If you are struggling with the French language, don’t worry: French people have a hard time with English too. You have probably noticed that some sounds do not exist in French and that is (among other things) the reason why we can’t seem to pronounce these words properly.

#1- Squirrel

We are just unable to pronounce this word! The final “L”, the English “r”… Too difficult for French people! You will probably hear the very French pronunciation of the word, /skwirɛl/, with the end of the word pronounced like “belle”.

#2- Focus

This is a very common mistake in French which results either in laughter or embarrassment according to the situation. Diphthongs in English are very hard to master for French people and they usually forget about it. With this word, the pronunciation usually look like “F**k us” in French.

focus

#3- Hierarchy

The “ch” sound can be tricky as it changes according to the word it’s in, both in English and in French. In French, it is more frequently pronounced / ʃ / like in the pronoun “she”, this is why it can be confusing. Hierarchy combines a triphthong and the “ch” sound. This one is really hard, check the Cambridge dictionary if you want to be sure for both US and EN pronounciation! 

#4- Throughout, Through, Although…

Every word with these four little letters “ough” is a torture for every French speaker. We never know how to pronounce them, especially when you know that the sound changes according to the word it’s in!

#5- Particularly

So many “l” and “r”! Moreover, with long words (yes, five syllables make a long word!), French people never know where to accentuate.

#6- Anesthetize

Luckily for us, this word is not that common and we don’t have to use it every day (except if you’re a doctor in an English-speaking country…). The “th” sound followed by a “t” sound are very difficult to pronounce, especially when you know that the two “th” pronunciation, / θ / and / ð /, do not exist in French!

#7- Angry/hungry

We have very few aspirated H in French, this is why words beginning with an “h” are difficult for us. The difference between angry and hungry is not easy to make for a French speaker, so it can lead to funny misunderstandings.

#8- Beach/Bitch

In French, we don’t make any difference between the long “i” and the short “i” that is why we usually pronounce these two words the same way which can end in embarrassing situations.

#9- Sheet/shit

Same as before: once again, this slight difference is difficult to make for a French speaker and that can lead to massive misunderstanding…

#10- Maneuver

I can’t even explain why this word is difficult for a French person, but it just is, believe me!

Here you go! If you think of French words that are impossible to pronounce for you, tell us in the comments section

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