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Do you have words you struggle with?


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I was watching a talk show in which Graham Norton, a popular UK talk show host picked on the fact that the Hollywood actor Benedict Cumberbatch struggled with pronouncing the word "penguin". Do you have any English words you struggle to pronounce?

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Yes, anything with the ''th'' sound, because in my mother language we don't have that sound. As a matter of a fact... I still have such a huge problem pronouncing ''teeth''.  I just don't seem capable to get that word right, I try to avoid it as much as possible, because sometimes it feels as if I was saying ''tit''.  I started to feel that way when a friend of mine  made fun of the way I pronounce that word :P

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I can't seem to think of any English words that I have problem pronouncing. However, there are English words of foreign origin that I do have a problem pronouncing. One such word is chamois.

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Haha, although it's not a problem of language knowledge I always struggle with Thursday and Tuesday and I sometimes mix them up not realizing it. Which makes people around me confused.

But the real question is: What do YOU struggle with?

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Yes, anything with the ''th'' sound, because in my mother language we don't have that sound. As a matter of a fact... I still have such a huge problem pronouncing ''teeth''.  I just don't seem capable to get that word right, I try to avoid it as much as possible, because sometimes it feels as if I was saying ''tit''.  I started to feel that way when a friend of mine  made fun of the way I pronounce that word :P

This is a trick I employ too, Trellum If I struggle with it, I avoid it like the plague LOL I struggle with the word "yacht"! God, I hate that word, and even my English husband has said it is a strange word. I can't for the life of me pronounce it!

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Haha, although it's not a problem of language knowledge I always struggle with Thursday and Tuesday and I sometimes mix them up not realizing it. Which makes people around me confused.

But the real question is: What do YOU struggle with?

I can see why you would struggle with those two days. I never actually thought about it, but I can see it, now that you mention it LOL I have a single English word that I hate with a passion that I avoid at ALL costs, and that's "yacht". It's such a weird word and I really struggle to get my tongue around it. I've even tried to practice saying it. I've now given up altogether!

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I do know of one English word with which I have trouble pronouncing, but there may be more.  I have found that as I age my grammar and pronunciation has gotten noticeably worse.  The word I have trouble pronouncing is "rural".  I always have to slow down to say it and usually end up saying it more than once to make it sound right to my ears.

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Hehe it's so funny how different people struggle with different words! I don't have any problem with rural or peculiar. It's that "yacht" that I doubt very much i'll ever get the hang of! I have even practiced, in vain. I guess some things are just not meant to be LOL

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I don't really have trouble speaking the words, being native to it and all. However, there are many words that can become confusing at times when I read them; the irony being that 'read' is one of those words. In addition to 'read', there's also the word 'couch' which I used to confuse constantly with 'coach', which itself can mean two different things. Also, when I was very young, I thought kitchen and chicken were both spelled 'chicken'.

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I don't really have trouble speaking the words, being native to it and all. However, there are many words that can become confusing at times when I read them; the irony being that 'read' is one of those words. In addition to 'read', there's also the word 'couch' which I used to confuse constantly with 'coach', which itself can mean two different things. Also, when I was very young, I thought kitchen and chicken were both spelled 'chicken'.

Hehe OddVisions, your kitchen and chicken problem when you were younger made me giggle because I know people who confuse the words. My husband is English, and even he admits the English language can be confusing. Throw into that the many rules and exceptions to the rules! I would hate to learn English from scratch!

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Hehe OddVisions, your kitchen and chicken problem when you were younger made me giggle because I know people who confuse the words. My husband is English, and even he admits the English language can be confusing. Throw into that the many rules and exceptions to the rules! I would hate to learn English from scratch!

To be honest, being raised in a very french neighborhood. One of the things I struggled with when I was very little was the fact that in American English, 'color' is spelled like that, while in French (and sometimes British) English it's spelled 'colour'. This wouldn't have been a big problem except I was taught the word at home and when my teacher told me otherwise, there was a big fiasco over it. We both thought that we were right, and it turned out we both were. As you can imagine, I was a very hard-headed six year old.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't know if this will help and you've all probably tried it, but I'll sound the words out (how I say them anyway - as an Englishman) and hopefully that will get you to say them right.

