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 Post subject: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:47 pm 
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A thread we can use to discuss pronunciation, which is important but perhaps not highly elaborated on in comparison to grammar (At least at my university, anyway. :( )

I've completed Intermediate German, and I still have a slight confusion regarding the "ie" at the end of words and it's pronunciation. I lean towards pronouncing it as "ee", which is how I most commonly hear it. z.B. Phantasie as "fant-a-zee"
But I've also heard it pronounced on some occasions as "ee-uh". Usually with the words "Familie" and "Linie", I've heard "Fam-eel-ee-uh" and "Lee-nee-uh" respectively.

Is there something I'm missing? One of my German professors has used the "ee-uh" pronunciation with "Familie", and I've heard that pronunciation with other "ie" words in outside sources. :?


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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:36 pm 
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Coming from someone who doesn't even speak the language at all....

But maybe there is no one "correct" way to pronounce this - as it might be due solely to your regional dialect?
That being said, (and I have NO idea if I'm comparing apples to oranges, so please tell me if I'm really off base here):
I'd tend to pronounce "ie" at the end of words as the "ee" sound: Familie = "Fam-i-lee". After all, the "ie" is pronounced as "ee" when it is near the beginning of a word,
as with "sieben", so why not also at the ending?
I'd like to hear what you think...

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:47 pm 
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BeeKay wrote:
Coming from someone who doesn't even speak the language at all....

But maybe there is no one "correct" way to pronounce this - as it might be due solely to your regional dialect?
That being said, (and I have NO idea if I'm comparing apples to oranges, so please tell me if I'm really off base here):
I'd tend to pronounce "ie" at the end of words as the "ee" sound: Familie = "Fam-i-lee". After all, the "ie" is pronounced as "ee" when it is near the beginning of a word,
as with "sieben", so why not also at the ending?
I'd like to hear what you think...


The dialect thing definitely occurred to me, and I'd like to hear more about it if anyone can elaborate if the pronunciation of "ie" at the end of a word is affected by dialects. (I'm very interested in dialects in general, so I'd love to hear more about the German ones.)
And that is how I pronounce the "ie" as well, and you make a good point about how it would be odd for it to change if it is pronounced "ee" elsewhere in a word. Especially seeing as how German is generally very consistent with that sort of thing.
On a related note, I just remembered that I've heard "ien" words pronounced as "ee-en", sort of like the "ee-uh" in that it separates the sound of the "i" and "en". Could be connected, somehow?
I wonder if anyone else has heard the "ee-uh" pronunciation.


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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:13 pm 
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I'm afraid with the -ie at the end, it depends on the word and I am not sure of a specific rule, but I'll try to see if I can look one up.

From the words I can think of, I think it depends on where the emphasis is. If it is on the last syllable (Biologie, Poesie, Phantasie, Philologie -- generally any words ending in -sie or -gie but there might be others too), then it is going to be EE, if the emphasis is somewhere else in the word (for example Familie, Linie, Tragödie, Komödie, etc) then the final i and e are each pronounced as separate syllables.

EDIT:
regarding German dialects, they do sometimes change vowel sounds, but mostly they tend to change the vowels in the middle and drop vowels at the end. :)

For example, in Berliner dialect/accent, among other things, they generally change the German "EI" into the German "EE" and "AU" in some words becomes "OO". So "kleine" (KLY-nuh) becomes "kleene" (KLAY-nuh) and "auch" becomes "ooch".

A Swabian I know (who has been living in Bavaria for a while so I dunno which one this comes from) pronounces all the final E's very precisely to rhyme with the English word "day" instead of the more standard sorta schwah sound (like halfway between "uh" and "eh"). but I think if he were speaking in his dialect there would be no final E's on any of those words....

EDIT2:

And yes, -ien is pronounced as two syllables. (and it is generally the plural form of those words like Familie, Linie, etc)

-ie- in the middle of a word is indeed pretty much always EE (I can't think of any exceptions apart from compound words, where each word in the compound is generally pronounced like it normally is; there might be other exceptions but those would *probably* be foreign words...) but there are different rules for how consonants sound at the end of a word (always unvoiced), so I don't see why the vowels can't have some fun, too. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:21 pm 
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It is definately a word to word change. German has some words that are pronounced strangely to the language like Cousin is pronounced with a type of french accent on the end. It's just something you have to memorize unfortunately.

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:43 pm 
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Curly wrote:
Cousin is pronounced with a type of french accent on the end.


