Talk:German phrasebook

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Surely all phrasebooks should be made out in a standard accent and not in regional dialects. When learning English you don't learn it how Cocknies speak it or how it is spoken in New York. Most foreigners learning English will learn either standard Oxford English or American English. Is there, therefore, any need for so many dialectical forms of the greetings of the language? It simply confuses the article! You wouldn't teach a foreigner to say "ya'reet" as they do in the northeast of England. I suggest removing thse regional variations and if necessary, creating seperate niederdeutsch, and deutschsprachige schweiz, etc phrasebooks.

I fully agree, and in fact we already have a Swiss-German phrasebook. (WT-en) Jpatokal 09:30, 4 February 2007 (EST)

Alsace in France gets a few mentions, I see. Frankly you can forget using German there. This would go down like breaking wind in Church. Use French by all means!Alsatian German is sadly not as widely spoken, as it was even 20 years ago, but still very much something for family and home. Just because people may have German surnames and live in places with German names, they would be quite offended if addressed in German, unless you knew no French and they NO English. It would very much be a very last resort. Many speakers of dialect would say they can not speak German anyway!They would resent any implication they are in any way German. Alsace was part of France, at the time of the French Revolution, and that was long before any united Germany.This is despite the periods of annexation etc.....No mention of Lorraine (part of which does have a Germanic dialect). Same goes for that aea, believe me!

Abzocken - You're cheating me[edit]

Don't say "abzocken", that's street slang and sounds as if you were offering a fist fight. The correct German for "You're cheating me" is "Sie übervorteilen mich" albeit it might sound a bit old-fashioned, it's still far better than "abzocken". "Das ist nicht fair" - "This is not fair" is another possibility.

Why not simply say: This is too much? (Das ist zu viel/zu teuer.) In fact, "abzocken" if not said with a smile on your face might insult the seller. Trying to bargain if you do not speak german is really difficult. Maybe you just say "Das ist mir zu teuer" (This is too expensive for me!) and go away. Slowly, of course. :-) Maybe the seller then will react and reduce the price. Bargaining if don´t speak english may be really useless, I´m afraid.

I want to check out.'[edit]

Ich möchte Sie verlassen. (ikh MOOKH-tuh zee vayr-lahs-sen)

No one will understand you, if you say "Ich möchte Sie verlassen" when checking out in a hotel. There is an anglicism for this: The verb "auschecken". I suggest using the phrase : "Ich würde gerne auschecken" or "Ich möchte auschecken" (WT-en) Karl

Actually, a correct high German term would be "Ich möchte abreisen" - "I would like to depart", "auschecken" sounds snobbish.

WOW! This is SO GREAT! -- (WT-en) Evan 20:16, 1 Nov 2003 (PST)

Thanks, Evan. -- (WT-en) Hansm 07:13, 2003 Nov 2 (PST)

Sorry Evan, why did you remove my GFDL agreement??? I think it is my right to agree to different licences and actualy, you have proposed that yourself:

That said, you are welcome to label your contributions as being dual-licensed, as long as you're not basing them on other people's by-sa licensed work. -- Evan 12:47, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)

cite from Project:Why Wikivoyage isn't GFDL

-- (WT-en) Hansm 08:00, 2003 Nov 2 (PST)
Hansm: sorry, I was writing the explanation below as you asked. I'm going to try to write up the deal for dual-licensing. I removed the license note, as it was no longer pertinent to the article as it stands on Wikivoyage, and I thought it was misleading. -- (WT-en) Evan 08:09, 2 Nov 2003 (PST)

Moved from the article by (WT-en) Evan

Licence note: The author explicitly agrees to the publication under the terms of the GFDL.

NOTE: Once another author besides HansM started working on this article, they had to choose one of the two licenses he made it available under: either the GFDL or the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. That contributor was me ((WT-en) Evan). If I had chosen to use the GFDL, it would mean that either a) we would have to delete the article from Wikivoyage, since other contributors could no longer make derived works based on the by-sa license, or b) we would have to figure out a way in our software to mark articles as GFDL-only.

I didn't want to hassle with it, so the derived work I made is under the CC-BY-SA license. Let me reiterate: according to the provisions of the GFDL and by-sa themselves, someone deriving a new work from a dual-licensed work must pick one and only one of those licenses to use for the derived work. I chose by-sa, for the reasons outlined in Why Wikivoyage isn't GFDL as well as from pure laziness -- I don't want to have to hack the MediaWiki software to track multiple licenses and the dual-licensing problem.

Hansm's last dual-licensed version is here: Anyone is welcome to derive GFDL'd work from that -- but please don't upload it to Wikivoyage, as it's not possible with our software right now.

Sorry for the hassle -- it's inherent in dual-licensed work. See Project:Dual licensing for more discussion. -- (WT-en) Evan 08:04, 2 Nov 2003 (PST)

Ok, Evan. That seems to be convincing. Anyway, it realy would be a great goal to find some possibility to implement dual licensing features. -- (WT-en) Hansm 08:23, 2003 Nov 2 (PST)

So, I thought I'd answer some of the questions in the phrasebook, at least what I was thinking when I was making the first draft of the Phrasebook template:

Can you change a traveler's check for me?
Sorry, don't understand the exact meaning of 'for me (...)

I think that "Can you change a traveler's check?" is fine. Or "Do you cash traveler's checks?", "Would you accept a traveler's check?", etc.

Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?
Sorry, don't know what ATM means (...)

An "automatic teller machine" is a public computer kiosk people use to extract cash from a bank account or credit card. "ATM" is an abbreviation for it. I think they're sometimes called "cash machines" or "automated cashiers" (here in Quebec it's a guichet automatique, I can't recall if it's the same term in France or not).

Can I look in the kitchen?
Note: This is a very unusual question in Europe. You risk that poeple feel offended.

It's a pretty unusual question in North America, too. In parts of Asia, though, it's considered a little finicky but perfectly all right -- kind of like looking at a hotel or motel room before you pay for it. I'd say that in general, for phrases that would be unusual or just plain rude, it's probably best to just leave the phrase out.

Can you make it "lite", please?
lite, lard???

Well, y'know. Maybe "low fat" would be a better word here than "lite".

Bier (...)

I think maybe you should add all those beers to the "Bar" section, eh?

