question about pronunciation

how common or acceptable is it to pronounce the short vowels with the same vowel sound as the long ones?

so for example pronouncing oft like /oft/ rather than /ɔft/ or tschüss like /t͡ʃys/ rather than /t͡ʃʏs/

January 1, 2019


Hi Liçá,

I'm not familiar with the phonetic lettering you used but I try to answer your question.

There are some words with different pronounciations. Mostly it depends in which area of Germany you are. For your example 'tschüss' both is fine. You can say it with a long or a short 'ü'. The word 'oft' is always spoken with a short 'o'. At least I don't know a different pronounciation.

I think the different versions of 'tschüss' are more an exception than a common thing in German. There may be some other words with a different pronounciation of the vowels depending on the area and dialect but usually there's only one version.

best regards, Angel

January 1, 2019

The ü sound is different depending on whether you pronounce the vowel long or short. Your phonetic transcriptions look identical to me. One should show a long vowel /y:/, the other a short vowel /y/. And long and short vowels in German are all pronounced differently, the long vowels sounding like a more distinct vowel sound, the short vowel is weakened.

Look at the diagramm here:

And the description of the sounds on the same page:

  • /yː/ is close near-front rounded [y̠ː].

  • /ʏ/ is near-close near-front rounded [ʏ].

The spelling normally indicates the vowel length. Tschüss is somewhat of an exception because there actually exist two different correct ways of spelling: Tschüss vs. Tschüs (plus they can, but do not have to be capitalized). According to the standard spelling/pronunciation rules, the first one would be pronunced with the short vowel, the second one with the long vowel. Since it is a word only used colloqially, it survived with a higher degree of flexibility in pronunciation and spelling:

Tschüss, tschüss vs. Tschüs, tschüs.

And since it’s usually only spoken, where the actual spelling is not obvious, people might pronounce it with a long vowel, but write it with a short vowel and vice versa.

January 1, 2019

If words are pronounced with a different vowel length in different dialects, the sound of the vowel changes and with it the spelling (in a transcription of the dialect).e.g.

oben > /o:/

obbe > /ɔ/

January 1, 2019

that's what I wanted to ask: can you pronounce obbe with both /ɔ/ and /o/? or just /ɔ/

(question is not about vowel length but about vowel type)

January 2, 2019

No. Vowel length = vowel type, indicated by spelling, as I said already. Hence the double b after the /ɔ/ in “obbe”. Without the double b, it would be spelled “obe” and pronounced with a long /o:/.

January 2, 2019

As explained above, it's normally standardized whether the vowel is long or short. And both sound differently. It's reflected in the spelling.

One exception is tschüß. Some say Tschüss. Some say tschüüs. Another exception is Spaß. Some say Spass. Some say Spaas. Not even sure what is considered standard according to Duden (the famous dictionary)

January 4, 2019
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