My German A1 teacher pronounce sehr as /zehr/ pronounced in English. Is this correct? Online German dictionary has /ze:ɐ̯/ as IPA. I just want to know is his pronunciation as a correct alternative?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Jan, Alexander Kosubek, Hubert Schölnast, Carsten S, tofro Jan 13 '17 at 8:56

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    Actually most people would pronounce it /ze:ɐ̯/ I think. – Thorsten Dittmar Jan 11 '17 at 7:40
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    /zehr/ pronounced in English – Is /zehr/ supposed to be IPA or some weird English phonetic description? If the former, it’s unpronouncable; if the latter, what do you actually want to state (can you translate this to proper IPA)? – Wrzlprmft Jan 11 '17 at 9:53
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    Voting to close as unclear until you clarify what kind of pronunciation you’re trying to replicate (phonemic, phonetic or ‘like in English’; they require slashes, square brackets or just general italics). – Jan Jan 11 '17 at 19:01
  • Also to answer @Jan's comment to my question, I'm assuming the OP used en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronunciation_respelling when he wrote /zehr/ – Raketenolli Jan 12 '17 at 18:37
  • @Raketenolli Maybe. But the tables listed in the relevant article show only one way of pronouncing eh namely [ɛ]. That is a wrong (but understood) pronunciation; it could be associated with a Russian accent. However, this usage of eh is not consistent across respelling variants and it could also be meant to describe the sequence of sounds [ɛh]. Which means we still don’t have clarity. – Jan Jan 12 '17 at 19:23

The problem with /zehr/ is that it tries to imitate the proper German pronunciation of sehr by something that resembles an English word. The /h/ for example is not an indicator of a certain sound by itself, it only serves to tell the speaker that the e is a long one. The /r/ also indicates that the word should be pronounces somewhat like wear or tear (as in tearing apart), but IMHO also results in an audible [r] at the end of the word -- it shouldn't be there in the proper German pronunciation, and it will also reinforce a typical American English accent.

So even though an American-sounding /zehr/ would very likely be easily understood, the IPA provides the correct pronunciation.

  • /zehr/ (although that would most likely be rendered /zehər/) sounds more like Seher to me than sehr — although neither include a /h/ sound. If you have figured out OP’s cryptic pronunciation guide, would you please share it with us by editing the question accordingly? – Jan Jan 11 '17 at 19:04

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