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German Consonants

Welcome to this free German lesson on consonants!

Most German consonants are pronounced similar to English, but there are some differences. These German consonants are fairly easy to pronounce, and easier to master than the vowel sounds, as long as you remember the rules.

Resources for further reading:

Let's check out the German consonants!

Consonants

How to pronounce German consonants

Consonant *Pronunciation German Word (With translation)
B p Lieb (kind)
D t Bad (bath)
G k Tag (day)
St sht Student (student)
Sp shp Sprache (language)
J y Jacke (jacket)
W v Woche (week)
Z ts Zimmer (room)
Ch k/kh Bauch (stomach), Kirche (church), Chaos (chaos)

Consonants 'b,' 'd,' and 'g' are pronounced like 'p,' 't,' and 'k' when at the end of a word.

When ‘ch’ follows the short/long vowel sounds of ‘a, o, u, or ‘au’, the sound is produced towards the back of the throat, similar to making a ‘k’ sound. However, it is less abrupt still letting through air, eg. Bauch (stomach), Tochter (daughter).

When ‘ch’ follows the short/long versions of the vowels ‘e, i, ä, ö, ü’ and ‘ei, eu, äu’ the sound is produced more at the front of the mouth, the tongue and the mouth being a lot flatter. Imagine the sound of gas leaking or a hissing cat, eg. ich (I), Kirche (church) 'Ch' can also be pronounced like a 'k', for example Chaos (chaos) or Wachs (wax).

More German consonants

Consonant: ß

Pronunciation: ss

ß

'ß' is a consonant that does not exist in the English language, but it is pronounced with a double 'ss' sound, as in the English "miss", or the German 'weiß' (white). The general rule is that ß is used in front of long vowels, otherwise the double 'ss' is used.

Practice Your Pronunciation With Rocket Record

Rocket Record lets you perfect your German pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!

Weiß

white

Consonant: Ig

Pronunciation: like "ich"

Ig

When at the end of a word, 'ig' this is pronounced like the soft 'ch' sound, as in 'ich' or 'Kirche' above. Words like 'traurig' (sad), use this sound.

Traurig

sad

Consonant: Qu

Pronunciation: kv

Qu

'Qu' is pronounced like 'kv', as in 'bequem', (comfortable).

Bequem

comfortable

Consonant: Ng

Pronunciation: like in "singer"

Ng

'Ng' does not have a hard sound in German, like in the English 'singer'.

Hunger

hunger

Consonant: Tion

Pronunciation: tsion

Tion

The cluster 'tion', as in 'Endstation' (end of the line), is pronounced with a 'z' sound.

Endstation

end of line

Consonant: Age

Pronunciation: like the French"j"

Age

At the end of French-imported nouns, the 'g' in 'age' has a French 'j' sound.

Garage

garage

Here are a few recommended German lessons to try next!

Bis bald!

Paul Weber: Rocket German

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