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How to Pronounce 12 of the Most Difficult French Words

58 sec read

Boy shouting on a microphone

Some French words are pretty difficult to pronounce for English speakers. So we recently asked our Facebook community to tell us which French words they were struggling with:

Which French word is your worst nightmare? 🇫🇷 😭

Posted by ILINI – Learn Real-life French on Saturday, 14 September 2019

We received quite a few contributions and selected 12 of the most difficult French words to pronounce below. Unsurprisingly, French diphtongs and semivowels seem to be what learners of French have the most trouble with.

These words happen to be quite funny to hear, and funny to pronounce. So go ahead and try the parrot’s technique:

Hear and repeat!

Écureuil (squirrel)

Se débrouiller (manage, cope)

Serrurier (locksmith)

Grenouille (frog)


Caoutchouc (rubber)

Chirurgien (surgeon)

Bouilloire (kettle)

Courrier (mail)

Fauteuil (armchair)

Cuillère (spoon)

Cueillir (pick)

Are there other French words you are struggling with? Please let us know in the Facebook post’s comments.

If you want to keep improving your French pronunciation while learning real-world French vocabulary, have a look at the latest news and entertainment videos on

Ilini Learn French. Live France.