Below we’ve got a entertaining poem that shows the absurdities [ridiculousness] of English pronunciation.
The English language, as it’s written, is quite strange compared with languages like Spanish and Portuguese where words are always spelled like they are pronounced. Sure, there are rules for pronunciation, but a lot of times there’ll be words that have the same endings but sound different.
There are many words that have the same endings but sound completely different.
To know the correct spelling of the word often just takes memorization. We don’t like to always follow the rules in English!
So let’s get started.
How to Practice Your Pronunciation
The best way to use this poem to practice/test your pronunciation is to:
1. Read the poem out loud [speaking]. Do your best to read with a good rhythm as it will help your pronunciation.
2. Look at the definitions of any of the bolded words below that you don’t know.
3. Listen closely to my recording of the poem while you read along. Do your best to notice any errors you made in pronunciation.
4. Read the poem out loud again. Focusing on speaking with the same rhythm and flow as the native speaker.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you can read the poem flawlessly [without making any mistakes]
6. Study the poem more carefully, examining the strange pronunciation of the words.
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, laugh, and through.
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword
Well done! And now if you wish, perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps.
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead–
For goodness sakes don’t call it deed.
Watch out for meat and great and threat,
They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
And dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose–
Just look them up–and goose and choose,
And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man alive!
I’d mastered it when I was five.
I take it – I assume
Tough – strong, difficult to break
Bough – a main branch of a tree (uncommon)
Cough – to shoot air out from your lungs with a harsh sound, generally when sick.
Dough – the mixture of ingredients used to make bread, before being cooked
Stumble – make mistakes while speaking
Hiccough – an involuntary spasm that makes a funny noise and is almost impossible to stop. (See video)
Thorough – when something is done carefully and completely
Cork – the brown stopper in the top of a wine bottle
Ward – a room for patients in a hospital
Font – a type/style of text. Examples: Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, etc.
Dreadful – extremely bad
Bead – a small piece of glass, stone, or other material, usually round and used in jewelry or clothing.
For goodness sakes – to be surprised or annoyed by something
Deed – a brave or noble act
Threat – promising to inflict pain, injury, or death to someone
Suite – a fancy room in a hotel
Debt – when you owe money to someone
Moth – a colorless butterfly (see photo)
Bother – to annoy someone
Broth – the liquid part of a soup
Dose – a quantity of medicine or drug
Rose – a beautiful flower (see photo)
Goose – a large white bird, similar to a duck (see photo)
Thwart – to prevent someone from accomplishing something
Cart – a vehicle used for carrying stuff.
Man alive – used to express shock (not very common)
Did you like what you read?
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