I have recently started travelling by U-Bahn in a German city. Before each stop passengers are told:

  • Nächste Station Heddernheim. Ausstieg in Fahrt richtung links.

  • Nächste Station Dornbusch. Ausstieg in Fahrt richtung rechts.

The stress is on Fahrt and not on what I consider the salient feature of the announcement: whether I get off on the left or right. To my English ears the prosody sounds wrong. It should be:

  • Ausstieg in Fahrtrichtung rechts.

How does it sound to native German speakers?

  • Announcements at any public traffic carriers often just sound odd (and that's not only in germany). Commented May 26, 2018 at 10:11
  • Fahrtrichung is stressed on the first syllable. I don't understand your problem.
    – fdb
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 22:05
  • @fdb. The problem is not that fahrt in Fahrtrichtung is stressed. Clearly, this is correct. The problem is that the stress on it is greater than on any other syllable in the announcement. I, at least, would expect the most stressed syllable to be links or rechts. Listen to the U6 announcement linked to by mtwde. The syllable fahrt is stressed but has less prominence than links or rechts - for me the expected prosody. The U3 announcement is different.
    – Shoe
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 13:30

2 Answers 2


Fahrtrichtung is part of the direction where to get, left or right alone is not the only important thing. So a little emphasis on this word is ok to me.

But you are right, "Fahrt" is not the most important part. I know these announcements but I can't really follow your hearing from the announcements I know. Probably many public transport companies have different speakers that pronounce things slightly different. In case these are machine-spoken phrases (who knows?) there will be less details in emphasis. It would be interesting to get a sample of what is spoken.

Generally you are lucky if you just understood the announcement between all the noise in public transport :-)


When recording announcements for train or subway stations you won't record the whole line. You will record reusable parts and put them together as needed.

"Nächste Station Heddernheim. Ausstieg in Fahrtrichtung links." would be split into

  • Nächste Station
  • Heddernheim
  • Ausstieg in Fahrtrichtung
  • links

Because of this these announcements sound mostly odd and not like spoken language. There are strange breaks and emphasises, but for my ears the salient features are always "links/rechts" and the name of the next station.

There is a YouTube-video from Frankfurt's S6 with all of its announcements. Maybe that helps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgPQM5beoWA

  • Actually, the announcements I am referring to are clear and clearly spoken although made up of text fragments as you point out. And thanks for the link. The S6 speaker clearly stresses the words links and rechts. I consider this the normal prosody for such announcements. However, the speaker on the U3 stresses the part-word Fahrt. Hence my question.
    – Shoe
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 14:38

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