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Lesson Transcript

Judith: Hallo, ich heiße Judith.
Chuck: Hi, I am Chuck.
Judith: Willkommen!
Chuck: You are listening to germanpod101.com this is accent improvement series, lesson 8.
Judith: Sie hören germanpod101.com.
Chuck: Welcome to another accent improvement lesson by germanpod101.
Judith: This is where you can improve your pronunciation and get rid of that nasty foreign accent.
Chuck: To really improve your accent, don’t just listen to these lessons but try saying the words and phrases yourself.
Judith: Use the learning center at germanpod101.com to listen to the words and phrases over and over and imitate them as you hear. You can also record your voice to see how well you are doing.
Chuck: Today we will look at the German letters F, V and W. Judith, could you give us an example sentence with these?
Judith: Sure. [Viele Vasen fassen weniger als vier Liter Wasser].
Chuck: That means mini vases can contain less than 4 liters of water. Could you say that again but a little slower?
Judith: [Viele Vasen fassen weniger als vier Liter Wasser].
Chuck: In German, the letters F, V and W only have two pronunciations between them. Let’s look at each of these letters individually.
Judith: The German letter F corresponds to the English F. So this should not be a difficulty. Here is a German tongue twister with F that you can use to practice anyway. [Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische].
Chuck: This means Fritz, the Fisherman’s son is fishing for fresh fish. That almost works in English. The German w corresponds to the English v.
Judith: Again the pronunciation should not give you any trouble but you will have to remember not to pronounce the German w like an English w. German has a nice tongue twister with w as well [Wir Wiener Waschweiber würden weiße Wäsche waschen, wenn wir wüssten wo warmes Wasser wär].
Chuck: We Wiener washing women would like to wash white laundry if you knew where warm soft water was.
Judith: The German letter v, the last letter we are looking at today is a troublemaker.
Chuck: It can be pronounced either as F or like an English V. That’s a German W. You don’t get a choice. Some words are pronounced like this and some are pronounced the other way.
Judith: The reason for this ambiguity is that German draws on dramatic word rules but also word rules from Romance languages for its vocabulary.
Chuck: In words of dramatic origin, the v is pronounced as f.
Judith: The word [Vater]
Chuck: Father.
Judith: Is the most well known example.
Chuck: And words that have come directly or indirectly from Latin through the Romance languages, the v is pronounced like an English v or German w.
Judith: The word [Vase].
Chuck: Vase.
Judith: Is an example of this. So knowing the etymology of words can help you pronounce German correctly. As a rule of thumb, v is more commonly pronounced as f, especially when it comes to everyday words.
Chuck: Now let’s hear the example sentence again.
Judith: [Viele Vasen fassen weniger als vier Liter Wasser].
Chuck: Could you go through the F and V sounds in that phrase and remind us what they are?
Judith: Of course [viele] this is a v which is pronounced like F [Vasen] this is a v pronounced like a German w. [fassen] a simple f, [weniger] w [als vier] this is a v pronounced as f. [Liter] okay there is nothing. [Wasser] w.
Chuck: [Ich verstehe]. I think I will go drive my Volkswagen now.
Judith: Yes, indeed that’s the word that English speakers always pronounce incorrectly because of this difference. Volkswagen, the first letter is V. So you have to pronounce it like F, [Volk] It’s a dramatic root. You can hear the English word Folk in there, [Volk] people and [Wagen] with w so it’s [Volkswagen].
Chuck: So now whenever you want to talk about a Volkswagen, you can call it [Volkswagen] to your friends so that you can sound completely a leader to them. So go to the learning center at germanpod101.com and practice the sentence until you sound like a native.
Judith: Germanpod101 provides you with all the tools you need to develop a perfect German pronunciation.
Chuck: Go to the learning center now and start practicing. Be sure to listen to our next lesson. See you then.
Judith: [Bis dann]!