Please clear the plates.
??? Don't understand (...)

A way of saying "Please take these plates and bowls off the table, because we're finished eating."


Agreed as to the uselessness of this for most metric-using countries (Quebec has pints, by the way -- I have to order une pint). Maybe we should have instead something like "little beer", "big beer"?

_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.

In the US and I think other English-speaking countries, you ask for a cocktail or mixed drink by naming the alcohol and mixer that go in it: "whiskey and soda", "rum and Coke", "vodka and tonic". I was trying to figure out a way to say this without listing every possible combination. Apparently I failed. B-)

club soda

This is just carbonated water, used for mixing drinks. I don't know where the "club" part comes from. It's also called "soda water" or "seltzer" in English.

You're cheating me.

This was actually for those times when you get in a transaction with a street vendor, tour guide, or someone else, and you realize that they're trying to trick you. (Making mental note: Common scams might be a good travel topic). The idea is just to say, "I know this is a trick, and I'm walking away now." I guess also it might be good to have a statement like, "I know that this is not the regular price."


This is a street sign in the USA and I think also in Canada and some other English-speaking countries. You see it when two streets merge together, and drivers on one street -- usually the smaller one -- have to wait until there's no traffic on the other street before joining.

Let me finally say that I think this is a fabulous phrasebook. Very, very good work! -- (WT-en) Evan 09:21, 4 Nov 2003 (PST)

Do you speak English?[edit]

  • I used to ask that before I received the answer "some times".
  • A better phrasing of the question is "Can you speak English?" -- 14:21, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  •  :-) "Some times" was simply a joke I guess, the question "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" is quite okay and is understood by everyone. It´s just like in english: "Do you speak English? - Some times. "Can you speak Englisch?" or "Können Sie englisch sprechen?" is a phrase simply not used in the german language. Everyone will understand you, though, but the usual phrase is: Do you speak German?/Sprechen Sie Englisch?. So stick to it, there was nothing wrong with your question.

Tonicwater revert[edit]

I reverted tonic water : Tonicwater (TO-nic-woh-tuh ) because I do not think that is quite right. Surely it would be tonic water : Tonicwasser (TO-nic-vas-sa ) or something like that. But then that is only a guess on my part. -- (WT-en) Huttite 05:51, 14 Dec 2005 (EST)

I'm not quite sure what you really mean but if you say Tonicwater everybody understands you. Actually I think there exists no word like "Tonicwasser" as far as I know. Anyway they sell it everywhere as "Tonicwater" oder simply "Tonic". --User:(WT-en) Unknown


It's not true that a ch at the beginning of a word is always pronounced as a k sound. It's only true for south Germany and when there's a consonant following the Ch. Chor (choir) or Charakter (character) are pronounced with a k sound, but e. g. Chemie (chemistry) or China have the sound as in ich. People will understand you though, because it is common in Bavaria etc. after all. Most words starting with ch are not originially German anyway and are pronounced roughly as they are in their original language (mostly French and English), that is with a sh sound (as in Chance) or tsh (as in Chips).

Entschuldigen Sie / Entschuldigung[edit]

In everyday usage they are identical, there is no difference in usage. People apologize with both and people ask for attention with both.-- 02:15, 25 March 2010 (EDT)

Low German[edit]

Why is it only related to Dutch and Danish? Why not other mainland Scandinavian languages (excluding Icelandic and Faroese of course)? They are very similar to Danish as well, and the Danish pronunciation is very different from the Swedish and Norwegian ones, and the Low German pronunciation is (mostly, but not always) more similar to Swedish and especially Norwegian. In written form all are very closely related.

Well, I don't know who said that it would be close to Danish - because it isn't. Definitely not. I'm a native speaker, and I've been to Copenhagen just last june. And I got nothing but a few words when I read them. Basically, German is closer English than it is to Danish. It is related to the Scandinavian language - no question, but certainly not close. If English and German would be siblings; Danish, Swedish and Norwegian would be their cousin. --L3nnox (talk) 14:33, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Incorrect edit?[edit]

An anonymous user edited the following:

While the gender nouns denoting a person usually correspond to their natural gender (eg. Mutter (mother) is female, Vater (father) is male), there are exceptions in which they would be assigned a different grammatical gender from their natural gender (eg. Mädchen (girl) is neuter and not female as you'd expect; Jung (boy) is female and not male as you'd expect).

I'm not a native speaker, therefore I'd like to check this with someone. I'm sure 'Jung' does not mean boy, and 'Der Junge' does. In addition, 'Jung' is not actually a noun in any sense in German. Am I correct? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:23, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Jung' may be a dialectal contraction, but it is not a correct noun in standard German. It is an adjective meaning young. I think it is in the North that some say "miin Jung" for "my boy" but that is neither here nor there. It was probably just a typo... Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:02, 27 April 2015 (UTC)


Does anyone know what pronunciation convention is used in this article? Looking at some of these numbers I have concerns:

1 = eins (ighnss) 2 =zwei (tsvigh) 3 = drei (drigh)

I don't actually know how how an English speaker could pronounce 'ighnss'. I think the original German word (eins) is easier. Number 3 (drigh) seems inaccurate, since it should be almost the same as the English word 'Dry'.

On the other hand, the pronunciation rules should be consistent throughout the article, so I don;t want to just add my own. Any pointers would be appreciated! Andrewssi2 (talk) 12:45, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

