German Umlauts Ä, Ö, Ü Exposed | Speak Like a True Native! (2024)

u umlaut, a umlaut, o umlaut

Do you know the sound and pronunciation of ä ö ü?

German Umlauts Ä, Ö, Ü Exposed | Speak Like a True Native! (1)

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Trouble with German umlauts? 📹 Watch this first

Let’s tackle them together!

On this page, you’ll not only learn how to pronounce German umlauts correctly but also how to use them properly.

Begin by watching the video below—it’s your gateway to mastering them.

After watching it to the end, make sure to read through the page thoroughly and engage with the examples provided.

📢 How to pronounce the German umlauts: ä, ö, ü

The German alphabet consists of 26 basic letters. There are also umlauted forms. We have three of them in German (ä, ö and ü).

Can you see the little dots over the vowels?

By the way, here you can learn the German alphabet pronunciation.



a umlaut

The ä is pronounced like thea in apple or the ai in air.

o umlaut

The ö sounds similar to the:

e in her,

i in bird,

ea in earn,

u in burn

or the French eu.

u umlaut

The German ü doesn’t have a real equal in English. However, maybe you know how to pronounce the letter u in French, it sounds just like the German ü.

Example sentences with the German umlauts: ä, ö, ü


Here are some words with the umlaut a
(Most of the time the ä sounds similar to the German e)
das Mädchen the girl
die Bären the bears
die Käfer the beetles
Here are some words with the umlaut o
schön beautiful
die Löwen the lions
die Vögel the birds
blöd stupid
Here are some words with the umlaut u
küssen to kiss
üben to exercise
dünn thin
die Prüfung the exam
für for

Understanding umlauts is essential for mastering German, but to truly become fluent, you need more. Intrigued? Uncover the secrets with our 7 Rule Challenge!

Show me your 7-Rule Challenge (free)

Why do we use umlauts in German?

In German, umlauts play an important role in changing the meaning and form of words.

Here are some key ways umlauts are used:

1. Second and third-person verb conjugations in the present tense:

Umlauts are used in the conjugation of verbs for the second and third person singular in the present tense. For example: “fahren” (to drive) becomes “du fährst” (you drive) and “er/sie/es fährt” (he/she/it drives).

2. Differentiating between past actions and expressing wishes or hypothetical situations:

Umlauts help form the subjunctive mood, which is used to express wishes or hypothetical situations. For example: “ich hatte” (I had) vs. “ich hätte” (I would have).

3. Comparative and superlative adjectives:

Umlauts are used to form comparative and superlative adjectives. For example: “jung” (young), “jünger” (younger), “am jüngsten” (the youngest).

4. Creating cuter versions of words:

Umlauts are often used in diminutives to create “cuter” or more affectionate versions of words. For example: “Katze” (cat) becomes “Kätzchen” (kitten).

5. Differentiating between singular and plural nouns:

Umlauts are commonly used to differentiate between singular and plural forms of nouns. For example: “Mutter” (mother) becomes “Mütter” (mothers). I will explain this point in more detail in the next section.

Plural Form with German Umlaut Ä

Can you see that in all of the following examples, the plural has an a with two dots?

Sometimes we just change the a to an a with dots.

In other cases, we add an -e or an -erat the end of the noun.

  • der Apfel / die Äpfel (the apple / apples)
  • der Garten / die Gärten (the garden / gardens)
  • die Hand / die Hände (the hand / hands)
  • der Arzt / die Ärzte (the doctor / doctors)
  • die Nacht / die Nächte (the night / nights)
  • das Haus / die Häuser (he house / houses)
  • der Mann / die Männer(the man / men)
  • das Rad / die Räder (the wheel / wheels)
  • der Vater / die Väter (the father / fathers)

Plural Form with German Umlaut Ö

Now let’s look at a few examples where the plural has an o with two dots.

  • das Wort / die Wörter (the word / words)
  • das Loch / die Löcher (the hole / holes)
  • der Sohn / die Söhne (the son / sons)
  • das Dorf / die Dörfer (the village / villages)
  • die Tochter / die Töchter (the daughter / daughters)
  • der Ton / die Töne (the sound / sounds)
  • der Kopf / die Köpfe (the head / heads)
  • der Frosch / die Frösche (the frog / frogs)
  • der Knopf / die Knöpfe (the button / buttons)
  • der Topf / die Töpfe (the pot / the pots)

Plural Form with German Umlaut Ü

And finally, let’s look at some nouns, where the plural has an u with two dots.

