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Standard German phonology


The phonology of Standard German is the standard pronunciation or accent of the German
language. It deals with current phonology and phonetics as well as with historical developments
thereof as well as the geographical variants and the influence of German dialects.

While the spelling of German is officially standardised by an international organisation (the Council
for German Orthography) the pronunciation has no official standard and relies on a de facto standard
documented in reference works such as Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch (German Pronunciation
Dictionary) by Eva-Maria Krech et al.,[1] Duden 6 Das Aussprachewörterbuch (Duden volume 6, The
Pronunciation Dictionary) by Max Mangold and the training materials of radio and television stations
such as Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Deutschlandfunk, or Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen. This
standardised pronunciation was invented, rather than coming from any particular German-speaking
city, but the pronunciation that Germans usually consider to be closest to the standard is that of
Hanover.[2][3][4][5] Standard German is sometimes referred to as Bühnendeutsch (stage German), but
the latter has its own definition and is slightly different.[6]

Contents
Vowels
Monophthongs
Notes
Phonemic status of /ɛː/
Diphthongs
Phonemic
Phonetic
Consonants
Ich-Laut and ach-Laut
Fortis–lenis pairs
Coda devoicing
Stress
Acquisition
General
Vowel space development
Grammatical words
Nasals
Phonotactic constraints and reading
Sound changes
Sound changes and mergers
Middle High German
Loanwords
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Loanwords from English


Loanwords from French
Sample
Phonemic transcription
Phonetic transcription
Orthographic version
See also
Notes
References
Further reading
External links

Vowels

Monophthongs
Monophthong phonemes of Standard German
Front
Central Back
unrounded rounded
short long short long short long short long
Close ɪ iː ʏ yː ʊ uː
Monophthongs of standard German,
Close- from Dudenredaktion, Kleiner &
eː øː (ə) oː
mid
Knöbl (2015:34)
Open-
ɛ (ɛː) œ (ɐ) ɔ
mid
Open a aː

Some scholars[7] treat /ə/ as an unstressed allophone of /ɛ/. Likewise, some scholars[7] treat /ɐ/ as an
allophone of the unstressed sequence /ər/. The phonemic status of /ɛː/ is also debated – see below.

Notes
Close vowels

/iː/ is close front unrounded [iː].[8][9][10]


/yː/ is close near-front rounded [y̠ː].[8][9][10]
/uː/ is close back rounded [uː].[8][9][10]
/ɪ/ has been variously described as near-close front unrounded [ɪ̟][10] and near-close near-front
unrounded [ɪ].[8][9]
/ʏ/ is near-close near-front rounded [ʏ].[8][9][10]
/ʊ/ is near-close near-back rounded [ʊ].[8][9][10]
Mid vowels
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/eː/ is close-mid front unrounded [eː].[8][9][10]


In non-standard accents of the Low German speaking area, as well as in some Bavarian
and Austrian accents it may be pronounced as a narrow closing diphthong [eɪ].
/øː/ has been variously described as close-mid near-front rounded [ø̠ː][9][10] and mid near-front
rounded [ø̽ː].[8]
In non-standard accents of the Low German speaking area, as well as in some Austrian
accents it may be pronounced as a narrow closing diphthong [øʏ].
/oː/ is close-mid back rounded [oː].[8][9][10]
In non-standard accents of the Low German speaking area, as well as in some Austrian
accents it may be pronounced as a narrow closing diphthong [oʊ].
/ə/ has been variously described as mid central unrounded [ə].[8][9][10] and close-mid central
unrounded [ɘ].[11] It occurs only in unstressed syllables, for instance in besetzen [bəˈzɛtsən]
('occupy'). It is often considered a complementary allophone together with [ɛ], but which
cannot occur in unstressed syllables. If a sonorant follows in the syllable coda, the schwa
often disappears so that the sonorant becomes syllabic, for instance Kissen [ˈkɪsn̩] ('pillow'),
Esel [ˈeːzl̩ ] ('donkey').
/ɛ/ has been variously described as mid near-front unrounded [ɛ̽][9] and open-mid front
unrounded [ɛ].[8][10]
/ɛː/ has been variously described as mid front unrounded [ɛ̝ː][8] and open-mid front unrounded
[ɛː].[8][9]
/œ/ has been variously described as open-mid near-front rounded [œ̠][10] and somewhat
lowered open-mid near-front rounded [œ̠˕].[8][9]
/ɔ/ has been variously described as somewhat fronted open-mid back rounded [ɔ̟][9][10] and
open-mid back rounded [ɔ].[8]
Open vowels
/ɐ/ is near-open central unrounded [ɐ].[8][12] It is a common allophone of the sequence /ər/
common to all German-speaking areas but Switzerland.
/a/ has been variously described as open front unrounded [a][13] and open central unrounded
[ä].[8][9][10][14][15] Some scholars[16] differentiate two short /a/, namely front /a/ and back /ɑ/.[17]
The latter occurs only in unstressed open syllables, exactly as /i, y, u, e, ø, o/.[18]

Standard Austrian pronunciation of this vowel is back [ɑ].[19]


Front [a] or even [æ] is a common realization of /a/ in northern German varieties influenced
by Low German.
/aː/ has been variously described as open central unrounded [äː][8][9][10][14][15] and open back
unrounded [ɑː].[20] Because of this, it is sometimes transcribed /ɑː/.[21]

Back [ɑː] is the Standard Austrian pronunciation.[19] It is also a common realization of /aː/
in northern German varieties influenced by Low German (in which it may even be rounded
[ɒː]).
Wiese (1996) notes that "there is a tendency to neutralize the distinction between [a(ː)], [aɐ̯],
and [ɐ]. That is, Oda, Radar, and Oder have final syllables which are perceptually very similar,
and are nearly or completely identical in some dialects."[22] He also says that "outside of a
word context, [ɐ] cannot be distinguished from [a].[22] (As early as 1847, Verdi's librettist found
it natural, when adapting a play by Schiller into the Italian language, to render the distinctly
German name Roller as Rolla.)
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Although there is also a length contrast, vowels are often analyzed according to a tenseness contrast,
with long /iː, yː, uː, eː, øː, oː/ being the tense vowels and short /ɪ, ʏ, ʊ, ɛ, œ, ɔ/ their lax counterparts.
Like the English checked vowels, the German lax vowels require a following consonant, with the
notable exception of [ɛː] (which is absent in many varieties, as discussed below). /a/ is sometimes
considered the lax counterpart of tense /aː/ in order to maintain this tense/lax division. Short /i, y, u,
e, ø, o/ occur in unstressed syllables of loanwords, for instance in Psychometrie /psyçomeˈtʁiː/
('psychometry'). They are usually considered allophones of tense vowels, which cannot occur in
unstressed syllables (unless in compounds).

Northern German varieties influenced by Low German could be analyzed as lacking contrasting vowel
quantity entirely:

/aː/ has a different quality than /a/ (see above).


These varieties also consistently lack /ɛː/, and use only /eː/ in its place.

