1 – German Alphabet



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

Das Deutsche Alphabet (The German Alphabet)

Umlaut + ß


Learn more specifics of several German letters and their dipthongs in this guide for beginners, German-Diphthongs