In Admiration of the Purseforumers who's Mother Tongue is not English

  1. You inspire me....

    English is really a crazy language!

    Bravo to all of you who chat away here as if it is second nature!

    This exercise is hard enough for those of us who claim English as our first language!

    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. Try them yourself.

    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!!!
  2. LOL awesome hehe

    Btw, if anyone is interested in working on pronunciation (whether you are a native English speaker or not), you should do Dr. Seuss. I'm serious LOL

    That was my practice when I was in the Speech Team ;)
  3. That was fun!! I'm happy I got through it without a mistake but that's just because languages are the only talent I've got and I use it evry day at work and my best friend ever is English. This just made my day because I feel so down and stupid today and this cheered me up.
  4. Great exercise, alexandrainparis! Thanks. :biggrin:
  5. english is my native tongue and i definitely got some pronunciation wrong there..

    probably more because i didn't know what some words meant... bleh
  6. Oh my, after reading that piece loud I my tongue was all stiff... That was fun - thanks for posting! Have to practice some more before getting them all right. :yes:
  7. Wow!!I'm italian and this is....:wacko: :upsidedown: :lol: :lol:
  8. man quite a bit of words dont even know about.. hehe, it was a good exercise.. thankjss
  9. *** phew*** some words are hard.... im glad i got thru most of them.:yes:
  10. WOW...that poem is awesome! Thanks so much for posting. My family is from Russia and even though my English is MUCH better than when I first came here (I went through American high school and college), my parents are still struggling with the language. I'll show them the poem tonight! Thanks again!
  11. I just sent this off to some friends and family members! Thanks so much! Great poem to ponder over!
  12. Now, if only I could read this in French! That would be a challenge!
  13. Great face exercise and awesome poem!
  14. This poem is great :yes:
    My english is really bad, i speak english like i speak portuguese so my pronunciation is really :sick: this is great help :biggrin:
  15. My friend from England sent me this poem a while ago. He said it was written by a Dutchman!