Phonemic status of /ɛː/


The long open-mid front unrounded vowel [ɛː] does not exist in many varieties of Standard German
and is rendered as the close-mid front unrounded vowel [eː], so that both Ähre ('ear of grain') and
Ehre ('honor') are pronounced [ˈeːʁə] (instead of "Ähre" being [ˈɛːʁə]) and both Bären ('bears') and
Beeren ('berries') are pronounced [ˈbeːʁən] (instead of Bären being [ˈbɛːʁən]). It is debated whether
[ɛː] is a distinct phoneme or even exists, except when consciously self-censoring speech,[23] for several
reasons:

1. The existence of a phoneme /ɛː/ is an irregularity in a vowel system that otherwise has pairs of
long and tense vs. short and lax vowels such as [oː] vs. [ɔ].
2. Although some dialects (e.g. Ripuarian and some Alemannic dialects) have an opposition of [eː]
vs. [ɛː], there is little agreement across dialects as to whether individual lexical items should be
pronounced with [eː] or with [ɛː].
3. The use of [ɛː] is a spelling pronunciation rather than an original feature of the language.[23] It is
an attempt to "speak as printed" (sprechen wie gedruckt) and to differentiate the spellings ⟨e⟩ and
⟨ä⟩ (i.e. speakers attempt to justify the appearance of ⟨e⟩ and ⟨ä⟩ in writing by making them distinct
in the spoken language).
4. Speakers with an otherwise fairly standard idiolect find it rather difficult to utter longer passages
with [eː] and [ɛː] in the right places. Such persons apparently have to picture the spellings of the
words in question, which impedes the flow of speech.[23]

Diphthongs

Phonemic

Ending point
Front Back
Open-mid ɔʏ̯
Open aɪ̯ aʊ̯

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/aɪ̯/ has been variously described as [äɪ],[8][24] [äe̠][25] and


[aɛ].[26]
/aʊ̯/ has been variously described as [äʊ],[24] [äʊ̞],[8] [äo̟][25]
and [aɔ].[27]
/ɔʏ̯/ has been variously described as [ɔʏ],[24] [ɔʏ̞],[8] [ɔ̝e̠][25]
and [ɔœ].[28]
The process of smoothing is absent from standard German, so the
sequences /aɪ̯ ə, aʊ̯ə, ɔʏ̯ə/ are never pronounced *[aə̯, aə̯, ɔə̯] or *
[aː, aː, ɔː]. Diphthongs of standard German,
from Dudenredaktion, Kleiner &
Knöbl (2015:35)
Phonetic
Marginally, there are other diphthongs, for instance

[ʊɪ̯] in interjections such as pfui [pfʊɪ̯],


The following usually are not counted among the German diphthongs as German speakers often feel
they are distinct marks of "foreign words" (Fremdwörter). These appear only in loanwords:

[o̯a], as in Croissant [kʁ̥o̯aˈsɑ̃], colloquially: [kʁ̥o̯aˈsaŋ].


Many German speakers use [ɛɪ̯] and [ɔʊ̯] as adaptations of the English diphthongs /eɪ/ and /oʊ/ in
English loanwords, according to Wiese (1996), or they replace them with the native German long
vowels /oː/ and /eː/. Thus, the word okay may be pronounced [ɔʊ̯ˈkɛɪ̯] or /oːˈkeː/.[29] However,
Mangold (2005) and Krech et al. (2009) do not recognize these diphthongs as phonemes, and
prescribe pronunciations with the long vowels /eː/ and /oː/ instead.
In the varieties where speakers vocalize /r/ to [ɐ] in the syllable coda, a diphthong ending in [ɐ̯] may
be formed with every stressable vowel:

German diphthongs ending in [ɐ̯]


(part 1), from Kohler (1999:88)

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Diphthong Example
Phonemically Phonetically IPA Orthography Translation
he/she/it
/ɪr/ [ɪɐ̯] [vɪɐ̯t] wird
becomes

/iːr/ [iːɐ̯]1 [viːɐ̯] wir we

/ʏr/ [ʏɐ̯] [ˈvʏɐ̯də] Würde dignity

/yːr/ [yːɐ̯]1 [fyːɐ̯] für for

I/he/she/it German diphthongs ending in [ɐ̯]


/ʊr/ [ʊɐ̯] [ˈvʊɐ̯də] wurde
became (part 2), from Kohler (1999:88)
/uːr/ [uːɐ̯]1 [ˈuːɐ̯laʊ̯p] Urlaub holiday

/ɛr/ [ɛɐ̯] [ɛɐ̯ft] Erft Erft

/ɛːr/ [ɛːɐ̯]1 [bɛːɐ̯] Bär bear

/eːr/ [eːɐ̯]1 [meːɐ̯] mehr more

he/she/it
/œr/ [œɐ̯] [dœɐ̯t] dörrt
dries
(you (sg.))
/øːr/ [øːɐ̯]1 [høːɐ̯] hör!
hear!
/ɔr/ [ɔɐ̯] [ˈnɔɐ̯dn̩] Norden north

/oːr/ [oːɐ̯]1 [toːɐ̯] Tor gate

/ar/ [aɐ̯] [haɐ̯t] hart hard

/aːr/ [aːɐ̯]1 [vaːɐ̯] wahr true

^1 Wiese (1996) notes that the length contrast is not very stable before non-prevocalic /r/[30]
and that "Meinhold & Stock (1980:180), following the pronouncing dictionaries (Mangold (1990),
Krech & Stötzer (1982)) judge the vowel in Art, Schwert, Fahrt to be long, while the vowel in Ort,
Furcht, hart is supposed to be short. The factual basis of this presumed distinction seems very
questionable."[30][31] He goes on stating that in his own dialect, there is no length difference in
these words, and that judgements on vowel length in front of non-prevocalic /r/ which is itself
vocalized are problematic, in particular if /a/ precedes.[30]

According to the "lengthless" analysis, the aforementioned "long" diphthongs are analyzed as
[iɐ̯], [yɐ̯], [uɐ̯], [ɛɐ̯], [eɐ̯], [øɐ̯], [oɐ̯] and [aɐ̯]. This makes non-prevocalic /ar/ and /aːr/
homophonous as [aɐ̯] or [aː]. Non-prevocalic /ɛr/ and /ɛːr/ may also merge, but the vowel chart
in Kohler (1999) shows that they have somewhat different starting points – mid-centralized
open-mid front [ɛ̽] for the former, open-mid front [ɛ] for the latter.[12]

Wiese (1996) also states that "laxing of the vowel is predicted to take place in shortened
vowels; it does indeed seem to go hand in hand with the vowel shortening in many cases."[30]
This leads to [iɐ̯], [yɐ̯], [uɐ̯], [eɐ̯], [øɐ̯], [oɐ̯] being pronounced the same as [ɪɐ̯], [ʏɐ̯], [ʊɐ̯], [ɛɐ̯],
[œɐ̯], [ɔɐ̯]. This merger is usual in the Standard Austrian accent, in which e.g. Moor 'bog' is
often pronounced [mɔɐ̯]; this, in contrast with the Standard Northern variety, also happens
intervocalically, along with the diphthongization of the laxed vowel to [Vɐ̯], so that e.g. Lehrer
'teacher' is pronounced [ˈlɛɐ̯ʁɐ][32] (the corresponding Standard Northern pronunciation is
[ˈleːʁɐ]). Another feature of the Standard Austrian accent is complete absorption of [ɐ̯] by the
preceding /ɑ, ɑː/, so that e.g. rar 'scarce' is pronounced [ʁɑː].[32]

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Consonants
With approximately 25 phonemes, the German consonant system has an average number of
consonants in comparison with other languages. One of the more noteworthy ones is the unusual
affricate /pf/.[33]

Dental/ Velar/
Labial Palatal Glottal
Alveolar Uvular
Nasal m n ŋ
fortis p t k (ʔ)
Plosive
lenis b d ɡ
fortis pf ts tʃ
Affricate
lenis (dʒ)
fortis s ʃ
sibilant
lenis z (ʒ)
Fricative
fortis f (θ) ç (x) h
non-sibilant
lenis v (ð) j
Lateral l
Rhotic r

Notes

/pf/ is bilabial–labiodental [pf], rather than purely labiodental [p̪f].[34]


