das deutsche Alphabet

    In this lesson I teach you how to spell things in German using the German alphabet (das deutsche Alphabet). I also teach you how to ask someone how to spell something.

    If at any time you get bored with the pronunciation and spelling tips I’m about to give you, you can always skip to the skit at the end of the video.

    This lesson is a part of Herr Antrim’s new e-book “Beginner German with Herr Antrim“. Within the e-book, this lesson includes a worksheet and answer key to practice the skills you are about to learn.

    You can also get the extra materials for this lesson about the alphabet and spelling in German including a worksheet with answer key and mp3 files along with the text guide to help you practice your pronunciation by clicking here.

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    This video is sponsored by Lingoda. No matter if you are learning German for your job or just for fun, Lingoda has the lessons you need to reach your goals. Take live online lessons with native speakers whenever you want. Click this link and get started learning German with Lingoda today.

    Beginner German with Herr Antrim

    das deutsche Alphabet

    A – ah – This is what your doctor tells you to say when you are supposed to open wide.

    B – beh – This is like that incredibly dumb English slang word “bae”, but instead of ending with a “Y” sound, you end with your mouth straight as it was at the beginning of the sound.

    C – tseh – Like “say”, but with a “T” at the beginning and again not that “Y” sound at the end.

    D – deh – Like “day”, but… you guessed it, no “Y” sound.

    E – eh – Like the previous three letters, but without the consonant in front.

    F – ef – It’s literally the same as the English letter.

    G – geh – This is where it becomes important that you don’t pronounce the letter with the “Y” sound at the end.

    H – ha – This is the sound that some of you made when I said the last letter.

    I – ih – Sounds like the English long “E” sound. This also explains why the German long “I” sound is more like the English long “E” sound.

    J – jott – Like a “yacht”, but instead of pronouncing it like a short “A” in the middle, say it like a German short “O” sound.

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    K – kah – Like a person from Boston trying to say “car”.

    Finally, some easy ones! Das deutsche Alphabet isn’t always difficult.

    L – ell – It is the exact same in English.

    M – em – It is the exact same in English.

    N – en – It is the exact same in English.

    O – oh – In English we have a tendancy to make this sound like it has a “W” at the end, but in German it is a straight “O” sound.

    P – peh – Like “pay”, but again without the “Y” sound at the end.

    Q – kuh – This is also the German word for a cow. Think of the word “cool” and then chop off the “L” at the end.

    R – err – (To roll or not to roll, that is the question. I find myself doing both. Which is “standard”?) Think of the place where you wave your hands sometimes and sing “AYO”… you know “air”, but in English we barely pronounce the “R” and the same is true here. If you want, you can add a bit of that consonant “R” sound I taught you in the second video.

    S – ess – It is the exact same as in English.

    ß – eszett – It is like a combination of the German letters “S” and “Z”, which is why it is “eszett”. It’s pronounced like a sharp ‘s’ and used to indicate that the vowel in front of it is long.

    T – teh – Like a nickname for someone named Taylor, Tay-Tay, but again without the “Y” sound, teh-teh.

    Why is the end of the alphabet always so confusing?

    U – uh – Like you are standing in amazement at something “oooooo”, but you don’t drag it out as long. uh

    V – fau – As I mentioned in the consonant pronunciation video, the letter “V” in German is most often pronounced as an “F” sound. This is the reason for the letters name being “fau”. Think of the word “foul”, but lose the “L” at the end.

    W – weh – Like the expression “oy vey”, but… everyone together now… without the “Y” sound at the end.

    X – iks – How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop? The “icks” sound at the end of the word “licks” is exactly what you are looking for with this letter. X is in fact just “ks”.

    Y – ypsilon – When I mess up I usually say “oops”, but if you modify your vowel sound to make it sound more like the German “ü” sound, you end up with “üps”. If I ever open a hair salon in German, I am going to name it “Y”, because it is a salon that makes a lot of mistakes, because I can’t cut hair. It would be the “üps” salon.

    Z – tset – Think of the “ts” at the end of “hats”. Then simply add “et” to the “ts” and you end up with the letter “Z” in German.

    Umlaute

    In German Ä, Ö, Ü are referred to as the Umlaute. You can say these letters as “A mit Umlaut”, “O mit Umlaut” and “U mit Umlaut”, but officially they are Ä, Ö and Ü. You should only use the “mit Umlaut” options if you are clarifying what you said, because someone misunderstood you.

    das deutsche Alphabet Skit #1

    B: Herzlich Willkommen bei Mastercard. Ich bin Fred. Darf ich nach Ihrem Namen fragen?
    B: Welcome to Mastercard. I am Fred. May I ask for your name?

