german alphabet

German Alphabet Suppe: The Sweet and Simple Guide to German Letters (With Audio Pronunciation)

The Jackson 5  might not have been thinking of the German Alphabet when they sang “ABC, easy as 123,” but they may as well have been.

The German alphabet really is very easy to learn.

There’s no wonder why beginners start off with it!

Master the alphabet and you’ll know the basic building blocks to help you with your German spelling, your pronunciation and even your reading comprehension.

This guide is a great way for beginners to learn everything they need to know about German letters and German alphabet pronunciation.
 


 
Learn a foreign language with videos

Why You Should Learn Your German Alphabet Inside Out

If there’s one linguistic area in which German and English differ, it’s pronunciation and spelling. German is a very phonetic language, whereas English… well, it can often be hard to tell a word’s pronunciation just from looking at it.

For example, how come “bead” and “dead” don’t rhyme? You’ll never be confused in German—as German words’ spellings are very phonetic, it’s easy to tell how a word should be spoken.

This is the main reason you need to learn the German alphabet—so you know each letter’s sound.

Trust me, this will make spelling a whole lot easier!

Not only will you be able to write like a German, but it’ll also help you speak like a German! This super-phonetic language makes spelling much easier and you’ll know instantly how to pronounce a word just from looking at it.

How to Practice the German Alphabet

Your first stop should be FluentU. There are so many diverse resources for polishing your German alphabet skills—just take a look at “Das A Lied” (“The A Song”) for an example. There are other songs dedicated to other letter sounds, including this one about umlauts.

The cool thing about watching German videos on FluentU is you never have to worry about missing a word or sound. Just tap any word in the interactive subtitles for an instant definition and isolated native pronunciation. There are also flashcards, fun quizzes, full transcripts and professional English translations built into every video.

When you’re ready to see and hear German letters in a variety of contexts, you’ll find hundreds of authentic German videos like movie trailers, news reports, inspiring speeches and more—all conveniently organized by level (beginner to advanced). Check out a free FluentU trial to watch the videos above and the full library with all the learning features.

Then have a look on YouTube for German educational children’s shows. Even though they’re aimed at young children, you’ll find them really beneficial as they slowly take you through the basics of German alphabet pronunciation. A really popular choice among beginner language learners is “Sesame Street”—in German it’s called “Sesamstraße.”

There are also some really good children’s books that focus on the German alphabet. You can mostly find them on the German Amazon website (they post to the States), but you might also be able to find them in second-hand or specialist German book stores.

Finally, how about getting artsy and making some flashcards? Dedicate each card to one letter and that letter’s sound. Make sure to include an example word on there. Some German letters may have different sounds, depending on what other letters they follow, so it may be necessary to have more than one card per letter.

How to Pronounce the German Alphabet Letters from A to Z to ß

Alright—let’s do this! Here comes the German alphabet.

Note that the German alphabet includes a few more letters than the English one. These include letters with an umlaut as well as that funny looking ß. You’ll find them after Z at the bottom of this list.

We’re going to introduce each letter alongside the sound it makes, and then provide you with a couple examples of that letter in action. You can also click the highlighted words for audio from the pronunciation dictionary Forvo.

A – Ahh

Wo ist die Katze?
Where is the cat?

Kann ich Ihnen helfen?
Can I help you?

B – Beh

Kommen Sie hier, bitte.
Come here please.

Ich hätte gern ein Bier.
I’d like a beer.

C – Tseh

Es war circa 18 Uhr.
It was about 6pm.

Sollten wir heute Abend beim Chinesen essen?
Should we eat at the Chinese restaurant tonight?

D – Deh

Danke für alles.
Thanks for everything.

Er denkt, dass wir es nicht wissen.
He thinks we don’t know.

E – Eh

Wir haben den Elefant gesehen.
We have seen the elephant.

Wir können entweder ins Kino oder in die Stadt gehen.
We can either go to the cinema or into town.

F – Eff

Frankfurt war richtig schön.
Frankfurt was really nice.

Der Tierpark hat einen neuen Affe.
The zoo has a new monkey.

G – Geh

Ich gehe oft zu meiner Tante.
I often go to my aunt’s.

Diesen Sommer fahren wir nach Griechenland.
We’re going to Greece this summer.

H – Haa

Habt ihr alles gegessen?
Have you all eaten everything?

Ich muss meine Hausaufgaben machen.
I have to do my homework.

I – Eee

Er ist Italiener.
He is an Italian.

Es liegt auf der linken Seite.
It’s lying on the left side.

J – Yott

Mein Geburtstag ist im Juli.
My birthday is in July.

Ich heiße Jan.
I’m called Jan. (My name is Jan.)

K – Kah

Siehst du das Kamel?
Do you see the camel?

Der Kuchen ist Schokoladen und Banane.
The cake is chocolate and banana.

L – Ell

Das ist das letzte Mal.
That’s the last time.

Ich habe elf Geschwister.
I have eleven siblings.

M – Em

Ich kaufe meinem Vater das Buch.
I’m buying my father the book.

Er ist mein Mann.
He is my husband.

N – En

Im November regnet es viel.
It rains a lot in November.

Es ist in der Nähe von hier.
It’s near here.

O – Oh

Hier ist meine Oma.
Here’s my grandma.

Ich wohne im Osten.
I live in the east.

P – Puh

Ich mag Apfelsaft pur.
I like straight apple juice.

Das ist perfekt!
That is perfect!

Q – Kuh

Pass auf, die Qualle!
Watch out, the jellyfish!

Ich esse gern Quark.
I like to eat quark.

R – Err

Das Kleid ist rot.
The dress is red.

Ich vertraue der Regierung nicht.
I don’t trust the government.

S – Ess

Das war super!
That was super!

Sie ist sechs Jahre alt.
She is six years old.

T – Tay

Ich möchte einen Tee.
I’d like a tea.

Heute ist Donnerstag.
Today is Thursday.

U – Uh

Ich habe es unter dem Bett gefunden.
I found it under the bed.

Das ist sehr bunt.
That’s really colorful.

V – Fau

Ich habe viele Katzen.
I have lots of cats.

Ich kann es nicht verwenden.
I can’t use it.

W – Veh

Ich möchte eine Flasche Wasser.
I’d like a bottle of water.

Das Wetter ist heute nicht sehr gut.
The weather isn’t very good today.

X – Icks

Hören Sie mal mein Xylophonsolo.
Just listen to my xylophone solo.

Y – Upsilon

Ich mache gern Yoga.
I like to do yoga.

Das ist nicht hygienisch.
That is not hygienic.

Z – Tzett

Ich habe zehn.
I have ten.

Was für fauler Zauber!
What monkey business!

Ä

We don’t have this sound in our language. The nearest equivalent would be between the “a” sound in “day” and the “e” sound in “get.”

Ich war zu spät.
I was late.

Ö

The nearest English equivalent sound to the ö is the “u” in “turn.”

Sie ist eine böse Hexe.
She is a wicked witch.

Ü

The closest equivalent sound we have in English is the “ew” in “pew.”

Ich bin über die Brücke gefahren.
I drove over the bridge.

ß

This funny looking letter is called an Esszett and is pronounced as a double “s” sound.

Ich heiße Mark.
I am called Mark.

 

The German alphabet truly is as easy as ABC! Now that you can pronounce German letters, you’re all set with your German ABCs and can join the Jackson 5 in a singalong… why not try translating it into German first?!


After studying German and Philosophy at The University of Nottingham, Laura Harker relocated to Berlin in 2012. She now works as a freelance writer and is also assistant editor at Slow Travel Berlin.

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