pronunciation of "endlich" and "Liebling"

James Bates

I know the "b" in "lieb" is pronounced "p" because it occurs at the end of the word, but what about "liebling"?
Similarly, is the "d" in "endlich" pronounced "t"?
  • Suilan

    Senior Member
    Germany (NRW)
    No, the b is not pronounced fully in Liebling, unless in very exaggerated speech (then indeed it would be /p/)

    Think of how in English, you can pronounce "cap" without releasing the p -- you can end the word with your lips closed, so the plosion of the p never happens.

    Same happens in Liebling. Your lips close on the b (or p, no difference in this case), and release already pronouncing the l. The plosion never happens.

    Same with endlich. Your tongue touches the back of your front teeth on the the d (or t), and is released with the articulators already in l-position.

    Although endlich sometimes is pronounced with a fully realized t, when said in an impatient / raised / angry voice. It's harder for me to imagine Liebling with a fully realized p.

    P.S. I'm from NRW and live in BW, so I can't speak for other parts of Germany.


    Senior Member
    I looked into the Duden, Das Aussprachewörterbuch. This tells you the standard.

    Yes, it is pronounced with "p" in "lieblich", end with "t" in "endlich" in the standard.

    But strange: In "Endler", the "d" is pronounced with "d" in the standard.

    Wenn I speak myself, I use mostly "d", I combine "d" and "l", so it is at the beginning. But this is not standard.

    The same with "Liebling". I speak it with "b", but this is not standard.

    The Region is Sachsen, Dresden. But I was born in Steinach/Thüringen, there might be relicts from there in my language.


    Senior Member
    Germany (NRW)
    Duden, Das Aussprachewörterbuch

    does not (and cannot) take coarticulation into consideration, so you might find transcriptions in there that no native speaker would use, simply because the human tongue and lips don't move that way.


    Senior Member
    Hi Suilan.
    my problem is the following: I do not exactly know, what is influence of dialect or regional accent and what is standard. If I cannot trust any written book, what can I do?
    I tried to tell both.
    But both is written.

    Best regards


    Senior Member
    Germany (NRW)
    I do not exactly know, what is influence of dialect or regional accent and what is standard. If I cannot trust any written Book, what can I do?

    Study phonetics ;)

    a) Actually, I don't believe this is a matter of dialect, but of coarticulation. There's a limit to what transcription in dictionaries can do: they don't represent coarticulation, because things would get really messy if they did.

    The same words have different pronunciation depending on what sounds follows. Cf. "I have no" and "I have to" -- first have is pronounced with /v/ because voiced consonant follows, second have with /f/ because unvoiced consonant follows.)

    It a phenomenon that exists in all languages.

    b) Also, I think we are talking about the same thing, and that what I mean by "p without plosion/release" is actually the same as what you mean by ´I speak it with "b."´ Or do you really pronounce the /b/ fully before the /l/? As in: complete with parting your lips to finish the b, before you start on the /l/?

    c) Coarticulation isn't a problem for natives. For foreigners studying a language: that's what the Repeat-after-me tapes are for.

    Some links that might help: (or

    A more detailed explanation of the phenomen, e.g.


    Senior Member
    Hi, it is really a problem. What sound does "b" or "p" represent?

    What kind of sound do I hear, when I listen to a native speaker?

    What I know:When I speak it, there is no plosive state at the end. The sound is almost voiceless, too.

    There is a rest of a difference between unvoiced and voiced pronunciation here.

    But it is not voiced in the same way as in other countries.
    Hard to tell, when the other must render it in his own language - and neither he nor me really studied phonetics. (Even if I would like to do it a bit.)


    Senior Member
    Germany (NRW)
    Whereas lieblich divides into lieb+lich, giving /p/ at the end of the syllable.

    Sorry to disagree. Liebling and lieblich are just the same regarding the prononunction of the b. Pronouncing the letter b as a fully realized /p/ would be overpronouncing, and sound very exaggerated to native ears.
    I can only imagine it spoken like this in a raised or angry voice, or when the speaker has a special reason to pronounce it extrasuper distinctly, e.g. following the question:
    "What did you say?" -- "I said: lieb-lich." i.e. /'li: p-liC/

    (added the space between i: and p to avoid the smiley)


    Senior Member
    German, Austria
    Isn't there a lateral release in the sequences [bl] and [dl] if they do not occur in word final position. This means there is of course the coarticulatory effect on the way the closure is released, but IMHO it is released, as opposed to sequences with word boundaries in between (e.g. im BaD Licht einschalten) (at least if the latter are spoken slowly).

    I wouldn't worry too much about the distinction between voiced and unvoiced in this position because voicing is very difficult to notice/realize in plosives in non-word-initial position. As there are probably no oppositions, i.e. where the distinction would create a difference in meaning, it is of no serious consequence. And as long as you do not produce the d or b with the same force as p or t at the beginning of words (with the aspiration carrying over into a lateral fricative), it will probably sound OK anyway.