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So, You Know How To Pronounce English?

 
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Bruce
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Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 6914
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:27 am    Post subject: So, You Know How To Pronounce English? Reply with quote

This is a test. This is only a test. How quickly and accurately could you read the following aloud?

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, 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!!!

You’ve been reading “The Chaos” by Gerard Nolst Trenité, written nearly 100 years ago in 1922, designed to demonstrate the irregularity of English spelling and pronunciation.
——

B
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I'm not a Zoo, but over the years I've played one on radio/TV. .


Last edited by Bruce on Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bruce
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Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 6914
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Believe it or not, and I have no witnesses, only one of these words confounded me and it was only because I'd never heard it before: feoffer

The words around it were all homophones, or soundalikes, so I should have caught (cot) it.

Sadly, it's not related to faffer.

B
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I'm not a Zoo, but over the years I've played one on radio/TV. .
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Matto
Club 300


Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 351
Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love that poem.

Test 2: do it in a foreign accent!
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ShaneGraham057
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Joined: 01 May 2014
Posts: 42
Location: VA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bandage was wound around the wound.

Of my bleeding brain trying to fully comprehend that poem in its entirety.

Thank you for the share Bruce - Good stuff!
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Yonie
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Joined: 31 Aug 2011
Posts: 905

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love it. Absolutely love it. And love that, regardless of accent, it still works.
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JohnV
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Joined: 25 Feb 2016
Posts: 145
Location: Md/DC

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the words of George Takei..."Oh MY!"

i read it through once just seconds past...
doubled back thrice, not a thorough pass...
i do not think i passed
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