more articles on sound combinations and pronunciations.

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