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I searched for the answer to the question on and also on, but wasn't able to find an answer. Whenever I have heard these words on, or on my Duolingo app, I am not able to distinguish between them. Hence the question.

Edit 1: Acting on the comments, I have added the following links which sound somewhat similar to me:
Durch :
Deutsch :

It's relatively easy to identify the difference after listening to the sound-bytes a few times, but it's especially hard when I hear it in normal speech (for example in a news podcast from Tagesschau).

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You can use or to listen to pronunciations of words. But no, they are not homophones. – thekeyofgb Jun 3 '14 at 5:43
They share the first sound. Otherwise, they're phonetically quite apart: like Germany and Great Britain; again phonetically. – c.p. Jun 3 '14 at 5:45
At everybody criticising the question: Keep in mind that telling non-homophones apart in different languages can be quite difficult, if your ears are not used to it. – Wrzlprmft Jun 3 '14 at 8:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

No, they sound very different. Except the fact that both begin with the phonem [d] they hove nothing in common:

deutsch: [dɔɪʧ]
durch: [dʊʁç]

If you can't read phonem symbols I try to explain them:

deutsch [dɔɪʧ]
[d] like "d" in "do", "did", "done"
[ɔɪ] like "oi" in "choice" or "oy" in "toy"
[ʧ] like "ch" in "change" and "lunch"

durch [dʊʁç]
[d] like "d" in "do", "did", "done"
[ʊ] like "oo" in "foot" or "u" in "bush"
[ʁ] this phonem does not exist in english language. In German it is "rr" in "Herr" or "R" in "Ratte".
[ç] not an english phomen too. In German it is "ch" in "Mädchen" and "ich"

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The r is not necessarily pronounced as a consonant, it may modify the u to become a diphtong. – Carsten S Jun 11 '14 at 6:38
@CarstenSchultz: No. If this was true was, then "durch" would sound like [dʊuç] which you would probably write as "duuch". But the "r" in "durch" can be pronounced as [ɐ] like the "r" in German "der". Note that the r in "der" and the r in "Arbeit" sounds different. [ɐ] is very close to [ə] ("a" in Englisch "comma"). But the standard for "durch" is [dʊʁç] with the same [ʁ] that you find in "Arbeit". – Hubert Schölnast Jun 11 '14 at 7:13
Good answer using the phonetic symbols but using words of one other language that might be a foreign language for the TO too is less helpful. Maybe some one can give examples in French, Italian etc. too to improve this answer? :) – try-catch-finally Jun 11 '14 at 7:32
@try-catch-finally: This is a board for German language and the question was asked in English. There is no need to add additional examples in other languages. If you need assistance with phonetic symbols or with pronunciation of German words, than ask a separate question. – Hubert Schölnast Jun 11 '14 at 7:50
[ʊɐ] is not a diphtong? – Carsten S Jun 11 '14 at 11:33

No, they are not. Not even close, I'd say. Can you link to examples?

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if the whole question will not be deleted (i think it should) you could provide the phonetics [ dɔøʧ ] and [ dʊʳç ] in your answer to improve it.. – christian.s Jun 3 '14 at 6:49
@christian.s - deine Umschrift ist falsch, die richtige ist etwa (in Pseudo-Notation) »doytsh«, also ohne das Smørebrød. :) Und die Pseudo Notation für »durch« wäre in etwa »doorkh«. In etwa. :) – Lumi Jun 4 '14 at 20:29
Inwiefern "falsch"? Schon mal was von IPA Lautschrift gehört? – Ingmar Jun 5 '14 at 4:25
@Lumi die Pseudo-Notation spricht jede Sprache anders aus, darum gibt es etwas, dass die Laute direkt beschreibt.. Siehe Ingmar.. – christian.s Jun 5 '14 at 6:34
I go with christian: just saying "No", giving no explanation and asking for clarification ("Can you link to examples?") is better done as a comment than as an answer. This is not helpful. :/ – try-catch-finally Jun 11 '14 at 7:35

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