One of the biggest challenges for English learners when it comes to pronunciation is telling the difference between many vowel sounds.
Of course, consonants are also a headache for even the most confident language learner. Three and tree are spelled differently but they seem to have the same sound in spoken language.
Mispronouncing a sound can lead to embarrassing situations like those in "the Italian man who went to Malta". Some situations are certainly funny and can be minimized by context.
What's more, saying the word incorrectly could mean referring to a sexual or a physiological word.
Here are two classic examples:
Can you tell me the way to the /bɪtʃ/?
We need some clean /ʃɪt/ in room 406.
Here are some more words that can be mispronounced. The incorrect words are on the right:
piece - piss
six - sex
fork - f***
folks - f***s
third - turd
farther - farter
theses - feces
What do you think is the best way to avoid mispronouncing these words? Should learners pay attention to these details?