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How to differentiate pronunciation of these words?

  • Sie (you — formal), sie (she), and sie (they)
  • ihr (you — plural), er (he)
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7  
In German you have always to consider the context. You can't distinguish the different "Sie" by pronunciation –  infinitesimalLeanne Aug 2 '11 at 14:52
    
@infinitesimalLeanne: "Sie machen das Heim zum Daheim", how one could differentiate they're talking about a person in formal sense or more than one person (plural)? –  user508 Aug 2 '11 at 15:08
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@Gigili: you can't. You need to know who that sentence is addressed at and/or what the context of that sentence is. It could be "you" (singular), "you" (plural) or even "they". –  Joachim Sauer Aug 2 '11 at 15:12
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1 Answer

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Sie is always pronounced the same.

The pronunciation of ihr and er really only differs in the starting vowel — although the h demands the long pronunciation of i, the e of er is equally long.

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Was about to make matters more complicated - but this answer is already all you need, so +1. –  OregonGhost Aug 2 '11 at 15:21
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