How to distinguish the weak forms of HIM and THEM?

Shiny   Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:17 pm GMT
HIM and THEM have the same weak form of \um\ (schwa + m), so sometimes I can't tell whether it's HIM or THEM.

For example, in a movie, A man said "Take \um\ in.", how to distinguish "Take him in" from "Take them in"?

Of course, you can tell from the movie scene. I mean, how to distinguish tem from the pronunciations?

Thank you very much.
furrykef   Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:27 pm GMT
Usually context will make it clear. If there's a significant risk of confusion, the speaker is less likely to use the reduced pronunciation.
Travis   Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:03 pm GMT
I generally distinguish the two in more stressed everyday speech by having [1~:m] for "him" but [@~:m] for "them". However, in less stressed everyday speech I tend to merge "him" and them" as [@~:m] or [m=:] unless I want to specifically distinguish "him" and "them".