Plural of the German word "Wort"

Differences in meaning: "Wörter" vs. "Worte"


righter
Which one is it?
Here are examples
Words per minute - Wörter pro Minute
To put into words - In Worte kleiden
Uncle Nick
Apparently both forms are valid although usually "Wörter" is used, maybe "Worte" is just for certain expressions.
RedReitenHood
I always thought that "die Worte" was from a speech or someone talking.

"Die Wörter" refers to individual words. My teacher used to give the example of a "Wörterbuch" - many words in one book.
sarabyrd
Wörter is the general term.
If you mean specific words you would use Worte. Such as (see above) in Worte fassen, mir fehlen die Worte, Worte reichen nicht aus, meine Gefühle auszudrücken (words alone are not enough to express my feelings).
In 92% of all cases Wörter is correct, I would say.
Topsy
Wörter is a collection of words - so it's used for things like Fremdwort/Fremdwörter, Paßwort/Paßwörter, that don't express a concept except in isolation.
Worte is a collection of thoughts and used for expressions like Ehrenwort/Ehrenworte, Vorwort/Vorworte - where the words collectively and dependent on each other express a concept.

...although it gets confusing when you're talking about the vocabulary (die Wörter) someone uses in a series of Vorworte...

So I guess logically you could say "mir fehlen die Wörter" OR "mir fehlen die Worte" - the first would mean that you don't have the vocabulary to express what you're thinking (e.g for us, speaking German as a foreign language, we don't know the individual words of vocabulary for some specific things we're trying to say); the second would mean that you're totally gobsmacked and therefore completely lost for words (i.e. you haven't really got your thoughts around what your reaction is).
Jack
Just to confuse things a bit, you can also have: In den Worten von Joe Soap ... If you want to quote someone for example.
righter
Excellent definition Topsy. That is more or less how I understood it too, but couldn't put it to paper. Thanks.
sarabyrd
I can't really agree, Topsy, as I am still missing specific words if I don't know the vocabulary. But your definition is great regarding the difference in meaning.
Rilana
sure, but you would never say "mir fehlen die Worte" unless wanting to express that you're gobsmacked, in the case of not having the vocabulary it would be Woerter, like Topsy said. (Although I would say mir fehlt das Vokabular or der Wortschatz rather than die Woerter anyway).
righter
Actually, while researching this in LEO, I found a funny comment in the feedback threads. About english pronounciation:-

If GH stands for P as in Hiccough
If OUGH stands for O as in Dough
If PHTH stands for T as in Phthisis
If EIGH stands for A as in Neighbour
If TTE stands for T as in Gazette
If EAU stands for O as in Plateau
The right way to spell POTATO should be GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU!
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