Curated from The German Blog:

Guten Tag! Today we’re looking at the Umlaut – specifically, German words whose meanings change depending on whether an Umlaut is present in the word, or not! Hopefully this will help you to recognise and avoid some common errors when it comes to using the Umlaut.

Firstly, what is the Umlaut? If you’re not familiar with the German Umlaut yet, I would advise that you read this post first. Once you’ve done that, come back to this post and read on!Umlaut

Photo by Annika Gordon on Unsplash

The Umlaut in Plurals

There are many words in German that take an Umlaut in the plural, but not in the singular. Here are a few examples:

die Mutter (mother) / die Mütter (mothers)
der Apfel (apple) / die Äpfel (apples)
der Vogel (bird) / die Vögel (birds)
der Wurm (worm) / die Würmer (worms)
das Haus (house) / die Häuser (houses)
der Baum (tree) / die Bäume (trees)
der Gast (guest) / die Gäste (guests)

In each of these cases, the words retain the same meaning, only one is plural and the other is singular.

Same or similar spelling, but different meanings!

However, there are some words in German that are spelt the same, or very similarly, except one has an Umlaut and the other doesn’t. In the case of these words, the word meanings themselves are also different– which is where things can become confusing! Here are some examples of such words:

schwül (humid)
schwul (gay)

der Mohr (moor)
die Möhre (carrot)

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