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  The Hell and Chaos of English Pronunciation
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    PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:08 am 
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There is a joke about the reasons why England could resist so many invasions.
One reason is that no one could stand English food. (But remember haggis is Scot!)
The other reason is that no one, including the English themselves, can understand the chaos of English pronunciation.

This inspired a (sort of) poem called, precisely, "The Chaos" by a Dutch author, Gerard Nolst Trenité, in 1922.

Here are two versions, with the text (thanks God); the second being more suitable though for learning (or to die trying).


How many errors would have you made? Even English-mother-tongued people will do many.

Fast speaking (and shorter version)


Slower speaking (easier to follow)


The full text:
The Chaos

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, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
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.)
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say-said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Previous, precious, fuchsia, via; 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!


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  Re: The Hell and Chaos of English Pronunciation
    PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:19 pm 
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What a mouthful. English language can be a bit of a weird one (coming from a native speaker).

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  Re: The Hell and Chaos of English Pronunciation
    PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:42 pm 
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Location: Tamaki-makau-rau
That's what you get with a language (old English) modified over time by Norse, French, Danish and changed by Roman invaders who themselves are influenced by Greeks. I still blame the French.

And then the Americans came along and put the opposite emphasis on almost every word in the language out of revolutionary spite and even mucked around with the the spelling. Let alone the way kids use the language these days (old man grumble) which makes it incomprehensible. Can't even understand my teenage children. Sigh


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  Re: The Hell and Chaos of English Pronunciation
    PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:56 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Then there's this beauty which still shows how crazy the language is


Attachments:
12734011_1728247314061668_1314212284124727461_n.jpg
12734011_1728247314061668_1314212284124727461_n.jpg [ 52 KiB | Viewed 1426 times ]

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Carpdiem 220 MA -- Bellatrix 220 Fix

Furymaster 220 MP -- Manhandle 215 Enf

All frozen until further notice
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