English Pronunciation

Katia Millar posted a link to this article on facebook and I just had to try it out but it wouldn’t be any fun if there were no witnesses.

Listen to Reggy reading “English Pronunciation” by G. Nolst Trenité

Just in case you’d rather read the words off my blog, here you are:

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.
Foeffer 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!!!

– written by G. Nolst Trenité

I made a lot of mistakes along the way but this was a lot of fun to record. I’m sure I could’ve cheated and tried again but I already got to cheat twice because people called in the middle of my first two tries.

Also, just in case you’re wondering: I was listening to Graydon James & The Young Novelists and that’s who you can hear in the background. The fan sound is from the kitchen exhaust.

If you happened to do the same and you’ve recorded yourself reading this out loud, please leave a link in the comments so I can follow along!

I’m tired of waiting

Sixteen half-written drafts
Sit, patiently, awaiting completion.
They’re far more patient
Than I; shift, move, fuss
It’s all I seem to do these days.
“Writer’s block” understates
For I have plenty to say
If only my dear friends:
Courage and conviction
Would rear their heads
And help me make this bed.

Unnecessary explanations

I wasn’t really ready,
But I had scheduled,
The previous post and forgot.

I lef it because there were,
Those who took the time to,
Comment and keep up.

But I’m not ready,
I’m still finding myself.
And I hope you’ll be here,

Whenever it is,
That I finally do
Come back.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I was racking my brain trying to figure out how to celebrate this day on the blog without whining about the fact that my Valentine is 3,000 miles away1. I finally realised that my poetry has been offline for quite some time now, and I can start posting it again as if it were brand new!

Here is a poem I wrote in 1998 as I reflected on yet another lonely Valentine’s Day.

“The Little Things”

*Yawn* as I wake up.
I see the sun and
Stretch my limbs out.
Scared Shadi off my bed.

Open my bedroom door,
Entagled in my bathrobe.
Clangs of mother in the kitchen.
Chatter of TV “morning dad”.

“Happy Valentines Day Dear Daughter”
I read the card on the table.
As I smell the rose under it and,
Crinkle the chocolate wrapper.

I get in the shower,
Hot water soothing my face.
The radio finally kicks in,
Monica’s “Angel of Mine”.

Shocked by the sudden reminder,
I close my eyes… thinking,
Of other things to help me get through,
The day without wanting to hold you.

But just like this song,
Its the little things that you do,
That later on… when I’m not looking,
Suddenly remind me of you.

I find it funny that I wrote this about a high school infatuation who was unavailable to me at the time and that it can actually apply to my situation today. All you’d have to do is change the song title but everything else would totally still apply. I hope you enjoyed the poem as much as I’ve enjoyed revisiting my adolescence.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

Footnotes:
  1. oh yes I did just sneak that in there[]

Sweetness

As she opened her eyes,
She felt something foreign
With a distant familiarity.
She’d been here before.
As the exhale escaped her,
The realisation filled,
Warm glow,
Wrapping around her
From the inside, out,
And all around.
Protected. Safe.
Loved whole.
Yes.

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