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One of the biggest challenges facing people who are trying to learn English as a second language is the thought that, there are so many hard English words to pronounce!
What makes a word hard to pronounce? Often times the difficult words to pronounce for non-native English speakers are those that are spelled completely different from how they are pronounced.
Not all English words are pronounced phonetically. When a word is pronounced phonetically, it is pronounced how it is spelled. Take the word “know”, if it was pronounced phonetically, the “k” would be spoken. However, the “k” is not spoken and this makes “know” one of the English language’s tricky pronunciation words.
Take a look at the English vocabulary words below. These are hard words for kids to say, even if they are native English speakers, and that can trip up adults as well. So don’t be ashamed to look them up and practice the correct way to pronounce them.
“ak-SEED”, emphasis on the second syllable
To accede means to give your consent or approval to someone else’s actions. It can also mean that you agree with the opinions of a group.
“AY-lee-iss”, emphasis on the first syllable
An alias is an assumed name or identity.
“un-NATH-uh-muh”, emphasis on the second syllable
This means that you dislike something or someone intensely
“uh-NEH-muh-nee”, emphasis on the second syllable
Properly called a “sea anemone”, this is a marine animal that lives on reefs and ocean floors. It’s a sedentary animal that attaches itself to a particular area and doesn’t move, that many people think looks like a flower.
There is also a type of flowering land plants that are called anemones.
The Antarctic is simply the South Pole.
“BROO-uh-ree”, emphasis on the first syllable.
Why is it that words that have something to do with drinking are such hard words to say when drunk? This three syllable word is used for bars specializing in beer. They often brew their own beers.
“kah-muh-RAH-duh-ree”, emphasis on the third syllable
This is the feeling of warmth and familiarity you get when around a group of trusted friends.
“KAV-uhl-ree”, emphasis on the first syllable.
Traditionally, the cavalry were soldiers on horseback. Now, cavalry is usually used to mean someone or something who offers help when you really need it.
A choir is a group of singers. Traditionally, choirs sang religious songs during church services.
A military officer.
“KUHM-fer-tuh-buh”, with emphasis on the first syllable
If you are comfortable, you are relaxed and at ease.
“dee-FIB-ruh-ley-ter”, emphasis on the second syllable
If you watch a lot of medical TV shows, you might have seen this. It’s that device, with two paddles attached to wires that are held to someone’s chest to deliver a shock that is supposed to help restart your heart.
When someone deteriorates their condition grows worse. This can also be used to talk about a situation you find yourself in. Basically, things are getting bad.
An alcoholic beverage, usually traditional kept in a keg. Like draught beer.
“ih-PIT-uh-mee”, emphasis on the second syllable
Someone or something that is the perfect example of a quality or of a type.
“ih-SPOWZ”, emphasis on the second syllable
When you follow or support a particular idea. Usually you are vocal and proud about your support.
When you order an “espresso” you are asking for a type of strong Italian coffee.
“ik-SLIS-it”, with emphasis on the second syllable
This is not one of those hard words to say with a lisp, as you are supposed to sound like your lisping slightly. When you are explicit about something, you state it clearly and in complete detail.
“ek-spoh-NEN-shuh-lee”, emphasis on the third syllable
This is an adverb that means something is increasing rapidly.
“ig-nuh-MIN-ee-uhs”, emphasis on the third syllable
This is usually used as an adverb to describe and action that is considered disgraceful or dishonorable.
This is the name of a geographical feature. An isthmus is a narrow piece of land that is located between two different seas.
This is a tricky word because it is an example of a word with what we call a silent “k”. To know how to pronounce “know”, you need to know it has a silent k.
The rule about a silent “k” makes for tricky pronunciation words. Here’s another word where the “k” is silent and so is the second “l”. This word is used to refer to the ringing of a bell. Usually, this is a big church bell that makes a slow, loud noise.
