Adolf Hitler was an Austrian, who used the alveolar trill [r] in his speech, not the Standard German [ʁ]. This is only to be expected for an Austrian.

According to the German Wikipedia, in Austrian German, the vowels Srandard German vowels /ə ɐ/ are replaced by / surface as [ɛ a] respectively. That means that /hɪtlər/ would be [hɪtlɛr] in Austrian German as opposed to the Standard German [hɪtlɐ], right?

However, I did listen to one Hitler speech, and he pronounced the word "aber" /aːbər/ as [aːbaː], NOT [aːbɛr]. He did however pronounce "kapitulieren" /kapɪtʊliːrən/ as [kapɪtʊliːrɛn], as opposed to the Standard German [kʰapʰɪtʰʊliːʁn̩].

So, did Hitler pronounce his own surname as [hɪtlaː] then?

Is Austrian German non-rhotic?

  • For Hitler in normal conversation, you might want to listen to the Mannerheim recording, which can be found on Youtube, see also yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2006/09/08/… – user10188 Jan 1 '18 at 10:51
  • Mannerheim's German sounds like the kind of German that Hungarians, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegians, Dutch, and other Eastern Europeans learn / speak (weird how all of them have the same accent when speaking German) - rhotic. Hitler's German sounds semi-rhotic, or inconsistently rhotic, mostly non-rhotic. At least in the Mannerheim recording. – Stephanus Tavilrond Jan 1 '18 at 11:16

There is an interesting discussion of Hitler's speech in Hubert's contribution to this thread: https://german.stackexchange.com/questions/40864/gab-es-einen-deutschen-posh-accent

What is significant is that Hitler went out of his way NOT to speak with an Austrian accent, but to emulate as well as he could the "deutsche Bühnensprache", one of the obvious features of which is (or rather was) the alveolar "r".

  • If Hitler learned Bühnensprache, did he pronounce his own last name as [hɪtlər~hɪtləɾ]? I did hear him pronounce "aber" as [aːbaː] in his speech, rather than the expected Bühnensprache [aːbər~aːbəɾ]. – Stephanus Tavilrond Jan 1 '18 at 22:15

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