German is difficult to learn – Loads of grammar rules and new words! And the pronunciation can be a hard one to crack. Here is a list of 5 sounds you should learn – here is how to sound German.
Pronunciation might not be the most important thing when learning German. People will understand you even though you don´t pronounce the words perfectly. In fact, accents can be a plus – People tend to be very interested in talking when they here that your from somewhere else.
That being said, all of us German learners are trying to improve the way we speak. That´s why I have made this list of 5 sounds we should have in mind when speaking German.
The first thing you can practice is the schp– and scht-sound. The sound appears every time a word contains sp or st. You can hear it in for example Straße = Schtraße (street) or Spaß = Schpaß (fun).
The German R
One letter in particular can be hard for many to pronounce. The German R sounds different to the R´s in many other languages. That´s why you should pay extra attention to this letter. When you pronounce R, it should be in the back of your throat. If you can´t make it work, gargle some water. Then you´ll feel where the German R comes from.
The sounds of Ä, Ö and Ü are foreign for many. You can (loosely) compare the letters to the English sounds, as follows:
- Ä sounds like the E in bed
- Ö is similar to the I in girl
- Ü is like the U in dude
The only way to really learn the sounds though is to find yourself a German friend, listen, and practice!
The difference between ie and ei
A common mistake is that German learners mix up ie and ei. The sounds are pretty simple: ie is like the E in she and ei is like the Y in shy. Remember the difference! Then you´ll avoid misunderstandings like the words schieße (shoot) and scheiße (shit). Similar words, very different meanings!
Last, but not least, there´s the ch. I struggle with this one even after 12 years of learning German. You can try replicating a cat hissing and then turn it down a bit – That might help you out.
It´s all about practicing
In the end it´s all about just trying. Don´t worry too much about making mistakes! I know that´s easier said than done. Believe me, I´ve been there (still am!) myself. But you know what? Who cares if you say scheißen instead of schießen? No one really. Your German friend might look a bit baffled at you, ask you what you mean, and then you´ll laugh about the mistake and remember it the next time.
We´re all learning and the fact that you´re trying is amazing!
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