Posted by Tracy (18.104.22.168) on May 04, 2000 at 05:16:41:
I thought I'd share it. People are always telling me how hard it is to understand the English, well it appears they're not alone!!
"Once you've learned to correctly pronounce every word in the following poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. If you find it tough going, do not despair, you are not alone: Multi-national personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters near
Paris found English to be an easy language... until they tried to pronounce it.
To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself."
ENGLISH IS TOUGH STUFF
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.
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.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
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 to you - is just give up!
Of course you can sound just like me which means dropping h's, turning th's into f's and completely ignoring the t's in butter, water, etal!!
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