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Old 06-18-2011, 01:04 AM   #29
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Name: Roger
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Smile Try pronouncing this poem

English is Tough Stuff
Multi-national personnel at NATO headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself.



Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse,
Sounds like corpse, corps, hearse 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 sleeve,
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, want, wont, 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, both.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer 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, toward 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.
Warm 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 spiky?
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 dough or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup,
My advice is to give up!!!





NOTES:

If the examples in this poem aren’t enough, usage in the United States is in the process of adapting the “King’s English”. The diphthong “ou” is being replaced on many fronts. Where in England “colour” is used, here it is color. This poem was obviously written using British English through such words as mould, enamour, clamour, clangour, moustache, succour, plough and hiccough. These words in the U.S. are mold, enamor, clamor, clangor, mustache, succor, plow and hiccup. As you can see by my usage of words such as through and rough etc. the “ough” form is largely untouched by this revisionism.
In defense of English, all these competing forms have come into the language through historical comings and goings. And even today, English speakers are not loath like the purist French to adopting and adapting foreign words. Take words like mesa, sierra, etc.
I have no idea what foeffer is unless it is fever in an earlier form.
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