German Word Division
Die Silbentrennung im Deutschen
German Word Division – Summary
In German, it is easy to create longer words by adding prefixes and suffixes or simply by unifying words, the so-called compound words.
- “ab-, an-, auf-, aus-, bei-, ein-, los-, mit-, nach-, her-, hin-, um-, vor-, weg-, zu-, zurück, be-, ge-, er-, zer-, ver-, emp-, ent-, miss-, -chen, -heit, -keit, -land, -ling, -nis, -schaft, -tum” …
Sometimes, it gets difficult to recognize a compound word, so you have to identify the spots where you separate the word by certain syllables, so called “Sprechsilben”. Normally, you can identify these syllables by reading the words slowly and loudly. But as this method is rather complicated for non-German speakers, you should stick to some other rules.
- The consonant-connections “ch, ck, hr, sch, ph, sh, th” never get separated.
- The diphthongs “ai, au, äu, ei, eu, oi” are never separated, either.
- Single vowels at the beginning or at the end of a word can not be separated.
And, in case you want to read out these words loudly, just remember the following rules:
- In case there is a word with “ss” or “ß” between two vowels, you separate it between the two “s“.
(for example “ß” gets separated “s – s“).
- And the most important rule: Compound words are separated before a single consonant in the word.
Unfortunately, the German language can be pretty ugly sometimes. Well, ugly in the sense of complicated. And there is a part of German grammar that seems to be even more complicated: The compound nouns and their division, so the correct separation of these nouns.
Well, this beautiful word consists of 41 letters, and I could make it longer, if I wanted. Luckily, the same rules that allow us to build these long German compound nouns, also show us how to apply German word division in a correct way. In this case, it would be “Do-nau-dampf-schiff-fahrts-ka-pi-täns-müt-zen-knopf”. So, in this article I’d like to show you the different rules of German word division with German nouns and also verbs.
Now, we will not lose too much time and start summarizing these two topics. By the way, there some parts of German word division that you will simply have to learn. Well, in order to do so, I can recommend this hyphenation tool, which will always show you how to separate German vocabulary in the right way. And now – Los geht’s!