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So it's always struck me that the pronunciations for evil and Stock Exchange would seem to be almost identical.
Is this true?
Or am I missing something in the 'ör' of Börse that makes it sound different?

  • 3
    No, this is not true. They sound different ([ˈbøːzə] versus [ˈbœʁzə]). By the way, it's böse and Börse. – Björn Friedrich Nov 30 '18 at 13:36
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    @BjörnFriedrich Note there are dialects where it's pretty close for a non-native speaker - Namely the ones that pronounce "Kirche" as Köache. – tofro Nov 30 '18 at 13:48
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    If speaking High German there is a very clear difference IMHO. – stephanmg Nov 30 '18 at 21:08
  • It would be understood as friendly and polite if you took the effort to start your question with something a little bit more elaborate than "so". – Christian Geiselmann Dec 3 '18 at 15:35
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  • böse = [ˈbøːzə]
  • Börse = [ˈbœʁzə]

The vowel of the first syllable is different (long [øː] vs. short [œ]) although the two vowels are very similar.

More important:

  • The first syllable of »böse« ends with a vowel. Immediately after the long [øː] the second syllable ([zə]) begins.
  • In the first syllable of »Börse« there is the consonant [ʁ] after the vowel (and before the next syllable).

Note, that in German the consonants [ʁ]​, [r] and [​ʀ] are allophones, this means that each of them can be replaced with any of the two others. So also the pronunciations [ˈbœrzə] and [ˈbœʀzə] are valid.

Also note, that the letter r after a vowel often is spoken as a vowel itself (namely as [ɐ]) that is merged with the first vowel to a diphthong. So »Börse« is often spoken as [ˈbœɐ̯zə]. I even think that this might be the most frequent version.

Valid pronunciations of the German noun »Börse«:

  • [ˈbœʁzə]
  • [ˈbœrzə]
  • [ˈbœʀzə]
  • [ˈbœɐ̯zə]

Descriptions of the sounds used here:

vowels

consonants

  • 1
    The r in Börse may become a vowel in some regions. Then is may sound almost like Böase, but still different from Böse. – RHa Nov 30 '18 at 17:08

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