Studying English Pronunciation

Last week, between the laundry and packing the hand luggage for Dublin (yep, I went ttwisttongueo Dublin last weekend!) I found in the internet this poem. Really really hard to read, especially for a non-English speaker. I haven’t checked the words I read wrongly, but I will let you know soon. I hope you’ll be better than me! 😉 It took me a while to write it down, but here it is:

“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 is 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, gauge,
marriage, foliage, mirage and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth and 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, moutache, 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 and 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 with 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,
Islinghton and Isle of Wight,
housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
though, through, plough, or dough, but cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!”


Cheers! 🙂


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