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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate German Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn all 17 German vowel sounds.
a, a:, ɐ, œ, eː, øː, ɛ, ɛ:, ə, iː, yː, ɪ, ʏ, ɔ, oː, uː, ʊ
With these sounds, you can pronounce any vowel that could possibly appear in German!
Some vowels may be hard for you to distinguish, especially for English speakers, so make sure you listen carefully!
Are you ready?
Then let's get started!
The first vowel is...
a
maximal (maximum)
Wasser (water)
Dach (roof)
"It's very similar to the A sound in the word 'pat', though not as whiny.
Try moving your tongue further back in to the mouth, so that it assumes a more centralized position. It should sound a little deeper as a result, and instead of a whiny sound, it now has a darker quality to it.
The resulting vowel should sound somewhere in between the A sounds of the words 'pat' and 'bra'.
Listen to the native speaker."
a, a (slowly)
a, a (slowly)
The next vowel is...
a:
Bahn (train)
Saal (hall)
Vater (father)
This is identical to the previous sound, except it's held for twice as long.
a:, a: (slowly)
a:, a: (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ɐ
oder (or)
aber (but)
Ober (waiter)
"This is identical to the previous sound, except that the tongue is raised a *tiny* bit higher.
This sound typically occurs at the end of a word and pronounced softly."
ɐ, ɐ (slowly)
ɐ, ɐ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
œ
Hölle (hell)
göttlich (divine)
erörtern (to debate)
"This sounds roughly like the U in the word 'hurt'.
To pronounce this sound however, try saying the E sound in the word 'red' while rounding your lips."
œ, œ (slowly)
œ, œ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
Seele (soul)
mehr (more)
Beet (patch)
"This sounds a little bit like the double EE in the word 'feet' except your tongue is not as high. Try to relax your jaw, and say it as if to allow the vowel to spill out.
Listen to the native speaker."
eː, eː (slowly)
eː, eː (slowly)
The next vowel is...
øː
öde (dull)
hören (to hear)
schön (beautiful)
"This is identical to the previous sound, except that the lips are rounded.
Try to say the word 'play' while rounding your lips."
øː, øː (slowly)
øː, øː (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ɛ
hätte (had)
Männer (men)
Bett (bed)
It's identical to the E sound in the word 'red'.
ɛ, ɛ (slowly)
ɛ, ɛ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ɛ:
wähle (choose)
spät (late)
länge (length)
This identical to the previous sound, except that it's pronounced twice as long.
ɛ:, ɛ: (slowly)
ɛ:, ɛ: (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ə
halte (hold)
behalten (to keep)
gesund (healthy)
It's identical to the E sound at the end of the word 'problem'.
ə, ə (slowly)
ə, ə (slowly)
The next vowel is...
viel (much)
Bibel (bible)
Ziel (target)
It's identical to the double E sound in the word 'see'.
iː, iː (slowly)
iː, iː (slowly)
The next vowel is...
y:
über (over)
Mykene (mycenae)
Rübe (carrot)
"It's identical as the previous sound, except that the lips are rounded.
Try saying the word 'see' while rounding your lips."
y:, y: (slowly)
y:, y: (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ɪ
bitte (please)
willig (eager)
bist (are)
It's identical to the I sound in the word 'it'.
ɪ, ɪ (slowly)
ɪ, ɪ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ʏ
füllt (fills)
Rhythmus (rhythm)
schützen (to protect)
"It's identical as the previous sound, except that the lips are rounded.
Try saying the word 'it' while rounding your lips."
ʏ, ʏ (slowly)
ʏ, ʏ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
ɔ
voll (full)
kommen (to come)
Ort (place)
It's identical to the OU sound in the word 'ought'.
ɔ, ɔ (slowly)
ɔ, ɔ (slowly)
The next vowel is...
oder (or)
Boot (boat)
Moos (moss)
"This is very similar to the previous sound, except your tongue is positioned a little bit higher.
It's quite similiar to the O sound in the word 'owe'. Though be careful not to carry over the W sound too much.
Listen to the native speaker."
oː, oː (slowly)
oː, oː (slowly)
The next vowel is...
Fuß (foot)
Blume (flower)
Hut (hat)
It's identical to the double O sound in the word 'boot'.
u:, u: (slowly)
u:, u: (slowly)
And the last vowel is...
ʊ
Schutz (protection)
kurz (short)
Putz (plaster)
It's identical to the double O sound in the word 'took'.
ʊ, ʊ (slowly)
ʊ, ʊ (slowly)
Well done! You've just learned all 17 vowels in German!
a, ɐ, œ, eː, øː, ɛ, ə, iː, yː, ɪ, ʏ, ɔ, oː, uː, ʊ
In the next lesson, you'll start learning consonants sounds.
There were a lot of vowel sounds in this lesson, but which vowel sound was the most difficult for you to learn? Please comment and share your thoughts.
See you in the next Ultimate German Pronunciation Guide lesson!