I assume that the "igh" in these is meant to be the same sound found in English words like light and might (but not eight). "Aye" is another common spelling for that sound (as in, please vote aye or nay on the resolution). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:26, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
German pronunciation is phonetic. I think that perhaps the best solution is to break with convention and omit pseudo-pronunciations for words in this phrasebook, except when pronunciation is counter-intuitive or (as in drei=dry) pseudo-pronunciation is particularly natural, and to simply count on the pronunciation guide in the beginning of the phrasebook. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:13, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Speaking about the Pronunciation Guide, the way New Yorkers, at least, pronounce the "a" in "band" is nothing like the sound of "ä". Can we delete that? What other sound does "ä" correspond to, other than 'e' in "ten"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:20, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Also, when is German "v" pronounced as in "victory"? I have never come across that so far. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:23, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Here's one I really disagree with: ch after 'i', 'e' and consonants - like 'h' in "huge". "Huge" is "hyooj." The word "ich" has a consonant that's more or less halfway between "kh" and "sh." I haven't gotten a real handle on how to pronounce that, but it needs a much better explanation than the idea that "ich" might be pronounced "ihy"! Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:26, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
This looks like some vandalism: ss like 's' in "shit". Come on! "ss" is not a "sh" sound! I've edited it. I also question the idea that "ch" at the beginning of a word is always a "k" sound. Really? Isn't the city "Chemnitz" pronounced "Khem-nits"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:29, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the Eins, Zwei, Drei examples were just an illustration. There seems to be a lot of issues here.
To quickly cover your points, 'v' is nothing like the hard v English has for victory. Using something like 'Vogel' (bird) or 'Volk' (people) for example sounds like an 'f'. (On the other hand, 'w' in German does sounds like an English 'v').
'Ich' just takes practice, and I don't think an English approximation can work well.
Umlauts also just take practice. For the beginner there is nothing inherently bad to pronounce 'ä' like an 'a'. It might be helpful to note that 'ä' can also be written 'ae' which I find helps the pronunciation a bit.
Are you suggesting to remove the psuedo-pronunciations? I would certainly support that. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:09, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I am suggesting that psuedo-pronunciations are mostly unnecessary and not necessarily helpful in this phrasebook. We could retain them in certain situations, but I would make them the exception, rather than the rule. As for umlauts, I don't find them hard to pronounce, but then again, I learned French before going to Germany, so I already knew the French u and oe sounds. However, encouraging people to pronounce "ä" like "a" in "band" is a bad idea, in my opinion. Rather, it is like the "e" in "bend," and I have yet to hear any other sound for that umlaut, though I have not yet been to Austria (taking a tram from one train station to another on the way from Italy to Budapest doesn't count) or Switzerland, nor to every part of Germany. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:48, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
On the wholesale question, I think this should match the similar pages.
In terms of vowels, I'm thinking that it would not be unreasonable to use an IPA-based dictionary as our "translation". If a German word and the English word get the same vowel in IPA, then they match. In this case, /bænd/ does not seem to be a natural match for ä. Wikitionary gives /ˈɛndɐn/ for ändern. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:24, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Umlauts in Austria / Southern Germany don't change too much (in my opinion), although they do sound a bit more accentuated. Österreich even begins with an umlaut :).
WhatamIdoing, I would like to see IPA since that is accurate and consistent, although I'm not sure the majority of readers on Wikivoyage would understand it?Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:08, 14 July 2014 (UTC) Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:08, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I understand that IPA is inaccessible to most native-English readers. But we should be able to use it to find English words that actually have the same sounds. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:04, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Using IPA has already been discussed and rejected, and I for one think it's much less intuitive than the German spelling itself. But I challenge you to find any English word that has the consonant in the word "ich." I don't think that's possible. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:30, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
So to move forward, do we support removing all pseudo-pronounciations from the phrase lists? Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:35, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I'd remove anything that's not helpful from the phrase lists in this phrasebook. We might want to get wider agreement first, though. So it might be good to post a link to this discussion in Requests for comment. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:38, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't agree that pronounciations aren't needed since native English speakers have little trouble pronounciating German. First hand experience tells me their attempts can be really hard to understand :-)) Nonetheless, I agree many of the pseudo-pronounciations in this article, however well-intended, will not be helpful for the average visitor. It's for good reason that basic language skills booklets often don't really have that kind of one-on-one pronounciation examples. I think the most helpful solution would be for one of you native speakers to create audio-files for the words :-) Lacking that, I think having no pronounciation is better than a bad one, since we do have the little pronounciation guide to look things up. JuliasTravels (talk) 08:42, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
Doesn't Wiktionary support recordings? Perhaps they'd have a few that we could copy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:51, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
I believe that there was some recent discussion around audio phrasebooks. I understood that it was considered unacceptable because the 'print version' was the most important thing for WV...
That said, I believe the only way you can pronounce German (and most over languages) is by listening to examples. It makes me think that German actually has it easy compared to Chinese and other tonal languages, since that is mostly impossible to learn by just reading a pronunciation guide. Andrewssi2 (talk) 16:11, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't recall audio phrasebooks being considered unacceptable for that reason. Instead, there was concern over the amount of data involved. I don't recall whether a demonstration project was under consideration or had been nixed. Where was the discussion? I can't find it right now. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:35, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

I would never support removing the pseudo-phonetics from our phrasebooks. It seems especially odd to do so in a language as closely related to English as German. I realize the "ch" sounds don't appear in English but that's no reason to remove the pseudo-phonetics entirely! Just get as close as possible. If an English-speaking tourist goes to Berlin and says "okh doo LEE-ber" will a Berliner understand what was meant? Then it's close enough. The guide should explain the proper way to pronounce those particular fricatives, and since the English "ch" doesn't normally appear in German, the astute reader will know to use the German version.

The examples shown above (such as for eins, zwei, drei, etc.) do match our pseudo-phoneticization guide, which explicitly recommends "igh" to represent the long "I" sound. But the examples clearly demonstrate the deficiencies of that choice. We can't just leave it as "eins" because English speakers might pronounce it as "ayns". Unfortunately there's no good alternative to "igh" (which is probably why it was recommended in the first place). "Drigh" is not inaccurate, most English speakers would pronounce it the same as "dry" (rhymes with "sigh"), which is what we're looking for. (There is a chance that some might try to voice the 'gh' sound but there's only so much we can do.)

(Also note that the guide recommends "kh" for the 'ch' in the Scottish "loch", which, if it's not exactly the same as the German "ach" is probably close enough for our purposes. Thus my "okh doo LEE-ber" above.)

