I’m currently learning Spanish and Italian, so the plate is kind of full, but I did want go ahead and start tackling German pronunciation. Right off the bat I’m confused with one vowel in particular. For Dummies makes it clear that there are only three sounds for E, long as in “bed”, short/unstressed as in let, short/unstressed as in elevator(second e). Ok, easy enough. Then I start the Memrise German course 1 and right off the bat I keep hearing an ee sound, as in keep. The audio sounds to me as “Geeht” and “Geehen” and “Leeben”. What am I missing? I found no source that gives instruction to pronounce the E in that way on any word in any circumstance.
I don’t know what “dummies”, but it does not matter.
In the cases you mention is it an long e - eee - because of the H afterwards. I am not sure why you hear leeben - it is indeed a normal length e, or if you want, an accentuated e.
(And you don’t hear “ee” like in the English “keep”, by no means)
try watching German news (tagesschau.de, zdf.de etc) - just for the quality of the spoken language, not of the news.
Thanks for the reply. “For Dummies” is just a series of instructional books that I’ve always used. Good to know on H changing the E sound. I included Leben due to the google result. I got confused about the pronunciation, and I found this:
Maybe it’s just my ear and I’m not used to it. But that sounds like “ee” to me.
the Duden pronunciation: http://www.duden.de/media/audio/ID4111154_297926149.mp3
(well, duden is just a private publishing house after all, in the 3rd or 4th generation, but still.)
It has something to do with stress modulation, of where we place extra heavy stress on one syllable in each word. In the German language the stress pronunciation is usually the first part of the word. That is why Leben is stressed after the L. It has not much to do with the b that follows or the h like in gehen.
In the English language the extra stress is usually the second vowel in the word for it to sound correct, e.g. com-PU-ter, while in the Japanese language there is no stress modulation at all. All syllables are pronounced in the same beat.
You have to also remember when you learn German, the language of course has rules, but there are more exceptions which makes it not necessarily an easy language to learn.