35 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

GermanPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Do you find any of the German vowel difficult to pronounce?

GermanPod101.com Verified
Friday at 08:32 AM
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Hi Noah,


Thank you for your feedback.👍


I can see that there maybe confusion as to pronunciation of phonetics. I think, however,

that the issue is more a question of the phonetic alphabet only being

an approximation of the sounds in the various languages. Considering

how different some sounds are in different languages - nasal, throaty, etc. -

the phonetics may sometimes not sound 100% right.

As a native German I would say though that Alisa's pronunciation of the German

letters is spot on.

As for your example with the "i" and "i:", I think the latter should be pronounced twice as

long. Please let me know, if you think I misunderstood you there.😉


If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us again.


Kind regards,

Reinhard

Team GermanPod101.com

Noah
Sunday at 11:39 AM
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There's a few examples that don't sound right at all...it says "The next vowel is ___" then the examples don't have that sound, but they have the sound that is given as an English example, then Alisa shows the vowel that was said initially...so it doesn't all line up. The "I", for example, is pronounced like "ee" and then three examples are given where it is pronounced like the "i in it" as it's explained, then Alisa says "ee" 4 times. This doesn't match up at all. I


I'm not sure if there's an error in editing or poor explanation? I've done a semester of German before so I was looking for the internal physiology to help explain some of the trickier vowels and now I'm just really confused. Am I really misunderstanding something or is it incorrect?

GermanPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 07:36 PM
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Hallo robert groulx,


Danke schön for taking the time to leave us a comment. 😇

Let us know if you have any questions.


Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Levente

Team GermanPod101.com

robert groulx
Wednesday at 11:50 PM
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thanks for the lesson


my favorite words are behalten


robert

GermanPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 09:51 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Rayyan,


Thank you for your quick response!👍


You are right, of course. After talking to our team

last week I realized I missed it too: the ɐ is of course referring

to the end of the words, the "-er". Sorry for the confusion.

We have agreed to highlight the syllable in bold in the next

few days, to avoid any more misunderstandings.😉


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Kind regards,

Reinhard

Team GermanPod101.com

Rayyan
Tuesday at 04:57 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

ɐ is pronounced like an "a" sound, not "u" sound

GermanPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 11:23 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Amy,


Thank you for bringing this to our attention.👍


You are right. I will forward your message to our team

and have this looked at as soon as possible.


If you have any further questions, please let us know.


Kind regards,

Reinhard

Team GermanPod101.com

Amy Lee
Thursday at 03:11 PM
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I don't see how "--aber--" is prononced with the ɐ sound. completely different from the two other examples "--ober-- " and "--oder--"

GermanPod101.com
Thursday at 08:45 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Pillow,


Thank you for asking.


I have been teaching German for years and I think

I understand your frustration. These are the most challenging

vowels in the German language for most students. To be honest,

if you can't pick it up from the video, the best solution for you might

be to find a native speaker for a language exchange (or a teacher?),

and I mean face-to-face, not via Skype etc..


If you have any further questions, please let us know.


Kind regards,

Reinhard

Team GermanPod101.com


pillow
Sunday at 07:54 PM
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still can't tell difference between /Y/ and /oe/, I think it's told in the video both from /i/ but round mouth?? looking for help!