Consonant R is definitely pronounced in the uvular. But is vowel r pronounced, too? British English doesn't pronounce their vowel r and I suppose German does that.

For example: Morgen, sterben, Herr

My book says Morgen is pronounced /morgn/. Isn't it more like /moagn/, /shteabn/ and /hea/?

And if so, is it safe to assume that German is different to French r, which is pronounced regardless of whether it's a vowel or not?

1 Answer 1


The R is always considered a consonsant in German but can have a vocalic sound in some circumstances. The examples you mentioned, however, are not among them:

  • Herr [hɛʁ]
  • sterben [ˈʃtɛʁbn̩]
  • Morgen [ˈmɔʁɡŋ̍], [ˈmɔʁɡn̩]

A typical example for a vocalic sound is the ending -er as found in many German words:

  • Lehrer [ˈleːʀɐ]
  • Fahrer [ˈfaːʀɐ]
  • Bruder [ˈbʀuːdɐ]

Other examples are when R is in the final position and follows a vowel:

  • Tor [toːɐ̯]
  • Uhr [uːɐ̯]
  • Heer [heːɐ̯]

In the middle of a word, it's pronounced vocalic following a long vowel:

  • Herd [heːɐ̯t]
  • führte [ˈfyːɐ̯tə] (but führen [ˈfyːʀən])
  • Pferd [pfeːɐ̯t], [feːɐ̯t]

And finally some prefixes like er-, ver-, zer-:

  • erreichen [ɛɐ̯ˈʀaɪ̯çn̩]
  • vergessen [fɛɐ̯ˈɡɛsn̩]
  • zerreißen [ʦɛɐ̯ˈʀaɪ̯sn̩]

Note that this answer adresses common pronunciation and in some dialects the pronunciation may vary. IPAs are taken from the respective Wiktionary entries.

  • When I read her examples, I was reminded of some western German dialects.. "Hea Schneideah, höast Du? Was kostean die Kondoohhmä?" Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 7:55
  • Just like @hiergiltdiestfu pointed out, the ending "-er" can be sometimes pronounced more like an "-a", but that is either a dialect or simply people mumbling to much, it is not a rule.
    – Dirk
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 8:44
  • Hello, thank you so much for you all. I want to ask a few more questions, it that's not a bother to you.... By those rules, does 'Herr' in Herr Fretzen sounds like hea? But when I listen to the audio files for study, Morgen sounds like morgen. I believe this is because uvular trill is so irregular and unpredictable that it sounds like the trill is 'dropped' on the way pronouncing it. But no matter how hard it is to pronounce the trill right( for example, when preceded by 'i' vowel, as in 'kaiserin'), it's still an uvular trill and proper, isn't it?
    – Victoria
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 9:06
  • 3
    I would add that it depends on the region. In the North of Germany, we tend to not pronounce the r in most of those cases (Herr, sterben, morgen ...). Even with professional speakers (Susanne Daubner, Tagesschau vom 27.7.2017) I can't hear a pattern: Herrn (0:18) and morgen (14:28) do not have an audible r, dort (0:31) has one, and with ordnete (0:38) it's not quite clear. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 9:29
  • 1
    Listen to Vortarulo in de.forvo.com/word/herr/#de or to both speakers in de.forvo.com/word/nicht_schlecht%2C_herr_specht%21/#de Also to both speakers in de.forvo.com/word/sterben/#de and to Hans in de.forvo.com/word/morgen/#de Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 10:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.