/t, d, l, n/ can be apical alveolar [t̺ , d̺, l̺ , n̺],[35][36][37][38] laminal alveolar [t̻ , d̻, l̻ , n̻][35][39][40] or
laminal denti-alveolar [t̪ , d̪, l̪ , n̪].[35][41][42][43] The other possible pronunciation of /d/ that has been
reported to occur in unstressed intervocalic positions is retroflex [ɖ].[44] Austrian German often
uses the laminal denti-alveolar articulation.
/l/ is always clear [l], as in most Irish English accents. A few Austrian accents may use a
velarized [ɫ] instead, but that is considered non-standard.
In the Standard Austrian variety, /k/ may be affricated to [kx] before front vowels.[45]
/ts, s, z/ can be laminal alveolar [t̻ s̻, s̻, z̻],[46][47][48] laminal post-dental [t̪ s̪, s̪, z̪][46][48] (i.e. fronted
alveolar, articulated with the blade of the tongue just behind upper front teeth),[46] or even apical
alveolar [t̺ s̺, s̺, z̺].[46][47][48] Austrian German often uses the post-dental articulation. /s, z/ are
always strongly fricated.[49]
/tʃ, dʒ, ʃ, ʒ/ are strongly labialized palato-alveolar sibilants [tʃʷ, dʒʷ, ʃʷ, ʒʷ].[50][51][52] /ʃ, ʒ/ are
fricated more weakly than /s, z/.[53] There are two variants of these sounds:
Laminal,[50][52] articulated with the foremost part of the blade of the tongue approaching the
foremost part of the hard palate, with the tip of the tongue resting behind either upper or lower
front teeth.[50]
Apico-laminal,[50][51][52] articulated with the tip of the tongue approaching the gums and the
foremost part of the blade approaching the foremost part of the hard palate.[50] According to
Morciniec & Prędota (2005), this variant is used more frequently.[52]

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/θ, ð/ are used only in loanwords, mostly from English, such as Thriller /ˈθʁɪlɐ/,[49] though some
speakers substitute /θ/ with any of /t, s, f/ and /ð/ with any of /d, z, v/. There are two variants of
these sounds:

Apical post-dental,[49] articulated with the tip of the tongue approaching the upper incisors.[49]
Apical interdental,[49] articulated with the tip of the tongue between the upper and lower
incisors.[49]
/r/ has a number of possible realizations:
Voiced apical coronal trill [r̺],[54][55][56] either alveolar (articulated with the tip of the tongue
against the alveolar ridge),[54][55][56] or dental (articulated with the tip of the tongue against the
back of the upper front teeth).[54]
Distribution: Common in the south (Bavaria and many parts of Switzerland and Austria),
but it is also found in some speakers in central and northern Germany, especially the
elderly. It is also one of possible realizations of /r/ in the Standard Austrian accent, but a
more common alveolar realization is an approximant [ɹ]. Even more common are uvular
realizations, fricatives [ʁ ~ χ] and a trill [ʀ].[57]
Voiced uvular trill [ʀ],[54][55][58][59] which can be realized as voiceless [ʀ̥] after voiceless
consonants (as in treten).[55] According to Lodge (2009) it is often a tap [ʀ̆] intervocalically (as
in Ehre).[60]
Distribution: Occurs in some conservative varieties - most speakers with a uvular /r/ realize
it as a fricative or an approximant.[61] It is also one of possible realizations of /r/ in the
Standard Austrian accent, but it is less common than a fricative [ʁ ~ χ].[57]
Dorsal continuant, about the quality of which there is not a complete agreement:
Krech et al. (2009) describe two fricative variants, namely post-palatal [ɣ˖] and velar [ɣ].
The post-palatal variant appears before and after front vowels, while the velar variant is
used in all other positions.[62]
Morciniec & Prędota (2005) describe it as voiced post-velar fricative [ʁ̟].[63]
Mangold (2005) and Kohler (1999) describe it as voiced uvular fricative [ʁ];[54][64]
Mangold (2005) states that "with educated professional radio and TV announcers, as
with professional actors on the stage and in film, the [voiced uvular] fricative [realization
of] /r/ clearly predominates."[54]
In the Standard Austrian accent, the uvular fricative is also the most common
realization, although its voicing is variable (that is, it can be either voiced [ʁ] or
voiceless [χ]).[57]
Kohler (1999) writes that "the place of articulation of the consonant varies from uvular
in e.g. rot ('red') to velar in e.g. treten ('kick'), depending on back or front vowel
contexts." He also notes that [ʁ] is devoiced after voiceless plosives and fricatives,
especially those within the same word, giving the word treten as an example.
According to this author, [ʁ] can be reduced to an approximant in an intervocalic
position.[65]
Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996) describe it as a uvular fricative [ʁ] or approximant [ʁ̞]. The
latter is less likely to occur word-initially.[66]
Distribution: Almost all areas apart from Bavaria and parts of Switzerland.
Near-open central unrounded vowel [ɐ] is a post-vocalic allophone of (mostly dorsal) varieties
of /r/. The non-syllabic variant of it is not always near-open or central; it is similar to either [ɑ]
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or [ə], depending on the environment.[63]


Distribution: Widespread, but less common in Switzerland.
The voiceless stops /p/, /t/, /k/ are aspirated except when preceded by a sibilant. Many southern
dialects do not aspirate /p t k/, and some northern ones do so only in a stressed position. The
voiceless affricates /pf/, /ts/, and /tʃ/ are never aspirated,[67] and neither are any other consonants
besides the aforementioned /p, t, k/.[67]
The obstruents /b, d, ɡ, z, ʒ, dʒ/ are voiceless lenis [b̥, d̥, ɡ̊, z̥, ʒ̊, d̥ʒ̊] in southern varieties, and
they contrast with voiceless fortis [p, t, k, s, ʃ, tʃ].
In Austria, intervocalic /b, d, ɡ/ can be lenited to fricatives [β, ð, ɣ].[45][68]
Before and after front vowels (/ɪ, iː, ʏ, yː, ɛ, ɛː, eː, œ, øː/ and, in varieties that realize them as front,
/a/ and/or /aː/), the velar consonants /ŋ, k, ɡ/ are realized as post-palatal [ŋ˖, k̟, ɡ˖].[69][70]
According to Wiese (1996), in a parallel process, /k, ɡ/ before and after back vowels (/ʊ, uː, ɔ, oː/
and, in varieties that realize them as back, /a/ and/or /aː/) are retracted to post-velar [k̠, ɡ˗] or even
uvular [q, ɢ].[69]
There is no complete agreement about the nature of /j/; it has been variously described as a
fricative [ʝ],[71][72][73] a fricative, which can be fricated less strongly than /ç/,[74] a sound variable
between a weak fricative an approximant[75] and an approximant [j],[64][76] which is the usual
realization in the Standard Austrian variety.[76]
In many varieties of standard German, the glottal stop, [ʔ], occurs in careful speech before word
stems that begin with a vowel. It is much more frequent in northern varieties than in the south. It is
not usually considered a phoneme. In colloquial and dialectal speech, [ʔ] is often omitted,
especially when the word beginning with a vowel is unstressed.
The phonemic status of affricates is controversial. The majority view accepts /pf/ and /ts/, but not
/tʃ/ or the non-native /dʒ/; some[77] accept none, some accept all but /dʒ/, and some[78] accept all.
Although [tʃ] occurs in native words, it only appears in historic clusters of /t/ + /ʃ/ (e.g. deutsch <
OHG diutisc) or in words with expressive quality (e.g. glitschen, hutschen). [tʃ] is, however,
well-established in loanwords, including German toponyms of non-Germanic origin (e.g.
Zschopau).
[dʒ] and [ʒ] occur only in words of foreign origin. In certain varieties, they are replaced by [tʃ]
and [ʃ] altogether.
[ʋ] is occasionally considered to be an allophone of /v/, especially in southern varieties of
German.
[ç] and [x] are traditionally regarded as allophones after front vowels and back vowels,
respectively. For a more detailed analysis see below at ich-Laut and ach-Laut. According to some
analyses, [χ] is an allophone of /x/ after /a, aː/ and according to some also after /ʊ, ɔ, aʊ̯/.[12][45]
However, according to Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015), the uvular allophone is used
after /ɔ/ only in the Standard Austrian variety.[45]
Some phonologists deny the phoneme /ŋ/ and use /nɡ/ instead along with /nk/ instead of /ŋk/. The
phoneme sequence /nɡ/ is realized as [ŋɡ] when /ɡ/ can start a valid onset of the next syllable
whose nucleus is a vowel other than unstressed /ə/, /ɪ/, or /ʊ/. It becomes [ŋ] otherwise. For
example:
Diphthong /dɪfˈtɔnɡ/ [dɪfˈtɔŋ]
diphthongieren /dɪftɔnˈɡiːʁən/ [ˌdɪftɔŋˈɡiːʁən]
Englisch /ˈɛnɡlɪʃ/ [ˈɛŋlɪʃ]
Anglo /ˈanɡloː/ [ˈaŋɡloː]
Ganges /ˈɡanɡəs/ [ˈɡaŋəs] ~ /ˈɡanɡɛs/ [ˈɡaŋɡɛs]

