French appears to be a language that is designed to exclude people rather than include them. I wonder how children ever learn anything. There is so much "understood" in the speech .i don't know how anybody really gets anything right. I feel deeply for the dyslexic children in france and those whose hearing is not perfect. I just don't know how people with disabilities manage in The french language.
If you consider that all children in the world manage to learn their mother tongue, you will also admit that people with disabilities related to hearing/speaking will indeed have harder times learning any language, including their own.
French is difficult even for French people, because rules are strict and exceptions numerous. That being said, younger generations are less and less likely to speak (and write!) good French because the level of requirement has dramatically lowered in the past decades.
And learning any language after your ears and palate are set for ever (@12 years of age) is more difficult, because your ability to hear then reproduce unknown sounds is reduced. But people who have a good ear for music and sing on key are much more likely to master any new language, whichever their age.
Learning French or another language is a challenge indeed and I do believe it is worth the effort because moral rewards are tremendous.
I think the other people answered the questions really well already but for me, I see the difference because when les enfants is said there is no 'r' sound, it's like a packet of 'lays' and then enfants, but with leurs, it's not lays anymore (wahh) and it's lurs like slurs except it's more of a eu with a French accent ^^ Hope that helped, or maybe it confused you even more haha sorry if it did :)
I am having trouble hearing the difference in the words "les enfants and leurs enfants".. i am trying my best to not use the button that slows down the sentence in order to grasp the emphasis of each word.
Can someone break down what I should be listening for that lets them know the difference between the two.
I suggest you try them on forvo.com. By repeating each of "les" and "leurs" carefully and many times, you will start to "feel" the sound in your mouth and most certainly distinguish them by ear.
For your info, "les" sounds "leh" (mouth smiling) and "leurs" sounds like "b-ir-d" (just the middle sound - mouth open, chin down)