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I read the following post about the rules for pronouncing the letter "d"in German. However, it doesn't seem to address a stark difference I hear between German speakers when the word has a "d" in it right before "en" as the final syllable.

For example, take the word "gefunden". At first, most speakers I heard pronounced it the way an American speaker like myself would expect it to be pronounced, with the syllables split as shown below, and the final syllable being fully voiced with a normal release of air:

gefunden

However, listening to other speakers I started to hear this pronunciation:

gefund(t)en

With the "d" being shifted onto the end of the second syllable and taking on a "t" sound, since the speaker does a full, quick glottal stop before voicing the final "en". In addition, the final "en" is not fully voice with a release of air, but instead is "passively" released with a sound that seems to indicate that the mouth stays closed while voicing the final "n" sound. The rhythm of the last two syllables feels similar to the way Italians micro-pause between a pair of consecutive "t"'s in a name like Matteo.

Am I right in my aural perception of this variance in pronunciation? If so, what is the most common form used and are there any regional guidelines between pronunciations? Note, all of the pronunciations on Forvo have the first form, but I have definitely heard the second form in a few YouTube videos with native German speakers, and a few modern German songs.

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    Can you mention in which region you hear "gefund(t)en"? – user unknown Sep 1 at 13:36
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For me it is physically and 'articulatorily' impossible to pronounce -ndt- in German, because there would be two alveolar stops which would give something like 'gefundeten'.

My way of pronouncing 'gefunden' in teaching is close to the spelling: [gəˈfʊndən]. In every day German I tend to pronounce [gə'fʊn​ɢ​n̩], that means: All the time I leave my point of the tongue at the 'n' position and in order to get a pronouncable stop I produce it by means of my uvula (voiced uvular stop).

  • Did you mean [dən] or [dn̩]? Because [dən̩] doesn't make much sense. – David Vogt Sep 1 at 18:59
  • @David Vogt: You're right. I took it from the pronunciation of 'finden' in an online dictionary without realizing the small 'comma' under the 'n'. I will correct it. – Ralf Joerres Sep 1 at 20:07
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That -den is a reduction syllable, and the Schwa inside is often dropped completely.

ge-fun-den → ge-fun-d'n

This -dn- sound isn't used in German. German speakers can produce it but it sounds alien.

The syllables are rearranged because of that.

ge-fun-d'n → ge-fund-'n

Now Auslautverhärtung may kick in, depending on dialect.

ge-fund-'n → ge-funt-'n

Other dialects kick the -d- and re-insert the Schwa instead.

ge-fund-'n → ge-fun-en

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    In the dialects especially of the Rhein-Main region both the d and the n can become silent, so gefunden becomes gefunne. – RHa Sep 1 at 10:09
  • I can imagine that (younger) people growing up in the region around Munich (but not rural Bavaria!) may indeed tend to say "gefuntn" (with a t). At least I remember locals speaking that way from my time in Munich. – Christian Geiselmann Sep 2 at 7:48

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