ENGLISH IS TOUGH STUFF
(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.)
Dearest creature in creation, Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Study English pronunciation. Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
I will teach you in my verse We say hallowed, but allowed,
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy, Mark the differences, moreover,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy. Between mover, cover, clover;
Tear in eye, your dress will tear. Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer. Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Just compare heart, beard, and heard, Principle, disciple, label.
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain. Petal, panel, and canal,
(Mind the latter, how it's written.) Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Now I surely will not plague you Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
With such words as plaque and ague. Senator, spectator, mayor.
But be careful how you speak: Tour, but our and succour, four.
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak; Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Cloven, oven, how and low, Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe. Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery, Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles, Compare alien with Italian,
Exiles, similes, and reviles; Dandelion and battalion.
Scholar, vicar, and cigar, Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Solar, mica, war and far; Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
One, anemone, Balmoral, Say aver, but ever, fever,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel; Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Gertrude, German, wind and mind, Heron, granary, canary.
Scene, Melpomene, mankind. Crevice and device and aerie.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet, Face, but preface, not efface.
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Blood and flood are not like food, Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Nor is mould like should and would. Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad, Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Toward, to forward, to reward. Do not rhyme with here but ere.
And your pronunciation's OK Seven is right, but so is even,
When you correctly say croquet, Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sleeve, Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Friend and fiend, alive and live. Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour Pronunciation — think of Psyche!
And enamour rhyme with hammer. Is a paling stout and spikey?
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb, Won't it make you lose your wits,
Doll and roll and some and home. Writing groats and saying grits?
Stranger does not rhyme with anger, It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Neither does devour with clangour. Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt, Islington and Isle of Wight,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant, Housewife, verdict and indict.
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger, Finally, which rhymes with enough —
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge, Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age. Hiccough has the sound of cup.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury. My advice is to give up!!!
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.