Sunday, June 1, 2014


My Facebook friend Amanda posted the article "90% OF PEOPLE CAN'T PRONOUNCE THIS WHOLE POEM" (see below).

I was doing well until I noticed that I did not know one word: FOEFFER. I continued to read and saw that it was supposed to rhyme with heifer and zephyr. I screaked, "Oh, it's FEOFFER! It's misspelled!" I'm rather sure this article originated in the U.K., because of the place names Islington and Isle Of Wight and the words with "u" which are not normally spelled that way in the U.S.; e.g.: mould, succour, clangour.

The article states: "If you can pronounce every word correctly in this poem, you will by speaking the English language better than 90% of the native English language speakers in the world." [I oftentimes wonder who does the surveys to assess the percentages.] After reading this, my question is: HOW DOES ANYONE EVER LEARN ENGLISH? (CLICK HERE to see my BLOG article A SPELLER'S DILEMMER where "ghoti' is pronounced as "fish".)

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, and mankind,
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, or chalet,
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would,
Viscous, viscount, loud, 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, clamor,
And enamor 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 fouls, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does, now say finger,
And then singer, ginger, and 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 dust, cloth, loth,
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath,
Though the difference seems little,
We say actual but victual,
Refer does not rhyme with deafer,
FEOFFER does with zephyr and 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, mustache, eleven,
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed,
Mark the differences, but 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, and 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, and scourging,
Ear but earn and wear and tear,
Do not rhyme with here but ere,
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen and Uncle Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp and cork and work,
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Wait, it makes 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, plow, dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup,
My advice is to give up!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I didn't know the word SWARD either. Remember the old trick:

Pronounce: twe
Pronounce: twi
Pronounce: two