Pronunciation question - o, u and ü
I'm struggling to differentiate between the 'o' (long), 'u' and 'ü' sounds.
When I hear pronunciation guides for a long 'o' it sounds like 'aw', eg "boot" sounds like "bawt".
When I hear guides for 'u', it sounds like "oo", eg "kuh" sounds like "koo".
When I hear guides for 'ü' it sounds like 'ew', eg 'brüder' sounds like "brewder".
But when I listen to guides for actual words like "bruder" sometimes it sounds like "brooder" and at other times its sounds much like "brawder". The first makes the 'u' sound like a 'ü', and the second makes the 'u' sounds like a long 'o'. Which is correct here?
More importantly, am I even making the correct distinctions between the different sounds?
Thanks in advance.
Studies have shown that when people are not exposed to certain sounds at a very young age, they cannot distinguish between them at a later age. So the German ü can sound very much like an u to some people, which does not help in pronouncing it correctly.
The German ü is something like a combination of i and u. Your lips are rounded as for u, and your tongue is in the position as for i. Try saying an i as in Biene, hold the i sound and round your lips. The sound should change to a nice ü. :) You can practice the pronunciation by alternating between the words Biene and Bühne.
Personally, the long o sounds like the o in oatmeal if you stretched it. Can't quite figure the a-sound into it. The rest looks reasonable, on digital paper at least.
Bruder is singular: ein Bruder, a brother.
Brüder is plural: zwei Brüder, two brothers.
But there's no form of Bruder that has a long o in it. It may come down to dialect or regional tongues, but in High German, you have "Bruder" and "Brüder", and that's it. You can safely forget about the o in this case.