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.

Let's check out the German consonants!

Consonants

How to pronounce German consonants

Audio

<{ currentTime | date:'mm:ss' }> <{ timeLeft | date:'mm:ss' }>
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

Audio

<{ currentTime | date:'mm:ss' }> <{ timeLeft | date:'mm: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.

Consonant: Ig
Pronunciation: like "ich"

Audio

<{ currentTime | date:'mm:ss' }> <{ timeLeft | date:'mm:ss' }>

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.

Consonant: Qu
Pronunciation: kv

Audio

<{ currentTime | date:'mm:ss' }> <{ timeLeft | date:'mm:ss' }>

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

Consonant: Ng
Pronunciation: like in "singer"

Audio

<{ currentTime | date:'mm:ss' }> <{ timeLeft | date:'mm:ss' }>

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

Consonant: Tion
Pronunciation: tsion

Audio

<{ currentTime | date:'mm:ss' }> <{ timeLeft | date:'mm:ss' }>

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

Consonant: Age
Pronunciation: like the French"j"

Audio

<{ currentTime | date:'mm:ss' }> <{ timeLeft | date:'mm:ss' }>

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

Here are a few recommended German lessons to try next!

Bis bald!
Paul Weber
Paul Weber
Rocket German

Testing!

Test yourself with the Rocket German testing tools! Improve your knowledge of German!

Note that the tests below are listed from easiest to hardest.

Hear It Say It!

<{percentComplete['hearit']}>% Complete

Improve your understanding of spoken German. With Hear it Say it! you can tune your ear to German, increase your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation at the same time! Ready?

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • LISTEN to the audio (and touch up your pronunciation with Rocket Record if you like; Chrome/Firefox/Edge desktop browsers only)
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase and see the translation
  • Just click your RATING to continue

See how many words you've rated at each level below. Just click on the number below each rating to review your words and phrases.

Write It!

<{percentComplete['writeit']}>% Complete

Write it! helps you to improve your written German and your understanding of sentence structures. Just listen to the audio and type in what you hear!

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • LISTEN to the audio
  • WRITE down, in German, what you hear
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase and see the translation
  • Your answer will be automatically RATED, just click the rating to continue

Tip!

Click the keyboard icon for a German keyboard

Know It!

<{percentComplete['knowit']}>% Complete

Know it! tests you on your ability to translate English to German! Ready?

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • READ the word/phrase
  • RECORD yourself saying it in German (Chrome/Firefox/Edge desktop browsers only)
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase in German and listen to the German audio

Over 1,200,000 people love Rocket Languages

Here's what Rocket Languages members have to say:

Andrei Freeman - Pennsylvania, USA

Andrei
Freeman

Pennsylvania, USA

Rudi Kopp - USA

Rudi
Kopp

USA

Carmen Franceschino - Pennsylvania, USA

Carmen
Franceschino

Pennsylvania, USA

Kelly Scali - Chicago, USA

Kelly
Scali

Chicago, USA

Mark Waddel - Auckland, NZ

Mark
Waddell

Auckland, NZ

William McGill - Florida, USA

William
McGill

Florida, USA

Probably the best language tool I've come across. Actually love it more than Rosetta Stone and Duolingo

Try our award-winning German language software for FREE 受賞歴ありの英語学習ソフトウェアを無料でお試しください Pruebe nuestro galardonado software del idioma inglés GRATIS

(And see how easy it actually is to learn German... even if you've tried and failed before) (そして英語学習がどれだけ簡単か、肌で感じてみてください…今までに失敗したことのある人でもそれが分かるでしょう) (Y vea qué tan fácil es en realidad aprender inglés… aún si lo ha intentado y fallado antes)