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PostPosted: Sep 10th, '13, 10:29 
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I've always liked this, but most people hate me for showing it to them.

The author of the poem “English is Tough Stuff” is Charivarius. Charivarius was a Dutchman and an English schoolteacher, who wrote funny poems (in Dutch, except this one) for newspapers between 1910–1920.

So You Think You Know English?
Multi-national personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language ... until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised.

After trying them, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud.

Try them yourself. (to be read aloud, preferably with a friend!) The object is to get through with no stumbles... no cheating, OK? :D

________________________________________
English is Tough Stuff
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!!!


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PostPosted: Sep 10th, '13, 11:35 
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That's very clever. It isn't easy to read but would have been a bugger to write!

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PostPosted: Sep 10th, '13, 12:28 
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No wonder bogans shorten/change everything - traino, servo, smoko, Bazza, Dazza, Shazza, Bluey

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PostPosted: Sep 10th, '13, 13:14 
Arbey... :wink:


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PostPosted: Sep 10th, '13, 23:11 
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I got bored halfway through but I only had issues with 2-3 words and only because I wasn't 100% certain on how they should be pronounced. A lot of words have been Americanised in Australian English now.

It is quite clever though I do like it.

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PostPosted: Sep 11th, '13, 00:49 
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I have to assume you guys are pronouncing half of this wrong ;)

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PostPosted: Sep 11th, '13, 05:15 
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Well Jake, it is definitely English as she is spoke so I am pretty sure we need to say it to it rhymes, which means the US has changed how the language is spoken... But even in America you still learn your language in English class... :D so I am guessing, deep down, you know we are right. :headbang:

All Mr Rabbit has to do is require boat people to correctly pronounce this poem or go home and we have solved the boat people political football in one fell swoop... Image


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PostPosted: Sep 11th, '13, 11:45 
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My head hurts........

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PostPosted: Sep 11th, '13, 13:19 
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i dont get it...seems easy enough, unless english isnt your first language.

Chinese has some good ones too.

A whole poem that is all from the same sounding words (and we think there, their and they're are hard).

An example of the first 4 lines below.

Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì.

石室詩士施氏,嗜獅,誓食十獅。
氏時時適市視獅。
十時,適十獅適市。
是時,適施氏適市。


In a stone den was a poet called Shi, who was a lion addict, and had resolved to eat ten lions.
He often went to the market to look for lions.
At ten o'clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market.
At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market.


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PostPosted: Sep 11th, '13, 16:12 
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For those wondering what that actually sounds like........



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PostPosted: Sep 11th, '13, 16:52 
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I sing a similar song when I hurt myself....

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PostPosted: Sep 11th, '13, 17:43 
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when i say that poem i think it comes across as jibberish to most chinese. They use old fashioned words etc. Ill have a look at the youtube when i get home :)


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PostPosted: Sep 12th, '13, 13:53 
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JM,

I just started to recover from this on the other forum, and now I stumble across it here too. Cruel and unusual punishment my friend. hehe...

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PostPosted: Oct 25th, '13, 12:15 
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I've still never got the end of that poem without making a mistake once - it's like a Dr. Seuss book. Yay! :)


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PostPosted: Oct 25th, '13, 13:17 
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arbe wrote:
No wonder bogans shorten/change everything - traino, servo, smoko, Bazza, Dazza, Shazza, Bluey



Half of them got longer, not shorter. :suspicious:


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