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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Help with German??

    I need help with how to pronuncing pure vowels: a, e, i, o, u and the umlauts: , , . Can someone please help me.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JunjouLover's Avatar
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    If you're familiar with IPA, that'd be the best way to explain it.

    a is pronounced [a] which is just like the doctor would have you say: 'ahhhh'

    e can be pronounced either as an [e] or an [ɛ] depending on the context. In the modern language, however, they are beginning to converge, and most speakers won't be able to accurately place EVERY SINGLE [e] and [ɛ] in it's right place. Regardless of this fact, you should try to pay some attention to the pronunciation when you can.

    e.g. Wie geht es Ihnen? [viː geːt ɛs in(ə)n]

    As noted above, the e can also take the schwa sound (ə). This is like the a- in the word about. This will happen usually at the end of a word (e.g. machen, Ihnen, ich habe etc.).

    i can either be pronounced as [i] or [ɪ], but this distinction is pretty easy to make (particularly for an English speaker). The [i] is the sound in the word feet and [ɪ] is the sound in the word stick or hit.

    o is largely pronounced as the o in the English , though more consistent and w/o glides (as goes for all these vowels).

    u is pronounced as if you were admiring something and said, 'oohhhhhh, that's pretty!' or maybe the sound in the word food. [u]

    is pronounced as [ɛ], always.

    can either be [] or []. [] is simply an [e] with rounded lips. Start pronouncing [e], then start to round your lips without changing your tongue positioning or anything, and you'll arrive at [].
    [] is pronounced as [ɛ] with rounded lips, so start pronouncing [ɛ], then round your lips and you'll get [].

    is just like the French u in the word tu, and is written in IPA as [y]. The way you pronounce it is to say [i] and then round your lips.

    If you have any questions, or I didn't make something clear enough, please let me know so that I can clarify!

    Also, keep in mind that all of the more closed vowel sounds and also [a] can be both short or long ([aː], [eː], [iː], [oː], [uː], [ː], [yː]). Also, though I didn't explicitly write out the open counterparts for [o], [u] and [y] ([ɔ], [ʊ], and [ʏ] respectively), they are pronounced and do exist. It's just that, the difference is minor, and for native English speakers, it tends to fall right in with the pronunciation anyway.

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    Thanks!

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