Can you really read and pronounce English?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Begonia, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Begonia

    Begonia

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    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!
     
  2. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    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.
     
  3. NorvernRob

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

    BISHI
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    This demonstrates the governments futility insisting that phonics is the best and only way to teach reading in schools.
     
  5. Doug the D

    Doug the D
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    Same here. Here's a word to pronounce; 'boring'.
     
  6. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    You bunch of ignorant killjoys! ;)

    Don't listen to them, Begonia, this text shows the true complex power of the Best Language in the World (TM)! :clap:
     
  7. Lee

    Lee
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    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.
     
  8. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    Well, this is my first attempt at saying the poem out loud, with as few mistakes as I could make:

    http://www.foebane.co.uk/English.mp3

    Sorry if my voice isn't clear, I personally don't like the sound of my own voice on recordings. ;)
     
  9. Apsilon

    Apsilon
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    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.
     
  10. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    who has the 'correct' pronounciation? carstle and cassle can't both be right - who wins?
     
  11. tvbox

    tvbox
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    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-

    :p

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

    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.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  12. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    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.
     
  13. grex9101

    grex9101

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    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!!!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  14. Graham27

    Graham27
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    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 ;)
     
  15. NooBish AbbZ 92

    NooBish AbbZ 92
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    Funny language :) A good example :smashin: Lathough i did give up before the end :p
     
  16. WeegyAVLover

    WeegyAVLover
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    +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:
     
  17. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Hi,

    Shome mishtake shurely? You mean "enunciate". ;)


    Pooch
     
  18. imightbewrong

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

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

    Beobloke
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    Brillaint!! (and easy...:smashin:)
     
  20. PoochJD

    PoochJD
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    Smartarse! :D :smashin:
     
  21. DrPhil

    DrPhil
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    Bingo...
     
  22. Rorifett

    Rorifett
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    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
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  23. simon ess

    simon ess
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    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.
     
  24. Apsilon

    Apsilon
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    Don't be afraid to ask ;)
     
  25. Dancook

    Dancook
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    Ant like Ant
    Aunt sounds like Aren't - I feel like there's a difference when I say these..but they are so similar if not the same.
     
  26. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    Can you determine how much of it I got right, based on my local accent? I think I have a plain British accent, but I've been told it's unusual. But then my mother didn't have much of a Welsh accent (born in Cardiff) but my Dad has a typical Bristolian accent, and I was raised in Cardiff (mostly).
     
  27. Rorifett

    Rorifett
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  28. nheather

    nheather
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    I think I could pass, but I have an understanding why some might fail.

    I encountered a very small number of words that I had not seen before and therefore, didn't know how they should be pronounced. All I could do was to use standard phonics rules and have a go.

    Now if the people who are failing are encountering a lot more words that they have never seen then it is not surprising they don't know how to pronounce them.

    Also is this of US origin - I found it quite odd to find Arkansas in the list.

    Using proper nouns (especially place names) is a poor test, as people often don't have much need to know - we all know how much our well-spoken American friends have trouble with some British place names.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  29. Foebane72

    Foebane72
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    That is a really strange one, isn't it? It looks as if it might be related to "Kansas" but is pronounced "Arkansaw" - really unusual, I think.
     
  30. logiciel

    logiciel
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    How often?
     

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