The German Alphabet, From A to Z
German has often been viewed by non-Germans as a harsh sounding language. That may be due in part to the more guttural pronunciation of certain German alphabet sounds and diphthongs and perhaps even a still lingering effect of old WWII movie stereotypes. Once non-German speakers familiarize themselves with German’s different sounds.
Unique Characteristics of the German Alphabet
- More than 26 letters in the alphabet – German has a so-called extended Latin alphabet
- The extra letters are ä, ö, ü and ß
- The pronunciation of some of these letters do not exist in the English language
- Several letters are pronounced more from the back of the throat: g, ch, r (though in Austria the r is trilled).
- The W in German sounds like the V in English
- The V in German sounds like the F in English
- Most of the time the S in German sounds like Z in English when placed at the beginning of a word followed by a vowel.
- The letter ß will never appear at the beginning of a word