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Lesson Transcript

Judith: Hallo, [Ich heiße] Judith.
Chuck: Hi I am Chuck.
Judith: [Sie hören germanpod101.com]!
Chuck: You are listening to germanpod101.com this is accent improvement series, lesson 7.
Judith: [Willkommen]!
Chuck: Welcome to another lesson by germanpod101.
Judith: This lesson is one part of the accent improvement series.
Chuck: You can find the rest of the lessons at
Judith: Germanpod101.com.
Chuck: Our goal in the accent improvement series is to help you improve your pronunciation so that you sound more and more like a native speaker.
Judith: However to really improve, it’s not enough that you listen to the lessons.
Chuck: You will also need to practice the pronunciation of the words and phrases over and over on your own.
Judith: To practice the phrases, go to germanpod101.com, access the learning center and use the line by line dialogue tool.
Chuck: If you find that you have a lot of trouble with one particular word however, go to the vocabulary section of the learning center and listen to the pronunciation of just that one word over and over.
Judith: In the learning center, you can also record your own pronunciation and compare it to mine.
Chuck: Today we will look at the various S sounds in German.
Judith: In German, there are three types of S sounds spelled in four different ways.
Chuck: So Judith, could you give us the sample phrase so that we can hear them?
Judith: Sure. [Zehn chinesische Schüsselchen].
Chuck: Whoa! What does that mean?
Judith: Ten little Chinese bowls.
Chuck: That sounds useful.
Judith: Well it has all those sounds in it and it’s really good for practice because it’s almost a tongue twister.
Chuck: Alright, you convinced me. Can you say it a bit slower though this time?
Judith: Yeah [Zehn chinesische Schüsselchen].
Chuck: Now let’s look at the different S sounds.
Judith: First let me say that the English S sound is spelled as either [ß] or a ss. Sometimes also as simple S especially at the end of the words.
Chuck: According to the new spelling reform which some Germans still haven’t mastered, this sound is spelled [ß], but it follows a long vowel and it’s spelled ss when it follows a short vowel because a double consonant indicates a short vowel.
Judith: Note that in German, this sound never occurs at the beginning of a word and by the same token, the letter [ß] never appears at the beginning of a word.
Chuck: That’s why there is no upper case version of it, too.
Judith: The German letter S is typically pronounced like the English Z in zoo.
Chuck: Don’t forget this. At the beginning of a word, it’s the only possible way of pronouncing the S unless there are other consonants along with it.
Judith: At the end of a word, the S is always pronounced like [ß]. In the middle of a word, things are more tricky.
Chuck: Finally, the German letter z is pronounced like English ts like in [tsar].
Judith: You mean the letter z? That is the part that English speakers tend to have the most difficulty with.
Chuck: So make an effort to always pronounce the z this way.
Judith: Here is a tongue twister that you can practice. [Zehn zahme Ziegen zogen zehn Zentner Zucker zum Zoo].
Chuck: Ten tame goats pulled ten hundredweights of sugar to the zoo.
Judith: Also you should practice today’s sample phrase which contains all three kinds of S sounds.
Chuck: Can we hear that again?
Judith: [Zehn chinesische Schüsselchen].
Chuck: Can you say it faster? Come on, say it faster.
Judith: [Zehn chinesische Schüsselchen].
Chuck: Okay. Can you go over the S sounds one more time. I don’t think I caught on that last time you went through this phrase.
Judith: Sure. The beginning one [zehn] is the z and then [chinesische] the [s] is spelled as an s in German and [Schüsselchen] the middle sound [Schüsselchen] is the double s standing for this sound.
Chuck: Now go to the learning center at germanpod101.com and practice this phrase until you sound like a native.
Judith: It’s not too hard to pronounce a single phrase correctly and once you master the sounds in that one, you can try to apply the knowledge everywhere.
Chuck: Unless that single phrase is this one.
Judith: It’s not that hard.
Chuck: Remember, it’s not that hard to say [Zehn chinesische Schüsselchen]...okay because I happened to know that a German tongue twister is very similar to this phrase.
Judith: And yeah, there is a tongue twister that goes [chinesisches Schüsselchen]. If you say that often enough but I think the thing that really makes it difficult is the additional [s. chinesisches] at the end there.
Chuck: Yeah and Susie sells seashells by the seashore. So anyway, go to the learning center now and start practicing.
Judith: And be sure to tune in again for our next lesson.
Chuck: See you next time.
Judith: [Bis nächstes Mal]!