    A: Ich heiße Levi Antrim.
    A: I am Levi Antrim

    B: Wie buchstabiert man das?
    B: How do you spell that?

    A: L-E-V-I.

    B: Und ihren Nachnamen?
    B: And your last name?

    A: A-N-T-R-I-M

    Jetzt buchstabieren wir alles!

    B: Woher kommen Sie?
    B: Where are you from?

    A: Ich komme aus Edwardsville.
    A: I come from Edwardsville.

    B: Wie buchstabiert man das?
    B: How do you spell that?

    A: E-D-W-A-R-D-S-V-I-L-L-E

    B: In welchem Land befindet sich Edwardsville?
    B: In which country is Edwardsville located?

    A: Edwardsville liegt in Illinois in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika.
    A: Edwardsville is located in the United States of America.

    B: Wie buchstabiert man das?
    B: How do you spell that?

    A: I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S

    B: Nein, ich meine “Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika”.
    B: No, I mean “United States of America”.

    A: Sie wissen nicht, wie man “Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika” buchstabiert?
    A: You don’t know how to spell “United States of America”?

    B: Genau. Deshalb frage ich.
    B: Exactly. That’s why I’m asking.

    A: Ok… V-E-R-E-I-N-I-G-T-E S-T-A-A-T-E-N V-O-N A-M-E-R-I-K-A Darf ich jetzt aufhören alles zu buchstabieren?
    A: Ok… V-E-R-E-I-N-I-G-T-E S-T-A-A-T-E-N V-O-N A-M-E-R-I-K-A May I stop spelling everything now?

    das deutsche Alphabet Skit #2

    A: Meine Damen und Herren, herzlich Willkommen zum fünfzehnten jährlichen Buchstabierwettbewerb. Heute fangen wir mit Leon an, der zehnjährige Junge aus Potsdam. Leon, bist du bereit?
    A: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the fifteenth annual spelling bee. Today we are starting with Leon, the ten year old boy from Potsdam. Are you ready, Leon?

    Leon: Ja.
    Leon: Yes.

    A: Ok. Dein erstes Wort lautet “Zebrastreifen”.
    A: Ok. Your first word is “zebra stripes” (German for crosswalk stripes)

    Leon: Ok. Zebrastreifen. Z-E-B-R-A-S-T-R-E-I-F-E-N
    Leon: Ok. Zebra stripes. Z-E-B-R-A-S-T-R-E-I-F-E-N

    A: Gut gemacht. Dein nächstes Wort lautet “Chinesisch”.
    A: Well done. Your next word is “Chinese”.

    Leon: Chinesisch. C-H-I-N-E-S-I-S-C-H
    Leon: Chinese. C-H-I-N-E-S-I-S-C-H

    A: Noch einmal richtig. Nächstes Wort “Joghurt”.
    A: Correct again. Next word “yogurt”.

    Leon: Joghurt. J-O-G-H-U-R-T
    Leon: Yogurt. J-O-G-H-U-R-T

    Let’s try something complicated

    A: Und das letzte Wort für heute. Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.
    A: And the last word for today. Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. (a law for the oversight of labeling beef)

    Leon: Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. P-Q-U-X-Y.
    Leon: That law for labeling beef. P-Q-U-X-Y.

    A: Leider ist das Falsch. Vielleicht klappt’s beim nächsten Mal.
    A: Unfortunately that is incorrect. Better luck next time.

    Thank you, Lingoda.

    Again, I’d like to thank my sponsor, Lingoda. They have lessons to fit whatever your needs may be. If you are learning German (or even French, Spanish or English for that matter), they have the lessons and materials you need to be successful in your foreign language goals. Click this link and check them out.

    Bis zum nächsten Mal

    In the next lesson I’ll introduce you to a bunch of vocabulary by asking the question “Was macht er?” (What is he doing?) I’ll introduce a few more verb forms that I haven’t talked about yet and load you up with some leisure time vocabulary. In the meantime, I’m done for today. Bis zum nächsten Mal. Tschüss.

    Herr Antrim

    Herr Antrim is a German teacher with over 10 years of teaching experience. In 2011 he started his successful YouTube Channel "Learn German with Herr Antrim". In 2015 he created this website to enhance the German language lessons he was providing on YouTube. He is now the author of his own e-book, "Beginner German with Herr Antrim". He has also been featured on numerous blogs and other sites.