tag 22 – gotta love english

This is somewhat of a tag from three years ago, down to the date!

I didn’t get tagged, but this seemed like juicy a punishment to lay on fellow blogger, which was the norm those days. Read the very first comment on it by yours truly and you will know the kind of wicked person I was. Am an angel now. ;-)

Those days (and I must sound like a wizened old woman rocking on her front porch chewing tobacco, with a far off glaze covering her cataract ridden eyes) tags were fun. Maybe they are still fun, I wouldn’t know coz I’ve quit doing tags, or accepting any. Nothing to do with ’em tags, just grew out of them I suppose. I mean, one can’t keep digging up 10 more secrets from within (aren’t they called secrets for a reason?), or favorite songs, movies etc. It does get repetitive and after awhile one has used their blog so much as sounding board, that it seems a bore to wrench them from the dregs and display again.

Like pulling out old leftover cold sambar from a week ago, reheating it and adding a dash of curry leaf and passing it off as new. You see where I am going with this.

English is a crazy language, but when it starts off almost close to your first language, then it’s brilliant, flawless and perfectly logical to you. You will not have an explanation on why two exactly alike words can be said differently, while two differently written words are pronounced the same! Someone, mostly folks who are learning it or bratty truthful kindergarteners will point it to you, and you would scratch that head and blink a bit, and perhaps shrug your shoulder and say “I don’t know, that’s how I’ve always said it!” I have tremendous respect for teachers of any kind, but for an English teacher, I would bow my head.

Like the irrational cranky old grandpa that you’ve grown to love and can’t imagine him any other way.

So when I came across this in my drafts, it was as wicked as it was challenging and quite tempting. I attempted it, and I managed to stumble through without much hesitation when done in even speed and tone. Kick it up a notch and your mouth feels like u have pebbles swishing around within. But, it has been fun and I wondered why I never really got down to it till now!

In any case, this here is a Youtube version of a native English Speaker.

I had a lovely audio version of mine all set to go, but been having technical difficulties and so I am forced to record again with a blank video and load it. The things I do for this blog. If it were a human, it owes me big.  Anyways, it is not perfect. So, be kind. Be very kind!

Read along with my attempt:

Gerard Nolst Trenité’s “The Chaos” (1922).

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.
Feoffer 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!!!

***

Loved it? Crazy if you ask me. So who’s crazy enough to join me? :-)

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11 thoughts on “tag 22 – gotta love english

  1. I loved the poem, but no way would I join you. As a child I had difficulty with the English language, because of a hearing problem (and my Mom is an English teacher – imagine her frustration).

    Loved the poem and the post :)

  2. OMG! I honestly don’t recollect learning rules about digraphs, diphthongs, short and long vowels which play a role in the way words are pronounces in English. But kids here are taught English that way, and I completely struggle in explaining the logic every single time! So the head scratching, blinking bit — I hear ya!

    Nice poem :)

    • haha, yes! I don’t explain, I just tell them “go ask your teacher” :-)

      ..and then they grow up and make fun of your slightly desi-brit accent! :|

    • bits: It’s just these two. They are a tad personal, and I will most likely remove them soon anyway. Next one will be public, I promise. I have a feeling my muse is back :-)

      Ok, now, go listen to this poem and do the tag!

      • Audio recording is too much work and unleasing my dulcet (not !) voice on unsuspecting readers won’t make me popular

        Thou art brave and fine
        Thy voice and wit divine
        Thine take on the tag doth shine
        Hence I shan’t pen another line

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