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If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem


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9 replies to this topic

#1 International

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 06:30 AM

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.
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, 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.
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!!!

#2 Savannah

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:27 AM

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.

Cute idea to show that English pronunciation often does not follow rules the way other languages do, but a few criticisms:
- Regionally some of these words may be pronounced differently
- The rhyming gives away some of the pronunciations, so if you didn't know that "Terpsichore" was pronounced "terp-sick-ory" you'll figure it because it's being rhymed with "hickory" -- not to mention that "Terpsichore" isn't really an English word
- What is "Foeffer"?

#3 politico

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 12:45 PM

"Terpsichore" isn't really an English word

the OED says otherwise:

Terpsichore

The Muse of dancing; hence, a female dancer; dancing as an art.

1711 SHAFTESBURY Charac. (1737) I. 317 The Thalia's, the Polyhymnia's, the Terpsychore's, the Euterpe's willingly join their parts. 1756-7 tr. Keysler's Trav. (1760) III. 427 Stranger, approach, behold this homely chair, Which e'en Terpsichore herself might chuse. 1906 19th Cent. Mar. 457 We should lament the death of Terpsichore.

Hence terpsichorean (tpskrin) a., of, pertaining to, or of the nature of dancing; saltatory. So terpsichoreal a. (rare) in same sense; hence terpsichoreally adv., by means of dancing.

1869 Daily News 19 May, The loving couples..hold themselves aloof from the busy hum, or mix in it for *terpsichoreal or restorative purposes only.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1900 Ibid. 12 Mar. 8/4 A poem, ‘Voltigia’, which poem the ‘Tenth Muse’ condescends to interpret *terpsichoreally.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1825 T. HOOK Sayings Ser. II. Sutherl. (Colburn) 26 She had seen their *Terpsichorean evolutions. 1865 DICKENS Mut. Fr. I. xi, An entirely new view of the Terpsichorean art. 1899 Allbutt's Syst. Med. VIII. 98 Sometimes a series of co~ordinated gestures and movements [in hysterical persons] constitute a regular terpsichorean display.


What is "Foeffer"?

maybe it should be feoffer, i.e. the granter of a fief, which does rhyme with deafer?
zinh.

#4 Savannah

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 12:47 PM

the OED says otherwise:

It's a proper name, not a word.

maybe it should be feoffer, i.e. the granter of a fief, which does rhyme with deafer?

Beats me.

#5 politico

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:27 PM

It's a proper name, not a word.

1. proper nouns are words
2. in addition to being the name of a muse, it is also used generically (see the "hence, a female dancer; dancing as an art" part of the definition).
zinh.

#6 Savannah

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:38 PM

1. proper nouns are words

Proper names are more likely to be pronounced idiosyncratically than ordinary words. I find that it's a particular problem with Italian surnames. Take the name Mancini. In Italian it's supposed to be pronounced man-chee-nee, but I've only heard Italian-Americans pronounce it as man-see-nee. But how are you supposed to know for sure which pronunciation to use? Not to mention Polish names with their crazy consonant combos or Indian names that are so long that by the time you get the to the end of one, you've forgotten the beginning.

#7 politico

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 01:43 PM

But how are you supposed to know for sure which pronunciation to use?

you look it up in a dictionary.
zinh.

#8 Savannah

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:59 PM

you look it up in a dictionary.

Looking up "Mancini" in a dictionary isn't going to tell you anything.

#9 Gabbe

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 03:41 PM

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#10 LumpyPostage

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 05:38 AM

Does this include Scots?
Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu.
A person is a person through other people.




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