Phonetic Script - Vowel Mutations

 

Here you learn about the phonetic script used for the German vowel mutations. To listen to the pronunciation, click on the little button in front of the respective word.

Script Letter Vowel Mutation Type     German English
      Height   Backness   Roundedness      
                     
[ɛ:] ä or äh (long) open-mid
(the tongue is positioned halfway between an open vowel and a mid vowel)
  front
(the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant)
  unrounded
(the lips are not rounded)
  Ära
era
ähnlich similar
                     
                     
[ɛ] ä (short) open-mid
(the tongue is positioned halfway between an open vowel and a mid vowel)
  front
(the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant)
  unrounded
(the lips are not rounded)
  kämmen
to comb
ätzend corrosive
                     
                     
[ø, ø:] ö or öh (long) close-mid
(the tongue is positioned halfway between a close vowel and a mid vowel)
  front
(the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant)
  rounded
(its roundedness is compressed, which means that the margins of the lips approach one another, so that the inner surfaces are not exposed)
  schön
beautiful, nice
mögen to like
                     
                     
[œ] ö (short) open-mid
(the tongue is positioned halfway between an open vowel and a mid vowel)
  front
(the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant)
  rounded
(its roundedness is compressed, which means that the margins of the lips approach one another, so that the inner surfaces are not exposed)
  zwölf
twelve
können to be able to do sth.
                     
                     
[y, y:] ü, üh or y (long) close
(the tongue is positioned as close as possible to the roof of the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant)
  front
(the tongue is positioned as far forward as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant)
  rounded
(its roundedness is compressed, which means that the margins of the lips approach one another, so that the inner surfaces are not exposed)
  grün
green
Xylofon xylophone
                     
                     
] ü or y (short) near-close
(the tongue is positioned similarly to a close vowel, but slightly less constricted)
  near-front
(the tongue is positioned similarly to a front vowel, but slightly further back in the mouth)
  rounded
(its roundedness is compressed, which means that the margins of the lips approach one another, so that the inner surfaces are not exposed)
  fünf
five
Ypsilon upsilon