Can you really read and pronounce English?

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.

Here we go..........

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.
Fe0ffer 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!!!

Few! Sorry....I mean Phew!
 

Foebane72

Well-known Member
We could each record ourselves saying all that, no takes or cuts, and put it on youtube or something, as proof that we can pronounce it properly.

I'm game, but it'll take time, and I'll have to make sure my webcam sound is working properly.
 

NorvernRob

Distinguished Member
I got about halfway through, looked at how much was left then realised I don't actually care enough to read the rest.
 

BISHI

Well-known Member
This demonstrates the governments futility insisting that phonics is the best and only way to teach reading in schools.
 

Doug the D

Member
I got about halfway through, looked at how much was left then realised I don't actually care enough to read the rest.
Same here. Here's a word to pronounce; 'boring'.
 

Lee

Moderator
I've got a brummie accent so no chance, don't do a words beginning with h for a start.

It's not a house it's a owse.
 

Apsilon

Senior Moderator
Most acting schools use these for getting their students to speak correctly. It's basically teaching the muscles in your mouth to pronunciate words properly and clearly rather than lazily.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
who has the 'correct' pronounciation? carstle and cassle can't both be right - who wins?
 

tvbox

Distinguished Member
Problem is- some words I haven't even heard of or don't know what they mean, so no context, so just have to guess at how theyre pronounced.
e.g Terpsichore, ague, Cloven, Melpomene, etc. And i can't be bothered typing them in, finding out what they mean and reading the stupid Greek pronunciation symbols.

Omitting the words that I don't know, I feel that I would be pretty confident in reading it. Trouble is-

I got about halfway through, looked at how much was left then realised I don't actually care enough to read the rest.
:p

I have found a similar and simpler kind of thing- Can you read these first time?:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it
was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France.
Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet are meat. We take English for granted.
But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese?
One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick?"
Source: http://dyslexiamylife.org/signs_dsy.html. (I'm not dyslexic, but i happened to have read the website in the past)


"Best Language in the World (TM)!"?
Hmmm... Not sure.
 
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Foebane72

Well-known Member
who has the 'correct' pronounciation? carstle and cassle can't both be right - who wins?
Yeah, I realised this too as I was reading it all out, there are regional variations in all English-speaking areas of the world - there IS no definitive pronunciation, this poem is open to interpretation. I bet even my recital of it was fixed to a small region of the UK, with my own variations and mistakes.
 
This demonstrates the governments futility insisting that phonics is the best and only way to teach reading in schools.
Interestingly, they did an "experiment" in my area in the late 80s/early 90s in the Catholic schools regarding teaching phonetically.

The upshot? None of them can spell, and (to my mind), a lot of them were assessed as being dyslexic. Surely no coincidence.


On another note, I'm buggered for some of these words: my dialect (West of Scotland) simply does not allow for the nuance found in certain words.

For example: Aunt and ant are identical.

Although, at least we know the difference between ground and floor (unlike you bloody English!!!)
 
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Graham27

Well-known Member
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.
If you pronouce every word in that poem, there's a 90% chance you're very bored and in need of something better to do ;)
 

NooBish AbbZ 92

Distinguished Member
Funny language :) A good example :smashin: Lathough i did give up before the end :p
 

WeegyAVLover

Distinguished Member
I got about halfway through, looked at how much was left then realised I don't actually care enough to read the rest.
+1

I also found that the sentences/verses were setup to make you stutter your way through them as I found I needed to see/read the whole sentence before you got the correct wording.. Especially for TVBOX listing...

The first one though is way too long and does not interest me enough to continue...

But all the above probably says more about me!:suicide:
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
no, he means 'pronounce words properly/clearly' AKA enunciate.

if you had made it all bold you could have been right - so close ;)
 

Beobloke

Active Member
Brillaint!! (and easy...:smashin:)
 

Rorifett

Member
On another note, I'm buggered for some of these words: my dialect (West of Scotland) simply does not allow for the nuance found in certain words.

For example: Aunt and ant are identical.
How should the two Aunts/ants be pronounced? I struggle with Filums, Throaits amongst others, can pronounce b**bag, ****nugget and like perfectly though! :D
 
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simon ess

Well-known Member
It's an interesting example of the complexities of English spelling but, as has been pointed out, it has it's limitations as far as pronunciation is concerned.

It might demonstrate that someone can speak English with received pronunciation but that is only one of a huge range of versions of English and does not entirely measure anyone's ability to speak English correctly.
 

Apsilon

Senior Moderator

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