May 30, 2024


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Top 10 Hard-to-Pronounce English Words: Improve Your Diction

Top 10 Hard-to-Pronounce English Words: Improve Your Diction

Learning a new language can be an exciting adventure, but some of us English learners can't pronounce words. To help you on your language journey, we've compiled a list of the most difficult English words to pronounce. Hold on to your seats as we embark on a dizzying auditory journey.

Phonetic Errors of English: Misleading Sounds

Influence of combined vowels and consonants

In the English language, certain combinations of letters take on an entirely different tone than their simple reading would lead us to believe. This specialty is often confusing to non-English speakers. Take the word for example 'absolute', where 'ough' is pronounced like 'ou'. Not so clear, is it?

Subtlety of Tonic Accents

Tonic pronunciation It also plays an important role in pronouncing words in English. In fact, depending on whether it is placed at the beginning or end of a word, it can radically change its sound. A good example is the word 'now', which can mean either 'currently' or 'currently' depending on whether the emphasis is on the first or second syllable.

Having gotten used to these phonetic flaws of English, it's time to explore some of the more difficult words for a French speaker to pronounce.

Extractive Pronunciation: Concrete Examples

Squirrel, clothes and sixth

You've probably heard these words before, but do you know how to pronounce them correctly? 'Squirrel', 'clothes' and 'sixth' give French speakers a hard time. Unusual sounds and subtle sequences can sometimes seem almost impossible to reproduce.

An incomplete list of complex terms

  • Rural areas : The double 'r' may be difficult for a non-English speaker to master.
  • Worcestershire : The name of this British region is very difficult to pronounce, even for some native English speakers!
  • Penguin : The combination of silent 'e' and 'g' makes this word particularly problematic.
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Now that we've broken down some concrete examples, let's look at common mistakes French people make when speaking English.

Common mistakes among French speakers in English

Influence of French accent

Naturally, our own pronunciation often affects the way we speak a foreign language. For example, a French speaker will tend to give the 'a' a French sound, whereas in English it is usually more open and short.

Confusion of similar sounds

There are many sounds in English that do not have equivalents in French, which can lead to misinterpretation. For example, the 'th' sounds in 'thank you' and 'it' are different but often confused by French speakers.

If you think that only non-native speakers struggle with English pronunciation, think again! There are some words that even native English speakers struggle to pronounce.

Words that even native English speakers stumble over

Anemone, usually and especially

Believe it or not, these common words can be a real headache for English people. The combination of vowels and consonants in 'animon', the specific rhythm in 'usually' or the sequence of syllables in 'especially' are all obstacles to fluid pronunciation.

However, there are more effective ways to overcome these difficulties: now let's get to the heart of the matter with our tips for perfecting your English pronunciation.

How to improve your English pronunciation?

Keep practicing

There are no secrets here: Training is key. The more you practice English, the more comfortable you will be with its phonetics. Feel free to use specialized apps or participate in English conversation workshops.

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You will get help from the owner

The ideal is to train with a native English speaker. The latter will help you correct and improve your pronunciation.

Use online learning tools

Sites like Duolingo, Babbel or Rosetta Stone are great partners for working on your English pronunciation.

Our journey ends at the heart of the difficulties of trying to master English pronunciation.

In short, we explored the various phonetic flaws of English, explored some of the most difficult words to pronounce, identified common mistakes that French speakers make, discovered that even English speakers struggle with certain words, and finally offered some ideas to perfect your pronunciation. Remember these tips and never forget: practice makes perfect!

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