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 fuss
ɡ gut[1] guest
h hat hut
j Jahr yard
k kann, Tag[2] cold
l Leben last
Mantel bottle
m Mann must
Atem rhythm
n Name not
beiden 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 shall
t Tag, und[2] tall
ts Zeit, Platz cats
Matsch match
v was[1] vanish
x nach loch (no lock–loch merger)
z Sie, diese[1] hose
ʔ beamtet[4]
the glottal stops in uh-oh!
Non-native consonants
Dschungel[1][5] jungle
ʒ Genie[1][5] pleasure
ˈ Bahnhofstraße
as in battleship /ˈbætəlˌʃɪp/
Germany Austria Switzerland Examples English approximation
a alles[6] man (Scottish, or RP and Irish but slightly more backed), cot (American) or cut (Australian)
aber, sah[6] bad (RP, Irish but slightly more backed), mark (Northern England, Australian)

bod (American)

ɛ Ende, hätte bet (American, Irish, or RP but more open)
ɛː spät, wählen[7] bed (American, Irish or RP but more open)

square (Australian, but more open)

eben, gehen mate (Irish, Scottish, close to American but undiphthongised)

square (Australian but tenser and less open)

ɪ ist, bitte sit (American, Australian, Irish, Scottish, RP)
liebe, Berlin meet (American, Irish, or RP but undiphthongised)
ɔ Osten, kommen lot (Australian, Scottish, and RP but slightly more closed)

law (Irish and American if without cot-caught merger)

oder, hohe law (Australian, or RP but slightly more closed)

stone (close to American but undiphthongised, Irish, Scottish)

œ öffnen like met but rounded (American, Irish)

also somewhat close to RP hurt but more fronted

øː Österreich like mate but rounded (American undiphthongised, Irish, Scottish)

also somewhat close to RP herd but more fronted, Australian nurse but more rounded

ʊ und push (Irish, American, Australian, RP but more backed)
Hut food (Irish, American but undiphthongised, and RP but tongue more backed)
ʏ müssen like hit but rounded

also somewhat close to Scottish shoot

über like heat but rounded

also somewhat close to shoes (Scottish, Australian but with tongue further forward)

ein bite (American, RP, Irish)
auf, Haus DE: shout (American, RP)
ɔʏ Euro, Häuser like point but rounded even at the end
Reduced vowels
ɐ ər immer[3] DE, AT: roughly like fun
CH: butter (Scottish)
ə Name ago
ɐ̯ r Uhr[3] DE, AT: roughly like idea
CH: far (Scottish)
Studie yard
aktuell would
Non-native vowels
ãː Gourmand[8] chanson (French pron., but long)
ɛ̃ː Pointe[8] vingt-et-un (French pron., but long)
ɛɪ Mail[9] late (RP)
õː Garçon[8] chanson (French pron., but long)
ɔʊ Code[9] goat
œ̃ː Parfum[8] vingt-et-un (French pron., but long)
œːɐ̯ øːr O2 World[10] roughly like herd
Shortened vowels
a Kalender[6][11] man (Scottish, or RP and Irish but slightly more backed) or con (American)
ã engagieren[8] chanson
ɛ̃ impair[8] vingt-et-un
e Element[11] Australian dress

mate (Irish, Scottish, close to American but undiphthongised)

i Italien[11] teach
o originell[11] force (Australian)
õ fon[8] chanson
œ̃ Lundist[8] vingt-et-un (traditional French pronunciation)
ø Ökonom[11] like mate but rounded (Irish, Scottish, American but undiphthongised)
u Universität[11] truth (Irish, American but undiphthongised, and RP but tongue more backed)
y Psychologie[11] like meet but rounded

See also[edit]

  • If your browser does not display IPA symbols, you probably need to install a font that includes the IPA. Good free IPA fonts include Gentium and Charis SIL (more complete); a monospaced font is Everson Mono which is complete; download links can be found on those pages.
  • For a guide to adding pronunciations to Wikipedia articles, see the {{IPA}} template.
  • 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. ^ a b c The Austrian and Swiss pronunciation of /a/ and /aː/ is [ɑ] and [ɑː] (Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter 2015). In some northern German dialects influenced by Low German there may be [æ~a] for /a/ but [ɑː] for /aː/ thus also having a difference in vowel quality not just length. (see e.g. Wierzbicka & Rynkowska 1992, pp. 412–415).
  7. ^ In Northern Germany, /ɛː/ often merges with /eː/ to [].
  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 g [a, e, i, o, ø, u, y], the short versions of the long vowels [aː, 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". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 45 (3): 339–348. doi:10.1017/S0025100315000055. 
  • Wierzbicka, Irena; Rynkowska, Teresa (1992), Samouczek języka niemieckiego: kurs wstępny (6th ed.), Warszawa: Wiedza Powszechna, ISBN 83-214-0284-4