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Could someone confirm whether the following is an example of the old ‘Rechtschreibung’?

Sucht ihr eure Kamera?

as opposed to

Sucht ihr euere Kamera?

My spell checker flags the second one (euere) every time.

What seems unusual to me is that the following would be acceptable

Da hockt euer Vater.

and not

Da hockt eur Vater.

even if it is pronounced in nearly the same way.

Is there a rule?

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  • The same issue exists with unser, with unsre(n) replacing unsere(n). This seems to be limited to poetry however. But unsern is commonly heard in the spoken language. The ere combination is rather awkward to say in German, so it's natural for it to be contracted in some way. A final e is always kept though because it signifies gender/plural.
    – RDBury
    Jan 12, 2022 at 17:43
  • See also german.stackexchange.com/a/33645/844
    – axk
    Jan 14, 2022 at 1:18

4 Answers 4

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Both versions are correct and mean the same thing, and their spellings have not changed in the wake of the spelling reform. But "eure" is used about 80 to 100 times more often than "euere", and in the last 200 years there never was an era when these words was used with an equal frequency or when "euere" was even used more frequently than "eure."

See this Google Ngram:

Google Ngram: eure, eurere
source

Before 1870 "euere" was printed in books with a frequency of 0.0002 to 0.0003 percent, in 1890 this frequency dropped under 0.0001% and is now at about 0,00003%. But "eure" has now a frequency of 0.0028%.

So, my advice is to delete "euere" from your active vocabulary (do not write or speak this word) but keep it in your passive vocabulary (know what it means when you read or hear it).


The Ngram shown above displays the situation for printed texts (anything that Google can scan). But much more phrases, sentences etc. are not printed but spoken. And for spoken language there are only few evaluations, and most of them evaluate TV series, films and similar material that is broadcasted. But I only know resources about spoken English, not about spoken German. So, for spoken German I only can talk about my personal experience. I am a German native speaker, I'm 56 years old and I lived all these years in a country where people speak German (in Austria), and I do not remember to have heard the word "euere" (3 syllables: eu-e-re) in spoken language in my whole life. People use only "eure" (2 syllables: eu-re) when they speak (or dialect versions of "eure" like "eire" or "eichre", all of them with 2 syllables). So, while in written German the ratio eure:euere might be 80:1, it for sure is greater than 10,000:1 in spoken language.

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  • 1
    Wiktionary lists euere in the declension table for euer, but Wiktionary has a habit of including rare and/or archaic variations which are mostly useless. I'm putting less and less trust in NGrams; too often when you dive down into the actual text you find a lot of noise in the data their using. To me the DWDS usage database is more meaningful: 3254 hits for eure vs. 10 hits for euere in Die Zeit.
    – RDBury
    Jan 11, 2022 at 18:58
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Both spellings are equally correct for the possessive pronoun. See this Duden example:

raucht ihr immer noch täglich eu[e]re (die eurer Gewohnheit entsprechenden) 20 Zigaretten?

which is the same use case as in your example.

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This is not a question of spelling per se. The two different spellings represent two different pronunciations: eure is pronounced [ˈɔɪ̯ʁə] and euere [ˈɔɪ̯əʁə]. The latter is the expected form that results from appending -e to the base euer. The change from euere to eure is the result of syncope, whereby an unstressed vowel is lost in the interior of a word.

The phenomenon is familiar from poetry. For instance, Novalis, "Sehnsucht nach dem Tode", has ewge for ewige:

Gelobt sei uns die ewge Nacht,
Gelobt der ewge Schlummer.

Phonological processes such as syncope can become conventionalised, and this is what has happened for eure. It has in fact become the standard form, preferred over the possibly more logical euere. As has been pointed out, both forms are technically correct; however, most speakers will use the pronunciation [ˈɔɪ̯ʁə] and should consequently write eure.

Interestingly, for unser the situation is reversed: unsere is the standard form, the syncopated unsre a less common variant.

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The word "euere" exists, but no German uses it. If you want plural in your example, then use "Sucht ihr eure Kamera?" or "Sucht ihr die Kamera?" If you want to deposit, use "Suchst du deine Kamera?" or "Suchst du die Kamera?. I know that because I live in Germany and speak German. First I had to google "euere" because I didn't even know that the word existed. :-)

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