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:
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.