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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. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months of

hard labour to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself.

http://phd.pp.ru/Texts/fun/english-poem.txt (source)

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!!!

-- B. Shaw

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Crap! I still have no idea what a terpishore is! Guess I'll have to look it up myself... :icon_geek:

Still, to satisfy Cole's insatiable curiosity:

Hoist with your own petard

Meaning

Injured by the device that you intended to use to injure others.

Origin

The phrase 'hoist with one's own petar[d]' is often cited as 'hoist by one's own petar[d]'. The two forms mean the same, although the former is strictly a more accurate version of the original source. A petard is, or rather was, as they have long since fallen out of use, a small engine of war used to blow breaches in gates or walls. They were originally metallic and bell-shaped but later cubical wooden boxes. Whatever the shape, the significant feature was that they were full of gunpowder - basically what we would now call a bomb.

The device was used by the military forces of all the major European fighting nations by the 16th century. In French and English - petar or petard, and in Spanish and Italian - petardo.

The dictionary maker John Florio defined them like this in 1598:

"Petardo - a squib or petard of gun powder vsed to burst vp gates or doores with."

The French have the word 'p?ter' - to fart, which it's hard to imagine is unrelated.

Petar was part of the everyday language around that time, as in this rather colourful line from Zackary Coke in his work Logick, 1654:

"The prayers of the Saints ascending with you, will Petarr your entrances through heavens Portcullis".

Once the word is known, 'hoist by your own petard' is easy to fathom. It's nice also to have a definitive source - no less than Shakespeare, who gives the line to Hamlet (1603):

"For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar".

Note: engineers were originally constructors of military engines.

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.

I read too many old classics when I was in school...and thus ends today's english lesson boys and girls! :lol::hehe::lol:

Rick

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Well, of course, I knew that - doesn't everybody???! :icon_geek:

I did, however, have to ask my friend W.Pedia about Melpomene, who turns out to be the Greek Muse of Tragedy (originally of Singing) so I've learned something there.

But even dear Wiki couldn't explain Foeffer, (or F?ffer either). Anyone know who or what this is?

Bruin, perplexed and not liking it

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Well, of course, I knew that - doesn't everybody???! :icon1:

I did, however, have to ask my friend W.Pedia about Melpomene, who turns out to be the Greek Muse of Tragedy (originally of Singing) so I've learned something there.

But even dear Wiki couldn't explain Foeffer, (or F?ffer either). Anyone know who or what this is?

Bruin, perplexed and not liking it

I think it's a misspelling of feoffer: one who gives a fief to another; one who gives a piece of land to another (during the Middle Ages). Probably a transcription error.

BTW, a foffer is a firm offer, used in the shipping industry.

Colin :icon11:

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a misspelling of feoffer: one who gives a fief to another

Colin :icon11:

What do i need a Wiktionary for, I've got a Colin! Hail to thee, blythe spirit, fount of all wisdom! How did you know that? Wiki is still stumped. And it's not as though you've been alive since such a term was last in common parlance...!

Thanks mate - I've learned something.

Bruin :icon1:

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What do i need a Wiktionary for, I've got a Colin! Hail to thee, blythe spirit, fount of all wisdom! How did you know that? Wiki is still stumped. And it's not as though you've been alive since such a term was last in common parlance...!

Thanks mate - I've learned something.

Bruin :lol:

Uh... I didn't know those words, so I learned something too. I have Babylon installed on my laptop. It has 5 dictionaries: the Babylon English-English dictionary; the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary; the Concise Oxford English Dictionary; the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913); and WordNet. Oh, yeah, and Wikipedia, too. And the Merriam Webster Collegiate Thesaurus. It suggested feoffer for foeffer, and foffer as an possible alternate. When I was taking a short story writing course last spring I found Babylon to be invaluable.

Colin :wave:

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