Need to know the German alphabet but don’t know where to start? Check out this post for the best German alphabet guide of all time.
As an A1 German speaker, learning the German alphabet was essential to my self-study with Babbel. I needed to know it so that I could properly spell words in German since that is expected of you for the Start Deutsch 1 German Exam by the Goethe Institut.
So, if you’re studying German and you want to learn the German alphabet, you’ve come to the right place. This post highlights what the German alphabet comprises as well as how to pronounce each letter.
German Language & Culture Series
P.S. This is a post in my German Language & Culture series. Here is the complete series:
German Addresses: German Address Format: How to Mail a Letter to Germany
German Time: The Non-Native Speaker Guide to Telling Time in German
German Greetings: The 10 Most Common German Greetings and Introductions
German Numbers: The Ultimate Guide for Learning German Numbers 1 to 100
German Alphabet: The Best Alphabet Guide of All Time
German Days of the Week: A Beginner’s Guide to the Days of the Week in German
German Emails: The American Guide to Writing German Emails
German Body Parts: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Body Parts in German
German Vegetables: The Ultimate Guide to Vegetables in German
German Pronouns: The American Guide to Learning German Pronouns
German Colors: Colors in German: A One Stop Resource
German Fruits: Fruits in German: What You Need to Know
What is the German Alphabet?
The table below includes the following letters that make up the German alphabet. In fact, next to each German letter is a word that exemplifies it.
|A||die Adresse (address)|
|B||das Buch (book)|
|C||der Computer (computer)|
|D||der Drucker (printer)|
|E||die Eltern (parents)|
|F||der Flughafen (airport)|
|G||das Gleis (platform)|
|H||der Hund (dog)|
|J||die Jacke (jacket)|
|K||die Katze (cat)|
|L||das Leben (life)|
|M||die Mutter (mother)|
|N||die Nummer (number)|
|O||das Obst (fruit)|
|P||das Papier (paper)|
|Q||die Qualitaet (quality)|
|R||der Reis (rice)|
|S||der Stock (floor)|
|T||die Treppe (stair)|
|U||der Urlaub (vacation)|
|V||der Vater (father)|
|W||die Wohnung (apartment)|
|X||die Xenophobie (xenophobia)|
|Z||der Zug (train)|
|Ä (ae)||die Äpfel (apples)|
|Ö (oe)||das Öl (oil)|
|Ü (ue)||der Übermorgen (the day after tomorrow)|
|ẞ (ss)||die Straẞe (street)|
How to Pronounce the German Alphabet
In addition, if you’re looking for how to pronounce these German letters properly, I highly recommend checking out the video below. YourGermanTeacher pronounces each letter one by one so that you can follow along slowly.
How many letters are in the German Alphabet?
There is no concrete answer when it comes to figuring out how many letters are in the German alphabet. There are many people out there that believe that the German alphabet has 26 letters while others may say 29 or 30.
So, if you ask me, I think the number depends on who you ask. Americans don’t have this issue when it comes to the English alphabet so I’m surprised this is a phenomenon for Germans.
However, I think I have an idea as to why this might be the case. If you only include the German letters that are common in the English Alphabet, you would get a total of 26.
However, if you’re only including letters that are able to start at the beginning of a German word, then you would get a total of 29. In fact, countries like Liechtenstein and Switzerland, where German is spoken, don’t even have the letter ß.
Lastly, if you include all the letters you see in the table above, then you would get a total of 30.
Which German letters are not common in the English alphabet?
There are 4 German letters that are not common in the English alphabet. These German letters include ä, ö, ü and ß. Three of these letters are vowels with umlauts while the other one is a ligature. The umlaut is represented by the two dots that are on top of each vowel while the ligature is a symbolic representation of two sounds combined.
Vowels with Umlauts
The letter ä is known as the ah Umlaut and it has the closest sound equivalent among the vowel Umlauts in English. It can be pronounced as the short “eh” sound in “head” and it can even be elongated in some words.
The letter ö is known as the oh Umlaut and it doesn’t have a sound equivalent in English. To create the sound, try saying the English word “look” and then pursing your lips into an “o” shape.
The letter ü is known as the uh Umlaut and it also doesn’t have a sound equivalent in English. To create the sound, try making the English sound “eww” and then pursing your lips like you’re going to whistle. In fact, I’ve actually managed to master this sound specifically with the help of Babbel.
The letter ß is known as the es-testt which is also called the “scharfes s” (sharp “s”) in German. The letter is equivalent to the “s” sound in English but it’s represented as “ss.” To create the sound, say the English letter “S”.
Which article is used for the German Alphabet?
The German alphabet uses the neuter article, das, for all letters in German. Here are some examples:
- das A
- das B
- das J
- das G
- das I
- das K
- das Q
- das T
- das Z
- das M
- das D
- das L
- das N
- das O
- das P
- das R
- das F
- das H
- and u.s.w. (etc.)
Which letters are vowels and which ones are consonants in the German alphabet?
These 5 letters: a, e, i, o , u, including the umlauts are known as vowels in the German alphabet. Any other letter in the German alphabet would be considered to be a consonant.
Which countries use the German Alphabet?
There are many countries in Europe besides Germany that use the German alphabet. These countries include Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg. However, as I mentioned previously, the ß is not included in the German alphabet for Liechtenstein and Switzerland. In fact, instead of using the ß , Liechtenstein and Switzerland replace it with “ss”.
How do I type German letters on my English keyboard?
Obviously, most of the letters in the German alphabet can be seen on the English keyboard. However, when it comes to the vowels with umlauts and the ligature that’s another story.
I’m aware that there are probably Windows/Mac codes out there that you can use to get them to appear on your screen but so far when i tried looking those up they did not work for me.
So, in my opinion, instead of trying to research how to find the right code to get those letters to appear, use the English alphabet equivalent of them instead.
So, for example:
- ä can be written as “ae” with the English alphabet
- ö can be written as “oe” with the English alphabet
- ü can be written as “ue” with the English alphabet
- ß can be written as “ss” with the English alphabet
Germans will know what you’re referring to when you use these alternatives since they also use them as well.
Other tips to keep in mind
- The German letter “W” takes on the “V” sound in the English alphabet.
- The German letter “V” takes on the “F” sound in the English alphabet.
- The German letter “ß ” will never appear at the beginning of a word.
Overall, I really hope you enjoyed reading this guide to learning the German Alphabet. Please let me know in the comments down below which fact about the German Alphabet surprised you the most. I would love to hear from you!
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