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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Hard words to pronounce in British and American English

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Were back with some more tricky words.

Theyre words our viewers have told us they find hard to say.

So get ready to test your English pronunciation.

Im Jay and Im American.

And Im Vicki and Im British.

But everyone else youll see speaks English as a second language.

Or third or fourth language.

Theyre all very smart.

But English spellings are crazy.

So heres the first word.

Colonel, no, colonel.

Ah, I don't know.

Erm, colonel.

Colonel.

This words really tricky!

It looks like it has three syllables but there are only two.

Colonel.

Colonel.

Colonel.

Colonel.

They were good.

So what is a colonel?

Its someone with a high rank in the army.

Or in the US airforce or marines.

Say it with our learners.

Colonel.

Colonel.

Colonel.

OK, next one.

Youth-s Youth...sss, Youth-s.

Yous.

Ah, it's kind of difficult this one.

Yeah, it IS difficult.

What does it mean?

A youth is a young person and the plural is youths.

We often say youths when we disapprove, so we might complain about a gang of youths who

started a fight or something.

Oh my god.

Youths.

Youths.

They pronounced it very well.

This word is like work out for your mouth.

It gets your face muscles moving.

You start withyouand thenthbut then you have to move your tongue back

quickly to sayz’.

youths.

Practice saying it slowly first and then speed up.

Youths.

Youths.

c Is there a way to cheat at this?

Well you could try saying yous, without theth’.

Yous.

Yous.

Id understand that.

Yes, its better than saying two syllables.

Youth-isthat doesnt work.

It needs to be just one syllable.

Say it with us.

Youths Youths

The next word's interesting.

Gouge.

Gauge.

Gouge.

Gauge.

Gouge - gauge.

So is it a gauge or a gouge?

And what does it mean?

We saygaugeand its an instrument for measuring something.

Like a temperature gauge, or a pressure gauge.

Or a petrol gauge She means a gas gauge.

Gauge.

Gauge.

But theres another word that looks similar: gouge.

Gaugegougenotice the vowel sound is different

Gouge means something completely different.

Its when you cut into something.

So its often a violent act.

The lions claw gouged into the mans skin.

Say the two words with us.

Gauge.

Gouge.

Gauge.

Gouge.

OK, next word.

This one is a medical term.

Oesophagus.

Oesophagus.

Oh my god.

No!

It's very hard.

Oh.

Oesophagus.

Oesophagus.

Theyre not quite right, but theyre close.

Did you show them the British or American spelling?

The British spelling.

The American spelling is easier.

But some learners managed to work it out.

Oesophagus.

Yes!

Oesophagus.

They got it!

Good job!

So what does it oesophagus mean?

Its a tube in our bodies which our food goes down.

The oesphagus goes from our mouth to our stomach.

Oesophagus Esophagus.

So the main stress is on the second syllable.

OeSOphagus.

Say it with us.

Oesophagus Esophagus

Whats next?

This was another request from our viewers.

Debut, debut.

Debut.

Debut.

Theyre sensible guesses, but theyre all wrong!

The t is silent - debut.

Jay and I say this word a little differently.

I can say it two ways in British English.

Debut or debut.

Debut.

Did you hear the difference?

I stressed the first syllable.

And I stressed the second.

Debut.

Debut.

That sometimes happens with words that come from French.

You stress the first syllable and I stress the second one.

Yes, like I say BAllet.

And I say ballET.

And GArage.

GarAGE.

To me it sounds like your trying to sound posh and say things the French way.

Well, I am posh.

OK, what doesdebut' mean?

You mean debut.

If someone makes their first public appearance then they make their debut.

An actor can make their debut on Broadway.

Or a bands first album is their debut album.

Say it with us: Debut or debut.

Debut.

Next word.

Rural.

Err, rural.

Good job!

Rural.

Rural.

They did well.

Yeah.

I think this word is hard because of American English.

Oh, so its my fault?

Yes.

Why?

You pronounce your R sounds so strongly.

Rural.

Rural.

Did you hear the difference?

Jays R sounds were very strong.

In some words, Vicki doesnt pronounce R sounds at all.

But I do in this word.

Rural.

R - Theyre very clear.

For me, American English isn't clear.

What do you mean?

It seems like the strong R sounds make the vowel sounds disappear: Rural.

Rural.

Now what about Asian languages?

Oh yes.

For Asian learners this word is extra difficult because of the R and L sounds.

Rural.

With the L sound your tongue is going to press the back of your top teeth.

/l/, /l/.

But with the R sounds, your tongue doesnt touch anything.

Its your lips that will move.

/r/, /r/.

So lets start at the back of the word and go forward.

/l/ /ral/ /rural/ - /l/ /ral/ /rural/ /l/ /ral/ /rural/

Great.

Try saying this with our learners.

Rural.

Rural.

Rural.

Good job.

There are regional differences in the UK with how we say this.

And in the US too.

Write and tell us what you say in the comments.

And if you say other words differently too.

OK, next word.

Disease.

Disease.

Ah, no.

This word has two vowel sounds that a lot of students find hard.

Disease.

/ɪ/ and - /i:/.

Its a good word for practicing these sounds.

Disease.

Disease.

The first vowel sound is /ɪ/ – and its a short sound.

/ɪ/ And the second vowel is /i:/.

You pull your mouth wider so theres more tension at the corners-/ɪ/ - /i:/ and /i:/

is a longer sound.

So whats a disease?

Its an illness.

You could have heart disease.

Or a blood disease.

Say it with our learners.

Disease.

Disease.

Disease.

Disease.

Disease.

Lets have a really hard one now.

OK.

Heres one that lots of our learners didnt know.

Anemone.

Anemone.

Anemone.

Anemone.

Oh my.

Anemone.

Anemone.

Anemone.

Anemone.

Wow, anemone.

Ah dear!

Theyre all wrong!

English spelling is so confusing!

We say anemoneand its a kind of flower.

Anemone.

Anemone.

So the main stress is on the second syllable.

And it has four syllables.

aNEMone.

Say it with us.

Anemone.

Anemone.

Its time to say a big thank you to all the English learners who let us video them.

They were so nice to stop and let us record them.

And they were such good fun.

If youve enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up and share it with a friend.

And we have more videos with other tricky words for you to check out.

Ill put the link at the end of the video, and make sure you subscribe to our channel.

Bye-bye.

Bye!

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