Help:IPA/Standard German

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Short description: Wikipedia key to pronunciation

The charts below show the way International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Standard German language pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-de}} and Wikipedia: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.

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

See also

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


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 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. 2.0 2.1 [ç] and [x] belong to one phoneme traditionally transcribed /x/. The velar allophone appears after back vowels and /a, aː/ and it may actually be uvular [χ], depending on the variety and speaker. In this guide, the difference between velar and uvular allophones is ignored and both are written with ⟨x⟩.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 In German Standard German, voiced stops /b, d, ɡ/ are devoiced to [p, t, k] at the end of a syllable.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 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 (in this guide [ɐ̯] is used only after long vowels, following the pronunciation dictionaries), and /ər/ is pronounced as [ɐ].
  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. 6.0 6.1 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.
  7. Used in some loanwords from English, especially by younger speakers.
  8. In Northern Germany, /ɛː/ often merges with /eː/ to [].
  9. 9.0 9.1 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, an unstressed /ʌ/ in words such as frustration and justiciable is a perfect replacement for Standard German [ɐ].
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 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).
  11. 11.0 11.1 The diphthongs /ɛɪ̯, ɔʊ̯/ 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 [ɔʊ̯ˈkɛɪ̯] or [oˈkeː].
  12. [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).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 [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), 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