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Placement of ü, ä, ö, and ß in the German alphabet.

Where are these placed in the German alphabet?

September 25, 2017



I'd say there are three orders:

  • at the end of the alphabet, like a kind of afterthought: ...xyzäöüß (usually in that order)
  • "dictionary" order, where ä ö ü ß are treated like a o u ss (so that bloß sorts close to Blöße)
  • "phonebook" order, where ä ö ü ß are treated like ae oe ue ss (so that Mueller sorts with Müller)

As the names say, "dictionary" order is more common for sorting general words while "phonebook" order is more common for sorting lists of names.

They don't have a place in the alphabet, per se -- they're either tacked onto the end or they are treated as equivalent to other letters when sorting something. So dictionaries won't have a separate Ö section, for example, which comes betwen Oz... and Pa....


Ha, I totally forgot about phonebooks :) I wonder how contacts apps deal with this.


I just added a contact with a/an(?) ä to my list and it appears in the "a" sector above the others. So ä is above a x)


I think this is the best way to explain it :3


They're not really considered part of the alphabet. I guess you could say they belong in the appendix. If you asked me to recite the alphabet, I wouldn't include them. In alphabetical lists of words, e.g. in a dictionary, umlauted vowels are treated like non-umlauted vowels. When it comes to minimal pairs, the word with the umlaut will immediately follow the word without the umlaut, e.g. "schon" (already) will be followed by "schön" (beautiful).


Does s connect with ß or something else in the dictionary?


"ß" is treated like "ss". In minimal pairs, "ss" is followed by "ß", e.g. "Masse" is followed by "Maße".



The English wiki says "German uses three letter-diacritic combinations (Ä/ä, Ö/ö, Ü/ü) using the umlaut and one ligature (ß (called Eszett (sz) or scharfes S, sharp s)) which are officially considered distinct letters of the alphabet."


The German wiki says it is controversial.

So if you want to order it, so the order "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzäöüß" is correct.

(P.S. I'm a mother tongue so I guess I should know ö__ö) Sorry for my English XDD °_°



I think that’s right.


Thanks. Just a simple question. Thanks for the simple answer ;D


No problem. I’m not a German so you may want to double check. Ironically I don’t know the order of the alphabet with certainty yet I learned how to pronounce it at a very young age.


It is the right order ;D

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