Your German Pronunciation Class | Esther Hartwig | Skillshare
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7 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Letters 01

    • 3. Letters 02

    • 4. Vowels and umlauts

    • 5. The German R and the letter S

    • 6. C and its combinations

    • 7. Word endings


About This Class

Learn how to pronounce German and practice straight away!

We will look at each letter individually, and at letter pairs and groups.

Depending on the language you speak you will be familiar with more or fewer of them.

I included example words from other languages that contain the same sounds. The language of reference will generally be English as it is the instruction language of this course but if the sound is not part of the English language I will show references from other languages such as French or Spanish.

I grouped the German alphabet into letters that are always pronounced in the same way, letters that have a standard pronunciation but can sound different in certain contexts, the vowels and the famous German 'Umlaute', the S and the C in all their single, pair, and group versions, and of course the German R.

In an additional lecture, I included pairs of letters that follow specific pronunciation rules and some combinations of letters that have an impact on the preceding or the following letter.

I hope you will enjoy this course and get some useful information for your further studies!


1. Introduction: So this is how we're going to work on the pronunciation section. I will give you the letter off the alphabet, the German letter. And then you will see the letter on the slide and next to it, a little symbol that represents the sound that the letter makes in the word. And after that I will give you a couple of words that contain the letter so you can hear the letter in context. And underneath you will have ah piece of information about the pronunciation in English. And if the sound is not available in English, it can also be in French or Spanish. And you will also get a translation off the words that I'm using as examples. You're not supposed to look at that and listen to that and just remember it. Memorize it straight away. But it is something that you can always go back to if, for example, you see a word and you cannot understand how to pronounce it, or you cannot understand why it is pronounced in a certain way. Then you can go back to this pronunciation section and check with the rules. See if it makes sense to you after that 2. Letters 01: We're going to start with letters that always pronounced in the same way be is pronounced but as a boss and build de the sound is duck, as in dunker do if the sound is as in fish and static. Huh? Krunic? L Yeah. Lamphere lost eg which out? That this is not the same as the English l which is Ah, an l That sounds more like this whole from the throat. The German is a kind of ah muscled l here. Yeah, so you form it in the front of your mouths, melt in the back. Him? Yeah. Money mouse en Mm. No, Audun nine p has own park team Tough tous the ah vie it vine eggs. Taxi. Hexham sent Fouke some. Now you might have noticed something about emphasizing the words. We had the word lump taxi and then has June. So the 1st 2 words are emphasised on the first syllable and the last word on the second or the last syllable in German. There is a tendency to emphasize the words on the first syllable, but there are a few exceptions, and one of them are words like pez oon, which derive from other languages. And since you cannot always know if a word is from another language, you would have to look that up individually. But the tendency is emphasis on the first syllable, and other exception is if there is a prefix. If there's a prefix in a word, we usually emphasized a syllable after that. Here's some words that use a prefix CST in the Wuhan give NOUs and I listed a few prefixes here that are quite typical. Those are all prefixes that initiate the emphasis on the syllable after that. Okay, then let's go on with the next set of letters in the next lecture. 3. Letters 02: now these are all letters that are usually pronounced in one way. But there are some exceptions, some words where they are pronounced differently. Gear is usually pronounced good, as in good order. Get help. Gay can also be pronounced as in Jeannie. That is because Jenny is originally a friend. Sh word. And we just took it over the way it waas, huh is usually pronounced, huh? Audibly, huh? Heitor, hello, but high can also be mute, as in gin without war, and that is usually the case when it follows a vowel. Then it's only there to prolong the vowel, but you cannot hear the sound, huh? It's gay in and cool Yacht is usually pronounced, yet has in your DNA. Yeah, it can also be pronounced as a journalist. This one also comes from the French, and when we pronounce it Joe, as in jargon, it's usually because it comes from the English. How is mostly pronounced like if Fattah active sometimes it is pronounced like a Vozza club , via the pronunciation usually comes up in words that derive from other languages, and again, you cannot know which ones these are, so you have to look him up individually, but most off the time. The letter foul will be pronounced as in fear and all the words that use fear as a prefix. For example, Absalon MM soup on tube. That's the common pronunciation off Absalon. It can also be pronounced. Yeah, as in Janek. That usually happens when it's in the beginning, off the word, and it often happens with names. 