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Old 07.10.2011, 08:05
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German Pronounciation long e etc?

Hi
Can anyone point me to a resource which explains rules on whether a word has a long or short 'e' and a harsh or soft 'ch'? Managed to get thoroughly confused.
Toby
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Old 07.10.2011, 08:26
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Re: German Pronounciation long e etc?

Can you give the viewers an example perhaps?
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Old 07.10.2011, 22:29
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Re: German Pronounciation long e etc?

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Hi
Can anyone point me to a resource which explains rules on whether a word has a long or short 'e' and a harsh or soft 'ch'? Managed to get thoroughly confused.
Toby

A) a "long" E is written either as Ee or as Eh
B) the use of "ch" differs from region to region, BUT the ch is definetly spoken always . I mean, Chemnitz and Chur are far apart from each other but at least in Standard language the -ch- in use is the same.
C) Confused ? Sure, if you take it too seriously
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Old 07.10.2011, 22:34
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Re: German Pronounciation long e etc?

The soft"ch" is pronounced after the vowels i and e (in high German) and the rough "ch" after a, o, u.
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Old 07.10.2011, 23:00
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Re: German Pronounciation long e etc?

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A) a "long" E is written either as Ee or as Eh
That's the approach of us native speakers who never really had to learn that kind of stuff. Unfortunately, things aren't quite that simple, see Rede, stets, neben, selig, elend etc..
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Old 07.10.2011, 23:07
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Re: German Pronounciation long e etc?

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The soft"ch" is pronounced after the vowels i and e (in high German) and the rough "ch" after a, o, u.
Besides that, a ch at the beginning of a word is pronounced like a k, and in may areas of Germany, the ch at the beginning of words of seemingly Greek origin, when followed by e, i, y and the like, is wrongly pronounced "sch" (like the English "sh"), e.g. Schirurgie instead of Kirurgie. I said "wrongly," because, in those cases, in Greek it is pronounced like the soft German "ch," which is pretty close to the German "sch" and the English "sh."
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Old 08.10.2011, 11:34
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Re: German Pronounciation long e etc?

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Besides that, a ch at the beginning of a word is pronounced like a k, and in may areas of Germany, the ch at the beginning of words of seemingly Greek origin, when followed by e, i, y and the like, is wrongly pronounced "sch" (like the English "sh"), e.g. Schirurgie instead of Kirurgie. I said "wrongly," because, in those cases, in Greek it is pronounced like the soft German "ch," which is pretty close to the German "sch" and the English "sh."
ooops, sorry, I meant BEFORE these vowels. OOps no I didn't I meant AFTER these vowel. (Still a bit confused)

And the "k" pronunciation is a local variation, as some say "Keena" instead of "Cheena" for China in German. Where I lived in Germany people said "Cheerurg" not "keerurg"
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Old 08.10.2011, 11:57
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Re: German Pronounciation long e etc?

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ooops, sorry, I meant BEFORE these vowels. OOps no I didn't I meant AFTER these vowel. (Still a bit confused)

And the "k" pronunciation is a local variation, as some say "Keena" instead of "Cheena" for China in German. Where I lived in Germany people said "Cheerurg" not "keerurg"
Yeah, it's a bit confusing in that normally the preceding vowel decides whether it's a soft or rough "ch," but at the beginning of the word it's the following letter that has the say: If it's an e-/i-like vowel or diphthong, the "ch" is soft as in "ich" (or, wrongly a "sh", which is a sign of questionable education, or a "k" if in Bavaria, which is a sign of bavarian upbringing). In all other cases it's a "k".

The same rules, of course, apply to composite words; in "Mikrochirurgie" the "ch" is pronounced soft as in "ich," not rough as in "noch," because it belongs to the following syllable, hence the influence of the "o" is overridden.
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Old 13.10.2011, 22:35
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Re: German Pronounciation long e etc?

Just in case somebody wants to know: LENGTH OF VOWELS

- First part: Vowels are long when followed by single consonant, short when followed by double consonant
NOTE: ck, tz are "doubles" and ch is ambiguous as it can not be written double

- Second part: Vowels are long when specifically elongated by -h or double-vowel.
NOTE: Double-vowels are mostly low-German northern words that somehow found their way into the High German dictionary.
EXCEPTION: IE. When comming from monophtongason of old ie pronounced /iä/ like in modern Swiss-German, the old spelling ie stayed for the new long vowel.

- Third part: Elongation with -h (Dehnungs-H) is not specified before voiced occlusives (b,d,g) as the elongation always finds place in the official version of high-German (northern German accent keeps the old short vowels), the only exception being the absence of elongation in one low German word with low German spelling kept in Ebbe.

- Fourth part: in -IEH-the h is not a Dehnungs-H but a remain of the shift due to Verner's law (hence shift h/g in ziehen/zog and h/ch in Vieh/Viecher)

- Fifth part: Regional pronounciation may have kept the old short vowels, it's especially the case in the two extremes low-German and Swiss-German. Standart Bühnendeutsch however have consistent elongation of vowels in syllables with voiced consonant that where open originally at middle-high-German stage. With unvoiced consonant in that configuration, the vowel normally stays short and the spelling is double consonant.


Captain Greybeard's examples:
Rede, long vowel in open syllable and before voiced occlusive -d-
stets, long vowel before single -t with added adverbial ending -s
neben, long vowel in open syllable and before voiced occlusive -b-
selig, long vowel in open syllable (se-lig) since new-high-German elongation
elend, long vowel in open syllable (e-lend) since new-high-German elongation.
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Last edited by Faltrad; 13.10.2011 at 23:44. Reason: The examples added at the end...
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