COMPASS BLOG

Articles and lessons created to nurture learning.

A simple trick to pronounce "ie" and "ei" words in German

Feb 8, 2021, 15:25 PM by Robin
Try this simple trick to figure out how to pronounce "ei" and "ie" words in German. We hope this will help you when you are using this in class.

shutterstock_666928378

If you are a German learner, you most certainly have stumbled upon the German diphthongs "ie" and "ei". And if you have, it's possible that you struggle with how to pronounce them. They appear in English as well, but are pronounced differently. For example: "pie" or "lie", or "field" and "grief". 

There is an easy trick to figure out how to pronounce "ie" and "ei" words in German. 
If you see a word spelled with "ie", simply pronounce the diphthong the same way you would pronounce the second letter by itself, in English. So, in the example of an "ie" word, the second letter is "e", so pronounce it the way you would pronounce the letter "e". (ee). The same works for "ei". Simply read out the second letter, here: "i" in English. (eye). 

Let's put this to the test: Look at the verb "schreiben" (to write). 
Simply pronounce the second letter, "i" (eye): shr-eye-ben. 
Now look at the past tense of "schreiben", which is "schrieb-". (wrote)
Simply pronounce the second letter, "e" (ee): "shr-ee-b". 
Now let's look at the past participle of "schreiben", which is "geschrieben" (written). 
Again, simply pronounce the second letter, "e" (ee): geshr-ee-ben. 

Ready to practice a bit? Try these words:

"ei"

bleiben (to stay): "bl-eye-ben"
frei (free): "fr-eye"
eigentlich (actually): "eye-gent-lich"
das Gleis (train track): das "Gl-eye-s"
der Kreis (circle): der "Kr-eye-s
das Eis (ice cream): das "Eye-s"

"ie" 

wiegen (to way): "w-ee-gen"
fliegen (to fly): "fl-ee-gen"
nie (never): "n-ee"
sieben (seven): 's-ee-ben"
der Spiegel (mirror): "sp-ee-gel"
die Zwiebel (onion): "zw-ee-bel"


Do you know any German pronunciation tricks? Feel free to share! 

Load more comments
Comment by from