Engrish Pronunciation

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    Apr 19, 2012 5:00 AM GMT
    If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world.

    Dearest creature in creation,
    Study English pronunciation.
    I will teach you in my verse
    Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
    I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
    Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
    Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
    So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
    Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
    Dies and diet, lord and word,
    Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
    (Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
    Now I surely will not plague you
    With such words as plaque and ague.
    But be careful how you speak:
    Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
    Cloven, oven, how and low,
    Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
    Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
    Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
    Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
    Exiles, similes, and reviles;
    Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
    Solar, mica, war and far;
    One, anemone, Balmoral,
    Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
    Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
    Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
    Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
    Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
    Blood and flood are not like food,
    Nor is mould like should and would.
    Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
    Toward, to forward, to reward.
    And your pronunciation’s OK
    When you correctly say croquet,
    Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
    Friend and fiend, alive and live.
    Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
    And enamour rhyme with hammer.
    River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
    Doll and roll and some and home.
    Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
    Neither does devour with clangour.
    Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
    Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
    Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
    And then singer, ginger, linger,
    Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
    Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
    Query does not rhyme with very,
    Nor does fury sound like bury.
    Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
    Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
    Though the differences seem little,
    We say actual but victual.
    Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
    Fe0ffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
    Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
    Dull, bull, and George ate late.
    Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
    Science, conscience, scientific.
    Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
    Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
    We say hallowed, but allowed,
    People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
    Mark the differences, moreover,
    Between mover, cover, clover;
    Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
    Chalice, but police and lice;
    Camel, constable, unstable,
    Principle, disciple, label.
    Petal, panel, and canal,
    Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
    Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
    Senator, spectator, mayor.
    Tour, but our and succour, four.
    Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
    Sea, idea, Korea, area,
    Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
    Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
    Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
    Compare alien with Italian,
    Dandelion and battalion.
    Sally with ally, yea, ye,
    Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
    Say aver, but ever, fever,
    Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
    Heron, granary, canary.
    Crevice and device and aerie.
    Face, but preface, not efface.
    Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
    Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
    Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
    Ear, but earn and wear and tear
    Do not rhyme with here but ere.
    Seven is right, but so is even,
    Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
    Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
    Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
    Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
    Is a paling stout and spikey?
    Won’t it make you lose your wits,
    Writing groats and saying grits?
    It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
    Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
    Islington and Isle of Wight,
    Housewife, verdict and indict.
    Finally, which rhymes with enough,
    Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
    Hiccough has the sound of cup.
    My advice is to give up!!!

    I'm not in the top 10% icon_mad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 19, 2012 8:52 AM GMT
    I love that poem!!! English has some arbitrary pronounciations.
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    Apr 19, 2012 10:08 AM GMT
    That poem was no challenge to me at all, other than its dreadful meter, more a listing than a poem. But then I do have a degree in Speech.

    One of the examples I used to give my high school students, about the impossibly inconsistent pronunciation patterns in English, was the motto for a furniture polish product. On the bottle it claimed it was a "Food For Wood".

    Now here are two words that begin and end with a consonant, a double vowel in the middle, both consisting of 4 letters. But the pronunciation is different for each, you just have to know which is which.

    If pronunciation was standard it would either be:

    food for woode, or, fuhd for wuhd. The double "O" ought to be pronounced the same way in each, but isn't. And I had other examples of wacky pronunciation, just like this clever poem our GAMRican has given us.

    When Samuel Johnson created the first dictionary of the English language in 1755 he helped to standardize spelling, which heretofore had been haphazard and rather personal. But no one has ever standardized pronunciation. Maybe in the 21st Century, with a global community reading English as the dominant Internet language, it's time to do that, too. Even if it means revising spelling conventions devised over 250 years ago.
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    Apr 19, 2012 10:32 AM GMT
    Thanks for sharing. It was fun!
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    Apr 19, 2012 11:15 AM GMT
    Trollileo saidOuch. That was fun...

    + that was long!
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    Apr 19, 2012 12:39 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidThat poem was no challenge to me at all,...

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    Apr 19, 2012 12:41 PM GMT
    har19 said
    Trollileo saidOuch. That was fun...

    + that was long!

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    Apr 19, 2012 12:51 PM GMT
    Caslon18453 said
    Art_Deco saidThat poem was no challenge to me at all,...


    Please, don't make me hurt you. You know I've admired you since I first joined RJ, but couldn't speak to you at first because I didn't have 1000 posts at that time, per your rule. I even liked your locats.

    So don't give me a hard time. I could have face-palmed you a hundred times.