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What language is difficult to pronounce?

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26 messages over 4 pages: 13 4  Next >>
United States
Joined 1939 days ago

3 posts - 3 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Esperanto, French

 Message 9 of 26
27 January 2016 at 5:53pm | IP Logged 
There are words that are difficult to pronounce in other languages even if the language's
phonology may not be that difficult.

For example, I've had problems saying "desafortunadamente" in Spanish and "primierement"
in French, even though I don't think Spanish or French is very difficult to pronounce
well enough for native speakers to understand.

And of course there is how well you can pronounce it, such as sounding like a beginner or
having a convincing native accent.

Edited by MCK74 on 27 January 2016 at 5:54pm

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Trilingual Hexaglot
Senior Member
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Speaks: Russian, English*, Czech*, Slovak*, French, Spanish
Studies: Ukrainian, Polish, Dutch

 Message 10 of 26
03 February 2016 at 11:52am | IP Logged 
French is hard to pronounce :)
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United States
Joined 1988 days ago

6 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: Russian*, English, German
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Spanish, Serbian

 Message 11 of 26
07 February 2016 at 10:46am | IP Logged 
I think Adyghe language will be impossible to pronounce for 99% of world population

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Monox D. I-Fly
Senior Member
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Speaks: Indonesian*

 Message 12 of 26
07 February 2016 at 11:06am | IP Logged 
Arabic, it really tortures our throat.
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 4837 days ago

910 posts - 1232 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Finnish

 Message 13 of 26
08 February 2016 at 4:22pm | IP Logged 
Chinese seems massively confusing. I asked a Chinese guys at work, how do we pronounce your name, and none of the English speakers could get it right.   And, I know they hate hearing us butcher their names, so they make up random American names to use instead, but that's not right.
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 5917 days ago

3133 posts - 4351 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Esperanto, French

 Message 14 of 26
10 February 2016 at 11:05am | IP Logged 
A graphic of phonological distance would be helpful.

Although not the same thing, here is a graphic of lexical distance.

Here is a table of Automated Similarity Judgment Program (ASJP) distance.
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Senior Member
PolandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4020 days ago

227 posts - 464 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, English, German
Studies: Spanish, Russian, Czech, French, Mandarin, Japanese

 Message 15 of 26
11 February 2017 at 4:52pm | IP Logged 
jeff_fontaine wrote:

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.

Nah, we can formulate a general question: What kind of differences between one's native and the target language make it difficult to master the pronunciation of the target language?
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Senior Member
United States
Joined 5159 days ago

851 posts - 1008 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 16 of 26
11 February 2017 at 6:19pm | IP Logged 
Difficulty of perception and articulation,
differences in syllable formation, stress etc.
Generally speaking, "differences". Learners with a
rich sound inventory may have an initial advantage.
Such learners may however introduce in their
pronunciation characteristics that don't exist in
the target language. Other learners can bridge this
initial gap.Desafortunadamente doesn't sound too
difficult to me because I have been exposed to
"sfortunatamente" and "malheureusement".

Edited by reineke on 11 February 2017 at 6:20pm

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