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Thread: Hardest sound to pronounce

  1. #21
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Same here for English: sheet/shit; sneakers/snickers; green/grin...

    In French, not to "swallow" the end of the nazal vowels. Hard to explain, bot I think people whose native language dosn't have them and who learned French, would understand.

  2. #22
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by rusita preciosa View Post
    In French, not to "swallow" the end of the nazal vowels. Hard to explain, bot I think people whose native language dosn't have them and who learned French, would understand.
    No, I don't. German doesn't have nasalized vowels still Germans don't swallow them in French but they confuse differnt nasalized vowels, e.g. Germans pronounce vin like vent.

  3. #23
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by wanpi View Post
    To me, the most difficult pronunciation as a spaniard is the double "e" in some words like "sheet". As the spanish only have 5 vowel sounds, and the english have 13.
    So, my problem is that I pronounce "Sheet" and "Shit" just the same...
    Totally aside...that's hilarious. Be careful not to give the wrong message

  4. #24
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    As a Portuguese speaker, I also have a difficult time with the many English vowels that sound the same to me.
    The other day I was quite surprised when I read something in the Wikipedia that mentioned the different vowels in "bad" and "bed". I thought they were homophones, and even now I can barely notice a difference, let alone pronounce them with distinct vowels.

    But I think the phoneme that troubles me most is the German R, [ʁ]. I think I pronounce it as a voiced version of [x], which is not as it was supposed to be.

  5. #25
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by Erick404 View Post
    But I think the phoneme that troubles me most is the German R, [ʁ]. I think I pronounce it as a voiced version of [x], which is not as it was supposed to be.
    That is perfect! (To be pedantic, [ʁ] is the voiced version of [χ] and not of [x] but I suppose that is what you meant).

  6. #26
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by Erick404 View Post
    ...the different vowels in "bad" and "bed". I thought they were homophones, and even now I can barely notice a difference, let alone pronounce them with distinct vowels.
    Hello Erick404, you should listen more to British English. The bad-bed difference in USA English is really imperceptible.
    [ɒkinɛk humorɒ vɒn, mindɛnˤtud, ɒkinɛk niŋʧ, mindɛnrɛ ke.pɛʃ]

  7. #27
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by HBZ55 View Post
    What is the hardest sound you have ever tried to pronounce in a language you're learning? I only speak three languages which are Arabic, English and French and I didn't find any sound particularly difficult, but I struggled a bit with some vowels in French and the overall intonation of English.
    Some people told me that they find the [q] sound very difficult to successfully imitate, and others told me the 3ayn letter is the most difficult, but I want to know the opinion of a larger group of people that have studied more than just a few languages.
    I simply 'hate' the word être. In English I used to find difficult to pronounce words such as rhythm or shrink but it's because in Spanish we don't have those consonantal clusters. In Spanish some people find it difficult to pronounce the 'ñ', 'rr' but I think it depends on their native tongue.

  8. #28
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by berndf View Post
    That is perfect! (To be pedantic, [ʁ] is the voiced version of [χ] and not of [x] but I suppose that is what you meant).
    Well, I meant [x], the ach-laut phoneme, not [χ]. [χ] and [ʁ] should be "produced" with the tongue further back in the mouth, shouldn't they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Encolpius View Post
    Hello Erick404, you should listen more to British English. The bad-bed difference in USA English is really imperceptible.
    Well, then I'm not as bad (or bed? ) as I thought concerning these vowels.

  9. #29
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by Encolpius View Post
    Hello Erick404, you should listen more to British English. The bad-bed difference in USA English is really imperceptible.
    What? I can very easily hear the difference in AE.

    In Hiberno-English there is also a clear difference between the two.

  10. #30
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by Erick404 View Post
    Well, I meant [x], the ach-laut phoneme, not [χ]. [χ] and [ʁ] should be "produced" with the tongue further back in the mouth, shouldn't they?
    The ach-Laut is[χ]. [x] occurs after /o/ and /u/ as in doch or Buch.

    PS: In addition, the /r/ phoneme has so many variations in German, I don't think many German would even notice, if you said [ɣ] (i.e. voiced [x]) instead of [ʁ] (i.e. voiced [χ]). I am almost sure I am floating between [ɣ], [ʁ] and [R] in my own pronunciation too.
    Last edited by berndf; 14th September 2009 at 10:25 AM.

  11. #31
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    A lot of people says that some Chinese consonants like sh, ch, zh and r is really different. I have to say that it is true. Like me, I'm a native Chinese, but in the accent of my living region, we never distinguish those sound, like the difference between s and sh, c and ch, z and zh, and we always pronounce r like y, it's interesting.

