top of page

Das Alphabet

Learn the letters of the German alphabet.

Das Alphabet, the alphabet. The German alphabet is a Latin alphabet and it consists of 30 letters. We will go through the letters one by one and I want you to repeat them after me. First, I will give you the letter itself and then an example word.

Let's start with the letter A in German.

And the example word is "alle". So can you repeat after me?

"A, alle"

"B, Bier"

Bier. When you have the combination I, E, it's a long E sound.

"B, Bier"

"C, cool"

"D, der, die, das."

"Der", "die", "das" are the definite articles. They correspond to the English "the".

"Der" is used for masculine nouns, "die" is used for feminine nouns and "das" is used for neuter nouns.

"E, ein, eine"

And these are the indefinite articles. "Ein" is for masculine and neuter nouns and "eine" is for feminine nouns. "Ein" or "eine" in English that would be "a".

"F, Frage"

"G, gehen"

When you have an H after a vowel, as here in gehen, the H itself is not pronounced.

It just makes the vowel sound a bit longer.

"H, hallo"

"I, immer"

And here you have the ER at the end of the word. It sounds more like an A than an actual R.

"J, ja"

"K, klein"

Here we have the letter combination EI, which is an "I" sound.

"L, lieben"

Here we've got the IE, a long "E" sound.

"M, Mama"

"N, nein"

"O, Oma"

"P, Papa"

"Q, Qualität" (QU = KW sound)

"R, rot" In standard German, the R is not rolled.

"S, sagen"

"T, Tee"

"U, und"

"V, viel"

"W, Wasser"

"X, Xanten"

"Y, Yacht"

"Z, Zeit" - It's like "TS".

And then we have four other more special letters, which are called Ä, Ö, Ü and ß.

The two dots above the letters are called Umlaut.

So a A, Umlaut is an Ä, as in "älter".

And the O, Umlaut is an Ö, as in "Öl".

And the U, Umlaut is not an U, but an Ü, as in "über".

And what you can do if you don't have these letters on your keyboard, instead of ä, you can just write "ae". Instead of ö, you can write "oe". And instead of ü, you can write "ue".

That's what Germans also do if they don't have these letters available.

And then there is the fourth special letter, which is called "sz": "ß".

You don't find it at the beginning of words, only in the middle or at the end.

For example, in Straße, street, Straße.

There was a spelling reform in 1996, a very important spelling reform, which replaced most ß by double S. And nowadays, you can follow this rule that if you have a long vowel in front of the S sound, it will probably be an ß, as in Straße. And if you have a short vowel in front of the S sound, the S will probably be a double S, as in Wasser.

Straße, it's a long A, and Wasser is a short A.

And there was another little reform in June 2017, where they decided that the ß

can also be a capital letter. Before, if you wrote something in all capital letters,

you couldn't use the ß, because it didn't exist in the capital form. You had to write double S instead. So Straße was spelled "STRASSE". And since June 2017, you can also spell it like "STRAßE". And if you don't have the SZ on your keyboard, you can always just write double S, that's fine. If you do have it, it's preferred, you should use it, but if you don't have it, just write double S.

And now, I want you to spell your name.

Wie buchstabiert man deinen Namen?

Mein Name ist Juliane, J-U-L-I-A-N-E.

Und wie ist dein Name?

How do you spell your name?

Go ahead.

As a homework, I want you to go through these letters

again and to be able to at least spell your own name.

First name and last name.

It will be very useful for you when you come to Germany.

Essential tips for beginning German learners

Please enter your details below and your guide will arrive by email.

You'll automatically be signed up for my newsletter. I won't spam your mailbox.

You'll only hear from me about once a month. 😉

Screenshot 2023-12-31 204313.png
bottom of page