-- Powers (talk) 02:37, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

If we really want to keep pseudo-pronunciations for all the words and phrases in this phrasebook, the logical equivalent for drei is "dry," not "drigh." Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:58, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Our guide specifically says "Avoid the temptation to use English words in their entirety. Mixing words and phonetics makes it hard for a reader to tell how to pronounce phoneticizations that look like English words." Powers (talk) 13:36, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
That seems right. Also, I think Powers makes a convincing argument, and removing all pseudo-pronunciations is probably a bad idea. Still, pseudo-pronunciations that are really not correct may be only confusing. For those cases, I'd rather have nothing or point to the relevant explanation at the top. The German ch in e.g. Ich is a difficult one. Maybe the explanation at the top should give more attention to that and possibly other troublesome pronunciations, somehow. JuliasTravels (talk) 19:15, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the information Powers. I still don't like the pseudo pronunciations as they apply to German, but I'd agree that a common guide that applies to all languages is preferable to each language doing its own thing.
Since German is a highly phonetic language, I'd encourage learning the 'Pronunciation Guide' section first, and then relying on the pseudo-pronunciations in the Phrases section if you really have to. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:48, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
I will note that on the talk page of our pseudo-phoneticization guide, there is some discussion of "igh". Evan, who chose that representation in the first place, was dissatisfied with it but expressed his inability to come up with an alternative. Peter later (as late as last year) tried to stir up a consensus to change it, probably to "ie" but no one responded. (The problem with "ie", of course, is that in many languages, German in particular, it's pronounced "ee" not "igh"! Imagine telling a reader that "eins" is pronounced "iens"?) In my opinion, while "igh" works well enough as the last sound in a syllable, or preceding a "t", it fails for most English speakers when found at the start of a syllable, or with other sounds following it. Powers (talk) 02:13, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I think that the most sensible solution for drei is to use dry even if we normally would avoid a "word". Dry is something I'd expect to see used in a newspaper article that gave a pseudopronunciation guide for an unfamiliar name, so an English speaker is unlikely to find it impossibly confusing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:58, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
The issue is not that a reader would find "dry" confusing, but that if we intend in this one case for a sequence of letters that resembles an English word to be pronounced as that English word, it sets a bad precedent for other cases where our pseudo-phonetics produce deceptively English-looking words. Powers (talk) 20:34, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
The solution for that problem is that in no case should we produce deceptively English-looking words. The traveller comes first, right? No unnecessary confusion. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:30, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
That's most likely harder than dealing with the issues here, and would require a site-wide change of policy and adaptation of the language guides. Unless there's both the energy and the ideas to fix that, I'd say we're better off being consistent, no? JuliasTravels (talk) 08:38, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Which part is harder? Logical case-by-case (word-by-word) decisions shouldn't require some site-wide change that takes hundreds of posts. What a waste of time that would be! Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:03, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
No, they wouldn't, if you'd like word-by-word decisions. hat I meant is that it's probably hard to find a consistent system in which we use no sequences of letters that resemble English words, throughout the different language guides. Sure, on a case-to-case basis it might be possible to find better solutions for particular words here or there, but that would leave us with different interpretations for each guide. That will not make much of a difference for travellers who use our site once, but it would be confusing for those relying on it for several trips. JuliasTravels (talk) 09:28, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
To me, the key word in the phrase "deceptively English-looking words" is the word "deceptively." Nothing that's deceptive (=confusing) can serve the traveller. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:55, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Still waiting for your proposal for a pseudo-phoneticization system that never produces words that look like English words while simultaneously being consistent and effective. Powers (talk) 15:02, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Did you read the post immediately above yours before you posted that? If not, read it. If so, read it again, because you are arguing with a straw man here. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:17, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm trying to follow you, Ikan, but apparently I'm failing. You said "Nothing that's deceptive ... can serve the traveller." Presumably that means you'd like to avoid "deceptively English-looking words" in our phrasebooks and only allow English words in our pseudo-phoneticizations if they actually are to be pronounced as the English word is pronounced. However, my contention is that it is impossible to create a consistent and effective pseudo-phoneticization system that doesn't sometimes generate syllables that look like English words but aren't pronounced as English words. Do you have a solution to this conundrum, or at least a disproof? Powers (talk) 01:33, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
The point is, if it's really confusing and there's a better solution, it should be used, and that can be done on a case-by-case basis without a long discussion, I would have hoped. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:40, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm not clear on what you mean by "better solution". Do you mean a solution better than using phoneticizations that look like English words when they're not pronounced as English words? Powers (talk) 20:00, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Dry is not "deceptively English-looking". It is the easiest way to communicate the pronunciation. Unlike the examples given in Wikivoyage:Pseudo-phoneticization guide (which says "avoid", not "do not use under absolutely any circumstances"—I'm correct in assuming that these are not synonyms, right?), it's a pronunciation that happens to be an unrelated English word, but one that is easily sorted out by any person with basic English reading skills and has a consistent pronunciation across all English variants. By contrast, "eye" and "cease" (the bad examples given in that page) are not so easily read by people with limited English reading skills. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:03, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Yes on both points, Powers and WhatamIdoing. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:28, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
The purpose of the pseudo-pronunciation is to help the reader pronounce the words to be able to communicate in the language successfully, therefore the pseudo-pronunciation should be as exact as possible. If the closest "English" pronunciation of a word or syllable in a foreign language happens to be a real word in English I don't understand why we'd need to use the second best alternative instead (maybe unless the English word happens to be something obscene).ϒpsilon (talk) 21:28, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
No sh--! :-) Seriously, I agree. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:33, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I have explained this above: the reason for avoiding this is so that when the reader sees a pseudo-phonetic syllable or word that looks like an English word, they know not to pronounce it as the English word, but rather as our phoneticization system would dictate. For example, if a word was pronounced like the word "cow" but with a 't' instead of a 'c', our pseudo-phoneticization system would use "tow" to represent that word. (And indeed, I can't think of any other way to write it.) But of course the English word "tow" doesn't rhyme with "cow"; it rhymes with "blow". So if we sometimes (as in the case of "dry") use English words ::::to represent foreign pronunciations, then how is the reader to know whether to pronounce "tow" like "cow" or like "blow"? Powers (talk) 17:20, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
The one who writes the pseudo-pronunciation should know both how the word is pronounced in the phrasebook's language and enough English to know how an English-speaker would pronounce the pseudo-pronunciation. Drei in German can very well be written "dry" (though the problem here would be that the 'r' sound in German, is never pronounced like in English but instead like in French). In cases where the English real word closely corresponds to the pronunciation of the foreign word, then why not use the English word?
If there is a situation like you described, the pseudo-pronunciation should of course not be written "tow", as that would not match the pronunciation. The writer should simply come up with something else or move on to the next sentence and leave the task to someone else. If one is unsure how the target language or English is pronounced (I read in this thread that someone has described the German 'ä' sound as the 'a' in English "band", well, that gives you a perfect Finnish or Estonian 'ä' but certainly not the German one) then maybe one should not attempt to write anything there. And as our phrasebooks here are in the format English-other languages, we should assume that the reader also can read and pronounce basic English.
I believe people are not familiar with the IPA and would need some external reference to check how most of its letters should be pronounced, therefore I don't think it's practical to use them. ϒpsilon (talk) 18:15, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Using "tow" as a pseudo-pronunciation that's supposed to rhyme with "cow" is an obvious malpractice, guaranteed to cause confusion and therefore inferior to eliminating pseudo-pronunciation in favor of learning how to read phonetical languages with different spellings. One possibility for a pseudo-pronunciation in that situation is "tahoo", or it might require explanation "taoo (rhymes with the English word 'cow')." Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:57, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Instead of "tow", you probably ought to use "tau". Tow will be reliably mispronounced by nearly all English speakers. It's not good for the traveler to mispronounce the word while we're saying, it's all your fault for not knowing and following our guide instead of English.
Perhaps the pseudo-phoneticization guide needs an additional rule: "If following these rules produces a common English word that sounds nothing at all like your target, like tow when you mean to say tau, then change it to something that's more likely to result in proper pronunciation." Or possibly: "If this produces something confusing to English speakers, then provide a better one as an alternative: for the German word drei, give drigh and additionally state that it sounds like the English word dry." WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:25, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't a lot of English-speakers pronounce "tau" to rhyme with "raw"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:47, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Don't know, and it's hard to predict, which is why we have a standardized system. But you seem to be in favor of dropping the standardized system in favor of an ad-hoc process. The problem with ad-hoc processes is that we risk ending up with an inconsistent variety of pseduo-phoneticizations requiring the reader to learn a different author's system for every phrasebook. Powers (talk) 18:18, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Which might be more realistic than asking them to learn a pseudo-phoneticization that's not used anywhere else on the planet, and isn't explained on the one page that they printed out. "drigh (pronounced like the English word dry)" is going to be more useful than just "drigh".
Ikan, I can't claim to know what every English speaker would do with that word, since Greek letters/loanwords might have the original pronunciation in some places but not others. But Wiktionary makes lists of rhyming words, and I'm sure we could find something that worked for everyone. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:12, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
"Like the Greek letter 'tau'" would be clearer than just "tau." And to Powers, and please don't take this personally, but I think that being overly concerned with consistency on things that don't help the reader is not useful, so I would quote Ralph Waldo Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." I completely agree with WhatamIdoing: Pseudo-phonetics are by their nature ad hoc. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:38, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
No, they're not, and they can't be useful if they are ad hoc. That's why we have the Wikivoyage:Pseudo-phoneticization guide. Powers (talk) 00:59, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Which reader do you expect to look at such a guide? Either phrasebooks stand on their own or they're useless. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:22, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I am flabbergasted that this needs to be answered, but here goes: Any reader that needs to know how any of the many ambiguous letter combinations in English is intended to be pronounced in our phrasebooks. How else are they to know? Powers (talk) 20:24, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, that's Ikan's point: if they print out the phrasebook, the answer is "they simply aren't going to know". By contrast, if you say that drei is pronounced like the normal English word dry (as in clothing), then pretty much all of them will know how to pronounce that word. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:54, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Either they are to know by pronouncing the pseudo-pronunciations, or the psuedo-pronunciations are a failure. I had no idea until you posted to this thread that there was any guide to psuedo-phoneticization on this site, and if _I_ didn't know, how on Earth do you expect any but a very small number of users to know, let alone spend time looking at it? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:12, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
So tell me, then, how we are supposed to write phrasebooks with useful pseudo-phonetics, when English pronunciation is so ambiguous? (Which is really the question I've been asking for a while here.) Powers (talk) 18:42, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Through plunging forward and then hoping for a consensus in each case. There is unfortunately no better way. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:11, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
Not the procedure, Ikan. I'm talking about the actual pseduo-phoeneticization system you plan to use, which will be both consistent and unambiguous. Powers (talk) 15:54, 4 August 2014 (UTC)


