Help:IPA/Standard German

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The charts below show the way International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents German language pronunciations in Wikipedia 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, Phänomen fuss
ɡ gut[1] guest
h hat hut
j Jahr yard
k kann, Tag,[2] cremen, sechs cold
l Leben last
Mantel bottle
m Mann must
Atem rhythm
n Name not
beiden, küssen suddenly
ŋ lang long
p Person, ab[2] puck
pf Pfeffer roughly like cupful
ʁ r reden[3] DE: French rouge
AT, CH: red (Scottish)
s lassen, Haus, groß fast
ʃ schon, Stadt, Champagner, Ski shall
t Tag, und, Stadt[2] tall
ts Zeit, Platz, Potsdam, Celle cats
Matsch match
v was,[1] Vase vanish
x nach loch (no lock–loch merger)
z Sie, diese[1] zebra
ʔ beamtet[4]
the glottal stops in uh-oh!
Non-native consonants
Cem, Dschungel[1][5] jungle
ʒ Genie[1][5] pleasure
ˈ Bahnhofstraße
as in battleship /ˈbætəlˌʃɪp/
Germany Austria Switzerland Examples English approximation
a alles, Kalender father, but short
aber, sah, Staat father, but long
ɛ Ende, hätte bet
ɛː spät, wählen[6] RP hair
eben, Pferd, gehen, Meer mate
ɪ ist, bitte sit
liebe, Berlin, ihm seed
ɔ Osten, kommen off
oder, hohe, Boot RP law
œ öffnen somewhat like hurt
øː Österreich somewhat like heard
ʊ und push
Hut, Kuh food
ʏ müssen, Ypsilon somewhat like cute
über, Mühe somewhat like few
ein, Kaiser, Haydn, Verleih high
auf, Haus vow
ɔʏ Euro, Häuser roughly like choice
Reduced vowels
ɐ ər immer[3] nut or sofa (but not balance)[7]
CH: Scottish butter
ə Name balance (but not sofa)[7]
ɐ̯ r Uhr[3] DE, AT: sofa
CH: Scottish far
Studie yard
aktuell would
Non-native vowels
ãː Gourmand[8] French Provence
ɛ̃ː Pointe[8] French quinze
ɛɪ Mail[9] roughly like face
õː Garçon[8] French Le Monde
ɔʊ Code[9] American goat
œ̃ː Parfum[8] French emprunte
œːɐ̯ øːr O2 World[10] roughly like RP bird
Shortened vowels
ã engagieren[8] French chanson
ɛ̃ impair[8] French vingt-et-un
e Element[11] dress
i Italien[11] teach, but short
o originell[11] RP thought, but short
õ fon[8] French Mont Blanc
œ̃ Lundist[8] French vingt-et-un
ø Ökonom[11] somewhat like hurt
u Universität[11] truth, but short
y Psychologie[11] like meet, but short and with the lips rounded

See also[edit]

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  • For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation#Entering IPA characters.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g In Austrian Standard German and Swiss Standard German, the lenis obstruents /b, d, ɡ, z, dʒ, ʒ/ are voiceless [b̥, d̥, ɡ̊, z̥, d̥ʒ̊, ʒ̊] and are distinguished from /p, t, k, s, tʃ, ʃ/ only by articulatory strength (/v/ is really voiced). The distinction is also retained word-finally. In German Standard German, voiceless [b̥, d̥, ɡ̊, z̥, d̥ʒ̊, ʒ̊] as well as [v̥] occur allophonically after fortis obstruents and, for /b, d, ɡ/, often also word-initially. See fortis and lenis.
  2. ^ a b c In German Standard German, voiced stops /b, d, ɡ/ 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 [ʁ]. In many regions except for most parts of Switzerland, the /r/ in the syllable coda is vocalized to [ɐ̯] after long vowels or after all vowels, and /ər/ is pronounced as [ɐ]
  4. ^ Initial vowels are usually preceded by [ʔ], except in Swiss Standard German.
  5. ^ a b Many speakers lack the lenis /ʒ/ and replace it with its fortis counterpart /ʃ/ (Hall 2003, p. 42). The same applies to the corresponding lenis /dʒ/, which also tends to be replaced with its fortis counterpart /tʃ/. According to the prescriptive standard, such pronunciations are not correct.
  6. ^ In Northern Germany, /ɛː/ often merges with /eː/ to [].
  7. ^ a b As several other Germanic languages, Standard German has mid [ə] and open [ɐ] 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 [ɐ] has no such free variation and is always open, just as [ə] is always mid. In some English dialects, /ʌ/ in words such as nut and strut is a perfect replacement for Standard German [ɐ], but the latter is an unstressed-only vowel that can also appear in open syllables, which generally cannot be said about English /ʌ/.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h The nasal vowels occur in French loans. They are long [ãː, ɛ̃ː, õː, œ̃ː] when stressed and short [ã, ɛ̃, õ, œ̃] when unstressed. In colloquial speech they may be replaced with [aŋ, ɛŋ, ɔŋ, œŋ] irrespective of length, and the [ŋ] in these sequences may optionally be assimilated to the place of articulation of a following consonant, e.g. Ensemble [aŋˈsaŋbl̩] or [anˈsambl̩] for [ãˈsãːbl̩] (Mangold 2005, p. 65).
  9. ^ a b The diphthongs /ɛɪ, ɔʊ/ occur only in loanwords (mostly from English), such as okay. Depending on the speaker and the region, they may be monophthongized to [eː, oː] (or [e, o] in an unstressed syllable-final position). Thus, the aforementioned word okay can be pronounced as either [ɔʊˈkɛɪ] or [oˈkeː].
  10. ^ [œːɐ̯] or [øːr] is the German rendering of the English NURSE vowel /ɜːr/. It also appears in certain French surnames, e.g. Vasseur (Krech et al. 2009, pp. 64, 142).
  11. ^ a b c d e f [e, i, o, ø, u, y], the short versions of the long vowels [eː, iː, oː, øː, uː, yː], 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 [jeˈdɔx], soeben [zoˈʔeːbn̩], vielleicht [fiˈlaɪçt] etc. In casual speech short [e, i, o, ø, u, y] preceding a phonemic consonant (i.e., not a [ʔ]) may be replaced with [ɛ, ɪ, ɔ, œ, ʊ, ʏ], e.g. [jɛˈdɔx], [fɪˈlaɪçt] (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" (PDF). Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 45 (3): 339–348. doi:10.1017/S0025100315000055.