“LAHY-brer-ee”, emphasis in the first syllable
This is a building which contains a collection of books and other published materials.
Mauve is a color. It is a shade of pale purple.
“MISS-chiv-us”, with the emphasis on the first syllable.
This is an adjective that basically means behaving in a way that causes “trouble”. A mischievous action is not bad or evil. It is usually playful and with no malice behind it.
“NAY-deer”, emphasis on the first syllable
This means reaching the lowest point.
This word is used to refer to a beginner, someone who is new to a task, job, or a group.
“AW-fuhn”, emphasis in the first syllable
If you do something “often” you do it a lot or repeatedly.
“on-o-mot-o-PEE-a”, with the emphasis on the fifth syllable.
This is a term for a word that refers to a sound. These words actually imitate the sound they are supposed to refer to, such as “roar” or “buzz”. It has six syllables which make it quite a mouthful to pronounce, even for native speakers of English.
“oh-toh-rye-no-lar-ing-GOL-uh-jee”, emphasis on the seventh syllable.
This nine syllable word is the formal title of a specific type of medical doctor. This is a doctor who specializes in treating eye, nose, and ear conditions. The simpler way to refer to these types of doctors is as an ENT doctors.
“pan-uh-SEE-uh”, emphasis on the third syllable
This refers to a remedy for illness.
“fleg-MAT-ik”, emphasis on the second syllable
This is someone who is easy-going. No matter what happens around them they remain calm and collected.
A penguin is a type of flightless sea bird. They are typically black and white.
“fi-NOM-uh-non”, emphasis on the second syllable
A phenomenon is an event that is observable,
“PYOO-er-il”, emphasis on the first syllable
When you think something is “purile” you believe it is foolish or childish.
Either “KEEN-wah,” “ken-WAG, or “KEN-o-ah”
Quinoa is an ancient grain that has grown in popularity in the recent decade because of its nutritional values. It’s considered a “superfood” and is actually a Spanish word.
This is someone who is very idealistic, to the point that their ideas are impractical or unrealistic.
When you say a place is “rural” you mean that it is located in the countryside.
“SANG-gwin”, emphasis on the first syllable
Someone who is sanguine is cheerful and hopeful, even if they are facing a bad situation.
These are two bladed cutting instruments that you use to cut into thin materials such as paper or cloth.
When you say something is the “sixth”, your saying it is item number six in a sequence.
“spi-SIF-ik”, emphasis on the second syllable
This means that something is clearly defined.
A squirrel is a bushy tailed rodent that lives in trees.
Someone who is staid is sedate and calm.
“SUKH-ses-fuhl”, emphasis on the first syllable
If you are successful in pronouncing this word, then you pronounced it correctly. When you are successful in something, you accomplished your aim or your purpose.
“SUR-fit”, emphasis in the first syllable
A surfeit is an extra amount of something.
“tem-PER-uh-cher”, emphasis on the second syllable
This is a scientific measurement meant to gague the degree of heat that is present in an object or a substance.
“TRUHK-yeh-luhnt”, emphasis on the first syllable
Someone who is truculent is quick tempered. They get into arguments or fights easily.
A special sauce that originated in Worcester, a town in England. The town name is also pronounced the as “WOOster-sher”.
“ZEF-er”, emphasis on the first syllable
This refers to a breeze that is soft and mild.
If you want to learn how to correctly pronounce tricky vocabulary words, the answer is: Practice, practice, practice.
It’s also a really good idea to get a native language speaker as an English tutor who can listen to you say these words and help you with your pronunciation. You can also practice using these hard to pronounce words in conversation which will really help you learn them.
Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism, Floccinaucinihilipilification, Antidisestablishmentarianism, Honorificabilitudinitatibus, Thyroparathyroidectomized
Eunoia is the shortest word that has all vowels in it.
Some words are hard to pronounce, but some aren't. It depends on your native language. English spelling might be tricky for some students as there are some rules that don't make sense.
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