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a little humble pie for the native English speakers
Old 06-27-2010, 05:14 PM   #1
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a little humble pie for the native English speakers

Tells me I'm not spot on on all my pronunciation...

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 itís 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 pronunciationís 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?
Wonít it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
Itís 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!!!
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:20 PM   #2
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Here, hear!
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:28 PM   #3
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Actually, my native language is Texan, but I understand English just fine.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:03 PM   #4
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English where we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:11 PM   #5
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English where we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway


And where a washroom may contain a bath, but a bathroom may not!
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:15 PM   #6
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It's amazing that anyone ever learns the language. I once looked up the word "run" in the Oxford English Dictionary and there were about 5 pages of definitions for that one three letter word.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:22 PM   #7
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Mildly related is that US coins do not have numbers on them. They spell out the one, five, (one dime), quarter, half.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:22 PM   #8
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:07 PM   #9
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Few in America speak English, they drawl some version of American.

I speak a Noo York version with a strong unplaceable foreign accent. In all my time no one has ever correctly guessed my nationality based on accent, though a few did get the correct continent.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:09 PM   #10
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Insert here anything by George Carlin.

"Every day I beat my own record for the number of consecutive days I've been alive." - George Carlin

My personal favorite -- because it so hits home -- is this:

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Old 06-27-2010, 07:45 PM   #11
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That's why I think we should all speak Italian -- the same letters are pronounced exactly the same way every time, and every letter is pronounced (with only one exception that I can think of right now). I would settle for Spanish, but English needs to go.
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Old 06-27-2010, 08:05 PM   #12
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What about Esperanto? I only know what I've read from wiki - but I like the concept.

I feel so sorry for foreigners trying to learn our crazy language. I'd be afraid to say anything for fear that the nuance would come out wrong and mean something very different from what I intended.

-ERD50
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:57 PM   #13
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When I was learning English, spelling and grammar came easily to me, but pronunciation was a lot harder. At first, my ear couldn't differentiate between "bought" and "boat", or "bowl" and "ball" and therefore I couldn't pronounce them right either. It took some work with an ESL teacher to develop my ear and pronunciation.

Similarly I find that English speakers have a hard time with nasal sounds in French like "on", "in", "en" and "an".
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:03 PM   #14
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Similarly I find that English speakers have a hard time with nasal sounds in French like "on", "in", "en" and "an".
I'm amused by a sub-set of English speakers who pronounce these three words the same way: "all", "awl" and "oil".
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:09 AM   #15
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That's why I think we should all speak Italian -- the same letters are pronounced exactly the same way every time, and every letter is pronounced (with only one exception that I can think of right now). I would settle for Spanish, but English needs to go.
Esperanto!
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:12 AM   #16
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Many foreigners who have lived here for 25 -30 years speak a very small subset of English. I mean professionals who work in offices, even Northern Europeans many of whom have studied quite a bit of English from grade school onward. My tango partner asks me about words every time we see one another. Interesting thing to me is that her husband is a writer, but he apparently won't teach her anything.

One thing I have really benefited from is the online pronouncing dictionaries. There are a number of English words that I have seen in print often enough, but really have no idea how to pronounce correctly.

I believe that English grammar is quite hard also. Very often I really don't know what the correct grammar is, so I just go with my ear which is sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

Ha
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:45 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
What about Esperanto? I only know what I've read from wiki - but I like the concept.

I feel so sorry for foreigners trying to learn our crazy language. I'd be afraid to say anything for fear that the nuance would come out wrong and mean something very different from what I intended.

-ERD50

I had a friend who asked me to an Esperanto picnic maybe 35 years ago. It was like going to a hippie fest. Just sayin'.
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:02 AM   #18
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I had a friend who asked me to an Esperanto picnic maybe 35 years ago. It was like going to a hippie fest. Just sayin'.
LOL! Yes, I imagine it would definitely attract a 'counter-culture' type. OTOH, (as I understand it), it's all built on very logical base, so it really would seem to attract engineering-logical-left-brain types as well.

I don't realistically expect it to gain any significant following, but I still like the concept.

I realize that is why I have such a mental block towards getting the possessive forms correct. I read up on it a while back and a lot of the rules are based on the forms of words from the 1400's - and we do not use those forms anymore. So they really do not make any sense in today's (or is it todays?) language. I know apostrophe-s is often a contraction, so I know its is possessive because it's means it-is - but that doesn't help with so many other words. W/O some rhyme/reason to it, I just get stuck.

Your, you're; their, there I've got down, just a few cases to memorize - the possessives just drive me nuts!

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Old 06-28-2010, 08:57 AM   #19
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A Romanian friend I worked with asked why we say "the alarm went off", when we mean "the alarm came on". I guess the best way to state it is that the alarm sounded...
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:01 AM   #20
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A Romanian friend I worked with asked why we say "the alarm went off", when we mean "the alarm came on".
Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway, for that matter?
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