When one gets in touch with a new language, the first thing that catches his attention is probably the alphabet. The German alphabet consists of all the 26 letters from the English alphabet, together with 4 additional letters, namely die Umlaute ä, ö, ü and das scharfes s ß, which only exists in lowercase. Here is the complete alphabet,
a ä b c d e f g h I j k l m n o ö p q r s t u ü v w x y z ß
A Ä B C D E F G H I J K L M N O Ö P Q R S T U Ü V X Y Z
Pronunciation of the German language is rather consistent, meaning that every word is pronounced more or less as its spelling suggests. For instance, ‘a’ is always pronounced as ‘ah’ in bar when it is long and as ‘a’ in man when it is short. There are several sounds in German which English speakers may find interesting. For example, the German ‘r’ sound is more guttural and produced at the back of the throat, which is quite different from the English one. In addition, the German ‘ch’ often causes English speakers severe problems as it does not occur naturally in the English language, and varies in sound depending on its position in the word and the sound which precedes it.
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