When studying a foreign language, knowing how to correctly pronounce its letters is essential because otherwise, natives might not understand you. To shed some light on the world of letters, this article explains how to pronounce “b,” “d,” and “g” in German.   

The German alphabet

The difficulty of mastering German pronunciation is strongly but not exclusively depending on which other languages a person speaks. The bigger the differences between German and the other languages, the harder it will be to say a word correctly. Also, the older we become, the harder it is to train our mouths to produce new sounds. A good example of this is the inability of many Germans to pronounce an English “th” as in the famous “Thank you for traveling with Deutsche Bahn.” Yet, there are a lot of rules that can help you to improve your pronunciation skills. In the following, there will be an explanation for the three letters “b,” “d,” and “g.”  

The letter “b” in German

“B” at the beginning

Germans generally pronounce the letter “b” as in “Berlin” or “Bier.”

Examples: 

  • Banane
  • Baby
  • baden
  • Bayern

 

“B” at the end

However, when the “b” stands at the end of the word, it is more pronounced like a “p.”

Examples: 

The moment you use these words in the plural and therefore need to add the plural ending, the pronunciation changes again. The “b” that was pronounced as “p” in the singular becomes a propper “b” again.

  • die Klubs / Clubs
  • die Siebe
  • die Körbe
  • die Verben

 

The letter “d” in German

“D” at the beginning

In German, the pronunciation of the letter “D” is as in “Dresden” or “Deutsch” or the English word “dance.” 

Examples: 

 

“D” at the end

If the “d” stands at the end of the word, it is more pronounced like a “t.”

Examples: 

If you add any letter after the final “d,” its pronunciation changes from “t” to “d” again.

  • Bilder
  • baldig
  • Abende
  • Freunde

 

The letter “g” in German

“G” at the beginning

In German, the pronunciation of the letter “G” is as in “gut,” “genau,” or the English “garden.” 

Examples: 

 

“G” at the end

If the “g” stands at the end of the word, it is generally more pronounced like a soft “k.”

Examples: 

If you form the plural of these words, the pronunciation shifts from a “k” to a “g” again.

  • Berge
  • Sonntage
  • Siege
  • Züge

 

German pronunciation

I hope that the German pronunciation became a little easier for you after reading this article. Please be aware that the explanations are very general because there are more detailed pronunciation rules for certain endings, such as “-ig” or “-ung.” Also, you might be interested in getting to know how to pronounce a German “ch” properly. Bis bald!

Steffie  


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