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The words "trae" and "traje" are pronounced the same. However, "trae" is a third person singular simple present verb meaning "brings" and "traje" is either a noun meaning "suit" or a first person singular simple past verb meaning "I brought".

So when I hear a sentence with this word, how will I know whether the third person singular simple present verb "trae" or the noun or the first person singular simple past verb "traje" is being spoken? What kinds of sentences will use the third person singular simple present verb "trae" and what kinds of sentences will use the noun or the first person singular simple past verb "traje"?

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    They're not pronounced the same: /ˈtɾa.e/ vs /ˈtɾa.xe/. Also, it's almost always clear from context which if two homophones is meant when they are different classes of word - a verb vs a noun. – brazofuerte May 11 at 17:44
  • You could say: "Traje mi traje" (or "Trae su traje") but the meaning is clear. Many, many nouns are formed from some form of a conjugated verb. The context (articles/prepositions/pronouns in the sentence) always gives the information needed. – nopaltepec May 11 at 22:23
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    This reminds me of a (very bad) joke, a guy who goes to the beach without his swimming suit, and another guy asks him: "¿Usted no nada nada?" and he replies "No, no traje traje". Sorry, I had to tell it. – Leo May 12 at 6:10
  • @Leo XD There's even a song from Siniestro Total with that sentences youtube.com/watch?v=1dO7KHbI7cA – RubioRic May 12 at 7:29
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Trae and traje are not pronounced the same. The standard pronunciation of traje is /ˈtɾa.xe/, where /x/ is a voiceless velar fricative (as in German Loch). There are some dialects of Spanish where this sound (the one represented by the letter j) is instead pronounced /h/ (just like an English h as in hand). Sometimes this /h/ sound is so soft that it might appear there's nothing there, but there's definitely a difference. In trae /ˈtɾa.e/ the vowel /a/ runs into the following /e/ smoothly.

There are, of course, pairs and even trios of words in Spanish that mean different things and actually sound exactly the same, like libro "book" vs. libro “I free, I deliver”, or (in most dialects) vaya “let him go” vs. valla “fence” vs. baya “berry”. This happens in every language and is not a problem because the context (the position of the words, the presence of other words and the general meaning of the sentence) lets you decide which word is really meant.

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