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What language is difficult to pronounce?

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
25 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3 4  Next >>
phonology
Groupie
Peru
Joined 1821 days ago

40 posts - 48 votes
Speaks: Spanish*

 
 Message 1 of 25
30 October 2015 at 8:14am | IP Logged 
Does it influence the perspective of the native language?

I think that Arabic, Chinese, English for Spanish speakers.
1 person has voted this message useful



caam_imt
Triglot
Senior Member
Mexico
Joined 2971 days ago

232 posts - 357 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, EnglishC2, Finnish
Studies: German, Swedish

 
 Message 2 of 25
30 October 2015 at 9:55am | IP Logged 
As far as I know, one's native language is a key factor, so difficulty is always relative. I think there are languages with more complex phonetic systems than others (as in "that one has 20 sounds, but that one only 10"), but this doesn't mean that a given language is "hard" to pronounce and another one "easy". In my experience, people whose native language consists of a few vowels and consonants find it difficult to hear the many different sounds in more complex languages (like Spanish vs English). But it seems to me that this happens also in the opposite direction, as people whose language have a lot of sounds cannot stop making these "extra sounds" and thus cannot produce the "simpler" sounds of the target language.

Edited by caam_imt on 30 October 2015 at 10:00am

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shk00design
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 2553 days ago

747 posts - 1122 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin
Studies: French

 
 Message 3 of 25
31 October 2015 at 2:51am | IP Logged 
caam_imt wrote:
As far as I know, one's native language is a key factor, so difficulty is always relative.


Someone who speaks 1 native language may be fluent in another but has trouble pronouncing certain words. Few examples:

French rarely pronounce the letter "H". A sentence like "My house is big" would sound like "My ouse is big".

Spanish & Italian speakers pronounce the ending "e" at the end of a word while English speakers do not. When an Italian speaker say something in English, a lot of times you'd hear the ending "e" sound.

Chinese uses intonation to distinguish words while European languages use intonation to emphasize the tone of their voice depending on the use of the word. The English word "really" in a sentence such as "I really like this coat" would sound different from "Really?" used as a question. Chinese speakers often don't make the distinction.
The word "yes" in English would sound like "ye-si" or "ye-su" depending on the Chinese dialect you speak as a native language. And the word "probably" (3 syllables) often sound like "pro-ba-bo-ly" (4 syllables) from a Cantonese-speaker because Cantonese doesn't have silent sounds.


Edited by shk00design on 31 October 2015 at 2:56am

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William Camden
Hexaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4381 days ago

1936 posts - 2333 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, French

 
 Message 4 of 25
11 November 2015 at 10:08pm | IP Logged 
Scottish Gaelic and Irish have many sounds that are difficult to pronounce properly, at
least for Anglophones.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4706 days ago

9753 posts - 15775 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 5 of 25
13 November 2015 at 11:13pm | IP Logged 
shk00design wrote:
Chinese uses intonation to distinguish words while European languages use intonation to emphasize the tone of their voice depending on the use of the word. The English word "really" in a sentence such as "I really like this coat" would sound different from "Really?" used as a question. Chinese speakers often don't make the distinction.

As beginners they may also think you're saying a different word if the intonation is different from the one they're used to.

I don't think English is one of the most difficult languages to pronounce, it's just that there's more exposure and more pressure to speak it anyhow (while travelling or dealing with foreigners).
1 person has voted this message useful



jeff_fontaine
Newbie
Canada
learnlanguageso
Joined 1411 days ago

10 posts - 13 votes
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 6 of 25
17 November 2015 at 10:13pm | IP Logged 
The difficulty of the pronunciation of the sounds of a language for someone are directly related with the sounds that are present in this person's language. For example, the tones in Mandarin will be much easier to master by a native speaker of Thai and the [h] sound in American English will be much easier to master by speakers of Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese than by speakers of French since that [h] as shk00design pointed out, is not present in the French language.

So, the question: "What language is difficult to pronounce?", should be reformulated to be "What language is difficult to pronounce for people who only speak American English?" for example.
1 person has voted this message useful



Rozzie
Senior Member
United States
Joined 1521 days ago

136 posts - 149 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 7 of 25
23 January 2016 at 9:05pm | IP Logged 
I think it's Italian for me at least
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MarlonX19
Diglot
Groupie
Brazil
Joined 2274 days ago

40 posts - 51 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, English
Studies: French

 
 Message 8 of 25
26 January 2016 at 4:11am | IP Logged 
I have brazilian Portuguese as my native language and I've studied or at least taken a look at several languages and the one I found the hardest to pronounce was German, it gets really messed up in my mouth.


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