German and Swedish: Pronounciation of "Ä"

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Abbassupreme, Mar 26, 2007.

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  1. Abbassupreme

    Abbassupreme Senior Member

    California, U.S.
    United States, English, Persian
    I'm having some serious trouble trying to figure out how one is supposed to pronounce "ä" in both Swedish and German. The whole "fricative", "rounded vowel" definition isn't doing it for me (i.e. the phonetic definition of the sound of the letter). A little help, please?
     
  2. Aleco Senior Member

    Råde, Norway
    Norwegian
    Well in Swedish it can be Æ or E, if you understand what I mean :p But in German I dont know...
     
  3. Abbassupreme

    Abbassupreme Senior Member

    California, U.S.
    United States, English, Persian
    Ok, well, that's exactly my problem. I don't really know what you mean. :( Are there any rules to when it is which? Oh, and refresh my memory: Æ is like the "a" in cat, right? Example, please (and when I say example, I mean examples in Swedish)!
     
  4. Henryk Senior Member

    Germany, German
    A German sheep makes: "Määäääääääh". It's more or less like the "a" in "ass" (if you hold it a little longer).

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    In Swedish "ä" is pronounced like "a" in cat if it's followed by "r". For example "här" (= here). If it's followed by any other letter it's pronounced like "e" in met. For example "nät" (= net).

    In different words it's pronounced shorter or longer, and there are rules for that, too.
     
  6. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    I have learned that "ä" in German is usually pronounced like "e" in bet but more open, phonetically /ɛ/. For example in "hätte" (= would have) and "Kette" (= chain) the vowels are pronounced identically.

    (I was in school long time ago. Maybe the pronunciation has changed?)
     
  7. jester.

    jester. Senior Member

    Aachen, Germany
    Germany -> German
    No, it hasn't. :)
     
  8. In German it always seemed to me to have a glide: äääääääääi
    Or is it the Austrian influence speaking in me?:)
     
  9. Abbassupreme

    Abbassupreme Senior Member

    California, U.S.
    United States, English, Persian
    So, how does one say the "a" as in the English word "bathe" or "favorite"? I have family in Malmo, Sweden, that tell me that ä is pronounced as in the "a" in baby, and so did my uncle who lives in Koln, Germany.
     
  10. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    To me, it doesn't. :(

    It is only pronounced like that in English borrowings like "Baby." And even there we'd prefer the pronunciation of the 'long e' that lies somewhere between English "ay" and "ee."
     
  11. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Neither "bathe" nor "favorite".

    "a" is is pronounced both in Swedish and in German like "a" in "bathe".

    "a" like in "favorite" or in "baby" (pronounced like ay) is spelled ei on ej in Swedish. For example hej (= hello) is pronounced like English hey or hay.

    "ä" is never pronounced like ay or ey, neither in Swedish (not even in Malmö) nor in German. It's (mostly) pronounced /ɛ/ like "e" in bed but more open and possibly longer.

    If you pronounce "air" but you stop in the beginning, you have something like the /ɛ/ sound.
     
  12. Abbassupreme

    Abbassupreme Senior Member

    California, U.S.
    United States, English, Persian
  13. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
  14. Just to emphasize: it is by no means a Finnish or Estonian Ä:)


    Oesterreicher, wo seid ihr?!!
     
  15. veritàNONesiste

    veritàNONesiste Senior Member

    Österreich, Österreichisch
    Hi @ll
    probably that helps
    (you need loudspeakers)
    the Austrian ä is sometimes pronounced like
    ɘ (Käse)
    and sometimes like

    ɛ (Märchen, Bär, klären, während)

    sound samples are given on:
    http://webmasterei.com/de/tools/ipa

    real fun, this site​

    hope it helps​


     
  16. Aurin

    Aurin Senior Member

    España
    Alemania (alemán)
    The "ä" as a short vowel (Umlaut) is pronounced like e in "Kette" (hätte), but there is a difference when the "ä" is a long vowel (Umlaut).
    In Hamburg for example they don´t difference it. They say "Keese" instead of Käse. But that sounds quite likable.
     
  17. Sasquatch New Member

    english, swedish
    Say whaaat!? :confused:
    Maybe I misunderstood you, but are you saying that the Ä in 'nät' should be pronounced the same way as the Ä in 'nätt'?

    The Ä in "nät" is a long vowel and pronounced the same way as in "här", like "a" in cat.
    The only time I can think of that Ä is pronounced like "e" in net is when it's followed by two consonants (and therefore is a short vowel) , for exampel:

    Lätt (pronounced the same way as 'let') - Light, Easy
    Lämna (lemna) - Leave
    etc.

    (Although...it just hit me: 'jävlar' is pronounced jääävlar in most accents. is that because it's derived from 'Djävul', do you know? :D )
     
  18. jonquiliser

    jonquiliser Senior Member

    Headquarters
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Sasquatch:
    Actually, in the Swedish of Finland (at least the sort of standard variation), the ä's of nät and nätt are pronounced the same way, like an [e], only slightly longer in the first case and shorter in the second (which is indicated by the double consonant). Thus the ä of här and the ä of nät are pronounced differently.
     
  19. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    According to several sources:

    The ä in 'nätt' is pronounced /e/
    The ä in 'nät' is pronounced /ɛ/
    The a in 'cat' in pronounced /æ/

    It's hard to say whether /ɛ/ is closer to /æ/ or /e/, and there are local variations of course. I have also found that the pronunciation seems to vary depending on the education of the speaker and on the situation (official speech or colloquial language).
     

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