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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

Comments

26 responses to “English Pronunciation”

  1. Petra Avatar

    As someone who is not a native speaker I fully agree. English is weird

    1. Herb Avatar

      That’s putting it mildly and I am a native speaker.

      1. Petra Avatar

        Trust me, you haven’t seen Slovenian. We use dual on top of plural and singular, 7 declensions for nouns depending on which person and number is used and of course verb conjugations partly based on it. It’s nearly impossible for a foreigner from a non-Slavic country to master

        1. Herb Avatar

          Yeesh! Sounds like fun…for somebody, lol.

          1. Petra Avatar

            Grammar nerds are plenty and free range here

            1. Herb Avatar

              Hahahaha! They’d almost have to be with all of that.

  2. Lydia Avatar

    English can be….. confusing.
    That’s why I’ve started learning Spanish.

    Thanks again for praying for us.

    1. Herb Avatar

      You’re welcome.

  3. Nawazish Avatar

    I have a small request to make…please check out my blog when you have time

    1. Herb Avatar

      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.

      1. Nawazish Avatar

        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…

        1. Herb Avatar

          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.

          1. Nawazish Avatar

            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!!

      2. Nawazish Avatar

        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!😥😥😥

        1. Herb Avatar

          lol. It’s good. I think it’s all fixed, maybe. I’m sorry for the confusion and/or embarrassment if there was any.

          1. Nawazish Avatar

            No embarrassment sir!!🤗🤗 All good!!😊😊

      3. Nawazish Avatar

        I apologize again!!😥 I’ll be more careful from next time!! Thanks for pointing it out!!😓😓

        1. Herb Avatar

          No prob.

  4. Tony Laplume Avatar

    Honestly, I wonder if I had such a problem with French because it actually follows too much internal logic. I love the chaos of English!

    1. Herb Avatar

      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.”

  5. Amber Avatar
    Amber

    Oh my! I agree with Spanish I’m working on mine too. English is too difficult.

    1. Herb Avatar

      lol. Are you really a giver-upper?

  6. Dumbestblogger Avatar
    Dumbestblogger

    Makes me want to move my feet in some Tersichorean rythm.

    1. Herb Avatar

      There ya go!

  7. Anglia Smith Avatar

    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

    1. Herb Avatar

      Thanks for the nice comment.

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