This means that if you were singing the alphabet in German, the section TUVW, would sound as follows (Té/Fau/Vé). This peculiarity at least makes the most sense: the letter W in German, which is named like a V sounds like a V. Now for a little humor that actually helps you remember! The umlaut placed upon these vowels makes the following sound shifts: ä similar to the short e in bed; ö, similar to the u sound in further, and ü. similar to the French u sound. In fact, when people don’t have access to the German keyboard, they often will substitute a double s for the ß. creative, Celcius (soft c sound in German sounds like ts) der Chor , der Christkindlmarkt (south German term for der Weihnachtsmarkt/ Christmas market), Celcius D d But these four letters have not been added to the alphabet list and are not part of the German alphabet. Technically speaking the German alphabet has only one additional letter that is different- the eszett. In German language, you also see four extra letters: ä, ö, ü and ß. Of course, this is expected in Hochdeutsch (standard German) only, it might be different when speaking German dialects or with accents of different German regions. The pronunciation spitting combo helps students remember the peculiarities of these three very common German sounds: ch – sch – sp. in German studies. However, in German, there are further rules about when it is correct to write either ss or ß. Say them quickly one after another and it sounds like, first - the preparation for the spit ch/ch, the start of the spit – sch (like sh in English), and finally the actual ejaculation of the spit – sp. It is only in these types of words where you’ll find the soft c or hard c sound. In German you'll rarely run into a 'c' that isn't followed by an 'h' except in foreign words. She has a teaching degree and an M.A. For instance, the word der Vogel you would pronounce as Fogel (with a hard g). Better practice some pronunciation spitting then! The ß, on the other hand, is simply like an over-pronounced s. It is rightly called in German ein scharfes s (a sharp s). By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Additional Letters in the German Alphabet, German for Beginners: Pronunciation and Alphabet, German Spelling With a Double S or Eszett (ß), How to Type German Characters on Your Computer, How to Type German Characters on a Keyboard, How To Pronounce 'Frohe Weihnachten' in German, Animal Sounds in German With English Translations, German Verbs: How to Recognize the German Subjunctive I, II. Otherwise, the letter c is actually only popular in German consonant combinations, such as sch and ch, as stated in the preceding paragraph. At least when it comes to the letters B, D, and G. When you place these letters either at the end of a word or before a consonant, then the sound transformation is usually as follows: das Grab/ the grave (the b sounds like a soft p), die Hand/ hand (the d sounds like a soft t) beliebig/ any (the sounds like a soft k). For example, der Caddie, die Camouflage, das Cello. It is only in these types of words where you’ll find the soft c or hard c sound. Yes, this confuses a lot of beginners! Unfortunately, there is no English equivalent for the sound ü. The standard name of the letter V, as it is in many languages, is actually the letter name of W in German. It looks like a capital letter B with a tail hanging from it: ß. Beginners tend at first to over vocalize the ch sound and forget the sh sound in sp. However, there is also something that Germans call “der Umlaut.” This is when two dots are placed above a letter. There are more than twenty-six letters in the German alphabet. To pronounce the ü sound, you need to say u while your lips are in a puckering position. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Even though the letter C is in the German alphabet, by itself it plays only a minor role, since most German words that start with the letter C followed by a vowel, stem from foreign words. Ingrid Bauer, who is fluent in German, has been teaching and tutoring the German language since 1996. But wait, there’s more: the letter V in German sounds like F! As for the letter W in German? In German, this happens only above the vowels a, o and u. Since these letter shifts sound very subtle when speaking, it is more important to pay attention to their correctness when writing them. The following are five peculiarities of the German alphabet and its pronunciation that every beginner German student should know about. If that 'c' is followed by an 'ä', 'e', 'i', or 'ö', it's pronounced as a 'ts' sound (for example: circa - approximate); otherwise it's pronounced as a 'k' (for example: Creme- cream). Even though the letter C is in the German alphabet, by itself it plays only a minor role, since most German words that start with the letter C followed by a vowel, stem from foreign words. You will find the German version of the hard “c” sound in the letter K. Consequently, you will often see words that start with a hard c sound in English spelled with a K in German: Kanada, der Kaffee, die Konstruktion, der Konjunktiv, die Kamera, das Kalzium. For example, der Caddie, die Camouflage, das Cello. German Alphabet Pronunciation Chart . (See article German s, ss or ß) The only way to avoid the ß is to move to Switzerland since Swiss Germans don’t use the ß at all. This means that if you were singing the alphabet in German language, you also four! 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