How to pronounce ei and ie

Unlike in English, the letter combinations ei and ie represent consistent sounds in German.

The combination ei is a diphthong (also spelled ey, ay, and ai). It is pronounced like the ei in Eisenhower.

The letters ie represent the long “ee”-sound as in Marie. This is the same sound as the German long i (e.g., wir, ihnen, Idee).

Listen to these minimal pairs and repeat to become familiar with the distinction between these two sounds and their written representation:

ei-sound

ie-sound

Leib

treiben

Schein

reif

verzeihen

meine

Wein

beschreibe

Lieb

trieben

schien

rief

verziehen

Miene

Wien

beschriebe

 


Practice recognizing and pronouncing ei and ie

Here are some words with the ei- and ie-sounds. Read each word aloud. Then play the audio to see if you pronounced the word correctly.

Beine

reißen

zieht

deine

Fieber

Wiese

liefern

vierzig

Zeit

treibe

Ziege

niedlich

Brief

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