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     Table of Contents Chapter 3 3.2.2 The sound v and w

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Chapter 3: Pronunciation

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  3.2.2 The sound v and w

The German v has actually two different sounds. One is like the English (and also German f). That means that there are actually two letters having the same sound (=f).

  German v like f
Vogel bird
  vornehm   noble
  Vorsicht   care

But then it can also have The sound like the English v (or in German a w). So the German w-sound and the German f-sound have two possibilities to be expressed. With w=v, and with f=v.

  v pronounced like the English v
die Villa villa
Vase vase
Klavier piano
Jagdrevier hunting area

Once more for your comparison:

  v pronounced like an f
Vetter cousin
Vollmond full moon
Veilchen violet
Volk people (e.g. Indian people)

  as we see the German letter v has two different sounds. There is even a poem that expresses   this issue quite well.

Darüber wundert sich das "V"

Obwohl ich immer als "V" vor dir steh',
bin ich manchmal ein "F" und manchmal ein "W".
Im Klavier und im Jagdrevier
Wird ein "W" aus mir.
Du siehst mich als "V", doch wie sagst du dann?
Willa, Wase und Pawian.
Nur aus dem Vollmond, das wäre zum Lachen,
dürftest du keinen Wollmond machen,
und aus dem Veilchen kein Weilchen,
aus dem Vetter kein Wetter.
Ich bin manchmal ein "F" und manchmal ein "W",
obwohl ich immer als "V" vor dir steh!


What the "V" is wondering about

Although I stand as a "V" in front of you,
I am sometimes an "F" and sometimes a "V".
In Klavier and Jagdrevier
I turn into a "W"
You see me as a "V", but you say
Willa, Wase and Pawian ?
But the Vollmond, that would be funny,
you don't make into a Wollmond.
and from Veilchen you don't make a Weilchen.
and from Vetter you don't make a Wetter.
I'm sometimes an "F" and sometimes an "W"
even though I always appear as an "V".

The poem plays with words which are hard to translate. We'll try anyway:
Vollmond = full moon
Wollmond = woollen moon

Veilchen = violet
Weilchen = little while

Vetter = cousin
Wetter = weather

So in these cases it's better to be a bit careful because used the wrong way it can cause something between funny evenings and bigger misunderstanding.

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