|This is the pronunciation key for IPA transcriptions of Standard German on Wikipedia.|
It provides a set of symbols to represent the pronunciation of Standard German in Wikipedia articles, and example words that illustrate the sounds that correspond to them. Integrity must be maintained between the key and the transcriptions that link here; do not change any symbol or value without establishing consensus on the talk page first.
The charts below show the way International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Standard German language pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see Template:IPA and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.
See Standard German phonology and German orthography § Grapheme-to-phoneme correspondences for a more thorough look at the sounds of German.
- In Austrian Standard German and Swiss Standard German, the lenis obstruents /b, d, ɡ, dʒ, ʒ/ are voiceless [b̥, d̥, ɡ̊, d̥ʒ̊, ʒ̊] and are distinguished from /p, t, k, tʃ, ʃ/ only by articulatory strength (/v/ is really voiced, and /s/ is the only alveolar fricative). The distinction is also retained word-finally. In German Standard German, voiceless [b̥, d̥, ɡ̊, z̥, d̥ʒ̊, ʒ̊] as well as [v̥] occur allophonically after fortis obstruents and, for /b, d, ɡ/, often also word-initially. See fortis and lenis.
- In German Standard German, voiced stops /b, d, ɡ/ are devoiced to [p, t, k] at the end of a syllable.
- [ç] and [x] belong to one phoneme traditionally transcribed /x/. The velar allophone appears after back vowels and /a, aː/ and it may instead be uvular [χ], depending on the variety and speaker. In this guide, the difference between velar and uvular allophones is ignored and both are written with ⟨x⟩.
- Pronunciation of /r/ in German varies according to region and speaker. While older prescriptive pronunciation dictionaries allowed only [r], that pronunciation is now found mainly in Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria. In other regions, the uvular pronunciation prevails, mainly as a fricative/approximant [ʁ]. In many regions except for most parts of Switzerland, the /r/ in the syllable coda is vocalized to [ɐ̯] after long vowels or after all vowels (in this guide [ɐ̯] is used only after long vowels, following the pronunciation dictionaries), and /ər/ is pronounced as [ɐ].
- The glottal stop occurs in German Standard German. It is not transcribed phrase-initially, where it is just as likely to be used in English as it is in German. Word- and phrase-internal glottal stops are transcribed. Austrian or Swiss Standard German do not have glottal stops (Krech et al. 2009, pp. 236, 262).
- Many speakers lack the lenis /ʒ/ and replace it with its fortis counterpart /ʃ/ (Hall 2003, p. 42). The same applies to the corresponding lenis /dʒ/, which also tends to be replaced with its fortis counterpart /tʃ/. According to the prescriptive standard, such pronunciations are not correct.
- /ð/ and /θ/, occurring in English loans, may be substituted with any of /d, z, v/ and /t, s, f/, respectively.
- Used in some loanwords from English, especially by younger speakers.
- Often replaced with /v/.
- In Northern Germany, /ɛː/ often merges with /eː/ to [eː].
- As several other Germanic languages, Standard German has mid [ə] and open [ɐ] schwas. Care must be taken to clearly distinguish between the two. In English, the former appears in words such as balance, cannon and chairman and the latter variably in sofa, China (especially at the very end of utterance) and, in some dialects, also in ago and again, but one needs to remember that Standard German [ɐ] has no such free variation and is always open, just as [ə] is always mid. In some English dialects, an unstressed /ʌ/ in words such as frustration and justiciable is a perfect replacement for Standard German [ɐ].
- /o̯, u̯, y̑/ only occur in certain unadapted or partly unadapted loanwords.
- The nasal vowels occur in French loans. They are long [ãː, ɛ̃ː, õː, œ̃ː] when stressed and short [ã, ɛ̃, õ, œ̃] when unstressed. In colloquial speech they may be replaced with [aŋ, ɛŋ, ɔŋ, œŋ] irrespective of length, and the [ŋ] in these sequences may optionally be assimilated to the place of articulation of a following consonant, e.g. Ensemble [aŋˈsaŋbl̩] or [anˈsambl̩] for [ãˈsãːbl̩] (Mangold 2005, p. 65).
- The diphthongs /ɛɪ, ɔʊ/ occur only in loanwords (mostly from English), such as okay. Depending on the speaker and the region, they may be monophthongized to [eː, oː] (or [e, o] in an unstressed syllable-final position). Thus, the aforementioned word okay can be pronounced as either [ɔʊˈkɛɪ] or [oˈkeː].
- The long vowel /ɔː/ occurs only in English loanwords, and is often replaced with the native short /ɔ/ or long /oː/, according to the speaker and where it occurs in a word.
- [œːɐ̯] or [øːr] is the German rendering of the English NURSE vowel // and the French stressed [œʁ] (Krech et al. 2009, pp. 64, 142).
- [e, i, o, ø, u, y], the short versions of the long vowels [eː, iː, oː, øː, uː, yː], are used at the end of unstressed syllables before the accented syllable and occur mainly in loanwords. In native words, the accent is generally on the first syllable, and syllables before the accent other than prepositional prefixes are rare but occasionally occur, e.g. in jedoch [jeˈdɔx], soeben [zoˈʔeːbn̩], vielleicht [fiˈlaɪçt] etc. In casual speech short [e, i, o, ø, u, y] preceding a phonemic consonant (i.e., not a [ʔ]) may be replaced with [ɛ, ɪ, ɔ, œ, ʊ, ʏ], e.g. [jɛˈdɔx], [fɪˈlaɪçt] (Mangold 2005, p. 65).
- Hall, Christopher (2003) [First published 1992], Modern German pronunciation: An introduction for speakers of English (2nd ed.), Manchester: Manchester University Press, ISBN 0-7190-6689-1
- Krech, Eva Maria; Stock, Eberhard; Hirschfeld, Ursula; Anders, Lutz-Christian (2009), Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch, Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 978-3-11-018202-6
- Mangold, Max (2005), Das Aussprachewörterbuch (6th ed.), Duden, ISBN 978-3411040667