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Ich-Laut and ach-Laut


Ich-Laut is the voiceless palatal fricative [ç] (which is found in the word ich [ɪç] 'I'), and ach-Laut is
the voiceless velar fricative [x] (which is found in the word ach [ax] the interjection 'oh', 'alas'). Laut
[laʊ̯t] is the German word for 'sound, phone'. In German, these two sounds are allophones occurring
in complementary distribution. The allophone [x] occurs after back vowels and /a aː/ (for instance in
Buch [buːx] 'book'), the allophone [ç] after front vowels (for instance in mich [mɪç] 'me/myself') and
consonants (for instance in Furcht [fʊʁçt] 'fear', manchmal [ˈmançmaːl] 'sometimes'). (This happens
most regularly: if the ⟨r⟩ in Furcht is pronounced as a consonant, ch represents [ç]; however if, as
often happens, it is vocalized as [ɐ], resembling the vowel [a], then ⟨ch⟩ may represent [x], yielding
[fʊɐ̯xt].)

In loanwords, the pronunciation of potential fricatives in onsets of stressed syllables varies: in the
Northern varieties of standard German, it is [ç], while in Southern varieties, it is [k], and in Western
varieties, it is [ʃ] (for instance in China: [ˈçiːna] vs. [ˈkiːna] vs. [ˈʃiːna]).

The diminutive suffix -chen is always pronounced with an ich-Laut [-çən].[79] Usually, this ending
triggers umlaut (compare for instance Hund [hʊnt] 'dog' to Hündchen [ˈhʏntçn̩] 'little dog'), so
theoretically, it could only occur after front vowels. However, in some comparatively recent coinings,
there is no longer an umlaut, for instance in the word Frauchen [ˈfʀaʊ̯çən] (a diminutive of Frau
'woman'), so that a back vowel is followed by a [ç], even though normally it would be followed by a [x],
as in rauchen [ˈʀaʊ̯xən] ('to smoke'). This exception to the allophonic distribution may be an effect of
the morphemic boundary or an example of phonemicization, where erstwhile allophones undergo a
split into separate phonemes.

The allophonic distribution of [ç] after front vowels and [x] after other vowels is also found in other
languages, such as Scots, in the pronunciation of light. However, it is by no means inevitable: Dutch,
Yiddish, and many Southern German dialects retain [x] (which can be realized as [χ] instead) in all
positions. It is thus reasonable to assume that Old High German ih, the ancestor of modern ich, was
pronounced with [x] rather than [ç]. While it is impossible to know for certain whether Old English
words such as niht (modern night) were pronounced with [x] or [ç], [ç] is likely (see Old English
phonology).

Despite the phonetic history, the complementary distribution of [ç] and [x] in modern Standard
German is better described as backing of /ç/ after a back vowel, rather than fronting of /x/ after a
front vowel, because [ç] is used in onsets (Chemie [çeˈmiː] 'chemistry') and after consonants (Molch
[mɔlç] 'newt'), and is thus the underlying form of the phoneme.

According to Kohler,[80] the German ach-Laut is further differentiated into two allophones, [x] and
[χ]: [x] occurs after /uː, oː/ (for instance in Buch [buːx] 'book') and [χ] after /a, aː/ (for instance in
Bach [baχ] 'brook'), while either [x] or [χ] may occur after /ʊ, ɔ, aʊ̯/, with [χ] predominating.

In Western varieties, there is a strong tendency to realize /ç/ as unrounded [ʃ] or [ɕ], and the
phoneme may be confused or merged with /ʃ/ altogether, secondarily leading to hypercorrection
effects where /ʃ/ is replaced with /ç/, for instance in Fisch [fɪʃ], which may be realized as [fɪç].

Fortis–lenis pairs

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Various German consonants occur in pairs at the same place of articulation and in the same manner
of articulation, namely the pairs /p–b/, /t–d/, /k–ɡ/, /s–z/, /ʃ–ʒ/. These pairs are often called fortis–
lenis pairs, since describing them as voiced–voiceless pairs is inadequate. With certain qualifications,
/tʃ–dʒ/, /f–v/ and /θ–ð/ are also considered fortis–lenis pairs.

Fortis-lenis distinction for /ʔ, m, n, ŋ, l, r, h/ is unimportant.[81]

The fortis stops /p, t, k/ are aspirated in many varieties. The aspiration is strongest in the onset of a
stressed syllable (such as Taler [ˈtʰaːlɐ] 'thaler'), weaker in the onset of an unstressed syllable (such as
Vater [ˈfaːtʰɐ] 'father'), and weakest in the syllable coda (such as in Saat [zaːtʰ] 'seed'). All fortis
consonants, i.e. /p, t, k, f, θ, s, ʃ, ç, x, pf, ts, tʃ/[81] are fully voiceless.[82]

The lenis consonants /b, d, ɡ, v, ð, z, ʒ, j, r, dʒ/[81] range from being weakly voiced to almost voiceless
[b̥, d̥, ɡ̊, v̥, ð̥, z̥, ʒ̊, j̥, r̥, d̥ʒ̊] after voiceless consonants:[82] Kasbah [ˈkasb̥a] ('kasbah'), abdanken
[ˈapd̥aŋkn̩] ('to resign'), rotgelb [ˈʁoːtɡ̊ɛlp] ('red-yellow'), Abwurf [ˈapv̥ʊʁf] ('dropping'), Absicht
[ˈapz̥ɪçt] ('intention'), Holzjalousie [ˈhɔltsʒ̊aluziː] ('wooden jalousie'), wegjagen [ˈvɛkj̥aːɡn̩] ('to chase
away'), tropfen [ˈtʁ̥ɔpfn̩] ('to drop'), Obstjuice [ˈoːpstd̥ʒ̊uːs] ('fruit juice'). Mangold (2005) states that
they are "to a large extent voiced" [b, d, g, v, ð, z, ʒ, j, r, dʒ] in all other environments,[81] but some
studies have found the stops /b, d, ɡ/ to be voiceless word/utterance-initially in most dialects (while
still contrasting with /p, t, k/ due to the aspiration of the latter).[83]

/b, d, ɡ, z, ʒ/ are voiceless in most southern varieties of German. For clarity, they are often transcribed
as [b̥, d̥, ɡ̊, z̥, ʒ̊].

The nature of the phonetic difference between the voiceless lenis consonants and the similarly
voiceless fortis consonants is controversial. It is generally described as a difference in articulatory
force, and occasionally as a difference in articulatory length; for the most part, it is assumed that one
of these characteristics implies the other.

In various central and southern varieties, the opposition between fortis and lenis is neutralized in the
syllable onset; sometimes just in the onset of stressed syllables, sometimes in all cases.

The pair /f-v/ is not considered a fortis–lenis pair, but a simple voiceless–voiced pair, as /v/ remains
voiced in all varieties, including the Southern varieties that devoice the lenes (with however some
exceptions).[84] Generally, the southern /v/ is realized as the voiced approximant [ʋ]. However, there
are southern varieties which differentiate between a fortis /f/ (such as in sträflich [ˈʃtrɛːflɪç] 'culpable'
from Middle High German stræflich) and a lenis /f/ ([v̥], such as in höflich [ˈhøːv̥lɪç] 'polite' from
Middle High German hovelîch); this is analogous to the opposition of fortis /s/ ([s]) and lenis [z̥].

