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Different pronunciations in German?

Now there are many countries with English as their language. In these different countries, words are pronounced differently. Now German is spread over a few countries too: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and also Liechtenstein I believe. Do people pronounce things differently in these countries?`Or is German more steady throughout all the German speaking countries? Eg. In Australia we pronounce Tomato different than in america (We're right :P). Also can't, water and some others. Also there is variation within countries. Is this the case in German speaking areas?

September 11, 2017



Hi Cluney, yes they do! Many different pronounciations, many different words, many dialects. So when you see in german TV a man from switzerland talking the producers are so kindly to give subtitels. The same when people are talking "hard" dialect. Subtitels are sometimes also welcome when our valued neighbours from Austria are talking. Fortunately we all learn "Hochdeutsch" at school and can speak and understand it (more or less^^)

best regards Angel


I would understand why it would be hard to understand the different dialects if you're a German learner but are you saying that it's also hard for Germans to understand certain other 'German' speaking peoples?


yepp, that is true. If you are in contact with people from rural areas of certain Bundesländer you might think they come from the dark side of the moon. Bavarian, Saxonian or Black Forrest dialects come to my mind very spontaneous. But as Angel stated, they all can speak (a kind of) standard German, so don't be afraid ;-)


German is actually associated with six countries: the three main ones are Germany, Austria and Switzerland (where it is co-official with French and Italian). The three others are Liechtenstein (where it is proudly spoken by its entire population of 12 people or so), Belgium (where it is a minority language with official status), and Luxembourg (where the situation is complicated; see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Luxembourg).

Standard German is known as "High German" ("Hochdeutsch") and is the prestige dialect generally studied and understood in all German-speaking countries. However, there are regional variations in pronunciation and vocabulary even in Hochdeutsch, not only between Germany, Austria and Swizerland, but also within Germany itself. My personal favourite is the word "E-Mail", which is feminine in Germany ("die E-Mail") but neuter in Switzerland and Austria ("das E-Mail").

Swiss people also speak a dialect of German known as "Swiss German" which is actually quite different and arguably a different language entirely. If I hear Swiss people speaking a language that I can vaguely recognise as German but can't understand at all, I know they are speaking Swiss German. :-)

Several million people in Northern Germany also speak "Low German" (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_German), which is closer to Dutch.


Things are pronounced differently - people pronounce things differently up and down the States too. But you would understand someone from Alabama if you come from New York, and vice versa.

Plus, within Germany, there are dialects. But Duo is teaching Hoch Deutsch, I believe, so it is understandable by all German speakers

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