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More on German Spelling and Pronunciation

German w

Note that w is pronounced like English v as in:

auf Wiedersehen good-bye
Willkommen welcome

You’ve already learned that the pronunciation of ch is similar to a k, but pronounced with the tongue pulled further back in the throat, with a rasping sound. But note that the combination tsch sounds like the ch in church.

Mach’s gut. Take care.
Tschüss. Bye.

The Umlaut

The two dots above the u are called an Umlaut. They only appear over three letters: ü, ä, and ö. To make the ü sound, say something like the i in kiss or the ee as in see, but round your lips as if you were saying oo in food. We’ll come back to ä and ö later.

German Vowels Written with Two Letters

A few other German vowel sounds are written with two letters, such as au, ei, and ie. The combination au is pronounced like ow in owl or ou in hour. The combination ei is pronounced like the i in price or the y in my. And the combination ie is pronounced like the ee in see.

Ausdrücke expressions
auf Wiedersehen good-bye
eins one

Here’s a tip for keeping ei and ie straight. The English name of the second letter of each combination gives you a clue about how to pronounce it: ei = i ( ī), and ie = e ( ee).