Kwality Skwerls: A Few Pronunciation Pointers

HOW TO ROOT OUT THOSE HARD-TO-PRONOUNCE SQUIRRELED AWAY WORDS 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons by Franco Filini

How do you say squirrel in French?

L’écureuil:  I’ve looked it up and heard it pronounced in my audio online dictionary several times, but it’s one of those words that I’ve stored in memory as high maintenance (one that is too much trouble, has too many vowels strung together between a consonant or two and is rarely mentioned in everyday conversation).

It’s stashed away and buried deep in my cache of vocabulary, along with the other too difficult to spell and pronounce words that I’ve promised myself to get back to later.

Rarely do I need to dig up one of those little nuggets like écureuil, but not too long ago I wanted to recount an adorable story about four baby squirrels living on our back balcony.

Retrieving it though from my repository of squirreled away high-maintenance words, proved to be too tough a nut to crack.   So, I foraged around for another word I did know – a close synonym to squirrel.

Easy!  The same word in English –  Rat!

After all, The Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker did make a point that there is very little difference between the two.

A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit!

NOTE IMPORTANT TIP HERE: 
IF YOU DON’T WANT YOUR STORY TO GET LOST IN TRANSLATION, SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE WORD SQUIRREL.

Quite often, it works great to find synonyms rather than stumbling over difficult words that require a great deal of exertion.    When you’re blazing a pathway in vocabulary development, it’s not a bad idea to avoid boulder-sized pronunciation obstacles by choosing low-maintenance synonyms that can be easily retrieved and pronounced.

However, when you can’t get around high-maintenance words, here are four pointers to help you pronounce even the toughest ones.

First, when you come across a word, for example, with a bunch of vowels piled up on one another, go to a free online pronunciation resource on your computer or your mobile device.    My favorite is Forvo:

http://www.forvo.com/languages/

Listen and repeat the word out loud.  If you trip over the pronunciation, go back and listen again, repeat out loud…listen, repeat out loud…listen, repeat out loud…sing it, whisper it, scream it, too!

Second, write the word phonetically – how it sounds to you:  Quality (Kwality)

credit Wikimedia Commons by Nehakalo

Third, associate the word by what it rhymes with.  For example, ours is the French word for bear.  I remember ours because it rhymes with horse without the “h.”

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons by Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Finally, think up sentences, using the word in several tenses such as in the present or past, singular or plural, and in the imperative or interrogative forms.

Kwality skwerls know more words!

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