How to Count to 20 in German

Should you find the need to be able to count to twenty in German, here are some steps to help.

Steps

  1. Image titled Count to 20 in German Step 1
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    Here is a simple table that shows the German spelling of a number, followed by a phonetic pronunciation of the number. Be sure to check out the bottom of the article for pronunciation tips.
English German Pronunciation
one eins (EYNS)
two zwei (TSVY)
three drei (DRY)
four vier (FEAR)
five fünf (FUENF)
six sechs (ZEKS)
seven sieben (ZEEBEN)
eight acht (AKT)
nine neun (NOIN)
ten zehn (TSEHN)
eleven elf (ELF)
twelve zwölf (TSVOLF)
thirteen dreizehn (DRYZAYNN)
fourteen vierzehn (VEERTZAYNN)
fifteen fünfzehn (FUENFZAYNN)
sixteen sechzehn (ZEKSZAYNN)
seventeen siebzehn (SEEBZAYNN)
eighteen achtzehn (AHHCTZAYNN)
nineteen neunzehn (NOINZAYNN)
twenty zwanzig (ZVANZIG)

Tips

  • Say "w" like "v".
  • Your ability to remember the numbers will improve over time. Repeat them daily in small sections at a time, i.e., begin with numbers 1-5. After you have accomplished this series move on to counting to 10, 15 and then finally 20. You will master it in no time! Good luck!
  • The TS sounds are sharp like in the end of the word "quartz"
  • The "ch" in "acht" is the sound of hawking a loogey.
  • Say the first vocal in the pronunciation of "zwei" quickly. Like in English, "ei" is pronounced as "ai".
  • The umlaut (ü) is probably the most difficult one since there is no sound like that in English. Try to speak "oo" and "ee" at the same time (that means go from "oo" to "ee" and stop halfway), then you get the right tune. In the list above, it is written as "ue". If you speak French: The German (ü) sounds like the French "u" in words like "une", "etude", or "impromptu". Try making an "ee" sound with a "oo" embouchure.
  • Most Germans do not pronounce the word "fünf" (FUENF) or "fünfzehn" (FUENFZAYN) correctly. As it is much simpler, they often say FUEMF or FUEMFZAYN instead. You need not at all be embarrassed if you do the same.
  • The R sounds are rolled gutturally, not with the tongue. It is difficult at first, picture the French "r" but more profound, until you get a rolling sound.
  • The German "e" sounds like short vowel sound "eh" ("é" in French).
  • Say "j" like "y". Like, Ja, or "Jahre" (Yes and Year/s) "Ya" and "Ya-ra".
  • Say "v" like "f". As an example: (How much) Wie Viel? You say Vee Feel?

Article Info

Categories: German