    But for me, some diffcult foreign sounds are:
    1. rr or r from Spanish. In Chinese we have never sounded this pronunce. It's strange and anormal for us. So when we started to learn Spanish, we costed a lot in this pronunce.
    2. "L" in mongolian. I think it is not the same like all "L" in all language. It just like a "S" sound, but not the same. I really don't know how to describe this sound. I really spend a lot of work to imitate it.

  12. #32
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by MoisesYU View Post
    A lot of people says that some Chinese consonants like sh, ch, zh and r is really different. I have to say that it is true. Like me, I'm a native Chinese, but in the accent of my living region, we never distinguish those sound, like the difference between s and sh, c and ch, z and zh, and we always pronounce r like y, it's interesting.
    I bet most Chinese feel the same way, especially the r- thing (how many people really pronoune it as the textbook describes when they speak Mandarin, I wonder?)

    I fancy one of the most traumatic experiences for a foreign learner of Mandarin is when he finds out that people in real life don't really pronounce many of the cosonants as the textbook dictates, which he's spent so many hours to master...

    L" in mongolian. I think it is not the same like all "L" in all language. It just like a "S" sound, but not the same. I really don't know how to describe this sound. I really spend a lot of work to imitate it.
    This sound (IPA: [ɬ]) exists in the Taishanese 台山 dialect, do you happen to know anyone who speaks this dialect? (Listen to the pronounciation of 三 in this link)
    قيراط حظ ولا فدان شطارة

  13. #33
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghabi View Post
    I bet most Chinese feel the same way, especially the r- thing (how many people really pronoune it as the textbook describes when they speak Mandarin, I wonder?)

    I fancy one of the most traumatic experiences for a foreign learner of Mandarin is when he finds out that people in real life don't really pronounce many of the cosonants as the textbook dictates, which he's spent so many hours to master...

    This sound (IPA: [ɬ]) exists in the Taishanese 台山 dialect, do you happen to know anyone who speaks this dialect? (Listen to the pronounciation of 三 in this link)
    Thanks you so much. I think it's useful for me!!
    I have found [ɬ] in wikipedia, I hope I can make it.

  14. #34
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    French diphthongs!!!!!!! Maybe that whole r-thing, especially in the middle of a word

  15. #35
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Not so much one sound, but distinguishing between ш (sh) and щ (shch) in Russian is impossible for me. I flat out cannot hear or replicate any difference between the two in speech.

  16. #36
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Not so much one sound, but distinguishing between ш (sh) and щ (shch) in Russian is impossible for me. I flat out cannot hear or replicate any difference between the two in speech.
    But for me it is so natural. "Ш" is hard (velarized), when "щ" is soft (palatalized). Learning Russian, you must always hear difference between hard and soft consonants, because there is not only phonetical, but also phonematical importance here. I advice you to place these two sounds in end of words (where following vowels don't interfere at all) and try to hear any difference (in the pair "лещ" and "утешь", for example). Or just ask any Russian to pronounce isolated sounds "ш" and "щ" very loud. Position of the tip of the tonque is slightly different.

    P.S.: As for me, Arabian emphatic consonants were the largest problem, especially when there are no following vowels after them. Even 'ain consonant was much more easy to learn.
    P.P.S.: Komi "ӧ" vowel (don't mix it with labialized "ö" phoneme in German languages or in Finnish) also was quite difficult, especially taking into account that all other phonemes of the language, including hard and soft pairs of consonants, are very simple for Russians. I haven't even found any appropriate sign for Komi "ӧ" in the IFA.
    Last edited by Awwal12; 9th November 2009 at 9:41 AM.

  17. #37
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by Awwal12 View Post
    P.P.S.: Komi "ӧ" vowel (don't mix it with labialized "ö" phoneme in German languages or in Finnish) also was quite difficult, especially taking into account that all other phonemes of the language, including hard and soft pairs of consonants, are very simple for Russians. I haven't even found any appropriate sign for Komi "ӧ" in the IFA.
    According to Wikipedia it is the mid central vowel, i.e. [ə]. Is it rounded or un-rounded? ([ə] can stand for both.)

  18. #38
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Thanks, berndf. It really sounds very similar to "ӧ" in stressed positions. The problem is that Russian Wiki has no audiosample for this IFA sound, and none of Russian sources describes "ӧ" as [ə].

  19. #39
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by Benedicta View Post
    The sound that has always been a little bit difficult to me is the "ll" in Spanish, like in "paella" or "calle" (street).
    Which one? In Spanish “ll” is pronounced like: /ʝ/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /ʎ/, /ʤ/. In Argentina they use /ʃ/, /ʒ/. Personally, I love how it sounds when used with /ʒ/ sound.

  20. #40
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    I could never click to nasal languages; hence, French goes out the window for me.
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes!

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