Alphabet

Knowing the alphabet is the basis of learning any foreign language. German, for example, uses the Latin alphabet, which means that if your native language uses another writing system or you don’t know the Latin alphabetical order yet, you will be able to use reference books (dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.) in German or other European languages more efficiently. Also, regardless of your native language, you will be able to fluently spell names and other words in German.

This lesson covers the names of all letters used in German.

Basic letters

The modern German alphabet consists of the usual 26 Latin letters, as does the English alphabet. Their names, however, are different.

NumberUpper caseLower caseNamePronunciation
1AaA[aː]
2BbBe[beː]
3CcCe[tseː]
4DdDe[deː]
5EeE[eː]
6FfEff[ɛf]
7GgGe[ɡeː]
8HhHa[haː]
9IiI[iː]
10JjJot[jɔtʰ]
11KkKa[kʰaː]
12LlEl[ɛl]
13MmEm[ɛm]
14NnEn[ɛn]
15OoO[oː]
16PpPe[pʰeː]
17QqQu[kʰuː]
18RrEr[ɛɰ]
19SsEs[ɛs]
20TtTe[tʰeː]
21UuU[uː]
22VvVau[faʊ]
23WwWe[veː]
24XxIx[ɪks]
25YyYpsilon[ˈʏpsilɔn]
26ZzZett[tsɛtʰ]

Umlauts

The word “umlaut” comes from German and literally means “sound alteration”. This sound change mostly occurs when a word is grammatically modified.

NumberUpper caseLower caseNamePronunciation
ÄäÄ[ɛː]
ÖöÖ[øː]
ÜüÜ[yː]

Ligature

A ligature is a combination of at least two characters that are merged together as a single unit. The German ligature ⟨ẞ⟩ implies the connection of “long S and Z” (ſʒ) – this is where the letter “Eszett” got its name from.

NumberUpper caseLower caseNamePronunciation
ßEszett[ɛsˈtsɛtʰ]

Full lesson

Audio lesson

Video lesson

Exercises