This question is very simple and yest I couldn't find similar questions. Is /t/ dropped in a sentence, 'Was ist das'?

I only guess that the consonants dropping rule is the same as in English.

  • Do you mean in this very specific situation, where the "t" in ist immediately preceeds the "d" in das?
    – Beta
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 6:43
  • Yes. I lately begin to study German from scratch and for now, this sentence is the only example I can think of.
    – Victoria
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 6:48
  • I came looking for answer to same question. The example I was listening to was "Du musst dir diesen Film unbedingt anschauen." And the native German speaker was dropping the t on musst. Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 14:03

5 Answers 5


Note: I'm from Hamburg, in northern Germany. Other regions have different pronunciation rules.

Yes, in everyday speaking, the word ist is pronounced like /is/.

In the same manner, nicht is shortened to /nich/.

In the sentence Wie spät ist es?, the ist es is joined and shortened to /isses/.

There are only a few words which are commonly shortened, so don't try to do it with every word you see.

  • 5
    This is highly dialect and region specific. I, for instance, would always have said "ist's" as short for "ist es".
    – Gerhard
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 7:58
  • Thanks! I'll be careful with that. Doesn't /Istes/ count If there already are /isses/ and /ist's/?
    – Victoria
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 5:54
  • 1
    This doesn't answer the OP's question, since she seems to mean the very specific situatin where the "t" and "d" clash in neighbouring words, See Comments to the question.
    – Beta
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 11:44
  • @Beta Well, in certain parts of Germany, the "t" in "ist" is always dropped in colloquial speech. Of course that implies that "t" is dropped in the specific situation.
    – Uwe
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 12:56
  • @Uwe I'm well aware of that, and that is the very reason for pointing out that this whas n ot wht the Op asked about.
    – Beta
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 16:32

As already said in Gerhard's comment this depends on the dialect spoken.

In two of the dialects spoken in Baden-Württemberg the word "ist" is pronounced as "isch" (without "t") in one dialect and as "ischt" (with "t") in the other one. (Both dialects pronounce the "s" as "sch".)

The combination of the words "ist es" does also vary from dialect to dialect. In one of the two dialects "ist es" would be pronounced "ischs".

However if you speak official "Hochdeutsch" (for example as television moderator) you pronounce the word as "ist" (with the "t").

If you go to trainings for speakers you are even taught to pronounce the ends of the words very clearly so a good television moderator will pronounce a very clear "t" in the sentence "Was ist das?".

  • Thank you. It's very interesting. I looked up in the map and Baden-Württemberg is in the south-west, right next to France...:) It seems that there are many dialects existing in German language, not only in Switzerland and Österreich, but also in Germany alone. I get to wonder if there are regional accent(maybe highlands?) that is considered official, is Hanover one of them?
    – Victoria
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 6:18
  • 2
    This doesn't answer the OP's question, since she seems to mean the very specific situatin where the "t" and "d" clash in neighbouring words, See Comments to the question.
    – Beta
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 11:45
  • @Beta The example mentioned at the end of my answer is the example taken from the question: The question "Was ist das?". The first two sentences of my answers are only there to explain why the "t" is dropped in the sentences "Was ist das?" in some parts of Germany. Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 13:47
  • Could you link any television moderator that actually pronounces the "t" in "Was ist das"? I'm very skeptical about that claim.
    – sgf
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 14:20
  • @sgf When I say "'good' television moderator" I want to say: "People who are trained to speak 'Hochdeutsch' very well." Nowadays speaking a bit more dialect is accepted widely so there are many TV moderators who don't speak clear "Hochdeutsch" (I like this). Speaking dialect however there are MANY variations on what happens in the "t-d" combination. Maybe inserting the word "denn": "Was macht-n-des?" (I used the word "machen" instead of "sein" because "ist" would always be pronounced without "t" in this dialect.) Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 16:53

We need to distinguish between dialect, accent and super-regional colloquial. If someone from Hamburg says “was is das?” then he/she is speaking High German (Hochdeutsch) with a colloquial pronunciation. If he/she is speaking the local dialect (Platt) he/she will say “wat is dat”, or something similar.


In theory, the different consonants forming the different words should be spoken distinctly. That 's what you would expect from high German.

As a practical matter, depending on the speaker and dialect, "extra" consonants are blurred, if not dropped. For instance, my tendency is to pronounce "Was ist das?" as "Was is t-das?" The "t and "d" are supposed to be distinct, but once I've separated the "t" from the "is," it's easy to "drop" it if I say it fast enough, even though I "shouldn't" do this.

Note: I am an American, and my "dialect" is German-American, which is to say that we follow the rules of English more than most Germans.

  • What would you mean by separating 't' from 'is'? When you say 'Was is t-das', does 't' becomes stop sound, as in 'p' from 'stop'?
    – Victoria
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 3:09
  • @Victoria: Yes, that's a good description.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 3:23
  • As a native almost-no-dialect speaker, I agree with this. In theory, there is no hard consonant dropping rule, in practice blurring does happen easily. But if you can still prominently hear the 't', it should still be spelled: *wasis'tas (spoken) -> "Was ist das?" (written) vs. *wasis'das -> "Was is das?". The second one is more colloquial than the first (in the first case, many people won't consciously notice that you dropped the 'd').
    – Annatar
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 6:46

yes, 'wat is dat' is a regional slang, e.g. like Cockney English spoken by Londoners (mo'a instead of mother).

If you want to learn German, keep away from that stuff. Always speak in high German, if you want that everyone can understand you.

  • 1
    Dialect is not slang.
    – fdb
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 15:34
  • That doesn't matter. If you learn a german dialect, you learn distorted German. Even most native Germans don't understand german dialects. You should learn a dialect only after you've learned good German. That's my opinion.
    – paul
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 16:11
  • The question was about replacing "ist" by "is", not about replacing "was" by "wat".
    – Uwe
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 16:25
  • It's the same virus.
    – paul
    Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 16:27
  • I agree. Dialects are worth noting for, but high German should be considered the priority first for those who's learning German. Then you'll get a glimpse of the differences between them.
    – Victoria
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 0:21

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