4. Vowels and umlauts: in the next lecture, we will look at vowels, uh, can be pronounced in a long way. Ah, ba or in a short way, cuts. Um, the sound is the same. It's just in. Ah, but sometimes it's long. Sometimes it's short, the long and the short sound. And that goes for all vowels goes like this. If the vowel is followed by a constant on the one continent, and after that, another vowel, it's usually a long vowel. If it is fold by two or more constants, it's a short vowel. Yeah, can be pronounced long as an eve IQ or vig. When it is a long vowel, it is usually also closed. The difference between a closed and an open E is this mm, the closed one and the open one. It and the open one is usually also short. But get you see here. The short sound is followed by a double continent. In both cases, if it is the last letter off the word and un emphasized. So if it's not the emphasize syllable, it sounds like, uh, as in nozze tacit. He can be long, as in Lever See you. You can see that it's long because it's followed by an A. The combination e only means that it's a long e. The is not pronounced Safford Lee. The shorter i e. He has an tint or in is just followed by a continent. Oh, can be a long sound and then it is also closed. Sounds like this. Oh, pass on. Oh, and then you have the open version, which is also short, usually followed by a double continent, as in zona Tough. So the open or isn't all zona tough? Well, can also be long, as in Buddha moot? Well, short hasn't hunt. Wow human Well oh, this is our first home loud, which is an air, so it's kind of like a open a, but it can also be long. Where is the open year is usually short? Yeah, short as an end, um, and long as in yea gah as in food Or so that's a long There's also a shorter, followed by two or more continents, as in Heflin and Lessel. Then we haven't do, which is actually the same sound as our Absalon in the common pronunciation Boucha Zoo's. It can also be short as a mika or hips Let's do an exercise. I will give you a few words, and you can think about how to pronounce them. If you want to take your time, you can just pause the video. Think about how you would pronounce them. Maybe say them out loud, and after that you can resume and I will tell you what they're pronounced like. So this is the solution for the 1st 3 bad Alba. And how about these? They contain an E. Here's a solution. Net. Leven hen. You see the short pronunciation. If it's followed by two continents and a long one, if it's only one continent and then again, a vowel net. Leven help Now this one. Here's a solution. Lead Sinden Nieto. Don't forget that e only means a long e sound. No pronunciation off the the one in the middle. Finned um, is just a short he because it's followed by two continents. How about these? Here's a solution. Club short one. Because of the two continents, Borden long closed one because of one continent and the vowel. Now the new. Here's the solution. NDA food Culpo, Quintana and Proper have a short one, and who has a long one because there is only one concert. Now you're on loud air. How do you pronounce this? This is how man Hoeffel in man, you have the combination off the air, which is long because it's followed by a huh And the highs mute because it follows the vowel and for uses a short A Because after the we have two continents. What about this? This is the solution cut for food and short because of the PF and long because there's only one constant And the last one I'm loud. You How do you pronounce it? This is how to to moon tutto gets along do because it's followed by only one continent and move gets a short one because they're two continents following 5. The German R and the letter S: Now let's have a look at the German are thus Emma. The German is for some people really difficult, but actually you have several options that you can use here you're probably familiar with. The rolling sound often are the one that you can hear in languages such as Spanish or Italian. Also in Scottish accents or in Slavic languages that rolled Are is totally fine to use in German as well, because it is used in the Verrier. It is used in Austria, so it is one common way off pronouncing the German M. So this first sound representation here, that's the rolled one. The 2nd 1 is also a rolled R, but this time the rolling comes from the throat, and that sound is the same one that you make when you gurgle just without the water. So this is one way to practice it that you take is above water and have that in your throat , and you push it away by pushing out the air and you make a sound with it. That's that's our German are, uh, and the third sound representation here. That's a more rubbing sound. So if you cannot really roll the are in the throat, Use less rolling. It's basically like closing the throat and just letting a bit off air through and making a sound with it. So it's a voiced sound that's important. And it sounds like this, huh? So in the words, Dad would sound like this board that so I'm over doing it off course to point out the pronunciation. If I say it naturally, it would be port. That next up is is the s can be pronounced like the sharp s as in Boose, Fast or Vasa. The sharp s is usually used if the S is at the end of the word or if it's followed by a continent or if it's a double s, that's all The Sharp s boss past Massa and you've probably seen the sound before. It is called an s set and German And the sound is exactly the same as a sharp s sounds a and we say fools. Now what's the difference between this Sharp s and the other one? Well, first of all, if it comes after a vowel, it prolongs the vowel. So we don't say force as we would if we use double s we say fools. And another thing is that you cannot use this letter at the beginning of the word. So it cannot be awards first letter that doesn't exist. He can see the difference between using an s set and a double s So we say Maas. But muscle who's but flus? So you see how the double s shortens the vowel and the est set prolongs