Austrian Pronunciation Guide

By Dick Oakes

A a, Ä ä, B b, C c, D d, E e, F f, G g,
H h, I i, J j, K k, L l, M m, N n, O o, Ö ö P p,
Q q, R r, S s, T t, U u, Ü ü, V v,
W w, X x, Y y, Z z

The Austrian German alphabet consists of the same 26 characters as in English. There is also the addition of a diacritical mark, the "umlaut." Most German vocabulary is derived from the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. Significant minorities of words are derived from Latin and Greek, with a smaller amount from French and English.

Austrian German words are generally accented on the first syllable. Exceptions include words of foreign derivation (Changier, Quadrille) and certain unaccented prefixes: "be-," "ent-," ver-," "ge-," are the most typical.

Austrian German uses a guttural "r," similar to that used by French; not a growling "r" as in English.

Letters not listed are pronounced approximately as in English.

A, a   - a as in father
A, a   - (short a) a as in about (followed by a long consonant, two consonants, or a doubled consonant)
E, e   - e as in grey; e as in let
I, i   - i as in machine; i as in pin
O, o   - o as in note
O, o   - (short o) o as in north (followed by a long consonant, two consonants, or a doubled consonant)
U, u   - u as in duke
U, u   - (short u) u as in put (followed by a long consonant, two consonants, or a doubled consonant)
b   - p as in tap when in final position
C, c   - c ("ts") as in dance
d   - t as in pat when in final position
g   - k as in black when in final position (except -ig is pronounced -ich)
J, j   - y as in yes (the sound of j in jack is not found in German)
S, s   - z as in zip before vowels; s as in sit in all other positions
V, v   - f as in far (as English v in foreign words only: television)
W, w   - v as in vim
Y, y   - oo as in foot; also ue as in gruel (as English y in foreign words only: gymnasium)
Z, z   - ts as in bits
Ä, ä   - a as in bake
Ö ö   - ur as in burn (approximate - protrude the lips as if to whistle)
Ü, ü   - e as in let (approximate - protrude the lips as if to whistle)
Ch, ch   - ch as in loch (gutteral kh)
Chs   - x as in box when part of the word stem
Ck   - ck s in block
Ei, ei   - i as in mine
Ie, ie   - ie as in belief
Ss, ss   - ss as in lesson
Sch, sch   - sch as in schottische (always pronounced with rounded lips)
Sp, sp   - shp when in initial position
St, st   - sht when in initial pos
tion   - pronounced tsion
Tz, tz   - tz as in quartz
Gn, gn   - gn as in egnogg
Kn, kn   - kn as in acknowledge
Pf, pf   - pf as in helpful
Ps, ps   - ps as in lopsided
h   - after a consonant is not pronounced; there is no th sound

Copyright © 2011 by Dick Oakes