English Pronunciation

Before I start this post I just want to extend my condolences to Lydia and her family. Let’s remember to pray for them.

I have a few different items in the works. A couple of stories and a couple of more serious pieces but I don’t want to rush them. Besides, I didn’t get on the computer to work on anything until late then I went visiting people’s blogs. So I went scouring through the archives and found this little poetic piece. Its attribution is anonymous but by some of the spellings, I think the author was likely speaking British English rather than American. I don’t remember sharing this before, but my apologies if you have seen it before. The file name was “Literacy.”

I can only wish I had written this.

English Is Tough Stuff

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.
Feoffer 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, glass, bass, 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!!!

— Author Unknown


    • I approved your comment but normally you should read the post you are commenting on, say something appropriate relating to that post, then you could add something about your own blog, especially if you have a post that relates in some way.

      • I did read your post. But there was some error in commenting…the previous one about your blog didnt get posted and instead of that this got up.i didnt ..I apologize deeply…

        • Okay. Well, I’m sorry, too. I have the settings so that a person has to have a couple of comments approved before they will go through automatically. Even with that sometimes the WP spam catcher tosses them out for no good reason. I visited your latest post and thought it made several good points.

          • Thanks a ton sir! It means a lot to me. You don’t have to apologize sir. It was my lack of concentration that resulted in that and I can well understand it was rude on my part!!😓😓 I apologize again! I am grateful for your read and appreciation!!

      • I did read your post. But there was some error in commenting…the previous one about your blog didnt get posted and instead of that this got up.I didnt realise it..I apologize deeply…What your about English pronunciations is correct!! I apologize again!😥😥😥

    • Yes sir, English is chaotic. Even telling kids, “This is the rule for spelling this, except…” Like “I before E except after C or when sounded like A as in neighbor and weigh.”

  1. Very Exciting, good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog. Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up. You may also read our blog, The Ultimate Hack: English Pronunciation For Non-English Speakers. Thanks

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