English is not an easy language to pronounce! If you’re having trouble with your tongue, read on. English borrows words from many different languages, so the rules for pronunciation can change depending on the origin of the word, the meaning of the word, or even the region where the word is spoken. Here are some of the most common English words that are difficult for non-native speakers to pronounce.



Pronunciation is a noun.

My pronunciation isn’t very good.



Pronounce is a verb.

How do you pronounce this word?

Now, let’s move on to some English words that many second language students pronounce incorrectly. Don’t feel bad if you’re surprised at your mistakes. It’s all part of the learning process. I hope this list helps you build confidence in English. When you hear others make these mistakes, now you can help them, too!

Here are the top 8 words that are commonly mispronounced in English. Get your mouth ready for a serious workout!




Chocolate is great to eat but difficult to say! There are only 2 syllables, but non-native speakers often give it 3. Practice saying this word over and over…maybe you’ll get some!




If you want to say this word just like a native speaker, add more stress to the first syllable at the beginning of the word. Or, avoid it completely by saying “veggies.”


Incorrect: RE-fri-gadagterarer…


It’s much cooler and easier! to just call it a “fridge”, but if you want to use the full word, stress the second syllable and say the whole word slowly to practice at first. Then increase your speed. And don’t talk with food in your mouth!




Is you mouth feeling tired yet? Keep going! You’ll need lots of practice to make your mouth strong in English.




Does this girl look comfortable on the sofa? I think it’s a little too small for her! If you want, you can use the word comfy for a short form of the word.




Make sure the “R” in this word is really strong, and reduce it to only two syllables. This place looks like a really comfortable restaurant!




Another common mistake is to add an extra syllable to some words that end in -ed. It’s important to make this word have only one syllable, not two. Other words like this to watch out for: walked (WALKT), stopped (STOPT), liked (LAIKT), watched (WATCHT).




This word is easier than it sounds. Three syllables, with stress on the first syllable. Use the -ING form for describing things. Astronomy is interesting.


Use the -ED form for describing feelings. She is interested in astronomy.

Is your mouth tired now?! Take a break. Maybe go to a restaurant or have some chocolate. Or better, eat your vegetables! It’s important to give yourself time to rest and repeat pronunciation practice each day. Eventually, these words will become more comfortable to pronounce.

Do you know any other words that are difficult to pronounce? I’m interested to know what they are! Leave me a comment below. 🙂

3 thoughts on “8 Words in English Difficult To Pronounce for Non-Native Speakers

  1. These pronunciations are urban slang, not accurate to English language. Do not be misled to pronounce (Pro-nowns) nd articulated words incorrectly. It is unfortunate when “group think” or “heard mentality” causes people to adopt degraded habits; and even sad when the people trying to teach may not know they have and are teaching/sharing incorrect information.
    For proper etiquette references, always go directly to the source, such as Webster Dictionary Site; it even has audio to demonstrate the correct pronunciations.

    1. Hi, Talkin Town teacher Renee here. Thank you for your comment. It seems that you do not understand how language works; there is no such thing as “proper” pronunciation. The correct pronunciation is the one that makes a speaker understood. “Group think” or as you wrote “heard mentality” (which is actually spelled ‘herd’ mentality) is how language evolves. It is perfectly natural and normal for pronunciation to change over. If several groups of people are pronouncing a word a certain way, it is the best interest of an ESL speaker to use that pronunciation, regardless of what is in the dictionary. The dictionary is not a guide to reference to see what is correct. It is a collection of data to record what is happening. Our pronunciation lessons are not ‘urban slang’ as you called it, but rather the pronunciation that is currently being produced by native speakers where we live, in sunny San Diego. Furthermore, we believe that language should be inclusive and give people the chance to communicate and be creative. There is nothing wrong with ‘urban slang’ as a it is a dialect of English that is mostly produced by African Americans. It has rules, grammars, and vocabulary like any other dialect and language. To imply that there is something wrong with this is historically racist and oppressive.
      Thanks again for your comment, and keep up the good work 🙂

  2. I think the way you wrote out the phonetics of the words is great. It gives a good idea of how to pronounce the words for people who don’t know how to use the phonemic alphabet (which can be confusing when you first look at the symbols!). It is a perfectly acceptable way to teach pronunciation! From one EFL/ESL teacher to another, you did a great job in how you presented to pronunciation!

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