Yeah, it's a French loan-word, like Büro, Bonbon and Creme. :) There are a LOT of loan-words from French, although English seems to be taking those over these days. The longer the word has been in common usage, the more the pronunciation and spelling will have changed, but if you keep an eye out for them, they are usually pronounced kinda close to the original, which can be helpful.

(The German words are Vetter for a male cousin and Base for a female one, but those are a little out of style, from what I can tell.)

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:42 am 
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I can't think of any rules.
But I will throw in a 3rd pronunciation :twisted:
Familie is then pronounced Familje. In Germany the "j" is pronounced like "year" or "yen"
So "Fam-eel-yuh" would be the pronunciation with the english unterstanding of the latin letters.
The "e" at the end is a short e.
Plural would then sound like "Fam-eel-yen"

At least this is the way I and my all I know pronounce these words. My family lives in Saxony-Anhalt on the border to Saxony. The dialect is influenced by the Saxony and mainly the Berlin dialect.
But I (try to) speak without dialect. I hate them, especially this "och" or "kleene"

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:31 am 
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Thanks for all of the input on this. :) I found it somewhat confusing when I heard the variety of pronunciations of the "ie" ending, and the professors I've had didn't elaborate on why they sounded different, or even acknowledge that they did.

@Nirnad - Hehe, I've heard some Germans remark they're not fond of dialects, which is pretty common wherever there are noticeable dialects (Here in Newfoundland, for example, you'll hear someone complaining about one dialect of Newfoundland-English in particular, which we refer to as "Skeet" - it's often heard spoken by the younger generations, and it's considered a particular annoying and stereotypical sounding dialect.) Personally, I'm interested in learning at least one German dialect, which will likely be the one based in Cologne, where I'll probably be spending most of my time whenever I'm over there.


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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:11 am 
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^ If I go, it'll be to Bavaria where ... absolutely none of this will come in handy :lol:
Wow that was a late reply ... :roll:

*

So in my books, it is said that a word that ends with 'g' will make a 'k' sound. Like 'weg'. Well that's easy enough, but what about those words that make a 'sh' sound instead of the 'k'? Like 'fertig'.
Anyone know what the rule for that is? Is it based on what consonants are around it or ... is it just another dialect thing that will have you learning how to say one word 3 ways? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:48 am 
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Onyx Wolf wrote:
^ If I go, it'll be to Bavaria where ... absolutely none of this will come in handy :lol:
Wow that was a late reply ... :roll:

*

So in my books, it is said that a word that ends with 'g' will make a 'k' sound. Like 'weg'. Well that's easy enough, but what about those words that make a 'sh' sound instead of the 'k'? Like 'fertig'.
Anyone know what the rule for that is? Is it based on what consonants are around it or ... is it just another dialect thing that will have you learning how to say one word 3 ways? :wink:


I'm thinking it may be vowel related. Maybe "e" is followed by a "k"-sound, and "i" by a light "ch".


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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:32 pm 
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yeah it is just the -ig words that turn into the soft sch sound, and news anchors and careful speakers still make it sound like a g. (oddly, it sounds to me like it is still voiced to me in those cases, but then I don't hear it that way often and I dunno, vielleicht bild ich mir das nur ein. ;))

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:04 pm 
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I wrote consonants and I meant vowels :doh:
I thought I was seeing a pattern, but it's really hard to pick that stuff up from books :? So I thought it best to double check. You know I'm still working on my epic fail for speaking :P
Thanks guys :)

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:56 am 
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Actually this g at the end of words should always be a -k sound. The soft sch sound as in the "fertig" example is either sloppy speaking or dialect (depending on which dialect you are listening to, you will find extreme versions of that sound - dialect in Cologne for example will pronounce the ending of fertig like -eesh.)

However, when you do professional speaking - commercials, voice overs in documentaries, e-books - you learn to pronounce the -g endings very softly with that sch sound, because the -k sound is too hard, i.e. not nice to the ear of the person who will listen and it interrupts the flow of speech.

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:52 pm 
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Thanks Miss Raten :)
I think I'll just have to go to dict.cc every time I come across a word that ends with -g and just keep listening to it until I drill it into my head :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Pronunciation
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:06 am 
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Onyx Wolf, seems like you try harder to pronounce correctly than most Germans do. Srsly, this morning when walking the dogs, this guy who was walking his dog chatted me up and it sounded like he had a couple of socks in his mouth. :wink:

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