How to Pronounce Difficult Words in French: Part 2


Last Updated: August 31, 2022

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Welcome to the second part of this series of articles about the most difficult French words to pronounce.

Difficult words to pronounce french to english

We asked the Talk in French community what are the French words that they are having a hard time saying… And here are the results.

If you haven’t seen it yet, there is also a part 1 which can be found here, as well as parts 3 and 4.

dehorsoutside, outdoors(0:01 min)
dessus, dessousdessus means on top while dessous means
underneath; both can be used as adverb,
preposition or a noun
(0:14 min)
deuxtwo, as in the number 2(0:29 min)
droit vs doigtdroit means straight while doigt means finger(0:40 min)
écureuilsquirrel(0:55 min)
en couleurin color(1:08 min)

“I can't say 'en couleur' without sounding very offensive. I dread the printers in work breaking down and explaining to the technician that there is a problem printing in colour !”

- Paulette, via Facebook

Note: Like Paulette, be careful in pronouncing “en couleur” because it sounds almost similar to “enculer” which is a pretty offensive term that could mean either “motherf*ck*r or a sexual act that involves the backside.

en faitin fact, actually(1:21 min)
en hautupstairs, at the top(1:34 min)

“I tried to say ‘en haut’ to a Frenchman but he couldn't figure out what I was saying the first six times.”

- Hallie, via Facebook

ennuyerto annoy(1:45 min)
enseignerteach(1:57 min)
épanouissementblossoming(2:09 min)
étangpond (2:22 min)

“I try it two or three different ways until I get the right one.”

-Yve French, via Facebook

euxthem(2:33 min)
fauteuilarmchair(2:44 min)
feuilleleaf(2:57 min)
feuilletéflaky, as in flaky pastry(3:08 min)
fillegirl(3:20 min)
fleur-de-lis / fleur-de-lysa type of flower; lily flower(3:32 min)
formidableformidable, tremendous(3:45 min)
fourrurefur(3:58 min)
genrea type or kind(4:11 min)
grenouillefrog(4:22 min)
grisgrey(4:35 min)
grosbig, large, fat(4:46 min)

“Helena-Anne J. Hill: Anything that involves a gr-sound in the beginning, like ‘gris’ or ‘gros’. Or just a gr- sound in general.”

Helena-Anne, via Facebook

grouillerto mill around, to swarm; also a slang term
that means “hurry up”
(4:58 min)
gueulemouth(5:10 min)
hermèsa French luxury brand(5:21 min)
heurehour(5:34 min)
heureux,heureusehappy(5:45 min)
horreurhorror(6:08 min)

With regular practice and correct learning materials, these difficult words to pronounce won't become so difficult anymore!

You can download a copy of the audio when you subscribe to the newsletter by clicking the photo below. If you have already subscribed before, please check again the dropbox link I shared in the email when you subscribed; you’ll see that the file is already there.

So… did you find any of these words difficult to pronounce? There are still parts 3, and 4, you can check that out, too, and eventually master these hard French words!

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See you there!

About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

  • hi
    a note of caution ‘ gueule’ for mouth I have found is actually considered fairly impolite in case my expat comrades think it is ok to use.

    • Only if you use it in “Ferme ta gueule!”
      For instance you may be jovially talking about a friend’s reaction to a calamity and say “Tu aurais dû voir sa gueule! Hehehehe”

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