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Learn the 26 Letters in the German Alphabet (Buchstaben): Bonus Video for Beginners

If you know how to read and write in English, it will be pretty easy to start learning German. This is because like English, German is also written in the Latin or Roman script. This means that the letters in English as well as in German remain the same in the written form. The key difference lies in the way the German alphabets are pronounced.

German is a phonetical language. Most of the times, the German words sound exactly the way are spelled. The only exceptions are usually words from other foreign languages. In this article, we will be learning more than 26 letters in the German alphabet.

German Letters

Capital: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Small: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

The four extra letters in German are Ä, Ö, Ü or ä, ö, ü and ß.

German has slightly different rules when it comes to using capital and small letters. Unlike English, all the German nouns are capitalized.

Just like in the English language, the German alphabet has five main vowels : a, e, i, o and u. There are three German Umlauts in addition to the 26 German alphabets. An umlaut is a diacritical mark or two dots placed over three vowels in German to indicate a change in the sound. The Umlauts are placed above the letters a, o and u in German. The German Umlauts are written as Ä, Ö and Ü in capital or ä, ö and ü in small.

In German, the ß ligature is called the eszett. It is also known as scharfes S (sharp S). It is nothing but an over-pronounced s.

German Alphabets with Umlauts and ß

letters-in-the-german-alphabet-all-about-deutsch

Memorize the German Alphabet with Pronunciation

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Ä Ö Ü ẞ

German Letters Spelt Phonetically

A as ah.
B as bay.
C as tsay.
D as day.
E as ay.
F as eff.
G as gay.
H as ha.
I as eeh.
J as yot.
K as ka.
L as ell.
M as em.
N as en.
O as oh.
P as pay.
Q as koo.
R as air.
S as es.
T as tay.
U as ooh.
V as fow.
W as vay.
X as iks.
Y as oopsilohn.
Z as tset.

Check out this article on the Wikibooks website to learn more about the German letters and Phonetics in detail.

German Transliteration Equivalents

Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping letters or characters. Transliteration only gives an idea of how the word can be pronounced. Transliteration equivalents of the umlauts and sharp S in German are as below :

ä – ae
ö – oe
ü – ue
Ä – Ae
Ö – Oe
Ü – Ue
ß – ss

Typing German Characters on the English Keyboard and Phone

The German alphabet is common in all the German speaking countries. If you are wondering, an English keyboard is different from a German or a Swiss keyboard. Swiss German includes some additional French characters. The transliteration equivalents above can also be used to type German words from an English keyboard. Simply replace the characters with their equivalents while typing a German word.

Example :

German Sentence: Sein Name ist Jacob Müller.

This sentence can also be typed on the English keyboard as Sein Name ist Jacob Mueller.

English Translation: His name is Jacob Müller / Mueller.

There are various keyboard shortcuts which can be used to type these letters on Windows as well as the macOS. We will soon be writing an article regarding this topic in detail.

If these options seem overwhelming, simply paste the characters ä ö ü Ä Ö Ü ẞ on a sticky note or notepad. Copy, paste and use them as and when needed.

If you want to type German characters on your phone, you can long press on A, O, U and S on most phones to select the umlauts or sharp S from the option list which appears.

German Official Spelling Alphabet (Buchstabieralphabet / Buchstabiertafel)

Officially speaking, the following words are associated and used with letters and umlauts. Note that the list of words could vary depending on the country. We have listed out the words used in Germany. For example, if Jana is on an official phone call and needs to spell out her name, she would call out “J wie Julius, A wie Anton, N wie Nordpol und A wie Anton“. This makes it easy to understand difficult words or communicate with ease. This is similar to the concept of the “Navy code list” in English.

A Buchstabiertafel (spelling board) or Buchstabieralphabet (spelling alphabet) is also known as Telefonalphabet (telephone alphabet), Funkalphabet (radio alphabet), Fliegeralphabet (aviator alphabet) or Kaufmännisches Alphabet (business / commercial alphabet).

A wie Anton
B wie Berta
C wie Cäsar
D wie Dora
E wie Emil
F wie Friedrich
G wie Gustav
H wie Heinrich
I wie Ida
J wie Julius
K wie Kaufmann
L wie Ludwig
M wie Martha
N wie Nordpol
O wie Otto
Q wie Quelle
R wie Richard
S wie Siegfried
T wie Theodor
U wie Ulrich
V wie Viktor
W wie Wilhelm
X wie Xanthippe
Y wie Ypsilon
Z wie Zürich
Ä wie Ärger
Ö wie Ökonom
Ü wie Übermut

Learn the official German spelling board with the help of this video.

Which articles are used with German letters?

The German translation of the English word alphabet is Alphabet. It is used with the article das. All letters of the German alphabet also have the same article. Example : das Alphabet, das P, das R etc. The word Umlaut is used with derder Umlaut.

Conclusion

  • The German Alphabet has letters : A-Z.
  • Umlauts : ä ö ü or Ä Ö Ü
  • Ligature :
  • All letters of the German alphabet take the das article.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. lavonne

    Just wanted to tell you, I liked this post.
    It was helpful. Keep on posting!

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