I rather had the impression that "plunging forward" was the procedure here.

LtPowers, the problem with the pseudopronunciation guide is that it doesn't work perfectly. Faced with "drigh", English speakers might say, "Hmm, I bet that rhymes with sigh", or they might say, "What funny spelling the Germans chose for something pronounced drig-huh. Or is that supposed to be one of those spitball-sounding words, like Bach?".

Unless we transclude the key onto every phrasebook, there's simply no way for the readers to find out what we mean by typing drigh.

I think that we might get the most benefit from providing alternatives where such alternatives are easily available: "drigh, rhymes with the English word sigh" or "drigh, just like the English word dry" is more helpful than drigh alone. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:15, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Right. I don't agree with an inflexible "system." I agree with simple pragmatism. I though I had made that clear repeatedly in this thread. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:32, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
It appeared to me you were saying that the system should be scrapped entirely and every pronunciation should be generated ad-hoc by consensus as they go. If additional clarification would be helpful, that's certainly something that could be discussed, but that's not what we've been talking about. WhatamIdoing's original proposal was, and I quote: "I think that the most sensible solution for drei is to use dry even if we normally would avoid a 'word'." Powers (talk) 18:36, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, keep in mind that I wasn't even aware that there was a standard Wikivoyage system of how to create pseudo-pronunciations until you mentioned one in this thread. I don't mind for there to be guidelines, but I certainly oppose them being mandatory and inflexible. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:16, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Apologies if anyone suggested this already, but how about an additional 'sounds like' where t can add value? For example:
eins (ighnss)
zwei (tsvigh)
drei (drigh - sounds like 'dry')
vier (fear - sounds like 'fear')
fünf (fuunf)
Obviously most words can not find a good English sounding equivalent, and they simply rely on the existing psuedo-pronounciation system. Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:45, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

That sounds good to me, Andrews. I might add another style:

eins (ighnss – rhymes with Heinz)

although possibly not for that one, because non-English speakers might not be familiar with ketchup brand names. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:37, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

