1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. Is 'W' always pronounced with…


Is 'W' always pronounced with a 'v' sound.

Hey Everyone. The 'w' in German if often pronounced with a 'v' sound. However is this always the case? At the beginning of a word I think it always is but sometimes I think I hear a 'w' sound in words like 'Schwimmt' or 'Schweiz'. Am I just hearing it wrong? Danke.

grüße liebe,


November 19, 2017



It's said with the /v/ sound, often, yes. However, some speakers, especially the southern or Swiss speakers use /ʋ/, which is pronounced with the upper teeth softly touching the lower lips. Northern Dutch speakers (here, northern = from above the Meuse and Rhine, known as Maas and Rhein in German) use the latter.


The Germans see the thing like this: The 'v' is the difficult part as it is sometimes pronounced as 'f' and sometimes as 'w'. From this point of view, your question seems to be the wrong way around.


I think you may just be hearing it wrong.


I often notice when I say words like Schwimmt or Schweiz the "v" sound seems to be softened. Something about the preceding "sch" seems to soften the "v" sound, but maybe that's just me.


Schweiz is pronounced "Shvitze" - und "Shvimt" (using English phonetics for pronunciation).


I think I know what you mean with hearing a "softer" W sound.


You also must take in consideration the dialects of speakers throughout the region (ie; high German vs. low German)

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.