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(ie) And (ei)

So when I write german words I always misspell those syllables , I believe that is the German writing system is easier than English since what is pronounced is written and there aren't a lot of silent letters , but I always face difficulties when spilling those syllables , Are there any hints or roles to know either to write (ei) or (ie). Examples : Arbeit Hier

March 14, 2018



I just think of it as “the second letter makes the sound“. “ie” sounds like “e” (the English letter, or a long e) and “ei” sounds like “i” (again like the letter, or a long i)

  • 1355

drvdw is right, "ie" is pronounced like a long e, and "ei" is pronounced like a long i. Almost no exceptions if it is a German word and not a foreign word smuggled in. I just noticed that "foreign" would be hard to know how to pronounce if you didn't know the word; but that's English for you.


I think the easiest way is, to think of an e after another vovel as a silent letter that indicates that the preceeding vovel is long. We call that a Dehnungs-e. This e could formerly be added to any vovel, but there are only some remanents in Names left. For example the city of Soest, which is not spoken as Söst. Because of the toubles with ae=ä, oe=ö and ue=ü only the ie and the ee kept this funktion. The little more modern method is to add a silent h. So a more modern writing of Soest would be Sohst. In this case the indication of length is necessary as any two or more consonants following a vovel indicate that it is short, but this o is long. You will also find many of these ie at the end of words as by default these vovels are also short. Die, sie, wie, Knie. But the German writing is not that conistent, since you also find words like
Vieh which would be pronouned exactly the same way if it were written Vie, Vih, Fie,Fih or Fieh

  • 1737

It will sink in eventually, don't worry :-)

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