English Words Foreign Speakers Struggle to say
Do you struggle with certain English words? Are there some English terms you just can’t pronounce? Well, earlier this year Reddit user, JustATreeNut, asked Reddit: What’s the hardest English word to pronounce? It seems as though there are thousands of English words which cause foreign speakers a whole load of trouble. We have compiled a list of the top ten most commonly miss-pronounced English words below.
Worcestershire – Worcestershire is a county in the West Midlands of England, and is home to the cathedral city of Worcester. One of the county’s finest exports is the infamous Worcester sauce, a favourite among British consumers. Pronounced “Wuss-ter-Sheer”, this term gets even the most proficient English speakers tongue-tied.
Specific – A term used when clearly defining or identifying something. Even native speakers struggle with this term, and many will mistake specific for Pacific, as in the ocean. Pronounced “Spe-Sific”, you are sure to out-smart even some native speakers if you can get this one right.
Squirrel – This agile tree-dwelling rodent gets foreign speakers in a right situation. This term is pronounced “Skwi-rel” rather than “ski-rell”. The “qu” letter combination stumps a large amount of foreign speakers.
Brewery – A term you won’t most likely need too often, a brewery is a location in which beer is produced, and is pronounced “bru-eri”.
Phenomenon – A term used to describe a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen. Typically used to describe a fact or situation whose explanation is un-answered. Pronounced “Fe-Nom-E-Non”.
Derby – Derby is a city in the East midlands region of England, it also happens to be a term used for when two local rivals compete against one another, usually in sport. Typically pronounced “dar-bee”, however the term is sometimes pronounced “der-bee” when talking about the location.
Regularly – Regularly is a term used to describe something which is done often. Pronounced “reg-U-ler-ly”, although the term commonly rolls in to just “reg-U-ly”
February – February has two different pronunciations. Originally pronounced “Feb-RU-ary”, however modern dictionaries also recognise “Feb-U-ary” as an adequate pronunciation. If you can remember the R in the middle of February then you are sure to beat even native-speakers in a spelling test.
Edited – A term used to describe the preparation of written material for publication by correcting, condensing or otherwise modifying it. Pronounced “ed-It-Id” this one catches foreign speakers out because of how the “I” is pronounced.
Heir – Pronounced neither “hair” nor “air”, this term is used to describe somebody who will be passed on something. E.g. the next in line for the throne will commonly be known as the heir to the throne. The correct pronunciation is “eər”.
Hopefully this list of commonly miss-pronounced English words and terms will help you throughout your day-to-day English conversations. If you are really struggling with the miss-pronunciation of certain English terms then why not take advantage of one of our General English Courses in Dublin? Catering to all levels of experience, a General English Course with Atlas Language School is sure to help with your pronunciation of the words you find difficult. To find out more information regarding our General English Courses, please contact us today!