German language help
Nov 9, 2008 at 6:26 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 28

Navyblue

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How does one pronounce "ch" at the end of a German word, say "Friedrich"? Is it pronounced like "sh" in English? Or more like "kh" in English? I seem to hear both versions. Though I know "Milch" is pronounced as "milsh" in English.

How about words that ends with "er", say "Wiener"? Is it pronounced as "er" too in British English with the silent "r"? Or is does it sound like between the "er" with the silent "r" and "ah" in English?

Thanks.
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Nov 9, 2008 at 6:36 PM Post #2 of 28

moriez

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Im not German but I know some. If you have heard Milch pronounced as Milsh I think that is Austrian/Swiss German or maybe spoken in some Southern regions of Germany. Normally, like Friedrich, milch is pronounced with a soft g and longer on the end compared to the English g which is short and hard. I dont have an example for it.

Wiener is very much like whiner but without the American twang to the ''er.''

This is somewhat in the direction anyway
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Nov 9, 2008 at 6:48 PM Post #3 of 28

Navyblue

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moriez /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Wiener is very much like whiner but without the American twang to the ''er.''


Can you explain this? I always thought American English pronounce it with a tongue curl at the end, is it how it is pronounced in German?.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 7:24 PM Post #4 of 28

Bastet

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Navyblue /img/forum/go_quote.gif
How does one pronounce "ch" at the end of a German word, say "Friedrich"? Is it pronounced like "sh" in English? Or more like "kh" in English? I seem to hear both versions. Though I know "Milch" is pronounced as "milsh" in English.


ch in German is normally pronounced like the IPA ç (link with sound sample). If the ch follows a/o/u it is pronounced like this.
German words ending on 'er' are normally pronounced with that 'ah' sound you mentioned, omitting the r, at least in normal speech.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 7:50 PM Post #6 of 28

Navyblue

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Thanks.
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The first "ch" sounds like "sh" in English to me. While the second one with a/o/u/ sounds like "th" to me. Am I right to say that?

So, "Friedrich" is pronounced like "free - drish" in English? And "Bach" pronounced as "bath"? Or should it be "bagh"? I think I heard "Ich" pronounced as "eegh" in English like Moriez mentioned, did I heard that right?

And words ending with "ch" is pronounced the same way as words pronounced as "sch"?
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 8:47 PM Post #7 of 28

Dzjudz

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Navyblue /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The first "ch" sounds like "sh" in English to me. While the second one with a/o/u/ sounds like "th" to me. Am I right to say that?


No. Both of your 'english' sounds (sh and th) use the tip of the tongue, while the german sounds use the back of the tongue at the throat. The Friedrich sound is less abrasive (I think that's the proper description) than the Bach sound. Try this youtube video. Edit: or better, this one, from 3:10 on.

Quote:

So, "Friedrich" is pronounced like "free - drish" in English? And "Bach" pronounced as "bath"? Or should it be "bagh"?


Yes, more like bagh, with a hard g.
Quote:

I think I heard "Ich" pronounced as "eegh" in English like Moriez mentioned, did I heard that right?


Yes, but the soft g variant (Friedrich), not the hard g as in Bach.

Quote:

And words ending with "ch" is pronounced the same way as words pronounced as "sch"?


Can you expand on this, I don't quite understand.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 10:10 PM Post #8 of 28

apatN

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I second the Rammstein.
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BTW, there is not s-ish things in the ch in Friedrich. Back of the throat. I like the Bach description ^^^. It's basically a hiss.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 11:12 PM Post #9 of 28

jpelg

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[size=xx-small]In German, how do I pronounce...[/size] Quote:

Originally Posted by Navyblue /img/forum/go_quote.gif
"Friedrich"?


Freed-rickh (breathy "h" at the end.
Quote:

"Milch"


Milckh (breathy "h" at the end) Quote:

words that ends with "er", say "Wiener"?


Veen-ah.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 11:54 PM Post #10 of 28

Wmcmanus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jpelg /img/forum/go_quote.gif
[size=xx-small]In German, how do I pronounce...[/size]Freed-rickh (breathy "h" at the end.
Milckh (breathy "h" at the end)Veen-ah.



