“how to vowel in German” – a simplified chart

When we start learning a language one of the first things we have to learn is how to pronounce – and to be honest, one of the most difficult language in this aspect is (at least for me): English. No language has such an overwhelming amount of exceptions (and language science is with me on that, there is even a poem with the wonderful title “The Chaos” (written 1922 by Gerard Nolst Trenité) about it)…

Anyway, in my in my capacity as Teacher for German as a Foreign Language I once again made a chart: How to pronounce German vowels – the (very) simplified version. I did not use linguistic terms but instead tried to find equivalent sounds aka examples en français, 日本語 and in English (although I have to admit that I have no idea how to distinguish between the different ways of pronounciation in Britain, the US, Canada, Australia… – I just used what I learned in school, it is based on the British (I learned (and yes, I know any kind of dialect will completely destroy this attempt – but if I start with dialects I won’t be able to finish eva!)). The part of the word with the sound/vowel is underlined respectively.

I also ignored the length of the vowel. I know it is a very important part of “how to vowel” in a correct way – but for now lets concentrate on the “simple sound” itself.

I am still missing quite a few examples. And for 日本語 I could not find equivalent sounds for the diphthong (ä, ü, ö, au) and sometimes underlined the whole hiragana to cover the whole sound. If anybody could give a helping hand to fill these gaps I would be more than happy!

And I smuggled in some weird words – have fun translating!

The first column shows the single vowel as it is written in German, the examples are in the following columns.

Vokal Deutsch Français English 日本語
A – a die Wand

der Anfang

sagen

ami

écarts

exact

answer

mark

approach

頭 

間 

E – e das Ende

mehr

das Meer

étudiant

passer

liberté

end

very

age

駅 

手 

I – i die Insel

wir

wiederholen

illustrer

partir

amis

issue

deer

repeat

犬 

一 いち

O – o das Ohr

die Sonne

morgen

donc

nom

Au revoir!

alone

wonderful

opera

奥 

心 こころ

U – u der Kuss

unten

der Schuh

ou

bisou

pouvoir

moon

full

shoe

海 

来る くる

Ä – ä (ae) der Bär

wählen

ärgern

domaine

ainsi

français

a

pair

wear

 
Ö – ö (oe) das Öhr

hören

französisch

heure

lieu

fleur

Ü – ü (ue) die Tür

über

das Menü

utile

sur

menu

Au – au das Auto

der Auflauf

laufen

pronounce

cloud

flower

Eu – eu der Freund

teuer

das Euter

oy

voice

choice

おい

美味しい

おいしい

Ei – ei das Ei

weil

klein

bataille

vaisselle

vrai

I

Ice

mice

愛 あい

太鼓 たいこ

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