Coda devoicing
In varieties from Northern Germany, lenis stops in the syllable coda are realized as fortis stops. This
does not happen in varieties from Southern Germany, Austria or Switzerland.[85]

Since the lenis stops /b, d, ɡ/ are unvoiced or at most variably voiced (as stated above), this cannot be
called devoicing in the strict sense of the word because it does not involve the loss of phonetic
voice.[86] More accurately, it can be called coda fortition or a neutralization of fortis and lenis sounds
in the coda. Fricatives are truly and contrastively voiced in Northern Germany.[87] Therefore, the

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fricatives undergo coda devoicing in the strict sense of the word.[86] It is disputed whether coda
devoicing is due to a constraint which specifically operates on syllable codas or whether it arises from
constraints which "protect voicing in privileged positions."[88]

As against standard pronunciation rules, in western varieties including those of the Rhineland, coda
fortis–lenis neutralization results in voicing rather than devoicing if the following word begins with a
vowel. For example, mit uns becomes [mɪd‿ʊns] and darf ich becomes [daʁv‿ɪʃ]. The same sandhi
phenomenon exists also as a general rule in the Luxembourgish language.[89]

Stress
Stress in German usually falls on the first syllable, with the following exceptions:

Many loanwords, especially proper names, keep their original stress. E.g. Obama /oˈbaː.ma/
Nouns formed with Latinate suffixes, such as -ant, -anz, -enz, -ion, -ismus, -ist, -ment, -tät:
Idealismus /ide.aˈlɪsmʊs/ ('idealism'), Konsonant /kɔnzoˈnant/ ('consonant'), Tourist /tuˈʁɪst/
('tourist')
Verbs formed with the French-derived suffix -ieren, e.g. studieren /ʃtuˈdiːʁən/ ('to study'). This is
often pronounced /iːɐ̯n/ in casual speech.
Compound adverbs with her, hin, da, or wo as they are stressed on the first syllable of the second
element, e.g. dagegen /daˈɡeːɡən/ ('on the other hand'), woher /voˈheːɐ̯/ ('from where')
In addition, German uses different stress for separable prefixes and inseparable prefixes in verbs and
words derived from such verbs:

Words beginning with be-, ge-, er-, ver-, zer-, ent-, emp- and a few other inseparable prefixes are
stressed on the root.
Words beginning with the separable prefixes ab-, auf-, ein-, vor-, and most prepositional adverbs
are stressed on the prefix.
Some prefixes, notably über-, unter-, um-, and durch-, can function as separable or inseparable
prefixes and are stressed or not accordingly.
A few homographs with such prefixes exist. They are not perfect homophones. Consider the word
umschreiben. As ˈum•schreiben (separable prefix), it means 'to rewrite' and is pronounced
[ˈʊmʃʀaɪ̯bən], with stress on the first syllable. Its associated noun, die ˈUmschreibung is also
stressed on the first syllable - [ˈʊmʃʀaɪ̯bʊŋ]. On the other hand, umˈschreiben (inseparable prefix)
is pronounced [ʊmˈʃʀaɪ̯bən], with stress on the second syllable. This word means 'to paraphrase',
and its associated noun, die Umˈschreibung is also stressed on the second syllable - [ʊm
ˈʃʀaɪ̯bʊŋ]. Another example is the word umˈfahren; with stress on the root ([ʊmˈfaːʀən]) it means
'to drive around (an obstacle in the street)', and with stress on the prefix ([ˈʊmfaːʀən]) it means 'to
run down/over' or 'to knock down'.

Acquisition

General
Like all infants, German infants go through a babbling stage in the early phases of phonological
acquisition, during which they produce the sounds they will later use in their first words.[90] Phoneme
inventories begin with stops, nasals, and vowels; (contrasting) short vowels and liquids appear next,
followed by fricatives and affricates, and finally all other consonants and consonant clusters.[91]
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Children begin to produce protowords near the end of their first year. These words do not
approximate adult forms, yet have a specific and consistent meaning.[90] Early word productions are
phonetically simple and usually follow the syllable structure CV or CVC, although this generalization
has been challenged.[92] The first vowels produced are /ə/, /a/, and /aː/, followed by /e/, /i/, and /ɛ/,
with rounded vowels emerging last.[91] German children often use phonological processes to simplify
their early word production.[91] For example, they may delete an unstressed syllable (Schokolade
'chocolate' pronounced [ˈlaːdə]),[91] or replace a fricative with a corresponding stop (Dach [dax] 'roof'
pronounced [dak]).[93] One case study found that a 17-month-old child acquiring German replaced
the voiceless velar fricative [x] with the nearest available continuant [h], or deleted it altogether (Buch
[buːx] 'book' pronounced [buh] or [buː]).[94]

Vowel space development


In 2009, Lintfert examined the development of vowel space of German speakers in their first three
years of life. During the babbling stage, vowel distribution has no clear pattern. However, stressed and
unstressed vowels already show different distributions in the vowel space. Once word production
begins, stressed vowels expand in the vowel space, while the F1 – F2 vowel space of unstressed vowels
becomes more centralized. The majority of infants are then capable of stable production of F1.[95] The
variability of formant frequencies among individuals decreases with age.[96] After 24 months, infants
expand their vowel space individually at different rates. However, if the parents' utterances possess a
well-defined vowel space, their children produce clearly distinguished vowel classes earlier.[97] By
about three years old, children command the production of all vowels, and they attempt to produce
the four cardinal vowels, /y/, /i/, /u/ and /a/, at the extreme limits of the F1-F2 vowel space (i.e., the
height and backness of the vowels are made extreme by the infants).[96]

Grammatical words
Generally, closed-class grammatical words (e.g. articles and prepositions) are absent from children's
speech when they first begin to combine words.[98] However, children as young as 18 months old
show knowledge of these closed-class words when they prefer stories with them, compared to
passages with them omitted. Therefore, the absence of these grammatical words cannot be due to
perceptual problems.[99] Researchers tested children's comprehension of four grammatical words: bis
[bɪs] ('up to'), von [fɔn] ('from'), das [das] ('the' neuter singular), and sein [zaɪ̯ n] ('his'). After first
being familiarized with the words, eight-month-old children looked longer in the direction of a
speaker playing a text passage that contained these previously heard words.[100] However, this ability
is absent in six-month-olds.[101]

Nasals
The acquisition of nasals in German differs from that of Dutch, a phonologically closely related
language.[102] German children produce proportionately more nasals in onset position (sounds before
a vowel in a syllable) than Dutch children do.[103] German children, once they reached 16 months,
also produced significantly more nasals in syllables containing schwas, when compared with Dutch-
speaking children.[104] This may reflect differences in the languages the children are being exposed to,
although the researchers claim that the development of nasals likely cannot be seen apart from the
more general phonological system the child is developing.[105]

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Phonotactic constraints and reading


A 2006 study examined the acquisition of German in phonologically delayed children (specifically,
issues with fronting of velars and stopping of fricatives) and whether they applied phonotactic
constraints to word-initial consonant clusters containing these modified consonants.[106] In many
cases, the subjects (mean age = 5;1) avoided making phonotactic violations, opting instead for other
consonants or clusters in their speech. This suggests that phonotactic constraints do apply to the
speech of German children with phonological delay, at least in the case of word-initial consonant
clusters.[107] Additional research[108] has also shown that spelling consistencies seen in German raise
children's phonemic awareness as they acquire reading skills.

Sound changes

Sound changes and mergers


A merger found mostly in Northern accents of German is that of /ɛː/ (spelled ⟨ä, äh⟩) with /eː/ (spelled
⟨e⟩, ⟨ee⟩, or ⟨eh⟩). Some speakers merge the two everywhere, some distinguish them everywhere, others
keep /ɛː/ distinct only in conditional forms of strong verbs (for example ich gäbe [ˈɡɛːbə] 'I would
give' vs. ich gebe [ˈɡeːbə] 'I give' are distinguished, but Bären [ˈbeːʁən] 'bears' vs. Beeren [ˈbeːʁən]
'berries' are not. The standard pronunciation of Bären is [ˈbɛːʁən]).

