Here’s a funny video of ten Germans trying to say the world “squirrel.” All fail miserably, though some, like the guy in the straw hat, do better than others.
I’m not clear, even though I can speak German reasonably well, what about makes this word so for native speakers.
BTW, the German word for squirrel is “Eichhörnchen.” I’m not sure how one would parse this, as the German for “oak” is “Eiche,” and I think “hörnchen” means “little horned one.” Perhaps a German reader can tell me if this translates into “little horned creature that lives in oaks.”
An equally funny video could be made of French people trying to say the word “owl.” When I worked in France, my colleagues tried to flummox me by making me say the French tongue twister for “locksmith store” (“serrurerie,” and try to roll those “r”s!). But I’d get back at them by asking them to say the simple word “owl.” All sorts of hilarity ensued as the French twisted their faces into contorted positions trying to say the word. They just couldn’t do it. It always came out in a drawn-out, two-syllable word that sounded like “Ahhhhh-wohllllll”.
Anyway, Germans essay “squirrel”:
Finally, Robyn Schneider has a nice YouTube video (which I can’t embed) giving ten funny or intriguing German words that have no English equivalent. You’ll know at least two of them. My favorite is “Backpfeifengesicht,” which is the first word given in the video. I know many people who have such a feature.