"Ten French words you'll never pronounce right"

or that's what this article says.

Here's the ten words they say are very difficult:

1) Mille-feuille
It's a pastry like a custard slice gone very, very right. I don't think this word is all that hard, as long as you can do the sound in feuille, and as long as you can decide whether to pronounce the "ll"s in mille.

2) Brouilly
It's a type of wine. I've never heard of it.

3) Rouen
Place names are awkward because they don't always follow the rules. When I had preached perhaps 40 times in Blaye (which is pronounced locally to rhyme with "aye"or Dai) someone visited us and wanted to ask about Blaye, and every time I said the place name they "corrected" me to Ble (rhymes with "meh"). Every time. It took a supreme effort of will not to say, "Look, who goes there every other week, me or you, sunbeam?"... Other anarchic place names include Agen and the department, le Gers.

4) Bouilloire
Actually, the whole verb "to boil", bouillir, is such a nightmare that often recipes avoid saying "boil the water", substituting "bring to the boil" - porter à ébullition. However, I don't find bouilloire all that challenging.

5) Pneu
Honestly, this is no problem at all. Is it?

6) Heureuse
Not a problem.

7) Froid
I think 6 and 7 are issues if you can't do a French "r".

8) Grenouille
I always get this wrong, because I can never remember whether it's grunwee or grunooy

9) L'eau
Honestly, the person who thinks this is hard to pronounce should move to Italy or Spain.

10) Serrurerie
This is a festival of "r" with a jolly "u" in the middle. Don't be fazed. Take your time. And watch this video if you like:


Gary Brady said…
What about fauteuil? Especially considering it's one of the first ones you encounter. I was always quite proud of my stab at that one.
Alan said…
Yes. Lots of non-French people have difficulty with the "euil" words, like deuil, and accueil, and so on.

It's almost, but not quite entirely unlike the word "eye" in English.
Alan said…
My nightmare for a long time was the word "enrégistrement".
Basically I used to rush it. Take your time! Take your time!

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