This question also has an answer here (in German):
Wie teile ich mündlich eine E-Mail-Adresse mit?

I need to tell a German person my email address. They live in Germany. I live in the US. I need to talk with them on the phone and ask them to email me some information.

When it comes to email addresses, how do you pronounce the "@" sign and the "." (period) in German?


1 Answer 1


The @ sign is typically pronounced as an English at. For the dot, you either say Punkt or nothing at all, if it is clear where the segments start. Regarding other special characters, the underscore is called Unterstrich and the hyphen Bindestrich or just Strich. (Sometimes Minuszeichen or Minus is used, i.e. minus sign, though I fail to see a good reason for this as it doesn’t make sense semantically. The full form Minuszeichen is also longer.)

If the alphanumeric parts form recognizable words, they will often be read as words, otherwise they will be spelt as individual letters.

  • 9
    I often use minus when talking about - because it is not wrong typographically, and you don't have to specify whether you mean - /_ (or a Gedankenstrich). Sep 1, 2015 at 4:45
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    @hiergiltdiestfu: Well, Bindestrich is unambiguous, too (and neither slash nor dash can even appear in an address). Of course it is wrong; you aren't subtracting anything.
    – chirlu
    Sep 1, 2015 at 4:54
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    @chirlu: And when using a plus sign in an arbitrary place, you are not adding anything, yet it still is a "Plus" sign rather than a "vertical cross" or something like that. "Minus" is simply unambiguous compared to "Strich" or "Bindestrich", which are indeed sometimes mixed up with "Unterstrich". As for slashes or dashes, most users have no idea what can or cannot be used in an e-mail address and thus couldn't use that knowledge to reduce the possible choices of what characters could have been meant. Sep 1, 2015 at 8:32
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    @O.R.Mapper That's exactly my thought process. For what it's worth, the relevant [Standard RFC 952][1] calls the symbol in question "minus" twice (and "hyphen" once), so while it's not only a good way to avoid ambiguity, the term is also backed by the powers that be: A "name" (Net, Host, Gateway, or Domain name) is a text string up to 24 characters drawn from the alphabet (A-Z), digits (0-9), minus sign (-), and period (.). -- so calling "Minus" incorrect is incorrect. [1]: tools.ietf.org/html/rfc952 Sep 1, 2015 at 9:51
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    @chirlu Since you corrected me on the relevant name standard, you of course have read that RFC 5321 defers to RFC 1035 (DNS) on what a hostname is (and retricts it from the charset defined therein), which in turn states, that although it obsoletes the corresponding RFC, the rules for naming are based on the rules for HOSTS.TXT, which can be found in? You guessed it: RFC 952. Nonetheless, you are free to call the wording in that standard nonsensical of course, at the peril of being misunderstood more often than necessary. And just for the record, it'd be "T minus online", not "Minuszeichen" ;) Sep 1, 2015 at 11:50

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