the vowel and s that is followed by a vowel is pronounced. It's a voice that s Ziana zero area and in combination with a C huh is see, huh? The sound we get is as in Schuler Tasho Also, if you have the combination iss p, the pronunciation is as in peer and Panin and the same happens with yes. When it's followed by a T, it turns into a sound STM. They have to be part of the same syllable, though otherwise it doesn't work. Now how do you pronounce these three words? Here's a solution Z and Stevie in Spielen Z and it Z because it's followed by a vowel tiene because of the combination S t. And it's in the same syllable Sh t and and the same for SP Keelan. How about these? This is how we pronounce them stander. Xhosa Bessa. Now he can see nicely held its and the sound work. The S and Dorsa is followed by a vowel. So it has to be And the est set is always sharp and it prolongs the vowel that comes before . So it's Xhosa. What about these three? How we pronounce them. This is how Sylvia Lee's um Bouza. 6. C and its combinations: So now let's have a look at the sea and all its combinations did See is only pronounced when it is followed by an A or in E, as in Sezer or silk course. If it is fold by an r 00 you pronounce it as in Cooler and Campos. Many off the combinations that I just mentioned have been substituted by set or car. So instead off silicosis with C, we say circles with Set E and also silk course. See who is now still course with cop. But there's still many foreign words that use those combinations, and in those the rules apply. Did See huh can be pronounced as a Sheena or shimmy. So when it's in the beginning, off the word and then followed by an E or in E, it's when it's in the beginning, off the word and followed by an all or in Ah, we say core cows when they see, huh is in the word and followed by an S. It's pronounced, as in folks. This is a real important rule to remember, because it's all the riding the rule. I'm going to show you next about preceding vowels. So if that's a hot is not followed by an s and preceded by are or who that see hot is pronounced. Now, this is pretty much the same sound that you make when you pronounce the German, huh? Only that you don't use your voice. So with you use the voice and with you don't duh los boo. And if that say huh is preceded by E or on on loud, it is pronounced again on Lee. If the CIA is not followed by an s. So we say based list dish Natasha Boucha. That's a car combination is just pronounced like echo. So let's practice that a bit. How do you pronounce these words? This is the solution that Vegeta vax of course I had to pack that all into one Exercise is preceded that see hot is preceded by an are so it has to be cooked in. Vester is preceded by an M loud which turns it into a ship. And in the last word backs, we have to look at the all the riding rule first that say hot is followed by an s. So it has to be. It doesn't matter what comes before. How do you pronounce these basically the same rules. Just a friend. Vowels. This is how thanks, sir. Is Master. How do you pronounce the's? This is how Bull Boucha, Vixen And the last one. How do we pronounce the's? Here's a solution. Cool me this vixen. 7. Word endings: In our last lecture, we will look at some more letter combinations. The 1st 1 is the E. It is pronounced. I, for example, Shaibu. My don't confuse that with E and a new and also the air, who is pronounced oy as in loiter and Moyes nd goes together in the throat. So it's one sound it's and that's pretty much the same in English. When you say thing and and if you have the combination in car, you use that same sound that I just explained and finish it with a sound. So it's any kill. It all happens in the throat and kill the combination did. T is just pronounced like a teacher stopped the combination pay ha is pronounced like a Phil owes off. In many cases, the P ha has been substituted with an F. For example, the German photographer is photograph, which we spelt with an F. It used to be spelled with a p ha. The pronunciation was the same, so P high is always an fellows off. Now the letter cruel always appears and combination with, unless we're looking at proper names off course from other countries. But in the German language when we use cool, it's always in combination with an or and those two together are pronounced as an Avella you back V. We will look at word endings now, and it's important to know that what we're looking at our UN emphasized word endings, UN emphasized, means that if the word consists of more than one syllable, the last one is not emphasized. That's the UN emphasized syllable we're looking at. For example, if we have Deer Buddha, then Dia is emphasized because the word consists of only one syllable. Buddha consists of two syllables threw down and boo is emphasized. Dare is un emphasized. So if we have e g as a word ending, it can be pronounced. Either EG or is both is perfectly fine. You can either say music or these ish the stick or this fish. It's a word ends in E. M. Then it sounds more like a Buddha computer. You don't really hear the air anymore. If a word ends in E and people often Amit that last e. So it sounds as if there wasn't an E in the word we don't say lease in and sn. We say leasing and s And how do you pronounce these words? Here's a solution. Thailand Z even Orilla. What about this? This is how we say it. Frida Floyd A. I am cool. That's a German idiom for love, peace and harmony. It's usually used sarcastically. Frida uses that Long e and the at the end Freud, er uses Thoi and also the IAEA cooling uses the I And here that I Yeah, yeah, on a cool one. This is one where we would most likely omit the I are cool. And the last one How do you say that? This is how we pronounce it. Order Andi Floyd!