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lecture 7

Lecture 7



In this lecture we read the poem “Chaos“ by Gerald Nolst Trenite (1870-1946).


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, Suzzy, 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 swart, 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 and 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,

Fiont, front, wont, 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, foilage, 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 aeem 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 Goerge 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, chaoes, 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 Italien,

Dandelion and battalion.

Sally with ally, yea, ye,

Eye, I , ay, aye, whey, and key.

Say aver, but ever and 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 !



Every student had to read one line aloud so it took us a while to get through it. The poem is about pronunciation of English words. A word might be spelt similar, but is pronounced in a total different way, that`s what makes it hard for learners to distinguish.

I really enjoyed this lecture,even if it took a lot of time to get through the poem. It`s interesting to see so many words that look so similar but are pronounced so differently.   



19.12.07 17:39
 



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