English is the most spoken language in the world. Not only is it the official language of over 60 countries, but it is also a very popular second language. Many schools teach English as a foreign language to their students because they know that it will open many doors for them.

But pronunciation can be tough when you didn’t acquire the language when you were a kid, and you have a different mother tongue. Some sounds can be different between languages. This is what happens to many native Spanish speakers, especially with some specific words. It’s normal, and nothing to be ashamed of. You can always improve your pronunciation by practicing a lot.

So, if you’re a Spanish speaker, here are some tips and tricks to master the most difficult English words to pronounce for Spanish speakers.

The Most Difficult English Words for Spanish Speakers to Pronounce

1. Comfortable (ˈkʌmf.tə.bəl)
This is a very complicated and confusing word for Spanish speakers because in Spanish people pronounce words as they’re written. And that’s not the case here. In fact, it would make more sense for Spanish speakers to write it as “comftrbol”, since that sounds more like the actual pronunciation. Pay attention to the ‘tr’ sound, as it might be confusing and you can end up saying ‘tEr’. And the last part sounds more like bl. That being said, think of this: “kuhmftrbl”.

2. Literature (ˈlɪɾɚɹətʃɚ)
In this case the first ‘t’ sounds more like a ‘d’. The part ‘ture’ sounds like ‘chr’. And don’t emphasize too much the first ‘e’, it’s fast. Think of this word as “lidrachr”.

3. Literally (ˈlɪtəɹəli)
This is much like “literature”. The ‘t’ sounds like a ‘d’. And the ‘r’ sounds as if you were growling, but, of course, don’t stretch the sound for too long. And don’t pronounce the ‘ll’ like in Spanish; in this case it sounds as if it were just one ‘l’. Think of: “lidrally”.

4. Daughter (ˈdɔ.t̬ɚ)
A very confusing part of this word for Spanish speakers is the ‘gh’. In this case, you don’t have to pronounce the ‘g’. The whole ‘augh’ part sounds like ‘uh’, almost as if it were an ‘o’. And the ‘t’ is not very strong; in fact, once again, it sounds like a ‘d’. Think of: “doder”.

5. Anxiety (ˌæŋˈzaɪ.ə.ti)
If you are a Spanish speaker, you know that the ‘x’ has different sounds depending on the word. One of the sounds is like ‘shh’. That’s why many Spanish speakers pronounce it as “anshiety” or “anshaiety”. But the ‘x’ here actually sounds like ‘gs’. Then, the ‘ie’ sounds like ‘ai’. And the last part sounds like ‘adi’. As you can see, the ‘t’ sounds like ‘d’, but it’s not a very strong ‘d’. Think of: “angsaiadi”.

6. Schedule (ˈskɛdʒuəl)
For this word, the ‘che’ sounds like a Spanish “que”. Then, ‘dule’ sounds like ‘dyul’ or ‘dyuol’ but the ‘o’ being very soft. Think of: “squedyuol” or “squedyul”.

7. Focus (ˈfoʊ.kəs)
The ‘fo’ sounds like it has a ‘u’: ‘fou’, like the way you pronounce the single letter ‘o’ in English. And in the ‘cus’ part, the letter ‘u’ is not very strongly pronounced; it almost sounds like ‘ks’. Think of: “fouks”.

8. Disinterested (dɪˈsɪnt(ə)ɹɛstɪd)
‘Di’ sounds like a Spanish ‘de’ but the ‘e’ is not very long. You could also think of it as an ‘uh’ sound. ‘Ter’ sounds like ‘tr’. And the ‘e’ after that is not very long nor very strong, almost as if it jumped from the ‘tr’ to the ‘s’. Think of it as: “desintrsted”.

9. Jewelry (ˈdʒuːəlɹi)
The spelling of this word can confuse Spanish speakers. But for the pronunciation you can just divide the word into two sounds: ‘jul’ , ‘ry’. The ‘r’ is soft, kind of like in “araña” (spider).

10. Choir (kwaɪɚ)
Most Spanish speakers might pronounce the ‘ch’ of this word like they do in Spanish. But that’s wrong. The ‘ch’ here sounds like ‘k’. The first part of the word sounds ‘kuai’; the second part sounds like ‘er’. Think of: “kuaier”. The ‘e’ sound is pronounced fast, almost as if it were one letter with the ‘i’ sound.

11. Strengthen (ˈstɹɛnθən)
As a Spanish speaker, in ‘stren’ you might start pronouncing with an ‘e’ first, but don’t do that. Start with the sound of the ‘s’. Also, the ‘g’ sound is not very strong. The ‘th’ part sounds like many other words in English with ‘th’, like ‘the’ or ‘with’, almost as if it were a ‘d’. And the last ‘e’ sound is not very long. Think of: “strengthn”.

12. Architecture (ˈɑɹkɪtɛkt͡ʃɚ)
Once again, the ‘ch’ sounds like a ‘k’. Another difficult part of this word is the ‘ture’, which sounds like chur. Think of: “arkitekchure”

13. Temperature (ˈtɛm.pəɹˌt͡ʃɚ)
The first part of the word, ‘tem’, is pronounced as it’s written. Then, ‘pera’ sounds like ‘pra’. And ‘ture’ sounds like ‘chur’. Think: “temprachur”.

14. Through (θɹu) / Throughout (θɹuˈaʊt)
The ‘th’ in these words sounds almost like a ‘d’. It’s the same sound as the ‘th’ in other English words, like “think”. Then, just add a soft ‘r’ sound, like in “dinosauRio”. The ‘ough’ part sounds like ‘u’ from “uva” (grape). So, for “through” think of: “thru”.
For throughout, you just add an ‘aut’ sound for the ‘out’ part. Think of: “thruaut”.

15. Wednesday (ˈwɛnzdeɪ)
One of the most difficult things of this word for Spanish speakers is the spelling. As the ‘d’ is not pronounced, and the second ‘e’ is silent. It can get confusing. But for pronunciation, you can just think of: “wensdey”.

How to Improve Your English Pronunciation

It’s normal if you pronounce some words or letters wrong when you’re learning a language. The sounds in your native language might be different, so you can get confused. Like we just saw with the Spanish and English sounds. A lot of the letter ‘t’s sound like a ‘d’ in English. Or the ‘ch’ is pronounced like a ‘k’ in English. But it’s something that you can improve by practicing your listening and speaking.

Listening before speaking will train your ears to the new sounds. Like when you’re a baby, you listen before learning how to speak. So, listen to English songs, English podcasts, or watch movies in English. Then, say some words out loud by imitating their sounds. You’ll improve gradually. And if it’s still too complicated, try to write down how the words would sound in your native language. Like we did with the words above.

An even better way is to get an English coach. So he/she can listen to you and, with the most difficult English words to pronounce, give you more useful tips to master them. Having an outside perspective will help you notice your mistakes and improve. Our native English tutors can help you with that.

You’ll get to practice your speaking in every class, so you will achieve fluency. And you’ll learn useful vocabulary to have fruitful conversations in English.

If you want to see if one of our experienced English tutors would be a good fit for you, take a trial class!