That could well work. As long as the word is fairly ubiquitous. I think 'Heinz' would count as a well known name for non-native speakers. Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:18, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
"Rhymes with Heinz" would be confusing, not only because of how "Heinz" sounds in German, but because if the "z" is pronounced as in "zoo" (which is how I think it's typically pronounced in at least my part of the US), it's not an "s" sound, and if "ighnss" doesn't imply an "s" as in "sass" sound, it's a failure. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:02, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
A terminal 'z' is virtually indistinguishable from a terminal 's' in English; is it different in German? Powers (talk) 01:38, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I am unable to determine what Ikan meant exactly. (Just because it is hard to make audible approximations through a text based English language discussion forum).
I think that the point isn't actually around the example of the word 'Heinz', but whether the format 'sounds like...' and 'rhymes with...' can add value here? Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:52, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Powers, I only partially agree with you. Terminal "s" in "walks" is a "s" sound, not a "z" sound. However, more to the point is what the consonant at the end of "eins" is. Isn't it an "s" sound, as in "walks," rather than a "z" sound, as in the "s" at the end of "moves"? To your point, Andrewssi2, I agree, as long as we choose carefully. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:57, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes last night I figured out the difference. The terminal 's' is more 'z'-like after a nasal consonant ('n' or 'm') but still different than 'z'. It's the difference between "Reince" (as in Reince Priebus, the chairman of the U.S. Republican National Committee) and "Heinz". Part of the problem is that "eins" so often precedes "zwei" that the two sounds blend together in my mind. I still think the difference is subtle enough that no one would be confused. Powers (talk) 23:53, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Little break[edit]

I am sorry that I didn't read the whole conversation and maybe somebody would have to sum it up, but imho the fake-phonetical-transcriptions are always going to be problematic because a) English spelling is not phonetic at all b) actual pronunciation differs wildly by dialect or even speaker c) many sounds exist in other languages that English doesn't have (the very basic German word "Ich" is a good example). We could of course use the International phonetic alphabet, that was designed to pretty much accurately reflect the way we speak. But unless we get the Xhosa phrasebook to guide status any time soon, this might well be overkill, as most commonly spoken languages (apart from Chinese) have few phonemes and most of them can be represented more or less by letters... Just not all that well if you try to follow a "English" logic. Imho (and I am judging from the Spanish and German phrasebooks and my experience with Americans speaking foreign languages) the best you can get with the "fake phonetics" is heavily accented bordering on incomprehensible (especially for people not used to Americans) which will be answered with (sometimes even more heavily accented) attempts at English. I know the IPA is not always self evident and it is somewhat hard to learn (thank atheist god for a high school English-textbook, that always had its IPA symbols in it) But the current system appears to me to be less self-evident and more confusing (not to mention less consequent and inherently logical) than a one symbol = one sound system of which-soever kind. So in short, lest we get inherently unsolvable disputes about whether to spell the fake phonetics of the German number drei "dry" "drigh" "dri" or "drrie", maybe we should seriously consider explaining the relevant IPA symbols (or maybe even some kind of replacement for them) at the beginning of the article with appropriate sounds in English or descriptions (or examples of sounds in other languages) where English doesn't have this sound. Oh and regarding the "Ch at the beginning of a word" issue. In the south it is often pronounced as K whereas North of the Main it is often pronounced as /sh/ eg. Kemi (south) versus Shemi (north). Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:35, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

A 'summary' can be seen in the actual policy that can be read here: Wikivoyage:Pseudo-phoneticization_guide . Obviously not everyone is happy with current guidelines but no-one has suggested a better way yet. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:19, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
What constitutes "better" varies from one person to another, so there will probably never be agreement that anything is unambiguously better. What's "better" for online readers is probably a system that lets them click a button and see only the system they understand best (IPA vs pseudophoneticization vs American dictionary markings vs audio recordings). What's "better" for a reader on paper is not having all the options (and definitely not the audio recording).
Which leads me to the question of audio recordings: Why not? wikibooks:German/Level_I/Wie_heißt_du? has some recordings, and that might be more useful for online users than any number of spelling systems. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:34, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
There was recently a debate on de-WV regarding the use of banners and one of the arguments was whether they are usable in the offline and mobile versions... I think audio is an elegant solution for normal PC users, but maybe not a good idea for offline or mobile use... However I don't know the nuts and bolts of the technical details, so this may be easily solvable for all I know... Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:41, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it is the whole 'doesn't work offline' argument, that strangely doesn't seem to bother WP...
I think it is another ghost from 2003 that makes little sense in the digital world of 2015. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:20, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
So you are basically saying: To hell with offline usability, the world has changed? I mean. One of these changes is that smartphones can now (given the right app) download a webpage exactly as it is and display it even while offline. And another thing is that there now is Wifi almost everywhere a traveler might wander. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:46, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Hardly. The guide should be available offline, but if some elements such as links to sound files on MediaWiki or Dynamic Maps don't work offline then that is not exactly a big problem. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:58, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
One thing that would (possibly) help us a lot would be an app for mobile devices to access our wiki and maybe even "pack" several pages to have them "on the road". I mean... If WP offer an app with downloadable articles, why can't we? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:21, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, maybe we can. There's an app for Wikipedia, and we've got the same basic sort of database, so presumably it could be tweaked to work for us, too. WMF just re-organized the product and engineering teams, so I'm not sure who's ended up with this kind of thing. It used to be User:Deskana (WMF). But I wasn't thinking of complicated engineering projects: I was thinking of inserting audio files, just like we insert image files. These can be (easily) marked to be suppressed on mobile web (and maybe on paper, too?), if we don't think that they'll work there. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:46, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Just to caution, I don't think 'providing an offline app for WikiVoyage' and 'making Wikivoyage available offline' are exactly the same thing. Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:22, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
They're probably not, but I think our printable guide policy should be updated in language as well as in fact to at least consider downloaded guides... Hobbitschuster (talk) 09:41, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Here is an example. Click to hear the pronunciation. I believe that it's possible to hide the speaker icon on mobile and/or some forms of paper, if you don't want it, but since it's small, it might not be worth it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:30, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
I just had the (in my opinion rather minor) problem that clicking on the loudspeaker gets me an image of said loudspeaker instead of the audio file. Maybe this could be changed...? Otherwise I think this is a good solution and actually better than the inherently messy pseudo-phonetization Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:20, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Good point, because most people will do exactly that. We're in luck; the loudspeaker is public domain, so a link for attribution isn't required. I've redirected the click to the page. The icon and the link still give different behaviors: the icon takes you to the file page (where you can click the button to play the sound if you want), and the link takes you to Media Viewer and auto-plays it. I'm not sure how to make the icon auto-play. Please try it again and let me know if you like this better. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:56, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
I just reread this whole thread. Was a demonstration project of a spoken words ever started? Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:00, 11 September 2015 (UTC)

