Anguished English pronunciation.

I Find Karma (
Wed, 4 Feb 1998 16:15:05 -0800

Yay verily, Wayne knoweth whereth it's at:

> Eye gatoot urnt able zana Mike rofone.
> Ice trong leebee leavin' thee yevo looshunnoh flang widgend bee inguh
> prees crypt uvist thin call uh currances uh phthair, thair, an d'thair
> shoe d'beeree play stwih 'thair' azzephry won candy terman them eening
> bythuh contacs tenny wayand fourthoe zoo can titwell may kitties zee
> erforth em.

Reminds me of the urban legend that the following item has been floating
around the Internet for years with "author unknown." We discover the
author by consulting

And included below so FoRK-archive will have a copy.

> In VERBATIM; THE LANGUAGE QUARTERLY, for Autumn 1989, pages 8-10,
> there is a letter from a man in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Mr. Jacob
> de Jager says he was born in Holland in 1923 and received his
> education through senior high school in that country. As he studied
> English, he and others were required to learn by heart for recitation
> a poem called "The Chaos." He says the poem is by an English teacher
> named G. Nolst Treniti in the city of Haarlem. Treniti wrote articles
> under the pen name CHARIVARIOUS in a little booklet entitled "Drop
> Your English Accent," in which the poem appeared. The text of the poem
> follows.
> The Chaos
> Dearest creature in creation
> Studying 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 you'll 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, steak, but bleak and streak.
> Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
> Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,
> Cloven, oven, how and low,
> Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.
> Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
> Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
> Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles.
> Exiles, similes, reviles.
> Wholly, holly, signal, signing.
> Thames, examining, combining
> Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
> Solar, mica, war, and far.
> From "desire": desirable--admirable from "admire."
> Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier.
> Chatham, brougham, renown, but known.
> Knowledge, done, but gone and tone,
> One, anemone. Balmoral.
> Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel,
> Gertrude, German, wind, and mind.
> Scene, Melpomene, mankind,
> Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
> Reading, reading, heathen, heather.
> This phonetic labyrinth
> Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
> Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
> Blood and flood are not like food,
> Nor is mould like should and would.
> Banquet is not nearly parquet,
> Which is said to rime with "darky."
> Viscous, Viscount, load, and broad.
> Toward, to forward, to reward.
> And your pronunciation's O.K.,
> When you say correctly: croquet.
> Rounded, wounded, grieve, and sieve,
> Friend and fiend, alive, and live,
> Liberty, library, heave, and heaven,
> Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven,
> We say hallowed, but allowed,
> People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
> Mark the difference, moreover,
> Between mover, plover, Dover,
> Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
> Chalice, but police, and lice.
> Camel, constable, unstable,
> Principle, disciple, label,
> Petal, penal, and canal,
> Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal.
> Suit, suite, ruin, circuit, conduit,
> Rime with "shirk it" and "beyond it."
> But it is not hard to tell,
> Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
> Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
> Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
> Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, and chair,
> Senator, spectator, mayor,
> Ivy, privy, famous, clamour
> And enamour rime with hammer.
> Pussy, hussy, and possess,
> Desert, but dessert, address.
> Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants.
> Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.
> River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
> Doll and roll and some and home.
> Stranger does not rime with anger.
> Neither does devour with clangour.
> Soul, but foul and gaunt but aunt.
> Font, front, won't, want, grand, and grant.
> Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger.
> And then: singer, ginger, linger,
> Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, and gauge,
> Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.
> Query does not rime with very,
> Nor does fury sound like bury.
> Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,
> Job, job, blossom, bosom, oath.
> Though the difference seems little,
> We say actual, but victual.
> Seat, sweat, chaste, caste.
> (Leigh, eight, height,)
> Put, nut, granite, and unite.
> Reefer does not rime with deafer,
> Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
> Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
> Hint, pint, Senate, but sedate.
> Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
> Science, conscience, scientific,
> Tour, but our and succour, four,
> Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
> Sea, idea, guinea, 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, key, quay.
> Say aver, but ever, fever.
> Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
> Never guess--it is not safe:
> We say calves, valves, half, but Ralph.
> Heron, granary, canary,
> Crevice and device, and eyrie,
> Face but preface, but efface,
> Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
> Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
> Ought, out, joust, and scour, but scourging,
> Ear but earn, and wear and bear
> Do not rime with here, but ere.
> Seven is right, but so is even,
> Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
> Monkey, donkey, clerk, and jerk,
> Asp, 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, like rowlock, gunwale,
> Islington and Isle of Wight,
> Housewife, verdict, and indict!
> Don't you think so, reader, rather,
> Saying lather, bather, father?
> Finally: which rimes with "enough"
> Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?
> Hiccough has the sound of "cup."
> My advice is--give it up!


Calvin: People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don't
realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world.
Hobbes: Isn't your pants' zipper supposed to be in the front?