3.2: German Diphthongs
German diphthongs are basically two vowels which are put together. It is rather simple really. Instead of pronouncing each vowel separately, you blend them together. The German language is a lot more into phonetics than our English counterpart. What does this mean?
It means German really isn't that confusing. You pronounce the word as you see it. Instead of silent letters, most words are a "say what you see" deal. There are no real exceptions like English has and this is what makes learning this language fun and interesting. You are not going to be tricked. Exceptions normally come from words that have a foreign (English, French) background. Once you know how to pronounce the letters, you will be able to say words even if you have never seen them before. So learn the letters and diphthongs or rather know what they are, and how to go about saying them.
In German some sounds are created by using diphthongs. We have something similar in English. Take the word “fish”, where the combination sh makes you pronounce it in a different way than each letter is pronounced. In German, “sch” is the same sound as “sh” in English, and, to keep the example, “Fisch” has the same pronunciation. Hey, you just learned another word! I’m sure you can remember this one! Although, strictly speaking, “sch” is not a diphthong, as this term only applies to the combination of vowels. But it’s the same principle.
Once again, the diphthongs are a combination of two vowels. They are:
- "au" (pronounced like the “ow” in “Howard”)
- "eu" and “äu” ( both like the “oy” in oyster”)
- "ei" and “ai” ( both like “eye”)
- “ie” (like “eeh”)
Learning the diphthongs, alphabet, and consonants will give you a strong solid base. It will allow you to progressively and actively speak the German language without wondering what or when to use a certain letter. I am confident these lessons will make you better understand the German language. I encourage you to act now as well and take hold of Rocket German if you really are serious about learning German.
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