gei (regional pronunciation of "gell")

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by mozy, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. mozy New Member

    I need help with the word gei. The German-Bavarian word I constantly heard sounded as if it should be spelled "gei" and was pronounced to sound like the English "gay." I have searched for the word on the web and usually end up with no translation or the English word "guy."
    I think "gei" may be like the interjection used at the end of a statement. As in the American ",huh?" or ",right?" Or the US movies use of upper crust Englishmen saying ",what?" I don't think it was used that way in Bavarian conversations. I do remember our German teacher, a countess who ran the Freising Kassern Library, telling us not to use it for it was slang.
  2. Gernot Back

    Gernot Back Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    German - Germany
    What about gell?

    Gell is a tag question in southern Germany. The Bavarian pronunciation of post-vocalic [l] is a diphthong.

    Gell is probably derived from the German verb gelten.

    So when you ask sth. with that tag question, you are actually asking for a re-affirmation: "Gilt es?", literally: "Is it valid/true?"

    cf. also this thread:
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  3. mozy New Member

    Gernot Back, Thanks for the bounce back, the pun is intended. I think that you are saying that the [L] in gell is pronounced as in "Bell". Would that sound like the English word "goal?" I word I heard back in the day sounded like "gay" and may be the word "goi" that was in the thread you pointed me to. Would goi sound like gay? The area of Bavarian I was in was the Munchen/Freising area, if that helps solve my mystery. Thanks. Also thanks for the term tag question, it is good to keep learning.
  4. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    "Gell" can indeed be spoken "gay" in certain dialects but I don't know if it's true for Bavarian.
  5. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Yes, the regular West Middle-Bavarian pronunciation of gell is [gɛɪ]~[gei] which is approximately like the English pronunciation of gay. After high or near high vowels /l/ is regularly vocalized (Milch>Muich, Geld>Gäid, viel>vui, etc). Interestingly, in East Middle-Bavarian (East of Innviertel, Upper Austria) the resulting diphthongs merge to rounded front vowels, like the otherwise lost umlauts: Milch>Muich>Müch, Geld>Gäid>Göd, viel>vui>vü, and gell>gäi>gö.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  6. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    In English you would say "right?", wouldn't you?
    It is also the same as "wouldn't you.
    Depending on dialect there are several variants:

    gell, ge, gei (gay), gelle,
    I always said "gell" in every third sentence when I was a child. But in Dresden is another dialect area, and the other children always laughed. So you cannot use it universally, it is local coll. language or dialect.

    In Saxxony it is more like "ni?"="nicht?" or "nu wohr?"="nicht wahr?"
  7. mozy New Member

    Thank you. I am sure it is impossible to put every dialect word in a German dictionary. Well, maybe Sherlock Holmes could do it.
  8. mozy New Member

    Thank you all for the help! I was right, gei?
  9. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    There are specialized dictionaries (click, look for "gäi"). ;)

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