pronunciation ER - IHR

I have difficulties with recognition ER (he) and IHR (plural you) in sentences, especially because the verb form is the same in those forms. Any suggestions how to distinct them?

February 14, 2014


I listen for Er as "air" and Ihr as "ear"

February 15, 2014

Like you said, they're quite similar (not to my German ears, but I can see what you mean :P). Ihr sounds rather like ‘ear’ and er sounds rather like ‘air’, but apart from that I’m quite clueless…

Not sure if it helps, but you could listen to them in comparison on Wiktionary:


Ihr (ignore that second ‘Bavarian’ audio, it seems to say something different entirely)

February 14, 2014

I checked out both links, Thank You, and I can really hear the difference, have also checked the pronunciation on other sites and can hear it, on Duolingo they sound virtually alike to me.

February 14, 2014

Ich auch ! I am very frustrated that they sound the same on Duolingo

July 26, 2016

koboldmaki's links should already help you distinguish them, but I'd like to point out that the verb form is not always the same for both variants.

For example:

to run: „Er läuft.“ „Ihr lauft.“

to see: „Er sieht.“ „Ihr seht.“

But I'm afraid that I can not provide any statistics about what percentage of verbs result in same / different inflections.

February 14, 2014

I've been trying to figure this out, myself....

February 14, 2014

Like others have said, they sound like 'air' and 'ear' only the letter 'r' is much weaker and barely pronounced.

February 15, 2014

Focus more on the vowel than the "r" present in the word. It's the same sound change as gangster - gangsta in English. So Schwester would be pronounced more like Schweste. EDIT: As pointed out below, Schweste wouldn't be a correct pronunciation. It was more to emphasize the fact that you're focusing on the vowel.


February 18, 2014

I wouldn't use this guy as a reference. His explanations are not entirely accurate.

Anyway, if "Schweste" were a word, it would be pronounced differently from "Schwester".

Schwester /ˈʃvɛstɐ/

heute /ˈhɔʏ̯tə/

February 18, 2014

I'm aware that it wouldn't be the same pronunciation. That was meant to serve as a visual example for focusing on the vowel.

And I found his video to help me out tremendously (as a native English speaker) with my pronunciation of the German r. Obviously the video isn't perfect, but coupled with watching/listening to his other videos I was able to get a pretty good idea of what he meant. I actually attempted to base my German accent off of his (albeit not completely successfully). Natürlich habe ich andere Sachen wie Musik oder die Nachricht benutzt, aber seine Videos haben mir sehr viel geholfen. Ich würde ihn jemandem empfehlen, weil er verschiedene Arten Videos, die interessant und/oder lustig (meiner Meinung nach) sind, für beide Anfänger und Fortgeschrittenen hat.

February 19, 2014
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