How to Pronounce Difficult Words in French: Part 1


Last Updated: August 31, 2022

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One of the most difficult things non-French speakers all agree on when learning French is the pronunciation.

Difficult words to pronounce french to english

You’ll often hear French learners grumbling about:

  • how to pronounce the letter u’s and the r’s,
  • how to let the French words roll off the tongue without sounding funny, and
  • how to say certain French words that almost seem impossible to pronounce.

In some cases, these words are too difficult to say that you’d probably just have to avoid altogether any scenario that requires you to say the particular word, otherwise you’d go:


We asked the Talk in French community on Facebook to share the French words that they have the most difficulty pronouncing. The response was overwhelming! So here in this article, we’ve listed down the answers you shared and we’ll also provide you with a free audio that you can download---and listen to---to help you with the pronunciation.

We have narrowed down the list to 120 words which will be spread out into a series of 4 articles, with 30 words for each article.

Time to learn how to pronounce difficult words in French!

Accueila welcome or reception(0:00 min)
Aiguilleneedle(0:12 min)
Anticonstitutionnellementunconstitutionally(0:24 min)
AoûtAugust, as in the month(0:42 min)
Apparaîtrionsto appear (conditional)(0:53 min)
Arbretree(1:06 min)
Arrondissementdistrict(1:16 min)
Aucun/aucunenon, no one, neither (can be used as an
adjective or a pronoun)
(1:31 min)
Barbès-Rochechouarta station in the Paris Metro which
is located in the junction of of Boulevard
Barbes which is named after Armand
Barbès (a revolutionary), and Boulevard
de Rochechouart (after Marguerite
de Rochechouart, the abbess).
(1:52 min)
Barbuwhen used as an adjective, it means
“bearded”. If as a noun, it means a big,
bearded guy.
(2:07 min)
Biscuitthis is a small, flat baked goodie which
is also referred to as cookie in
the USA, and sometimes, cracker,
in British English.
(2:18 min)
Brouillardfog(2:29 min)
Brûlé/eburnt(2:42 min)
Cacahuètepeanut(2:52 min)
Cadeaucadeau is a gift or a present(3:04 min)
Gâteaugateau is cake(3:14 min)
CahorsCahors is a town in South Western
France that is famous for its wine.
(3:24 min)
CaoutchoucRubber(3:36 min)
ChatouilleTickle(3:47 min)
ChaussuresShoes(3:58 min)
Chirurgie, Chirurgien(ne)Surgery, surgeon(4:10 min)
CitrouillePumpkin(4:46 min)
CoeurHeart(4:57 min)
Cou vs culCou is neck while cul means ass or bum(5:06 min)
CouvertureBlanket(5:27 min)
Croissantcrescent; the crescent-shaped pastry(5:39 min)
Cueilliepicked or plucked(5:50 min)
de rienyou’re welcome; it’s nothing(6:07 min)
de, le, unarticles and prepositions. de= of/from,
le=the, and un=a
(6:18 min)
Débrouillera verb that means to sort out, untangle
or manage something
(6:43 min)

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

Did your submitted word make it to this list? There’s still parts 2, 3, and 4 of difficult words to pronounce. Don’t forget to check it out, too. 

If you want to learn more about French language and culture, don’t forget to look for Talk in French in social media: Facebook or Twitter.

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

  • Enjoying every moment of my return to the study of French. Many thanks for your wonderful programmes and books on kindle.This activity or study is enriching my life in retirement.Mary

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