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There are three letters in German that do not exist in English. These are the Umlaute (umlauts) “ä”, “ö”, and “ü”. Although these letters do not exist in the alphabet, they play an important role in writing. Unfortunately, Umlaute cannot be found on all keyboards but there is no need to worry about that, seeing that there is a straightforward rule how to write them without the necessary keys on your keyboard.
Alternatively, the two dots above the letters “a”, “o”, and “u” can be represented by the letter “e”. All you have to do is to put the “e” behind the “a”, “o”, and/or “u”. Compare:
ä = ae
ö = oe
ü = ue
Admittedly, in some cases this looks very strange, e.g. Bräuche – Braeuche (costumes) and Bäuche – Baeuche (bellies).
Nevertheless, you should get used to this alternative writing in order to make sure that the addressee of your writing will understand you correctly. Sometimes an Umlaut can change the meaning of a word. Compare:
drucken = to print and drücken = to press
auslosen = to draw lots for and auslösen = to trigger off
Here are some random examples, so that you can see how words with Umlaute will look like when they are written in the alternative way. Additionally, I provide the articles. You will find the English translation in parentheses.
die Länge = Laenge (length)
der Fächer = Faecher (fan)
die Börse = Boerse (money market)
die Lösung = Loesung (solution)
die Tür = Tuer (door)
der Schlüssel = Schluessel (key)
die Brücke = Bruecke (bridge)
die Lüge = Luege (lie)
die Blüte = Bluete (blossom)
für = fuer (for)
müssen = muessen (must, need to , have to)
können = koennen (could)
Bücher = Buecher (books) [das Buch; sgl.]