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From Wikipedia:

When typing German, if umlaut letters are not available, it is usual to replace them with the underlying vowel followed by an ⟨e⟩. So, for example, "Schröder" becomes "Schroeder".

I would like to ask, if there are some words in the German language that contain the combinations "ae", "oe", or "ue" before any umlaut substitution?

In other words, if I encounter a word containing "ae", "oe", or "ue", can I be sure that the correct way to write the word is with the appropriate umlaut?

The reason is that I have a large body of text, where these substitutions were used and I need to convert it back to the original. I am considering just writing a script that would replace each occurrence of "ae", "oe", or "ue" (taking capitalization into account) with the relevant umlaut letter, but I am not sure if this is correct.

  • These are names. They would not want you to replace the characters in their names. People tend to react picky in this respect. – mic Jan 30 '20 at 17:22
  • @mic I am sorry, I do not understand what you are saying. Please, could you explain? – Martin Drozdik Jan 30 '20 at 17:26
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    Out of curiousity I searched for "10000 häufigste deutsche wörter", there are lists in the internet. Open them and search in your browser for ae, oe and ue. It's interesting to see ue appears in many german words without meaning ü. – puck Jan 30 '20 at 18:24
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In other words, if I encounter a word containing "ae", "oe", or "ue", can I be sure that the correct way to write the word is with the appropriate umlaut?

No, you can't.

Counterexample: Oboe

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    Also Michael. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jan 30 '20 at 17:26
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    Especially any words starting with e, but prefixed with zu. E.g. zueignen, hinzuerfinden, etc. – Janka Jan 30 '20 at 17:52
  • The only case that I can think of where you can consider that it contains most probably an Umlaut is in email addresses when the AE, OE or UE appear within the same syllable. If you have for instance a name like michael.mueller@something, the surname is probably Müller (with umlaut), whereas in Michael the A and the E appear in different syllables and therefore cannot be joined to an Umlaut. Indeed, the owner of the name generally react picky if you write it wrongly. – user9 Jan 31 '20 at 10:07
  • If you check a German phonebook, you will find quite a few Muellers among the Müllers. – gnasher729 Jan 31 '20 at 20:58

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