Search on MTL Blog

15 French Words That English-Speakers In Canada Always Mess Up

Parlez-vous français?
15 French Words That English-Speakers In Canada Always Mess Up

As we all know, Montreal is a predominantly French speaking city in a province where French is the only official language. As such, all signs, services, and most broadcasts are in French.

Everyone who lives in Quebec should learn at least a little bit of its language.

READ ALSO: Halloween Is Going To Be Cold And Miserable Across Canada This Year

TL;DR Speaking French is a must when you live in Montreal. There are just some words though, that are too difficult to pronounce. Test out the ones listed below!

As a new Montrealer myself, I've had to adapt and brush up on my school level knowledge of French to get around and make do. Luckily for me, I have two wonderful French speaking roommates who are happy to converse and help me practice my second language. 

I often ask them how to say certain words in French, like "how do I say 'eggplant?'" or "what are some swear words I should know?"

The basics are easy, like bonjour, au revoir, merci, de rien, excusez-moi, s'il vous plait. However, there are just some words that are very difficult for anglophones to pronounce. 

I'm sure you can relate with the fact that no matter how hard you try with certain words, they're just too difficult to pronounce!

I decided to create a list of words that are difficult for us English folks to articulate:

17. Crémaillère

This word translates to housewarming. When I first heard this word it was really difficult for me to pronounce, I probably said something like "creme-e-ll-er," instead of "crem-a- e-ll-iere" – or however you would spell it phonetically.

16. Serrurier 

White it looks very similar to sourire (smile), this one means "Locksmith." I've said everything from "say-ri-eu" or "say-ru-iere".

15. Pneu 

This word, meaning tire, is such a strange arrangement of letters, pronounced "puh-n-uh," but most pronounce it "puh-new." I know I have an extremely difficult time prouncing this one.

14. Mille-Feuille

A delectable pastry where you can see a "thousand layers." Often pronounced as "mile- fell," it's that "oiee" sound that trips Anglophones up.

13. Bouilloire

Until recently I had no idea how to say this one (kettle in English). Test it out yourself or get your English speaking friends to give it whirl.

12. Guimauve

I have for sure heard this pronounced as "Gy-mauve" instead of "geeee-mauve" – it means marshmellow (so pretty sounding in English).

French words related to Montreal:

11. Pie-IX

One of the many stops on the STM green line in Montreal. I know some people (even my google maps voice) have incorrectly pronounced this stop, usually referring to it as "Pie" "X" instead of pronouncing it "P" "9" (neuf).

10. Longueuil

Montrealers continue to have the debate on how to pronounce this one. It's definitely the "gueuil" part that messes everyone up, sometimes pronounced as "Long-oyle."

9. Langelier

Another Montreal metro station. For those not familiar, I've heard this stop pronounced "long-guh-ler," instead of "lan-jil-yaey".

8. Pierrefonds

Part of a borough in Montreal (actually the English-speaking part of Montreal), where some like to say "peer-fun" or even "peer-fon" (shake my head).

7. Trois-Rivieres

One of the hardest parts of pronouncing French words is getting that "r" sound correct. Anglophones sometimes mess this one up by saying "tra-ree-vee-air".

6. Lionel-Groulx

I would definitely get lazy with this metro stop and just say "Lionel-Gruxx" instead of "L-ee-o-nell Gru" (you don't pronounce the lx). You're welcome.

5. Des Pins 

A street in Montreal often pronounced how it looks "des-p-inz" instead of "day-pain." Many simple call it "pine."

4. Angrignon

Another metro station in Montreal that's difficult to pronounce. Some like to say "Angry-non." C'mon, try it out yourself!

3. L'Gros Luxe

The restaurant – I'm still unsure how to pronounce it, and always mess it up.

2. Terrasse

A very common saying here – which I'm sure you know means patio. Not necessarily a "difficult" word to pronounce but sometimes said as "tear-ass."

1. Montmorency

The last metro stop and the northernmost terminus of the orange line. Some Anglophones prounce it "Mount-morrrr-iencie."

Watch this hilarious video of English speaking people trying to pronounce difficult French words!

How many words can you pronounce correctly?!

Recommended For You