Specific. Worcestershire. Penguin. Welcome to the English language’s worst word nightmares.
If you’re anything like me, then there are a few words that you seriously cannot say.
No matter how many times I practice them over and over again in my head, or listen to the perfect voice on Google translator saying it correctly, I still sound as good as a three year old.
I particularly avoid the words scone (sc-oh-ne or scon?), penalise (pen-a-lise or peen-a-lise) and anonymity (don’t even get me started). If, by any chance they happen to come up in a conversation, I tend to let my voice trail off and mumble the forbidden word under my breath. For a long time, I thought I was the only one suffering from this language incapacity.
Turns out, I’m not alone. Thankfully.
Reddit user, JustATreeNut, asked Reddit: What’s the hardest English word to pronounce. It seems that there are thousands of words which cause people a hell of a lot trouble. The top ten words included (and you have to say them aloud!):
1. Worcestershire (apparently said: wuss-ter-sheer)
2. Specific (I think everyone has troubles with that)
3. Squirrel (for anyone with a German accent)
6. Derby (said darby)
7. Regularly (is it right to just say reg-u-ly?)
10. Heir (it’s not air but neither is it hair)
It’s not just us ordinary people who need a bit of help pronouncing the rather tricky words in the English language. Actor, Benedict Cumberbatch tends to get a bit muddled by the word ‘penguin’.
Thanks, Benedict, for reminding us that even award-winning actors have trouble, too.
What words do you find hard to pronounce?