Having just reread this, I have to ask: why has this effort come to naught? Hobbitschuster (talk) 01:55, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

The system I copied from Wiktionary (perhaps not perfectly?) takes the user to a different page to hear the sound, which is kind of awkward. You can see the sole example here at German phrasebook#Numbers. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:45, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

V as in Virus[edit]

About this: Are there any examples of non-loan words/originally Germanic words that use v-as-in-Virus? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:56, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Vase would be one. Don't know whether that is a loanword, but most Germans wouldn't recognize it as such Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:57, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
That edit is just wrong and will confuse people. 'v' in German is pretty close to an 'f' for native English speakers. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:07, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Checked the edit comment again.. 'veerus' does actually use a stronger English 'v', but it is REALLY confusing to include every exception and anomaly in the German language in this guide. The audience isn't looking to master the German language in every way, but understand how to generally pronounce things correctly. Edits like this will just confuse. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:13, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
According to Wiktionary, Vase comes to German from the French. It sounds like this is at least rare. I'm content with returning to the plain f sound, and leaving out the rare ones. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:15, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
Speaking as a native speaker, V appears to me to be about as likely to be pronunced as f as it is likely to be pronounced as "w". But right now for the live of me I can't find examples... Hanover would be one, though. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:19, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
I stand in opposition to overgeneralization. I didn't realize "V" in German was ever pronounced like "V" in English, but if it is, it's better to mention that than leave it out. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:37, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
There is a handy Wikipedia article on exactly this subject w:Pronunciation_of_v_in_German
There are indeed cases where an English 'v' sound is applicable, but I would contend that the utility of imparting this information at a guide level is extremely limited.
  • where it occurs in the middle of a word stem, usually following the stressed vowel, as in Leverkusen, but also in November (however, exceptions to this rule are some place names, most prominently Hannover /hanoːfɐ/;
  • in the beginning of words and given names other than those listed above, such as Vakuum, vage (all of which are of foreign descent, mostly Latin or French);
  • in family and place names which are neither German nor Dutch.
Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:09, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

q : like 'kv' in "dark voice"[edit]


like 'kv' in "dark voice" ('q' never stands alone, always as 'qu' followed by a vowel)

Sorry, this makes no sense to me, what on earth is the 'kv' in dark voice supposed to be?

I know how to pronounce 'Quelle', Would the following work?

like 'k' in "dark" ('q' never stands alone, always as 'qu' followed by a vowel)

--Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:19, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Actually the old edit was better:
like 'q' in "quest" (always with "u")

--Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:20, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

I believe it means that "q" sounds like the combination of the 'k' and the 'v' which are adjacent in the phrase "dark voice". Powers (talk) 01:30, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
In which case, a different phrase, like dark view, would make more sense. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:11, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't disagree. Powers (talk) 20:18, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Is it better than 'q' as in 'quest'? I would suggest that 'Quest' is much easier to understand. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:33, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
That's misleading, because the real point isn't what "q" would theoretically sound like if it were ever in isolation, but what "qu" sounds like, which is "kv". Is the word "kvetch" used in all dialects of English? If so, we should use "qu" like "kv" in "kvetch". If people in places like New Zealand have never heard of a kvetch or kvetching, then we're left with problematic examples like "dark voice", but let's look for something better. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:47, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
It is not in isolation. If I pronounce the words Quantität or Quelle then 'qu' does sound exactly like 'q' as in the English 'quest'. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:26, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Are you saying that the "qu" in those words isn't pronounced "kv"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:04, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
Actually, I really have no idea what 'kvetch' should sound like (although I take your word that it sounds like our 'qu' sound). Perhaps I can invoke Hobbitschuster for some native guidance? Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:26, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
In English, "qu" is a "kw" sound; "kvetch" is a phonetic transliteration of a Yiddish word (originally written in the Yiddish adaptation of the Hebrew alphabet) and has the Yiddish "kv" sound, which is the same as or at least very similar to the German "qu" sound. You can hear a couple of decent pronunciations here. By comparison, here are 3 Germans pronouncing Quelle. The first two have a sound in the ballpark of the "kv" in "kvetch", but the third seems to be saying "kwelle". That surprises me. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:43, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
User:Andrewssi2, I believe that you will find that kvetch is pronounced with remarkable similarity to quetschen. WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:29, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes indeed, because that is the infinitive form of the verb, though the Yiddish transliteration would probably be written as "kvetchn". Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:35, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
If not enough English-speakers know the word "kvetch", I'd propose: "qu" like "kv" in "bank vault". That's a more idiomatic phrase than "dark voice". Are you all good with that? Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:31, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
I know the word "quetschen" and the word "kvetch" (too much Daily Show with Jon Stewart will do wonders to your Yiddish vocabulary) and can tell you that they have next to nothing to do with each other in terms of meaning, but appear to be related etymologically. On the other hand, the pronunciation of "qu" can be approximated both with the English "qu" in quantity and with "kv". There might be some difference in sound (and some people might point that out) but it is not a difference in meaning and you will be understood, which is what this guide should ultimately be about. Come to think of it, my high school class had an English native speaker in it, whose German sounded normal apart from the fact that he pronounced the "qu" weirdly. But a sample of one does not a proof make. Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:36, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
Ikan, I like the "bank vault" example. Could we list both, "as in kvetch or bank vault"?
I wonder if the kv vs kw issue is regional. What do you all think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:01, 11 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes, using both kvetch and bank vault is a good idea. Hobbitschuster, I think that a phrasebook should approximate the correct sound as closely as practicable; I don't think we should settle for using a less-accurate-than-necessary pronunciation guide just because a bad accent is still comprehensible. But in the longer term, as we discussed last year, the pseudo-pronunciations are very problematic and a link to native speakers speaking words is the way to go. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:25, 11 September 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Agreed on all counts, Ikan Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:09, 11 September 2015 (UTC)