  • der Fuß / die Füße (the foot / feet)
  • die Mutter / die Mütter (the mother / mothers)
  • der Stuhl / die Stühle (the chair / the chairs)
  • die Kuh / die Kühe (the cow / the cows)
  • das Buch / die Bücher (the book / the books)
  • der Bruder / die Brüder (the brother / the brothers)
  • der Strumpf / die Strümpfe (the stocking / the stockings)
  • die Nuss / die Nüsse (the nut / the nuts)
  • der Zug / die Züge (the train / the trains)
  • der Flug / die Flüge (the flight / the flights)

🎓 Question and Answer Exercise

Try to answer the questions out loud during the pauses. This way, you train your brain to think in German. This is an effective learning method.

Question and Answer Exercise – Part A

Let’s build some sentences first.

Remember my rule No 1: Never learn just individual words!

If you don’t know the most important learning rules, then check out my free email course and learn Germanwith fun the easy way.

How To Learn With Part A

  1. Read and listen a few times.
  2. Repeat after the speaker.
  3. Make sure that you imitate the pronunciation of the speaker.
  4. After a few repetitions go on to part B (farther below).


Das Mädchen ist dünn und schön.
The girl is thin and beautiful.

Löwen, Bären, Vögel und Käfer sind Tiere.
Lions, bears, birds and beetles are animals.

Wir üben für die Prüfung.
We are practicing for the exam.

Prüfungen sind blöd.
Exams suck.

Listen a few times then try to answer the questions in part B.

If you cannot answer them right away, don’t worry – listen to all sound files on this page 5, 10 or 20 times every day until you can.

You already know how to count in German, right? If not, visit the page, I will explain it to you.

Repetition is the key.

Practicing with the question and answer technique will enable your brain to think in German step by step and this is very important if you want to speak German fluently some day!

Question and Answer Exercise – Part B

German Umlauts Ä, Ö, Ü Exposed | Speak Like a True Native! (2)

How To study With Part B

Here is the Question and Answer Part

This technique is effective and efficient to store information (pronunciation, structure, words) in your brain.

Don’t be afraid of this part.

Listen many times to the questions and answers.

  1. Answer the questions in the pauses (look at the answers if yu need).
  2. After a few times don’t look anymore at the answers.
  3. Imitate the pronunciation of the speaker.
  4. Repeat this lesson until you can answer all questions easily.


Fragen und Antworten:

Frage (question)
Wer (who) ist dünn und schön?

Kurze Antwort (short answer)
Das Mädchen

Lange Antwort (long answer)
Das Mädchen ist dünn und schön.

Was (what) sind Löwen, Bären, Vögel und Käfer?

Löwen, Bären, Vögel und Käfer sind Tiere.

Für was üben wir?

Für die Prüfung.
Wir üben für die Prüfung.

Sind Prüfungen blöd?

Ja, Prüfungen sind blöd.
Prüfungen sind blöd, doof und total bescheuert.

In many cases, we use the umlauts to recognize the plural form.

But be careful!
Of course, this is not always the case.

Can you see that in all of the following examples, the plural has an a with two dots?

Do umlauts only exist in the German language?

The umlauts have probably become best known through the German language, but they also occur in other languages such as: Turkish, Swedish, Finnish, and Hungarian.

How to Type a German Umlaut or ß (Eszett) with Unicode

If you want to use the German umlauts but don’t have a German keyboard, there is still a way.

Simply use the ALT key on your keyboard, hold down the ALT key, type the 4 numbers, and then release the ALT key:

ä = ALT+0228

ö = ALT+0246

ü = ALT+0252

Ä = ALT+0196

Ö = ALT+0214

Ü = ALT+0220

ß = ALT+0223

Remember, these codes only work if you use the numeric keypad, not the numbers at the top of the keyboard. Also, make sure that Num Lock is turned on.

If you want to use the German umlauts in HTML code then you can also use ‘HTML Entities’ and HTML Unicode calls.

A simpler way if you can’t type the German umlauts ä, ö, ü

If you cannot write the German umlauts with your keyboard, just write the vowel without the dots and then add an e:

ä = ae

ö = oe

ü = ue

For example küssen becomes kuessen (to kiss).


You should also take a look at this:

Here you can learn the names of the 7 days in German.

German Umlauts Ä, Ö, Ü Exposed | Speak Like a True Native! (2024)
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