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  3.2.8 Long and short Vowels

In German there are - like in English - long and short vowels. Have a look at these examples.

short vowel   long vowel
offen open Ofen oven
Ass ace Aas carrion
Suppe soup super super
Bett bed Beet flowerbed
Widder Aries wieder again

Do you hear the differences? In the pairs of offen/Ofen, Ass/Aas, Bett/Beet, wieder/Widder there is only one difference, the vowel is either short or long. The meaning is totally different. Therefore it has a certain importance to know the differences. In written language the long and short vowels are marked in certain ways: ie for long i

Wiese meadow
liegen to lie down
wiegen to weigh

  Be careful! Sometimes a ie is pronounced differently.

Patient patient (person) aa for a long a

Aal eal
Saal hall an h after a vowel means it is a long vowel

die Ahnen anscestors
etwas ahnen to suspect

ohne without
Ohr ear

ehrlich honesto
Ehre honor Without any indication

Schaf sheep
Laden shop
Frage question If after the vowel is an ß then the vowel is long (see 3.2.6)

Straße street
Stoß hit, push
Muße leisure Two consonants after a vowel may indicate a short vowel

immer always
essen eat
Pass passport
müssen to must

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