These are pretty close, actually. But it's ever so hard to describe in words what something sounds like in another language. It's quite an interesting phenomenon.

The first obstacle is in the translation from German to English. Doing this in terms of the written word is difficult enough. There are often German words that have no perfect match in the English language.

The second obstacle is in translating what something sounds like. So you're going from one language to another, but you're also going from one form of communication to another (oral to written). As an example of this, we have a hard enough time explaining what we are hearing in the Gray-doe versus Grah-doh types of threads. The written letters you choose to best represent the sound that your mind is hearing may or may not translate in black and white as well as they do in your own gray matter.

In any case, I applaud those who try. I can hear what those words sounded like to my ears when I was taking German classes in high school, but I'm not sure I want to commit them to writing! What I remember most is how much my jaw would hurt when attempting to mimic the German teacher after class!
 
Nov 10, 2008 at 3:04 AM Post #11 of 28

Navyblue

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Thanks guys, I think I might be getting it. I have heard my friends tried to pronounce that before. But I'd have to wait till I get home to open the Youtube link.

"ch" in German is neither "th" nor "sh" in English. I guess it's more like "gh" or "kh" with a very light or soft "k" or "g"and with a breathy "h".

Speaking German would make my throat dry, especially the "r" sound in the begining of the word. Is it why they invented the beer? (or is it them at all?)
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Nov 10, 2008 at 6:54 AM Post #12 of 28

Born2bwire

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When I was taught German in school, the pronunciation was of High (Hoch) German. But I have heard Germans use a soft pronuciation of "ch". So instead of saying "Kirche" as "K-ear-k-ah" it is "K-ear-sh-ah" (which is "cherry" I think, but whatever). I think the softer pronunciation is more characteristic of a southern German or Austrian accent. I noticed it somewhat around Munich. It could just be for certain words though, I haven't been around native speakers enough to pick up on the distinction.
 
Nov 10, 2008 at 8:18 AM Post #13 of 28

Navyblue

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Born2bwire /img/forum/go_quote.gif
When I was taught German in school, the pronunciation was of High (Hoch) German. But I have heard Germans use a soft pronuciation of "ch". So instead of saying "Kirche" as "K-ear-k-ah" it is "K-ear-sh-ah" (which is "cherry" I think, but whatever). I think the softer pronunciation is more characteristic of a southern German or Austrian accent. I noticed it somewhat around Munich. It could just be for certain words though, I haven't been around native speakers enough to pick up on the distinction.


That's probably what I was hearing which lead to my confusion. But it is in my confusion that I cleared things up. Thanks.
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Nov 10, 2008 at 8:46 AM Post #14 of 28

Wmcmanus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Born2bwire /img/forum/go_quote.gif
When I was taught German in school, the pronunciation was of High (Hoch) German. But I have heard Germans use a soft pronuciation of "ch". So instead of saying "Kirche" as "K-ear-k-ah" it is "K-ear-sh-ah" (which is "cherry" I think, but whatever). I think the softer pronunciation is more characteristic of a southern German or Austrian accent. I noticed it somewhat around Munich. It could just be for certain words though, I haven't been around native speakers enough to pick up on the distinction.


Cherry? I thought Kirche meant Church!
 
Nov 10, 2008 at 10:06 AM Post #15 of 28

feNcheL

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Alright guys, listen up
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Can't say I'm full German (Asian ethnicity), but I grew up in Germany and German is my mother language.

So, yes Wmcmanus, Kirche means church, cherry is Kirsche. Kirsche is pronounced K-ear-sh-eh, and for Kirche there exists only one kind of pronunciation (as for every word with ch, but not starting with ch): K-ear-ch-eh and the ch is pronounced by bringing the tongue closer to the palatine than when pronouncing the sh (more the centre and rear part of the tongue rather than the tip, what helps is stretching the tongue towards the front teeth without touching them). Same pronunciation for Bach and other words with ch in the midlle or the end.
With words that begin with ch, such as Chemie (which is chemistry) there are two kinds of pronunciation (maybe Northern/Southern, I'm not that good with dialects)
1. Same as with the other words with ch like Kirche, Bach etc., so: ch-eh-mi
2. Just pronounce k: So that would be K-eh-mi

Hope I could help
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