Introduction: How to Type and Talk With a German Accent

About: Gian is a computational biologist,maker, author, humorist. He holds degrees in Molecular/Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, Computer Science. He has a collection of 8-bit microcontrollers and a room full of compu…

I know, I know...we've all been in that situation where we had to pass for a German tourist, ex-GSG9 operative, or foreign exchange student from Bavaria. When you have to convey this via writing it's even more difficult because you obviously have to type how you talk, and I know I'm not the only one who can say he's lost a significant other or two because I lapsed in my German accent during an email.

Fear no more! Inside these pages I will teach you how to express your false Teutonic heritage with pride while developing fluent German language accent skills comparable to any found in a Mel Brooks movie. I will build upon each rule and use them in subsequent rules until we are writing in a fluent German accent!

Step 1: W's Are for the Veak

Rule 1: Pronounce all "W's" as "V's"

In German, the letter "w" is pronounced as a "v," as in "was" or "wehrmacht." Carry this over into your English for a significant impact. Vat this does is start to add a Germanic flavor to your speaking. Use it only vere you pronounce the "w" in English; you vouldn't use it for vords like "write" or "wriangle" but you vould for "we," "webster," "war," and "was."

Rule 1.1: "Wh" is just "v"

For vords vis a "wh" write it simply as "v." "What" is vat, not vhat.

Rule 1.2: No two letter words

For vords like "we" make it "vee." No two-letter vords!

Now vee vill go to the next step.

Step 2: Now Zees Sings Get Vierd.

Rule 2: Pronounce "th" as either "z" or "s"

In linguistics, the "th" phoneme (smallest unit of sound) is an alveolar fricative (sound caused by friction of air) with two sounds: voiced and unvoiced. The voiced "th" is found in words like "this," "that," "another," and "those." The unvoiced version is heard in words like "thing," "pith," and "thought."

Rule 2.1: Voiced "th" is "z"

Using zis rule, "this" becomes "zis" and "that" becomes "zat." Using Rule 1.1: No two-letter words, "the" is "zee."

Rule 2.2: Unvoiced "th" is "s"

Zis is anozer important rule. Zee vord "thought" becomes "sought" and "things" becomes "sings." Are you seeing how zis goes? Getting zee hang of zees sings?

Try to be mindful of zee times ven zee pronunciation is different.

Step 3: A Fery Fital Rule for Fictory

Rule 3: Use "f" in place of "v"

Here vee simply replace all instances of "v" vis zee "f" sound. "Oven" is written and heard as "ofen" and "very" is "fery." Are zere ozer vords zat start vis or contain "v" zat you can sink of?

Gif it a shot!

Step 4: Shpot Shpecific Shpelling Shpots

Rule 4: Vords starting vis "st" and "sp" are changed

Pay special attention to vords zat start vis "st" and "sp."

Rule 4.1: "sp" becomes "shp"

Zere are some vords zat start vis "sp" like "spin" and "spot." Vords like zees zat start vis "sp" should be typed "shp" so it vould be "shpin" and "shpot," respectifely.

Rule 4.2: "st" becomes "sht"

Zese vords are fery common like "stop," "stay," and "store." Zey vould be pronounced "shtop," "shtay," and "shtore," respectifely. Zere are some shpecific pronunciation for zees vords, as vell, and are cofered in zee next section.

Step 5: Shhh, Pay Attention

Rule 5: "Sh" sounds contain a "ch" sound

Vis vords zat shtart vis "sh" form your mous so zat you make a "sh" sound at zee same time as a "ch" sound. Zis is written as "sch" and can be applied to Rule 4.2 and Rule 4.3 as vell.

Using zis rule, "shop" is typed "schop" and "shoot" is "schoot" vile "spot" and "store" from our prefious rule can be written "schpot" and "schtore" for more ausentic German flafor.

Step 6: You Are Sinkink "Vat Is Zis Schtinkink Sink?"

Rule 6: Gerunds get schpecial attention

In English, a gerund is a ferb ending in "ing." In our German accent, vee vill copy and say zees endings as "ink." In zis example, "ending" is seen and heard as "endink" and "spinning" is "schpinnink."

It adds a fery schpecial touch if you heafily aspirate zee "k" at zee end.

Step 7: Learnen Sie Das Commands!

Rule 7: Commands use an explicit "you"

In Englisch, zee imperatif mood of a ferb contains an underschtood, or implicit, "you." For inschtance, "Go to the store" is underschtood as "You go to the store" and "Listen!" is underschtood as "You listen!"

Rule 7.1: Add "en" to command ferbs.

Unless zee ferb already ends in "en" (like listen), vee muscht add an "en" to zee end of zee ferb. Zee command ferb "bring" is "bringen" while "speak" is "schpeaken."

Rule 7.2: Add an explicit "you" to zee command

In our accent schpeak, vee muscht say zee "you" in a command. However, vee use our native German "you": the word "sie" (pronounced "zee"). Using zee ferbs from Rule 7.1, zee command "Bring the book" vould be "Bringen sie the book." The imperatif "Pay attention!" is "Payen sie attention!"

Rule 7.3: Add an explicit article in front of zee object of a command

Extendink our Rule 7.1 and Rule 7.2, vee come up vis zis schpecific rule. Use zee German article "das" (translated: the) in front of zee object of zee command. Usink our prefious examples, "Bring the book" is now "Bringen sie das book" and "Pay attention" is now "Payen sie das attention!"

Zee Rule 7 rules are fery fery important for creatink a rich, ausentic German accent.

Step 8: Optional Rules

Here are some optional rules zat you can schprinkle in your emails and schpeach.

Optional Rule 1: Replace hard "c" with "k"

Anywhere you see zee letter "c" that is pronounced as a "k," go ahead and replace zee "c" vis the letter 'k."  For inschtance, "article" is "artikle" and "cross country" vould be "kross kountry."  Don't do it vis zee soft "c" like found in zee vord "lice."

Optional Rule 2:  Use zee "t" sound for vords endink vis a "d"

Ven you see a vord zat ends in "d" like in zee vords "and," "found," and "blind," replacen sie das "d" vis "t."  So, "and" is heard and typed "ant" vile "found" is "fount."

Step 9: Conclusion

Zee next schteps for you is to praktice sie das rules as often as you kan.  Only after much praktice vill you attain zee schpecial schtatus of "Fluent German Accenter."  I hope zat zis instruktable vas helpful to you and, as alvays, I velcome komments unt suggestions.  Feel free to sended sie das email or fint me on sie das IRC as nevdull.