Another common merger is that of /ɡ/ at the end of a syllable with [ç] or [x], for instance Krieg [kʁ̥iːç]
('war'), but Kriege [ˈkʁ̥iːɡə] ('wars'); er lag [laːx] ('he lay'), but wir lagen [ˈlaːɡən] ('we lay'). This
pronunciation is frequent all over central and northern Germany. It is characteristic of regional
languages and dialects, particularly Low German in the North, where ⟨g⟩ represents a fricative,
becoming voiceless in the syllable coda, as is common in German (final-obstruent devoicing).
However common it is, this pronunciation is considered sub-standard. Only in one case, in the
grammatical ending -ig (which corresponds to English -y), the fricative pronunciation of final ⟨g⟩ is
prescribed by the Siebs standard, for instance wichtig [ˈvɪçtɪç] ('important'). The merger occurs
neither in Austro-Bavarian and Alemannic German nor in the corresponding varieties of Standard
German, and therefore in these regions -ig is pronounced [ɪɡ̊].

Many speakers do not distinguish the affricate /pf/ from the simple fricative /f/ in the beginning of a
word, in which case the verb (er) fährt ('[he] travels') and the noun Pferd ('horse') are both
pronounced [fɛɐ̯t]. This most commonly occurs in northern and western Germany, where the local
dialects did not originally have the sound /pf/. Some speakers also have peculiar pronunciation for
/pf/ in the middle or end of a word, replacing the [f] in /pf/ with a voiceless bilabial fricative, i.e. a
consonant produced by pressing air flow through the tensed lips. Thereby Tropfen ('drop') becomes
[ˈtʁ̥ɔpɸn̩], rather than [ˈtʁ̥ɔpfn̩].

Many speakers who have a vocalization of /r/ after /a/ merge this combination with long /aː/ (i.e.
/ar/ > *[aɐ] or *[ɑɐ] > [aː] or [ɑː]). Hereby, Schaf ('sheep') and scharf ('sharp') can both be
pronounced [ʃaːf] or [ʃɑːf]. This merger does not occur where /a/ is a front vowel while /aː/ is realised
as a back vowel. Here the words are kept distinct as [ʃɑːf] ('sheep') and [ʃaːf] ('sharp').

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In umlaut forms, the difference usually reoccurs: Schäfer [ˈʃɛːfɐ] or [ˈʃeːfɐ] vs. schärfer [ˈʃɛɐ̯fɐ].
Speakers with this merger also often use [aːç] (instead of formally normal /aːx/) where it stems from
original /arç/. The word Archen ('arks') is thus pronounced [ˈaːçn̩], which makes a minimal pair with
Aachen [ˈaːxn̩], arguably making the difference between [ç] and [x] phonemic, rather than just
allophonic, for these speakers.

In the standard pronunciation, the vowel qualities /i/, /ɪ/, /e/, /ɛ/, as well as /u/, /ʊ/, /o/, /ɔ/, are all
still distinguished even in unstressed syllables. In this latter case, however, many simplify the system
in various degrees. For some speakers, this may go so far as to merge all four into one, hence
misspellings by schoolchildren such as Bräutegam (instead of Bräutigam) or Portogal (instead of
Portugal).

In everyday speech, more mergers occur, some of which are universal and some of which are typical
for certain regions or dialect backgrounds. Overall, there is a strong tendency of reduction and
contraction. For example, long vowels may be shortened, consonant clusters may be simplified, word-
final [ə] may be dropped in some cases, and the suffix -en may be contracted with preceding
consonants, e.g. [ham] for haben [ˈhaːbən] ('to have').

If the clusters [mp], [lt], [nt], or [ŋk] are followed by another consonant, the stops /p/, /t/ and /k/
usually lose their phonemic status. Thus while the standard pronunciation distinguishes ganz [ɡants]
('whole') from Gans [ɡans] ('goose'), as well as er sinkt [zɪŋkt] from er singt [zɪŋt], the two pairs are
homophones for most speakers. The commonest practice is to drop the stop (thus [ɡans], [zɪŋt] for
both words), but some speakers insert the stop where it is not etymological ([ɡants], [zɪŋkt] for both
words), or they alternate between the two ways. Only a few speakers retain a phonemic distinction.

Middle High German


The Middle High German vowels [ei̯ ] and [iː] developed into the modern Standard German diphthong
[aɪ̯ ], whereas [ou̯] and [uː] developed into [aʊ̯]. For example, Middle High German heiz /hei̯ s/ and wîz
/wiːs/ ('hot' and 'white') became Standard German heiß /haɪ̯ s/ and weiß /vaɪ̯ s/. In some dialects, the
Middle High German vowels have not changed, e.g. Swiss German heiss /hei̯ s/ and wiiss /viːs/, while
in other dialects or languages, the vowels have changed but the distinction is kept, e.g. Bavarian hoaß
/hɔɐ̯s/ and weiß /vaɪ̯ s/, Ripuarian heeß /heːs/ and wieß /viːs/ (however the Colognian dialect has
kept the original [ei] diphthong in heiß), Yiddish ‫ הײס‬heys /hɛɪ̯ s/ and ‫ װײַס‬vays /vaɪ̯ s/.

The Middle High German diphthongs [iə̯], [uə̯] and [yə̯] became the modern Standard German long
vowels [iː], [uː] and [yː] after the Middle High German long vowels changed to diphthongs. Most
Upper German dialects retain the diphthongs. A remnant of their former diphthong character is
shown when [iː] continues to be written ie in German (as in Liebe 'love').

Loanwords
German incorporates a significant number of loanwords from other languages. Loanwords are often
adapted to German phonology but to varying degrees, depending on the speaker and the commonness
of the word. /ʒ/ and /dʒ/ do not occur in native German words but are common in a number of
French and English loan words. Many speakers replace them with /ʃ/ and /tʃ/ respectively (especially
in Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland), so that Dschungel (from English jungle) can be

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pronounced [ˈdʒʊŋl̩ ] or [ˈtʃʊŋl̩ ]. Some speakers in Northern and Western Germany merge /ʒ/ with
/dʒ/, so that Journalist (phonemically /dʒʊʁnaˈlɪst ~ ʒʊʁnaˈlɪst/) can be pronounced [ʒʊɐ̯naˈlɪst],
[dʒʊɐ̯naˈlɪst] or [ʃʊɐ̯naˈlɪst]. The realization of /ʒ/ as [tʃ], however, is uncommon.[109]

Loanwords from English


Many English words are used in German, especially in technology and pop culture. Some speakers
pronounce them similarly to their native pronunciation, but many speakers change non-native
phonemes to similar German phonemes (even if they pronounce them in a rather English manner in
an English-language setting):

