Welcome to this free German lesson on vowels.
A, E, I, O and U are called vowels.
Vowels in German are pronounced differently according to whether the vowel is short or long. A vowel is short when it's followed by a consonant cluster, otherwise it's long. It’s a bit different from English, where the vowel a in the English word cat is short whereas the a in farmer is long.
In the following example a short vowel will be listed like a and a long vowel like a_.
Let's check out this free lesson on German vowels!
How to pronounce German Vowels
|Vowel Sound||Approximate English Sound||German Example|
|a_||harm||sagen (to say)|
|u_||moon||rufen (to call)|
Like in English, German vowels are pronounced with a pure sound when they are stressed, but they tend to glide towards the "schwa" sound when they are not. Take Regen for example: the first -e- is stressed, so it's a pure sound, but the second -e- is pronounced with a "closer" sound.
German vowels A, O and U can also carry an umlaut, which is represented by two dots: Ä, Ö, Ü. The umlaut changes the way these vowels are pronounced.
Ö - as the "i" in "girl"
Ü - as the "oo" in "moon"
Now let's see a few example words.
Spät - Late
Österreich - Austria
Zurück - Back
In German there are also two special vowels, y and j. J is pronounced like the English y, and the German y is pronounced like ü. Confusing? These examples will help.
Typisch - Typical
Now let's see diphtongs. Diphthongs are two vowels together. Instead of pronouncing each one separately you blend them together.
|Diphthong||Approximate English Sound||German Example|