my story is quite funny, I had a conversation with a native speaker, and she didn’t understand the word " contradiction" She said She’s never heard about it before. I don’t know now, whether I get the meaning of the word or not…

For instance:

He always insists how much he’s keen on ginger girls, whereas his girlfriend’s hair is brown - It’s contradiction, i think.

Sorry I couldn’t find out a better example right now at dawn LOL


I don’t think so. She must have teased you.

nope, She didn’t, we’re friends she would have told me If She knew it


The word ‘contradiction’ is a word I would expect any native speaker to know.
I would assume one or both of the following things possibly happened:

  • You pronounced the word ‘contradiction’ in such a way that your friend was unable to recognize it. (You could record it here so we can hear how you pronounce it.)

  • You used the word in a sentence similar to the example you used above and she did not understand why you thought that was a contradiction.

Your example isn’t really the clearest way to illustrate the term. Here is my suggestion:

John insists he only likes girls with red hair. The fact that his current girlfriend has dark brown hair seems to be a contradiction of what he claims is true.
[size=75]“Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.” ~ Groucho Marx[/size]

Dear ESL,

I really appreciate that, you replied to my post. I dont think that, there would be too much way to pronounce the word " contradiction" as I consider my pronouncation is quite good. If I don’t use a word too often it happens I make a mistake. But I will record it tomorrow and I will let you know the way of how I pronounce the word ‘contradiction’ She’s a colleague of mine and I couldn’t imagine that She just teased me.


It’s hard to say why your friend told you what she did. Anything’s possible. I suppose it’s even possible that she really doesn’t know the word – but that seems pretty improbable to me.

[size=75]“Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.” ~ Blaise Pascal [/size]


you may be right, as I tried to recall what happaned and finally I came to realize that I might have not pronounced it well as I should have, as it is a really new word to me i’ve used it for 2 months only. But anyway there are not too much way to pronounce it, so she should have recognized it, I mean if someone makes a mighty mistake in my first language I can recognise what she or he wanted to say. I can’t believe that she didn’t recognise the word, just simply she didn’t know it at all.

Hi Take_It_Easy,

I have been teaching ESL for years and years (and years and years), and I also score speaking tests, so I’m probably better at understanding varying pronunciations of words than the average native-speaker of English is. I have heard all sorts of unusual pronunciations of words. One thing that I can tell you, though, is that sometimes messing up the pronunciation of a single letter in a word is all it takes to make a word unrecognizable to the listener. In fact, simply stressing the wrong syllable in a word can occasionally lead to problems.

Most of the time
people will understand minor mispronunciations, but not all the time.

Also, even native-speakers will occasionally have some difficulty understanding each other if they speak two different dialects of English. For example, I once had neighbors from the UK – a married couple. She was Irish, but I never had any trouble understanding her pronunciation. However, her husband was from London, and I had to listen to him more carefully to understand everything he said.

What is your native language, TIE?
[size=75]“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. [/size]

My native language is Hungarian, you mustn’t have heard about this nation, it’s a quite small country in Eastern Europe. My native language is very unique as there is no any other country where it would be the spoken language, and it’s not related to any other language, quite strange, isn’t it?! It makes some difficulties to me, because the only way is to communicate with people from other countries is just English. Whereas Italian people may understand Spanish, I’ve got language barriers with people from other countries.

Regarding with that what you try to insist, I’ve got the same opinion, My own experience is that, If someone lives in the same city or the same area(dialect) in whole of their lives, then they will definitely have difficulties to understand foreigners or even native speakers with a different dialect.

there are a bunch of dialects in the English language and it takes me time to get used to when I meet someone whom I didn’t know before, particularly in the UK. I live in Wales and I dont exeggerate, the dialect can be various each person here.

So I absolutely agree with you, I might have made a mistake, just one letter, and this person might have got me wrong.

In sum, I really appreciate that you replied to all of my message and I would be thankfull if we could continue this conversation.

Hello TIE! I’m Welsh, and know exactly what you mean!
We’re also a nation of ‘fast speakers’.

That’s why it is a suitable place to improve my english:) May I ask, where do you live in Wales, BS?

The South Wales Valleys. 20 miles or so roughly North of Cardiff. How about you?

It’s such a luck, As I live in Cardiff. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, It’s very easy to make friendships here. Are you frequently in Cardiff? It would be fun to meet up for a chat sometime.

Nowadays I tend to only go to Cardiff when I want to do some ‘serious’ shopping or on special occasions. I certainly won’t be there until July now. However, I won’t rule that out.