English /θ, ð/ are usually pronounced as in RP or General American; some speakers replace
them with /s/ and /z/ respectively (th-alveolarization) e.g. Thriller [ˈθʁɪlɐ ~ ˈsʁɪlɐ].
English /ɹ/ can be pronounced the same as in English, i.e. [ɹ], or as the corresponding native
German /r/ e.g. Rock [ʀɔk] or [rɔk]. German and Austrian speakers tend to be variably rhotic.
English /w/ is often replaced with German /v/ e.g. Whisk(e)y [ˈvɪskiː].
word-initial /s/ is often retained (especially in the South, where word-initial /s/ is common),[110] but
many speakers replace it with /z/ e.g. Sound [zaʊ̯nt].
word-initial /st/ and /sp/ are usually retained, but some speakers (especially in South Western
Germany and Western Austria) replace them with /ʃt/ and /ʃp/ e.g. Steak [ʃteɪk] or [ʃteːk], Spray
[ʃpʁeɪ] or [ʃpʁeː].[111]
English /tʃ/ is usually retained, but in Northern and Western Germany, as well as Luxembourg it is
often replaced with /ʃ/ e.g. Chips [ʃɪps].[112]
In Northern Standard German, final-obstruent devoicing is applied to English loan words just as to
other words e.g. Airbag [ˈɛːɐ̯bɛk], Lord [lɔʁt] or [lɔɐ̯t], Backstage [ˈbɛksteːtʃ]. However, in Southern
Standard German, in Swiss Standard German and Austrian Standard German, final-obstruent
devoicing does not occur and so speakers are more likely to retain the original pronunciation of
word-final lenes (although realizing them as fortes may occur because of confusing English
spelling with pronunciation).
English /eɪ/ and /oʊ/ are often replaced with /eː/ and /oː/ respectively e.g. Homepage [ˈhoːmpeːtʃ].
English /æ/ and /ɛ/ are pronounced the same, as German /ɛ/ (met–mat merger) e.g. Backup
[ˈbɛkap].
English /ɒ/ and /ɔː/ are pronounced the same, as German /ɔ/ (cot–caught merger) e.g. Box [bɔks].
English /ʌ/ is usually pronounced as German /a/ e.g. Cutter [ˈkatɐ].
English /ɜːr/ is usually pronounced as German /œʁ/ e.g. Shirt [ʃœʁt] or [ʃœɐ̯t].
English /i/ is pronounced as /iː/ (happy-tensing) e.g. Whisk(e)y [ˈvɪskiː].

Loanwords from French


French loanwords, once very numerous, have in part been replaced by native German coinages or
more recently English loanwords. Besides /ʒ/, they can also contain the characteristic nasal vowels
[ãː], [ɛː̃ ], [œ̃ː] and [õː] (always long). However, their status as phonemes is questionable and they are
often resolved into sequences either of (short) oral vowel and [ŋ] (in the north), or of (long or short)
oral vowel and [n] or sometimes [m] (in the south). For example, Ballon [baˈlõː] ('balloon') may be
realized as [baˈlɔŋ] or [baˈloːn], Parfüm [paʁˈfœ̃ː] ('perfume') as [paʁˈfœŋ] or [paʁ'fyːm] and Orange
[oˈʁãːʒə] ('orange') as [oˈʁaŋʒə] or [o'ʁanʒə].

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Sample
The sample text is a reading of the first sentence of "The North Wind and the Sun". The phonemic
transcription treats every instance of [ɐ] and [ɐ̯] as /ər/ and /r/, respectively. The phonetic
transcription is a fairly narrow transcription of the educated northern accent. The speaker transcribed
in the narrow transcription is 62 years old, and he is reading in a colloquial style.[64] Aspiration,
glottal stops and devoicing of the lenes after fortes are not transcribed.

The audio file contains the whole fable, and that it was recorded by a much younger speaker.

Phonemic transcription
/aɪ̯ nst ˈʃtrɪtən zɪç ˈnɔrtvɪnt ʊnt ˈzɔnə | veːr fɔn iːnən ˈbaɪ̯ dən voːl deːr ˈʃtɛrkərə vɛːrə | als aɪ̯ n ˈvandərər |
deːr ɪn aɪ̯ nən ˈvarmən ˈmantəl ɡəˌhʏlt var | dɛs ˈveːɡəs daˈheːrkaːm/[113]

Phonetic transcription
[aɪ̯ ns ˈʃtʁɪtn̩ zɪç ˈnɔɐ̯tvɪnt ʊn ˈzɔnə | veːɐ̯ fən iːm ˈbaɪ̯ dn̩ voːl dɐ ˈʃtɛɐ̯kəʁə veːʁə | als aɪ̯ n ˈvandəʁɐ | dɛɐ̯ ɪn
aɪ̯ n ˈvaɐ̯m ˈmantl̩ ɡəˌhʏlt vaɐ̯ | dəs ˈveːɡəs daˈheːɐ̯kaːm][114]

Orthographic version
Einst stritten sich Nordwind und Sonne, wer von ihnen beiden wohl der Stärkere wäre, als ein
Wanderer, der in einen warmen Mantel gehüllt war, des Weges daherkam.[115]

See also
German orthography

Notes
1. Pages 1-2 of the book (Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch) discuss die Standardaussprache, die
Gegenstand dieses Wörterbuches ist (the standard pronunciation which is the topic of this
dictionary). It also mentions Da sich das Deutsche zu einer plurizentrischen Sprache entwickelt
hat, bildeten sich jeweils eigene Standardvarietäten (und damit Standardaussprachen) (German
has developed into a pluricentric language separate standard varieties (and hence standard
pronunciations)), but refers to these standards as regionale und soziolektale Varianten (regional
and sociolectal variants).
2. "Angeblich sprechen die Hannoveraner das reinste - sprich dialektfreieste - Deutsch und kommen
dem Hochdeutschen am nächsten. Stimmt's?" (https://www.zeit.de/stimmts/2000/200024_stimmts
_hannover). "Stimmt."
3. "Reflections on Diglossia" (http://faculty.ce.berkeley.edu/coby/essays/refdigl.htm). "In northern
Germany, it appears that in Hanover – perhaps because of the presence of the electoral (later
royal) court – a parastandard High German was spoken by the 18th century as well, at least
among the educated, with the curious result that Hanover speech – though non-native – became
the model of German pronunciation on the stage (Bühnendeutsch), since everywhere else in
Germany dialects were still spoken by everyone. Other capitals (Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Vienna)
eventually developed their own Umgangssprachen, but the Hanover model remained the ideal."

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4. "Reading Heinrich Heine" (https://the-eye.eu/public/WorldTracker.org/College%20Books/Cambrid


ge%20University%20Press/0521863996.Cambridge.University.Press.Reading.Heinrich.Heine.Apr.
2007.pdf) (PDF). "He spoke the dialect of Hanover, where – as also in the vicinity to the south of
this city – German is pronounced best."
5. "Nicht das beste Hochdeutsch in Hannover" (http://www.haz.de/Nachrichten/Kultur/Uebersicht/Nic
ht-das-beste-Hochdeutsch-in-Hannover). "In Hannover wird zweifellos ein Deutsch gesprochen,
das sehr nah an der nationalen Aussprachenorm liegt. Aber das gilt auch für andere
norddeutsche Städte wie Kiel, Münster oder Rostock. Hannover hat da keine Sonderstellung."
6. Differences include the pronunciation of the endings -er, -en, and -em.
7. See the discussion in Wiese (1996:16–17)
8. See the vowel charts in Mangold (2005:37).
9. Kohler (1999:87)
10. Lodge (2009:87)
11. "John Wells's phonetic blog: ɘ" (http://phonetic-blog.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-post.html).
Retrieved 28 January 2016.
12. Kohler (1999:88)
13. Wierzbicka & Rynkowska (1992:413)
14. Wiese (1996:8)
15. Krech et al. (2009:24)
16. E.g. Wierzbicka & Rynkowska (1992)
17. Wierzbicka & Rynkowska (1992:412). Authors state that /ɑ/ can be realized as Polish /a/, i.e.
central [ä].
18. Wierzbicka & Rynkowska (1992:412–415)
19. Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015:342–344)
20. Wierzbicka & Rynkowska (1992:412)
21. E.g. by Lodge (2009:86–89) (without length marks, i.e. as /ɑ/ - the vowel chart on page 87 places
/a/ and /ɑ/ in the same open central position [ä]), Morciniec & Prędota (2005) (without length
marks, i.e. as /ɑ/) and Wierzbicka & Rynkowska (1992).
22. Wiese (1996:254)
23. von Polenz (2000:151, 175)
24. Source: Wiese (1996:11, 14). On the page 14, the author states that /aɪ̯/, /aʊ̯/ and /ɔʏ̯/ are of the
same quality as vowels of which they consist. On the page 8, he states that /a/ is low central.
25. See vowel chart in Kohler (1999:87). Despite their true ending points, Kohler still transcribes them
as /aɪ̯ aʊ̯ ɔɪ̯/, i.e. with higher offsets than those actually have.
26. Source: Krech et al. (2009:72). Authors do not provide a vowel chart. Rather, they state rather
vaguely that "the diphthong [aɛ̯] is a monosyllabic compound consisting of the unrounded open
vowel [a] and the unrounded mid front vowel [ɛ]."
27. Source: Krech et al. (2009:72–73). Authors do not provide a vowel chart. Rather, they state rather
vaguely that "the diphthong [aɔ̯] is a monosyllabic compound consisting of the unrounded open
vowel [a] and the rounded mid back vowel [ɔ]."
28. Krech et al. (2009:73). Authors do not provide a vowel chart. Rather, they state rather vaguely that
"the diphthong [ɔœ̯] is a monosyllabic compound consisting of the rounded mid back vowel [ɔ] and
the rounded mid front vowel [œ]."
29. Wiese (1996:12)
30. Wiese (1996:198)
31. Also supported by Tröster-Mutz (2011:20).
32. Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015:342)

