chapter  1
8 Pages

Pronunciation

The only reliable way of committing sounds to paper is via the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), but only those studying linguistics as an academic discipline are likely to have the IPA at their disposal and for this reason it is not referred to here. This means, however, that phrasing such as ‘compare the vowel in tray’ and ‘compare the vowel in lot’ has its limitations. Those English words may well vary in the way they are pronounced depending on where in the English-speaking world you live. Every care has been taken to make comparisons which are valid regardless of whether you speak British or American English, although the author is a speaker of the former, but then the Australian variant thereof. For this and numerous other reasons there is, of course, no substitute for getting assistance from a native speaker, keeping in mind, however, that German is spoken over a very large area by European standards and thus shows considerable regional variation in the way it is pronounced. Some attempt to cover the prime regional differences in pronunciation is made in 1.5. What should help in describing the sounds of German without being able to resort to the IPA is the fact that this book has, after all, been written for the intermediate level and so this chapter is seldom going to have to serve the needs of the raw beginner. It is assumed the vast majority of readers will already have some idea of how German is pronounced.