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Thread: Hardest sound to pronounce

  1. #61
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by merquiades View Post
    Any insight on the ü of fünf?
    Long "ü" as in "Hügel": Say [i:] as in "feet" and round your lips.
    Short "ü" as in "fünf": Say [I] as in "live" and round your lips.

  2. #62
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by berndf View Post
    Long "ü" as in "Hügel": Say [i:] as in "feet" and round your lips.
    Short "ü" as in "fünf": Say [I] as in "live" and round your lips.
    Ok, seems like long ü is like the French "lu", short ü is like the French "leur".
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  3. #63
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by merquiades View Post
    Ok, seems like long ü is like the French "lu", short ü is like the French "leur".
    Long ü: Yes - Short "ü": No.
    The Vowel of French leur corresponds to short German "ö" which is a rounded [ɛ] as in "bed".

    The German short "ü" is in between Fench "u" as in "lu" and French "eux".

    Have a look at the vowel chart here. French "u" and long German "ü" = [y], Long German "ö" and French "eux" = [ø], German short "ü" is [Y] while French "leur" and short German "ö" = [œ]. [Y] doesn't exist in French.

  4. #64
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by berndf View Post
    Long ü: Yes - Short "ü": No.
    The Vowel of French leur corresponds to short German "ö" which is a rounded [ɛ] as in "bed".

    The German short "ü" is in between Fench "u" as in "lu" and French "eux".

    Have a look at the vowel chart here. French "u" and long German "ü" = [y], Long German "ö" and French "eux" = [ø], German short "ü" is [Y] while French "leur" and short German "ö" = [œ]. [Y] doesn't exist in French.
    Check out this site, choose monophthonge then Vorn. http://www.uiowa.edu/%7Eacadtech/pho.../frameset.html
    I think my problem is vowel length. All the long vowels in German seem stretched out much more than I was doing it. To my ears, French u seems kind of like short ü maybe a bit longer, and long ü is really long. This seems like a good link for German sounds. Thanks again
    Life is not a dress rehearsal.

  5. #65
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    The lengths of the long vowels are exaggerated in the samples, especially the long "i".

    For the the vowels i, e, o, u, ö and ü long and short vowels differ in both quantity and quality. The short vowels are always a bit lower and a bit more central than their long counterparts, similar to Classical Latin. The quality of the long ü corresponds to French u. The quality of German short ü does not exist in French. It is the same as with [i] as in "live" vs. [I] as in "leave". French has no [I] and since French does not distinguish long and short vowels, for a French speaker "live" and "leave" are homophones. Similarly, a French speaker has trouble hearing the difference between "fühlen" (long ü) and "füllen" (short ü) although they differ in quality and in quantity.
    Last edited by berndf; 17th February 2011 at 2:20 AM. Reason: Typo

  6. #66
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    In my opinion all vowel sounds are hard to reproduce. Most people never get them right when they learn a foreign language. That's why they still have the accent of their mother tongue. For instance, the hindi sound ऐ is almost always pronounced incorrectly by native english speakers. It took me months to realize the correct pronunciation of this.

    After that I can tell just from description that the aiyn arabi sound is one of the hardest.

    The personal hardest for me were the retroflex flaps found in Hindi. To english speakers they sound like an R. ढ़ and ड़ . They are created by a tongue movement native to indian languages and not found in others except for some norwegian and swedish dialects it seems....Took me several hours.

  7. #67
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    I just discovered that even as a native, I can't pronounce the Finnish triphtong äyi [æyi] fluently enough.

    Ok, it's very rare, but I somehow managed to surprise my tongue while trying to explain a situation where I was in a good position on the floor and people could see me very well.

    ... ja miä näyin tosi hyvin sieltä. "And I could be seen very well from there."
    That which caterpillars call the end of the world, we call the butterfly. Sitä, mitä toukka kutsuu maailmanlopuksi, me kutsumme perhoseksi.

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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    I admit this is a ridiculous example, but really, this beats the crap out of all of your "hard" pronunciations. From Nuxálk:

    [xɬpʼχʷɬtʰɬpʰɬːskʷʰt͡sʼ]

    ("He had had in his possession a bunchberry plant.")

    and

    [kʼxɬɬtʰsxʷ sɬχʷtʰɬɬtʰs (t͡s?)]

    ("You had seen that I had gone through a passage.")
    Linguistics is always descriptive. Never prescriptive.

  9. #69
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjahzi View Post
    this beats the crap out of all of your "hard" pronunciations. From Nuxálk:

    I'm not sure this is a good example, because as explained in your link, in fact vowels are inserted unpredictably whereever they are need to simplify pronunciation. In other words, this is only the way to write down a word, using only "constant" signs.

