segeln > segle

lesen > lest

Is the e changed from [e] to [ɛ]?

the e in essen and gehen is different.

  • Please add a little more information: Why do you even think this would be the case? Are you referring to a specific variety of German or about German in general (which would make the question too broad, in my opinion)? - As it stands, it seems unanswerable to me. Aug 9, 2018 at 7:07
  • @AlexanderKosubek I think this is a reasonable question. They are asking why the e's in lest and Rest are different. And there's a good answer
    – PiedPiper
    Aug 10, 2018 at 9:21
  • 1
    @PiedPiper No, sadly the question does not cite Rest as one of the words in question. If it was, it would actually have been a much better question - which would have still been answerable by referring to a dictionary. The question as it stands now does not ask anything useful. Only with very much effort in guessing, what the op atually wants, a good answer like Janka's is possible. Aug 13, 2018 at 7:37
  • 1
    The also in the question suggests, that you know of some cases, where the described behaviour acutally occurs. Can you give examples of a case, where this happens? Aug 13, 2018 at 7:39
  • Essen und gehen enthalten jeweils ziemlich genau 2 Es. In Gehen findet sich kein Konsonantencluster. Aug 19, 2018 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


The answer is no.

This may seem tricky to you because in words as der Rest, die Pest, das Fest there is indeed an ɛ.

BUT, as a basic rule, pronounciation of vowels in stems is stable in German, and if there ever is a vowel change, an Ablaut, this substantial change is marked by using a different vowel character/diphthong.

lesen → sie liest

  • 2
    The restriction “as a basic rule” is well put. There are occasional exceptions to this rule. They come from Central German dialects where vowel shortenings before consonant clusters may occur. A few of these have found there way into the standard language, e.g. geben → gibt. The regular form giebt is no longer used in writing, and I guess that the corresponding pronunciation with a long vowel might only be occasional found in the very South, where original long vowels tend to be preserved more faithfully.
    – mach
    Aug 10, 2018 at 19:35

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