Of course, you’ll find a couple of oddities and exceptions, but don’t worry. When the letter r appears at the beginning of a word, it makes a rolling sound way in the back of your throat. All Rights Reserved. You pronounce the letters r and l differently in German than you do in English: To replicate the “gargled” pronunciation of the German r, try making a gargling sound before saying aahh, so you’re saying ra. But even if you don’t care about looks, you’ll be glad to know that you pronounce it just like ss or s. As far as the written language goes, whether a given German word is spelled with ss or ß depends on a couple of rules. She has developed, written, and edited numerous German-language textbooks and teachers' handbooks for Berlitz International. Once you've mastered diphthongs and grouped consonants, the next item to concentrate on is how to pronounce other letters and letter combinations found within German words. We have just got four more letters. Some letters or two letter combinations in German even have several sounds.The German vowels a, e, i, o, u and Umlaute ä, ö, ü also have a long and a short version. Most recently she has been developing, writing, and editing student textbooks and teacher handbooks for Berlitz. In fact, they’re pronounced either almost the same as their English equivalents or like other English consonants. Ahh, relief! This is approximately what you want to replicate (without the water!) Answer: That was Jens making the German r sound. German All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet, By Wendy Foster, Paulina Christensen, Anne Fox. 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Anne Fox has been working as a translator, editor, and writer for more than 12 years. This table tells you how to pronounce the rest of the German consonants by providing you with examples and a phonetic script. Try these suggestions: 1. Here’s the scoop: After a long vowel or a diphthong, the s sound is spelled ß — for example, Fuß (foohs) (foot). Practice gargling with a mouthful of water and note how the sensation feels. The German l sound is clipped, not drawled. Also, don’t roll the tip of your tongue or use it to pronounce the German r. After a short vowel, the s sound is spelled ss — for example, Fass (fâs) (barrel). Also, don’t roll the tip of your tongue or use it to pronounce the German r. To correctly pronounce the German letter l, you have to position your tongue differently than you do when you pronounce the English letter l. In English, you pronounce the l with your tongue in a spoon shape, hollowed out in the middle. Think of the “R” sound as originating from the back of your throat. So, how can you train yourself to pronounce a German “R” correctly? She studied at Interpreter's School, Zurich, Switzerland, and holds a degree in translation. The German alphabet is more or less like the English one. Note: In Switzerland, the ß isn’t used at all. The following sections explain what you need to know. The sounds of German consonants are easier to master than the German vowel sounds. Paulina Christensen has been working as a writer, editor, and translator for more than 10 years. when speaking the hard “R” sound. As part of a word, the letters f, h, k, m, n, p, t, and x are pronounced the same in German as they are in English. The letter ß, on the other hand, doesn’t exist in English. For instance, a "d" at the end of a German word usually has a hard "t" sound in German, not the soft "d" sound of English. One problem you might encounter though is the different pronunciation of German letters. It’s kind of cool looking, though, don’t you think? To make the German l, you press the tip of your tongue against your gum ridge (just as you do in English), but you keep it flat instead of spoon-shaped. Dr. Christensen recieved her MA and PhD from Dusseldorf University, Germany. You pronounce the letters r and l differently in German than you do in English: To replicate the “gargled” pronunciation of the German r, try making a gargling sound before saying aahh, so you’re saying ra. Make an r sound, then pretend you are gurgling while you do it. German Pronunciation Pitfalls . Give it a try.
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