    For me the most difficult sounds are abruptive (ejecting) consonants such as in many Caucasian languages. Attempts to produce them result only in the pain in my gullet.

  10. #70
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    For me the hardest sound to pronounce is Arabic letter 'ayn: ع .
    It's like you were choking on it. I'm able to say it along with the vowel "a", but never with "i", "u" or alone (sukun).

  11. #71
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by berndf View Post
    Try to say [j] as in "year" and stop voicing.
    This depends on the vowel system of your own language. It is certainly difficult for speakers of Romance language as they are lacking vowel lengths and distinction between open and close "i" and open and close "u". In addition, Spanish lacks distinction between open and close "e" and "o".
    Québécois (Quebec French) has both open and closed "i" (cf. "petit" vs. "petite") and open and closed "u" (cf. "tout" vs. "toute"), and open and closed "y" (cf. "du" vs. "dur"), but as far as I know there are no minimal pairs (like English "shit" vs. "sheet").
    Introduzca su firma aquí

  12. #72
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    I also have that terrible problem in English with the ship/sheep kind of sounds. I asked my teacher (native speaker) some time ago and as he was saying both words I couldn't even tell the diference between the 2 sounds. This not only brings problems with the sheet/shit but also with the beach/bitch....


    But the hardest sound for me it's the "l" sound, like in "Lily", but that's a problem of myself, that could only be worked out with language therapy

  13. #73
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    if your mind can say it, correct pronounciation will follow.masampata abe abe deketamapesan!
    deKamatodeNah TeKatenggesan Ketam

  14. #74
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    As a native Hebrew speaker who comes from mostly German Jewish descent, I didn't even know that /r/ can be pronounced with the tongue rather then the throat. Once I discovered it, it became my number one priority to be able to pronounce it. Sure enough, two weeks later I could pronounce the trill and some time later also the tap. Even more than a year later, it still gives me joy to pronounce it. I once thought I can't pronounce both versions of the English th until I discovered that I pronounce them all the time when mispronouncing /s/ and /z/. There are still a few consonants I can't pronounce, but these exist only in more exotic languages (for example, Labiodental flap)

  15. #75
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    I'm surprised some people here had trouble with /ɬ/. It's very easy! Your tongue position should be like when pronouncing /l/, then try to pronounce /s/.

    What I'm having most problems with is the Southern English (RP) tone of speaking. Almost all of the vowels and consonants are very easy for me, but I'm still speaking too high, which makes my "nurse" sound like /nɛːs/ ~ /nɜːs/ and "father" like /ˈfaːðə/ ~ /ˈfɑːðə/ - that is, something close to the correct pronunciation but still not quite it. Any ideas to speak with a better voice?

    For me the most difficult sounds are abruptive (ejecting) consonants such as in many Caucasian languages. Attempts to produce them result only in the pain in my gullet.
    In Georgian, /pʼ/ and /tʼ/ are quite easy for me, but /kʼ/, /qʼ/, /tsʼ/ and /tʃʼ/ are a nightmare. /qʼ/ is probably the hardest consonant to pronounce that I've ever encountered.

  16. #76
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    to me is "ts" at the first, like zwei in German or tsunami in Japanese.
    it is not so difficult but is a question for me, why many languages make their speakers to pronounce it?!
    Last edited by darush; 15th February 2012 at 6:54 PM.

  17. #77
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    That's an... interesting question I have the same towards /ʎ/. It's not hard for me, but very annoying to make (I'm never sure if it sounds right, all the recordings are confusing and sound like ~/j/). That's why I chose to be a yeísta when speaking Spanish.

  18. #78
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Almost no one would be able to pronounce phonemes that are out of IPA, such as ingressive sounds.

  19. #79
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by darush View Post
    to me is "ts" at the first, like zwei in german or tsunami in japanese.
    it is not so difficult but is a question for me, why many languages make their speakers to pronounce it?!
    You could ask this question about every other sound any language has. As you said, it is not so difficult to pronounce. Then, why do you ask this question about this consonant and not about any other, like k, n , l, .... I really don't understand.

  20. #80
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    Re: Hardest sound to pronounce

    Quote Originally Posted by myfakename View Post
    That's an... interesting question I have the same towards /ʎ/. It's not hard for me, but very annoying to make (I'm never sure if it sounds right, all the recordings are confusing and sound like ~/j/). That's why I chose to be a yeísta when speaking Spanish.
    I know what you mean, /ʎ/, I recognize it and can pronounce it from Italian and Portuguese but (personally) I have never heard it pronounced this way in Spanish and I've been around a lot. Where distinction is made I interpret it more as a sound close to what they call weakened d' in Slavic languages. i noticed the similarity when studying Russian (girl, money, where)

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