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33. For a detailed discussion of the German consonants from a synchronic and diachronic point of
view, see Cercignani (1979).
34. Mangold (2005:45)
35. Mangold (2005:47, 49)
36. Krech et al. (2009:94, 96). According to this source, only /l, n/ can be apical alveolar.
37. Morciniec & Prędota (2005:51–52, 84). According to this source, only /t, n/ can be apical alveolar.
38. See the x-ray tracing of /l/ in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:184), based on data from Wängler
(1961).
39. Krech et al. (2009:90, 94, 96)
40. Morciniec & Prędota (2005:51–52, 84). According to this source, only /t, n/ can be laminal
alveolar.
41. Krech et al. (2009:90). According to this source, only /t, d/ can be laminal denti-alveolar.
42. Morciniec & Prędota (2005:51–52, 59, 78, 84)
43. See the x-ray tracing of /t/ in Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:184), based on data from Wängler
(1961).
44. Hamann & Fuchs (2010:14–24)
45. Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015:341)
46. Mangold (2005:50, 52)
47. Krech et al. (2009:79–80). This source talks only about /s, z/.
48. Morciniec & Prędota (2005:65, 75) This source talks only about /s, z/.
49. Mangold (2005:50)
50. Mangold (2005:51–52)
51. Krech et al. (2009:51–52)
52. Morciniec & Prędota (2005:67, 76)
53. Mangold (2005:51)
54. Mangold (2005:53)
55. Krech et al. (2009:86)
56. Morciniec & Prędota (2005:79)
57. Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015:341–342): "SAG features a wide variety of realizations
of the trill. In approximately the past 40 years, the pronunciation norm has changed from an
alveolar to a uvular trill. The latter is mostly pronounced as a fricative, either voiced or voiceless.
Alveolar trills are still in use, mostly pronounced as an approximant.
58. Morciniec & Prędota (2005:80)
59. Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:225, 229)
60. Lodge (2009:46)
61. Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:225)
62. Krech et al. (2009:74, 85)
63. Morciniec & Prędota (2005:81)
64. Kohler (1999:86)
65. Kohler (1999:86–87)
66. Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:225, 233–234)
67. Mangold (2005:52)
68. Moosmüller (2007:6)
69. Wiese (1996:271)
70. Krech et al. (2009:49, 92, 97)

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71. Krech et al. (2009:83–84)


72. Morciniec & Prędota (2005:77–78). The authors transcribe it /j/, i.e. as an approximant.
73. Wiese (1996:12). The author transcribes it /j/, i.e. as an approximant.
74. Mangold (2005:51). The author transcribes it /j/, i.e. as an approximant.
75. Hall (2003:48). The author transcribes it /j/, i.e. as an approximant.
76. Moosmüller, Schmid & Brandstätter (2015:340). The authors transcribe it as /j/, i.e. as an
approximant.
77. e.g. Kohler (1990)
78. e.g. Wiese (1996)
79. Wiese (1996:217)
80. Kohler (1977) and Kohler (1990), as cited in Wiese (1996:210)
81. Mangold (2005:56)
82. Mangold (2005:55)
83. Jessen & Ringen (2002:190)
84. [v] written v can devoice in nearly every place once the word has become common; w is devoiced
in Möwe, Löwe. On the other hand, the keeping to the variety is so standard that doof /do:f/
induced the writing "(der) doofe" even though the standard pronunciation of the latter word is /
ˈdoːvə/
85. See Ammon et al. (2004, p. LVII).
86. Beckman, Jessen & Ringen (2009:233)
87. In Southern Germany, Austria or Switzerland there is no phonetic voice in fricatives either, see
Ammon et al. (2004, p. LVII).
88. Beckman, Jessen & Ringen (2009:264–265)
89. "Lautstruktur des Luxemburgischen - Wortübergreifende Phänomene" (http://infolux.uni.lu/phoneti
k/lautstruktur-des-luxemburgischen/wortuebergreifende-phaenomene/). Retrieved 2013-05-15.
90. Meibauer et al. (2007:261)
91. Meibauer et al. (2007:263)
92. Grijzenhout & Joppen (1998:1)
93. Meibauer et al. (2007:264)
94. Grijzenhout & Joppen (1998:12)
95. Lintfert (2010:159)
96. Lintfert (2010:138)
97. Lintfert (2010:160)
98. Höhle & Weissenborn (2003:122)
99. Höhle & Weissenborn (2003:123)
100. Höhle & Weissenborn (2003:125)
101. Höhle & Weissenborn (2003:126)
102. Altvater-Mackensen & Fikkert (2007:14)
103. Altvater-Mackensen & Fikkert (2007:16)
104. Altvater-Mackensen & Fikkert (2007:19)
105. Altvater-Mackensen & Fikkert (2007:23)
106. Ott, van de Vijner & Höhle (2006:323)
107. Ott, van de Vijner & Höhle (2006:331)
108. Goswami, Ziegler & Richardson (2005:362)
109. http://prowiki.ids-mannheim.de/bin/view/AADG/ZhimAnlaut

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110. "SimAnlaut < AADG < TWiki" (http://prowiki.ids-mannheim.de/bin/view/AADG/SimAnlaut).


prowiki.ids-mannheim.de. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
111. "SteakSprayStSp < AADG < TWiki" (http://prowiki.ids-mannheim.de/bin/view/AADG/SteakSpraySt
Sp). prowiki.ids-mannheim.de. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
112. "ChipsCh < AADG < TWiki" (http://prowiki.ids-mannheim.de/bin/view/AADG/ChipsCh). prowiki.ids-
mannheim.de. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
113. In Swiss Standard German and Austrian Standard German, Nordwind and und are pronounced /
ˈnɔrdʋɪnd/ and /ʊnd/, respectively.
114. Source: Kohler (1999:88). In the original transcription the vowel length is not indicated, apart from
where it is phonemic - that is, for the pairs /a/ - /aː/ and /ɛ/ - /ɛː/.
115. Kohler (1999:89)

References
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diffusion: description and explanation in Sprachgeschichte: vom Spätmittelalter bis zur
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ISBN 0-19-824040-6

Further reading
Canepari, Luciano (2014), German Siebs, Theodor (1969), Deutsche Aussprache
Pronunciation & Accents (1st ed.), Munich: (https://archive.org/details/deutscheaussprac0
LINCOM, ISBN 978-3862885626 0sieb) (19th ed.), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter,
Odom, William; Schollum, Benno (1997), ISBN 978-3110003253
German for Singers (2nd ed.), New York: Wielki słownik niemiecko-polski (1st ed.),
Schirmer Books, ISBN 978-0028646015 Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2014 [2010],
Rues, Beate; Redecker, Beate; Koch, Evelyn; ISBN 978-83-01-16182-8
Wallraff, Uta; Simpson, Adrian P. (2007),
Phonetische Transkription des Deutschen (in
German) (1st ed.), Narr, ISBN 978-
3823362913

External links
Listen to the pronunciation of German first names (http://www.nordicnames.de/Aussprache.html)

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