Yacht - Yot

Fruit - Froot

Conscientious - Con-she-en-shuss

OddVisions - It's colour, it's our language, we're right.

Peculiar - Per-cue-lee-er

Rural - Rur-ral

Teeth - I can't really help with this, start with the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth, then pushed off and move towards the front, when making the 'th' sound the tip of your tongue should be between your teeth. If that fails, just say teeff and people will think you're from London.

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Conscientious is pretty hard.

You also mentioned "Perculiar". It should be Peculiar, no? I have never heard about perculiar :=))

@Elfinitty:  Welcome to linguaholic.com  :grin:

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Conscientious is pretty hard.

You also mentioned "Perculiar". It should be Peculiar, no? I have never heard about perculiar :=))

@Elfinitty:  Welcome to linguaholic.com  :grin:

Yeah, but it is pronounced as perculiar  :angel:

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Oh ok, but I thought you wrote 'perculiar' at the beginning of the line as well. But I double checked it and actually I'm wrong :=) Sorry about that.

:grin:

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Oh ok, but I thought you wrote 'perculiar' at the beginning of the line as well. But I double checked it and actually I'm wrong :=) Sorry about that.

:grin:

You were right, I edited it  :grin:

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  • 1 month later...

I don't know if this will help and you've all probably tried it, but I'll sound the words out (how I say them anyway - as an Englishman) and hopefully that will get you to say them right.

Yacht - Yot

Hehe you guys are so funny LOL I just saw the discussion around the word 'peculiar" and I couldn't help but laugh :) It broke up my afternoon very nicely.

Welkom, I just want to say thanks a lot for helping with the pronunciation. Honestly, I think I have phobia of that word. But I will definitely try to say it as per your suggestion. My English husband has tried and failed to help me with it. I guess it also doesn't help that we always end up laughing hysterically over it LOL

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Yes, anything with the ''th'' sound, because in my mother language we don't have that sound. As a matter of a fact... I still have such a huge problem pronouncing ''teeth''.  I just don't seem capable to get that word right, I try to avoid it as much as possible, because sometimes it feels as if I was saying ''tit''.  I started to feel that way when a friend of mine  made fun of the way I pronounce that word :P

That TH sound is the problem of Filipinos. So we normally say TINK when we mean think and SMOOT when we mean smooth. It may be due to our orientation in English as  the medium of instruction (during my time, but now the medium of instruction in schools is Filipino). And since teachers were not really good in pronouncing English words, we were exposed to wrong pronunciation. I grew up (in school) with DESIGHBELL when what I meant was decibel.

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That TH sound is the problem of Filipinos. So we normally say TINK when we mean think and SMOOT when we mean smooth. It may be due to our orientation in English as  the medium of instruction (during my time, but now the medium of instruction in schools is Filipino). And since teachers were not really good in pronouncing English words, we were exposed to wrong pronunciation. I grew up (in school) with DESIGHBELL when what I meant was decibel.

So interesting you should say that, CorieHens! I think this is something similar to what Jamaicans have! It's also interesting that you cite the influence of teachers who taught you the wrong pronunciations, because we also had that when I was in school. I went to state schools throughout and in my country, there's a distinct difference in our English accents depending on where we went to school. Those of us who attended state schools tend to have broader English accents, while those who were privately educated tend to have posher English/American accents.

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I don't want to admit to myself or others that there might be any problems with my pronunciation. Whenever this happens, one of my friends ask me to say horse and wh#res and we both realise that I pronounce both pretty much the same.

Whilst still in high school, my teacher couldn't tell the difference between 'pour' and 'poor' which left all students with a good laugh.

Later on, I had several friends who pronounced words as vegetable very funnily vege-table (like the word table...). This included all 'table' words, also comfort-table :D

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