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I’ve read a sentence which was one of the following:

Wierum muss ich das halten?
Wieherum muss ich das halten?

However, the Duden and other dictionaries don’t have any entry for wierum or wieherum. I wonder whether they are actual words one can use?

  • 3
    It should be "wie rum" and "wie herum". – Iris Dec 14 '15 at 11:32
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it appears to be based on a misunderstanding or typo. – Stephie Dec 14 '15 at 11:35
  • rum and herum can be found in the Duden: duden.de/rechtschreibung/rum duden.de/rechtschreibung/herum – Breeze Dec 14 '15 at 11:35
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    @Stephie That doesn’t make sense. It’s not a misunderstanding and probably not a typo. Whoever wrote it likely thought that ?wierum already was as conventionalized as similar worum. After all, there is no audible difference when spoken, i.e. you cannot hear whether it’s one word or two. – Crissov Dec 14 '15 at 12:12
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    @Stephie: We usually consider questions based on typos and similar off-topic for the reasons that they are not of general interest and that we cannot answer much more than “It should be spelt X.”. In this case, however, both do not apply. I thus nominate this question for reopening. – Wrzlprmft Dec 15 '15 at 9:53
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*wierum is the concatenation of wie rum, which is the standard – not really colloquial any more – short form of wie herum ‘which way/orientation’. If it appears in a question, the answer will likely contain so (he)rum.

The writer probably wrote it as a single word because of the similar interrogative particles worum and warum or wieso, which all have the same counterpart darum. The wo-/da- pattern is very common in particular. Other compounds ending in -rum could have contributed as well, of course.

Maybe German orthography will develop that way and some day *wierum and *sorum will be listed in dictionaries, but for now the conventional spelling is with two words, although you could not infer that from its pronunciation.

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  • I think "wierum" is simple a frequent spelling mistake of "wie rum" that doen't need to be justified, but corrected. "The writer probably wrote it as a single word because of the similar interrogative particles worum and warum or wieso [...]" I think, this is only speculartion. – Iris Dec 14 '15 at 12:34
  • @Iris My assertion is an informed, educated guess, hence “probably”. Since the spelling wierum is motivated by following some orthographic rules, but not others (which is often an arbitrary convention anyhow), i.e. it can be justified, I would classify it as a deviation, not a mistake. Language, including orthography, evolves through deviations. – Crissov Dec 14 '15 at 12:44
  • I would support your theory, if "worum" or "warum" were a combination of wo/wa + herum, but they aren't (duden.de/rechtschreibung/worum). And "wieso" is written together, but "wie oft", "wie viel", and "wie lange" are seperated. So there is no pattern either. – Iris Dec 14 '15 at 12:55
  • They don’t have to be compositions of other existing word forms to serve as a conceptual model. (For instance, da- is an allomorph of the article root in der/die/das, but is unrelated to existing da ‘because’ or ‘there’.) Also, wieviel and wielange are often written as a single word, and so are soviel and solange. I don’t think I’ve ever seen wieoft, but sooft I’ve encountered more than once. Anyhow, your mentioning of other -rum compounds is a sound explanation as well. – Crissov Dec 14 '15 at 14:16
  • I am still not convinced of your theory, but obviously some people are. Btw, "wieviel" was written together before the [Rechtschreibreform 1996](Reform der deutschen Rechtschreibung von 1996), but nowadays only "wie viel" is correct. "wie lange" was always written in two words, when I remember correctly. – Iris Dec 14 '15 at 14:24
5

Wierum

is a very common spelling mistake. Maybe because other words with herum, or rum are written together, e.g. rechtsrum, rund­he­r­um, drumrum außenrum

Correct is:

"Wie rum ... " (coll.) or "Wie herum ..."

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