I personally don't agree that 'q' as in 'quest' is in any way inaccurate and is in fact a much easier way for the traveler to use. However given the overwhelming support in this thread for the 'kv' I will not object any further. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:42, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
Is it your experience that "kwelle" and "kwalitaet" are as common as "kvelle" and "kvalitaet" for Quelle and Qualität? As WhatamIdoing asked, is there a regional difference in pronunciation for "qu"? If both are equally likely, we should use "like a or b". Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:24, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
I was a software developer at the time. 'Quelle' (source code in this context) and 'Qualität' were words I used daily :) I don't recall any regional variation since the team came from all over the country. Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:29, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
So was the "u" in those words pronounced with a "w" or "v" sound, or how often did one or the other seem to be used? Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:36, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
I can only remember 'w' being used. Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:24, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
So then in the phrasebook, lets use "qu" like "kv" in "kvetch" or "bank vault" or like "qu" in "quest" (or any other "qu" word in English). Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:39, 14 September 2015 (UTC)


In the problems section, the phrase for "Can I borrow your mobile?" says that the German word Handy is pronounced like in English, but isn't it pronounced like hendy or händy? See [1]. Thanks.  Seagull123  Φ  14:48, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

I don't hear or speak a difference between the German "Handy" and an a in words like "hand" in English. And given the pseudo-phonetizations in this phrasebook (which work out to a rather strong accent), even if there in fact is a difference, it would be spurious exactness to focus on it here and ignore it elsewhere... Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:06, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
@Hobbitschuster: OK, it's just that I know a very small bit of German and that's how I was taught. Thanks!  Seagull123  Φ  15:41, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
It may be a regional difference. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:30, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
It might. Though I have not noticed that. There might also be a generational component. I have also on occasion heard a tongue in cheek etimology deriving it from Swabian "Henn die koi Schnur?" - Don't they have a cord...Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:13, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
I do hear a difference in pronunciation for most speakers, but I imagine it depends on several things, including the accent of German and the variety of English. In any case, such differences are too small to be of consequence to travelers. Pronouncing it like in English will work just fine. Linguistically, I think it's [ˈhɛndi] vs [ˈhæn.di], but that's way too much detail for a phrasebook :) JuliasTravels (talk) 12:04, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
I also heard both pronunciations (and coming to think of it, perhaps Swabian / Bavarian might tend to 'händy' ). That said, it is one of the easiest words in the German language, so let's not confuse the traveler when 'das Handy' is a perfectly fine and easy pronunciation that is understood by all German speakers. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 19:21, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
Yup, you can encounter both pronunciations in German. Also, Andrew, let's not forget about haendupon (hand phone), where the English language also has lent a hand. :). ϒpsilon (talk) 20:08, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
Koreans use German words too like 'Arbeit' (아르바이트) meaning 'internship'. Like 'Handy' the original meaning was changed significantly. Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:16, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
I thought areubaiteu translated to really hard, unpleasant, annoying and otherwise outright sh*tty task. :) ϒpsilon (talk) 20:26, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
That would be any mid level job in Korea, not just internships :) Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:08, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Pronounciation of ß[edit]

According to the phrasebook:

like 's' in "was"

No, that's wrong or at least quite the exception. ß is not, or at least not normally equivalent to English Z, which is the sound at the end of "was". Are there cases in which it does have that sound? In the meantime, how about something like "like 'ss' as in 'pass'"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:56, 27 October 2018 (UTC)

I'm not a phonology expert, but.... If you say 'Straße', then the sound of 's' in 'was' would rather sound like 'ß'. If I pronounce 'Maßstab', then is feels somewhat less similar. w:ß delves into this a bit more, but generally speaking German speakers find this letter somewhat problematic. Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:06, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
I guess I was pronouncing 'Straße' wrong. -- Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:20, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
I wasn't claiming that. Pronunciations do vary around the regions. Try listening to the Google pronounciation and let me know what you think. Andrewssi2 (talk) 07:37, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
That pronunciation sounds like an English "s" for the ß. But it wouldn't be at all surprising for me to pronounce something wrong in German. I think the best I got after my 2nd trip to Germany (both trips being about 1 month apiece) was advanced intermediate in conversation. Maybe. (Whereas my conversational Malay when in practice was fluent and in French and Italian, advanced.) Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:41, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
It took a couple of years of living there before I got German words sounding 'almost' right. In particular words that needed a hard 'r' (with the tongue right at the top of the mouth) needed a great deal of exercise!
I don't think that you are wrong with how you are hearing 'Straße'. These approximations of foreign words into English word sounds (and also we pronounce English words differently) will not always be 100%. Andrewssi2 (talk) 19:45, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
The sound that's hardest for me to get is the sort of in between kh and sh that they use for ch in words like "ich". I'm used to the Yiddish pronunciation, which would sound "ikh". But people don't have any trouble understanding my mispronunciation of such words. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:50, 27 October 2018 (UTC)

The s represented by "ß" is certainly not a voiced sound. It is a voiceless s. Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:55, 28 October 2018 (UTC)

Do we have agreement to change the article to reflect that? Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:05, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
Are you suggesting to change it to "like 'ss' as in 'pass'", as per your original comment? Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:35, 28 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:05, 28 October 2018 (UTC)


Given that we have a Swiss German Phrasebook, how many Swiss terms should we have here? Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:51, 31 October 2018 (UTC)

None, perhaps and just a mention that Swiss German varies somewhat in vocabulary and spelling and considerably in pronunciation from High German and a pointer to the Swiss German phrasebook? Or a few and then the same mention and link. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:03, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Have a look here Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:38, 31 October 2018 (UTC)
Maybe not too much? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:20, 1 November 2018 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "ig"[edit]

The letters "ig" at the end of a word are indeed not pronounced /ig/ even though most Germans assume otherwise (they don't pronounce it that way, but they think they "should") however, the official pronunciation derived from early modern manuals on how to speak on stage in a theater indicates /ix/ as the proper pronunciation, not /iʃ/ even though pronouncing /x/ as [ʃ] is common in certain dialects (and the hypercorrection of pronouncing /ʃ/ [x] is common in many an idolect, famously that of Helmut Kohl)

Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:20, 22 February 2019 (UTC)