German only uses one diacritic, the Umlaut. It appears in printed matter as two dots over the vowel, but in handwriting is best written as two short strokes, not dots. Umlauts are only possible on the vowels a, o, u and the
and this is re ected in the spelling by umlauting these vowels. This is best illustrated by comparing the singular with the plural of certain nouns, e.g. Bach Bäche, Loch Löcher, Buch Bücher, Bauch Bäuche (compare ‘goose geese’). In the examples given, the change in vowel also causes a change in pronunciation of the ch from the hard to the soft variant.