https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

What are your most unappealing/disliked French words?

Bonjour à tous!

So there are posts about your favorite French words, but what are the words that you dislike or find unappealing for whatever reason? Maybe you can't pronounce it, it sounds strange to your ears, you can't spell it for the life of you, etc.

Here are some words and reasons why I find these words unappealing (in no particular order):

  1. shampooing: The "-ing" at the end just seems strange to me.

  2. jean: It doesn't sound too French to me, as it sounds like I would say it in American English. I tend to dislike French words that sound English because when I say them, it feels like I cheated on my French and said an English word.

  3. travail: I actually like this word, except I mistake it for "travel" all the time! This and those other "false friends."

  4. douze: Because when there is a liaison, I can't tell between deux, and douze. "Il est deux heure!" "Il est douze heure!" ACK!

  5. portefeuille: I'm sure this is the first word that many of us looked at while learning French and wondered... how the heck do I spell that? Also, the pronunciation is something I just have to get used to, with the really French-sounding "euille" part.

So this is my list! I know there are some words I missed which I may add later when I remember them. So... what are your words?

  • Please note that I love the French language, so don't think that I'm trying to disrespect it in any way. This post is for fun!
September 3, 2016

31 Comments


[deactivated user]

    As strange as it may seem, I have a deep loathing for aujourd'hui. Only Scottish Gaelic has a word for "today" (an-diugh) that has given me anywhere the number of embarrassing moments botching its pronunciation or spelling as aujourd'hui.

    As for douze, I've noticed many native speaker "lean" into that ou sound while the eu in deux, they keep short. There are of course speakers who don't. But deux will trip me up sometimes in reading, and if I'm reading quickly, I often mistake it for dix.

    As for word in French that seem too English-y: well, the English language just hasn't been the same since the Norman Conquest in the 11th century and consequently we use many words from French whenever we speak English, so hey.

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doostrunk

    Caoutchouc (rubber)

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/callionek

    That was the one that was running through my head as well.

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/26720919

    The words that are most difficult to spell - araignée, baguette etc and plurals with the 'x' endings. The best french words for me are Asterix, Obelix and Getafix. French names are also kind of difficult to get the hang of but then the same applies to everybody's names, I guess.

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

    True! I always carry a pocket English-French dictionary with me because of those hard to spell words. Same for me with those plurals, as I seem to always say "journal" instead of "journaux" (I'll admit, I looked up the word online as I kind of forgot how to spell it).

    Wow, I never heard of those French words you like. I need to look them up!

    And it's true. The French names just take some time. My name, for example, most people mispronounce, but I totally understand.

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Koopafro

    Astérix, Obélix and co are characters in a very popular french comic, "Astérix le Gaulois". Each character's name is a pun of some sort. Getafix is the english name of the third main character, Panoramix ;)

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

    Thank you! I looked up a name in a dictionary and didn't find anything, so now I know the reason why. I'll definitely check out those comics. Thank you!

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Koopafro

    You're welcome ! They might be useful for French practice, since there are so many puns and insightful jokes based on current (or at least current at that time) french society.

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NicoleRankine

    Une grenouille. I just find it so hard to pronounce :'(

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tarjava

    As a native speaker of French:

    the absolute worst of this language when I was studying it was the conjugation of irregular verbs like "coudre" (to sew) and "moudre" (to grind) in the passé simple tense (which is the usual tense used in books) and subjonctif imparfait (which is not too common, thankfully).

    Does duolingo teach those tenses by the way?

    If you want a challenge in pronunciation, try "serrurerie" (locksmith's trade).

    I like this fun one: "si mon tonton tond ton tonton, ton tonton sera tondu" (if my uncle shaves your uncle, your uncle will be shaven).

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

    No, Duo doesn't teach either passé simple (and I don't think subjunctive imparfait either). I've only come across those in French literature courses.

    September 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

    Same with Elizabeth261736, I don't have those words on my word list either.

    Haha about "serrurerie!" I remember a YouTube video on it with people trying to pronounce it. Have a laugh by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cyy5T6ai8fg

    Thanks for sharing!

    September 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tarjava

    Haha, that video sums it up! There's an appropriate comment under it, the "e" in the middle is not pronounced either (unless you intentionally speak slowly).

    This word is the French equivalent of trying to pronounce words like "February" or "Worcestershire" when I was learning English :)

    September 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mikes205802

    Its probably just Duolingo but is the French word for "Club", or "Nightclub" really "Discotheque"?

    It sounds like something from the 1970's, I would have a hard time saying it I think.

    September 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jadis11

    lol That sounds so lame. "Let's go to the discotheque!"

    September 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

    Not sure, but I remember my family saying in the Philippines, they call night clubs "discos," which made me think of the 70's as well!

    September 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rlettuce

    It is technically right, but young people are much more likely to say boîte (in France at least) or club, because they agree with you that it is kind of lame.

    September 7, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pbrain2000

    piscine because it conjures up an image that is disgusting and not supposed to happen in a pool... however it is a word who's meaning I will never forget.

    September 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

    Haha, that's how I remembered the word. I imagined people urinating in a pool, and now I shall never forget that word. Thanks for sharing!

    September 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rosenoiree

    Oh, I actually love portefeuille, because there's a very similar word coming from French for wallet in my native language (portfel), so it is very funny to "mispronounce" portfel . The same goes for cauchemar (koszmar) and fauteuill (fotel) :P But about the words I don't like - same as you - I hate the English words in French. Apart from that, all of those words with double Rs in them, it is just a horror (or a cauchemar) to me when I have to pronounce a sentence in which there are five French Rs . And dessus and dessous, I just hate it that two words with an opposite meaning are ALMOST identical.

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

    Haha, I'll admit that I do like "portefeuille," it's just that I always seem to forget how to spell it. Thankfully I'm good at the French "r" sound, but in Spanish, when I see any "r," double or not, I get scared because I can't roll my "r!"

    Also, I was going to put "dessus" on my list!!! It drives me crazy, but I got embarrassed a bit that I didn't know the difference when I see it in a sentence that I left it out of my list. Thank you for bringing back the horrors of that word to me, LOL!

    Merci pour le partage! / Thank you for sharing! :-)

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/whoisalex

    Bonjour

    September 3, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

    I can't repeat it here.

    September 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

    Let me guess, does it start with a "p" or "m?"

    September 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

    Yes, it does and that's all I'll say in a public forum.

    September 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlabamaCTCoder1

    I don't like this word ,béte, it means stupid

    September 4, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katelovesmetal

    Requin! No matter how many times I listen to that word and try to say it out loud, I feel like my mouth is broken. I have no problem with more complex pronunciations, but I just can't get this word out :P

    September 5, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oolou

    i agree with the portefeuille word or any word that has 'feuille' in it. Like millefeuille, my favourite thing to buy in the patisserie but the most difficult thing to say - always cause a smirk from the lady behind the counter when I attempt to say it! I just can't get my lips around the pronounciation - yet. I will one day. makes the determined face

    March 23, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

    Oh wow, I never heard of millefeuille (I just looked it up). Haha, I love your story. Congrats on even trying as many people would just give up and just point at the pastry. I wish you the best in one day mastering it and not getting that smirk! :-)

    March 23, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oolou

    aw thanks ^^

    March 23, 2017
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