Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is accent improvement series, lesson 3.
Judith: Willkommen!
Chuck: Welcome to another accent improvement lesson by germanpod101.com.
Judith: Here you will learn about German pronunciation and develop a perfect German accent yourself.
Chuck: No matter if you are just starting out or already an advanced learner, it can help to work on your accent.
Judith: And to do that, listen carefully to this series and then practice your own pronunciation using the line by line audio tool in the learning center. There you can record your own pronunciation and compare it to mine.
Chuck: It’s probably better than comparing it to mine, but I think mine is pretty good. Anyway, nothing is keeping you from improving your accent so you can sound just like mine.
Judith: Germanpod101 is there to help you.
Chuck: Today, we should look at the letters E and I. These are light vowels. Judith, can you give us an example that contains a lot of E and I sounds.
Judith: Yes, our sentence for today is: [In Eritrea verdienen die Menschen wenig Geld].
Chuck: In [Eritrea], the people earn a little money. Could you say that sentence a little bit slower this time?
Judith: [In Eritrea verdienen die Menschen wenig Geld].
Chuck: Now, let’s look at the sounds in detail.
Judith: Let’s start with the I. In German, there is a long E and the short one. The long one is [ih] as in [ihn]
Chuck: Him.
Judith: Or [mieten].
Chuck: To rent.
Judith: The short one appears in the common word [in].
Chuck: In.
Judith: Or [mitten].
Chuck: Amid. Altogether, they are not different from English except for the spelling. The long E sound will be spelled IH or more commonly IE in German. Definitely not EE as in English.
Judith: Compare the long and short versions of the sound [ihn] in [mieten] mitten.
Chuck: Yeah, that sounds a bit like meat and mid in English.
Judith: Yes. So it should not be too difficult. Now, when you see the letter E in a German text, it can be pronounced in three ways. [e, a] or [a].
Chuck: From English, you only knew the last one [a] appears at the beginning of the English word about. In German, it’s more likely to appear at the end of words or in the common verb ending [en].
Judith: The [e] sound resembles the sound in the English word fair but without the [fair] sound at the end. It’s [e] usually short when spelled as E. In German, it appears in the word [Geld].
Chuck: Money.
Judith: For example. Finally there is the E sound also spelled as an E. This one is unlike any English sound and it’s usually long E….You can find it in the word [wenig].
Chuck: Little. Can you give us some examples of these different ways of pronouncing the letter E.
Judith: Yes, of course. You should compare [zehren]
Chuck: [to feed on] or undermine.
Judith: [zerren]
Chuck: Tear at.
Judith: And [zer, Schweizer]
Chuck: Swiss man.
Judith: I will say them again [zehren, zerren, Schweizer]. So we got [zeh, zerr] and [zer].
Chuck: And notice that the first one is zehr to start and the second one is “zerr”.
Judith: Just like we saw with the dark vowels, the H is used to make a long vowel here and the double consonant of course creates a short vowel.
Chuck: Again with the E and I, it’s very important to produce pure sounds, not something like A. Now, what was that example phrase again?
Judith: [In Eritrea verdienen die Menschen wenig Geld]. This phrase contains all the sounds that we have learned today. The long [ie] as in [verdienen] the short I as in [in] or [Eritrea] or [wenig], the [e] as in the [en] ending of [verdienen] and [Menschen], the [e] as in verdienen] the first part and [Geld] and the [e] as in [Eritrea] or [wenig].
Chuck: Practice the sentence until you think you can say it perfectly and record yourself and compare it to the speaker in the line by line dialogue section or better yet, if you have a German friend, ask him or her to say if you sound German.
Judith: Germans can be quite blunt. So you don’t have to be afraid of him flattering you. Most likely you will get an honest appraisal of your pronunciation.
Chuck: And if you think they are lying to you, just record yourself speaking German and post this clip on YouTube.
Judith: Put a link to that clip in the comment to this lesson and I will tell you how good your German accent really is.
Chuck: And believe me she will and keep listening. Next time, we are going to tackle the [Umlaute].
Judith: Don’t miss it.
Chuck: See you then.
Judith: [Bis dann]!