Paging Gerhard: Pronouncing Veltliner

Gerhard –

I was taught (in Vienna, actually, as a child) that an initial V in German was pronounced as an F is in English. Now I am puzzled. I’ve been told that “Veltliner” (as in Grüner V) is pronounced more or less as it would be if it were an English word, with a soft V sound at the beginning.

Is this true? If so, is this an exception to general pronunciation rules? Is it merely an Austrian accent?

Please resolve my puzzlement.

Danke schön!

i usually get away with a sound halfway between the V and the F—more important is getting the Grüner part right—halfway between groon and grin…

and just spent an evening at a nice Michelin 1-star in Manhattan with a tableload of Austrians, all of whom I could understand, but whose dialects i could never match with my book-learnt German German. It’s more than an accent; it’s a diversity of dialects, whether Wienerisch, Tirolerisch, Steirisch, Voralbergerisch or worse…


there is certainly a difference in pronounciation between Austria and Germany, often also the cause for some amical wisecracks … [snort.gif]

Since “Grüner Veltliner” is an Austrian variety:
Veltliner here is not pronounced like an “F” in “fell” … rather like “v” in “very” … but not with forming the lips to a tip, but with the upper front teeth on the lower lip …

BUT in Northern Germany it is indeed often pronounced like an “F” (wrongly)

Harder still is “Grüner” …
the “r” has to be rolled in the throat - and the “ü” is between “i”, “u”, and “e” … (no English matching vowel known to me) … like in French “j´ai bu” (I have drunk) …

Hope it helps [cheers.gif]

Love the teeth on the lower lip instruction. Brilliant with a rolled R and rolled Ls thrown in.

If I may propose an explanation for the exception: it is because Veltlin is the germanization of Valtellina. In the Italian word the first letter is of course pronounced as V, not as F. This should also explain why as you move North, the connection to the origin of the name gets lost and people apply the rule and pronounce veltliner with an F.

I think the same explanation (origin from another language) holds for many first names which start with a V which is pronounced as V also in German.

If you click in the tiny speaker icon:

(He must be from Northern Germany, but sure doesn’t sound like it [snort.gif] )

Thanks, James and Gerhard. That all makes sense.

I have relatives in two villages high up in the Schwarzwald. One of the older ones, now deceased, had a tendency to lapse into Schwäbisch after a glass or two of Trolllinger Halbtrocken, so I know what a challenge rural dialects can be.

Schwäbisch is another thing altogether, gel?

I am the proud owner of a “Schwäbisch für alle” T-shirt. :slight_smile:

Not that I can speak a word.

How do you pronounce “Alois”, as in “Alois Kracher”?

And how do you pronounce “Thal”, as in “Hiedler Thal”?

And how do you pronounce"Honifogl/Honivogl" as in “Hirtzberger Honifogl/Honivogl”?

And why did Hirtzberger keep fiddling around with the spelling?

Then there’s Cos d’Estournel in Saint-Estèphe where normally the terminal ’s’ in ‘Cos’ would not be pronounced - “Co” - but (IIRC) since it is a family name with its own history of pronunciation, the terminal ’s’ is pronounced - “Cos”. Which has tripped up many a would-be savant or francophile…

Sounds more like an American accent. To my ears, anyway.

When I was living in Germany, I co-translated a book with a friend who was from Schwaben. After the necessary time to adjust, I found her accent far easier to understand than Bavarian–at least until I started listening to Bavarian with “Yiddish ears”.

That may be the explanation for Veltliner, but not for the usus that Northern Germans pronounce several words beginning with a V as an “F” - and Austrians almost as an “W” …
Example: Vase (a vase for flowers) … Northern Germany “Fahse” - Austria “Waase” … (for us a “Fase” would be a “phase”) …

Might be simply “Austrian lazyness” … neener

Ah-loys (similar to toy) …
Kracher is more complicated:
K+r both pronounced, rolling “r” … ch is a “coughing” sound on the back of the palate - like k+h together … and “er” is more like “ea” : K+r+a(h)+ch+ea

Ah-loys Kr+a(h)+ch+ea
… don´t know if it works … [highfive.gif]

T-ah-l … Hie (like in “be”) -d-l-ea (like in “bear”) T-ah-l

I would say: something between Hounih-fougl and Haunih-fougl (both “v” and “f” identical like “ph” in phone).

“Honivogl” is the vineyard site - below the Singerriedl (in Spitz) in flatter land …

“Honifogl” was the earlier designation of the ripest dry wines in the Wachau (in the mid 80ies) - they changed it later to “Smaragd” - maybe due to the similarity to the vineyard … but there was also also a (female) vineyard proprietor (0.5 ha) with the family name “Honifogl” who made problems … so it wasn´t Hirtzberger who fiddled - but the Vinea Wachau (winemaker association).

Final S’s in place names are often pronounced in the south of France – Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Carpentras, in Provence, for instance – and (I believe) in the word “mas” (house) that is included in many winery names. I remember even hearing a faint final vowel on “centime” many years ago in the market in a town in Provence.

Yes, I’ve always been struck by the similarities between the difference between Parisian French and Southern French and the difference between American English in the northeast and deep south American English. There’s a real twang in southern French especially in the West, near Spain. Perhaps a stretch, but it works for me!

But how do you say it in the Austrian language? Because I’ve heard there is one.

It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There’s a lot of — I don’t know what the term is in Austrian — wheeling and dealing — and, you know, people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.

RayaS !!!

What I have explained in my earlier posting IS atually Austrian !!!
It´s not an own language, it´s still German, but a special dialect - and we have several specific words for certain things … e.g. German: “Kartoffel” (potatoes) - Austrian: “Erdäpfel” (earth-apples = potatoes)
German: “Tomaten” (tomatoes) - Austrian: “Paradeiser”

Why not!? Vase is also of Latin origin. You in Austria (as here in Switzerland) read it as in the original language and in Northern Germany they have made it regular.
In fact, can you name an example of a German word with a v not read as f, which does not come from a different language?


And I never dreamed that the Honifogl/Honivogl distinction was so complicated.