Pronunciation 's' vs. 'z'?

Hallo meine Lieben,

here’s a tricky one. I’ve noticed that many German learners, English speakers especially, have trouble distinguishing s and z. Either they mix them up or make them sound the same.

The best example can be heard in sauber (clean) and Zauber (magic). If a word starts with s, it buzzes like the English z. A German z however is pronounced like ts in ‘hats’.

Here’s a video so you can hear it. Can you tell the difference? (yes, I have a dinosaur on my wall :t_rex:)

Try saying ein sauberer Zauberer (a clean magician) :stuck_out_tongue: And once you can do that, try seufzen (to sigh) :sweat_smile:


This is a great explanation @antomorr and the video helps so much! Thank you for uploading this :clap:

1 Like

Nice vid @antomorr! It is so much easier to grasp certain things when you hear/see them, rather than just reading an explanation.

Not to forget that “zt” (like in “Arzt”) is generally pronounced as “tzt”… :wink:

1 Like