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I know there have been several poems dealing with the subject of correct pronunciation but this stands out to me for two reasons, firstly the length of it and secondly an American pal had the temerity to send it to me!
I apologise in advance for the size of the poem!
"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.
After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud. Good luck! :)"
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, 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!!!
By the by, looked up Foeffer as I didn't recognise the word only to find it was misspelt and should be Feoffer!
I couldn't work out how to reproduce it exactly as it was sent, i.e.
Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation. etc, etc.
Try this link, it will be easier to read, should one want to of course ;o}
I agree with White truckman its the format and I hope I don't sound arrogant but I found this quite refreshing. I am saddened by the Americanisms being intruduced into our language: Gotten and dove are just two and i think you can put it down to lazyness; a little like the text speak used today. I actualy admire people who use the english language properly, know it has changed over the centuries but perhaps it has gone too far, it is after all the universal language.
I particularly like that Brumas finished off his first post with a Latin phrase ;-)
I've reformatted the poem for you.
Forum Editor, that was really nice of you, thank you ever so much.
Took me a while to get through it as I'm a slow reader and had to think carefully about some words I had never seen/heard of before.
As I wasn't sure of my pronunciation of some words I had a quick search of the web and found this site Click here Its a pity I never had computers and the availability of the internet when I was at school I may have grasped more of the English language.
It's such a pity that 1/2 the children who leave school do so with such little knowledge of the English language or how to pronounce the words they do know.
English used to take up a big part of my school life in the 50's and 60's and I can still remember having to redo work because the writing wasn't spaced correctly or I had misspelled a word and it all had to be done in fountain pen.
Now teaching is all to do with just passing an exam.
BRYNIT I bookmarked that site, who needs elocution lessons? I'll soon be talking like Sir Trevor McDonald and not a thick Yorkshire Tyke ;o}}
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