Carsten Becker wrote: > You mean unaspirated [p t k], don't you? [R] isn't that hard > for me. Neither is [X]. ;) I don't know how to pronounce [q] > properly, though. I always haven an uvular offglide there > somehow. Yes, there are certainly some contexts in which sounds like [q] are hard to pronounce correctly, [qi] for instance. (In Olaetian, which as my first language turned out to be the one that many of the interesting "foreign" sounds ended up in, /q/ can only occur before back vowels; a sort of [M]-like glide written as "u" intervenes between /q/ and a front vowel.) But it was really just [k] (unaspirated) that was the difficult one for me; [p] and [t] came much easier for some reason I don't quite understand. I probably learned them subconsciously while learning Spanish, but that doesn't explain why I didn't get [k] right. The only time I was able to reliably pronounce [R] was when I was learning German and actively practicing the sound. But I guess I've exaggerated its difficulty a bit. I was thinking mainly of sounds represented by IPA characters, and didn't consider all the variations of sounds that require diacritics (not to mention the ones not easily represented in IPA at all, like those Korean stops Henrik Theiling mentioned). I'm guessing the weird American English "r" is probably as difficult for native German speakers, even though it's a relatively easy sound for native American speakers like me. But yeah, there are many sound I don't know how to > pronounce, especially most of the central vowels except , > [@] and . I attestedly don't get  right as well. A > Russian friend of mine: "Ah, it's typical. Germans *never* > get that one right." Better don't ask me about [_j] either. > However, it also seems typical for German speakers to have > difficulties with [H], i.e., many people in my French class > say [pyi] for [pH] <puis>. Also, vi Tshermens are known for > mixing up [T] and [s] and [w] and [v]. > > Carsten I haven't got a good handle on the central vowels either, and it doesn't help that no two IPA sound sites agree on what they're supposed to sound like. But not many languages have vowels exactly aligned with the IPA symbols anyway. It's easier to just listen to a recording and imitate than to try to make sense out of the often inconsistent IPA representations of vowel sounds (which I'm guessing may be due in some cases to historical changes in the set of sounds that had IPA symbols).