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A Plethora of Pronunciations

Postby sardith » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:38 pm

A Linguist friend who works with 'English as Second language speakers' sent this to me the other day, so I thought I'd share it here. I could see right away the Frenchman's frustration! :roll:

Sardith :)

ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION

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.)

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;

(to read the rest, follow the link: http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2011/12/23/english-pronunciation/ )
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:00 pm

Terrific!
I saved the whole thing: Thanks.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby bnjtokyo » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:30 am

Actually, the Chaos poem is available on this website. Here's the link
http://www.alphadictionary.com/ww/chaos_kids.html

I knew I had seen it before, but it took me awhile to find it.
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Postby Slava » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:44 am

More such:

We must polish the Polish furniture.
He could lead if he would get the lead out.
The farm was used to produce produce.
The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
This was a good time to present the present.
A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.
The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
The bandage was wound around the wound.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when the does are present.
They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer line.
To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
After a number of injections, my jaw got number.
Upon seeing the tear in my clothes, I shed a tear.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Postby Audiendus » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:22 pm

And some more:

I must protest about these noisy protest marches.
The monkey swung supply through the trees to reach the supply of food.
The pervert tried to pervert the course of justice.
She drinks sake for the sake of her health.
He records many records.
The irony was that the irony substance was more valuable than gold.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was blessed by God.
Visitors to the theme park can take their recreation in a recreation of a prehistoric forest.
There are several different bases on which he bases his argument.
He must have the patience of Job to do that job.
Every minute there is a minute change in the pattern.
The piano sonata alternates between forte and piano.
After bathing the baby, she went bathing.
The curate was asked to curate the exhibition.
I am content with the content of this article.
The criminal was dogged by the dogged detective.
The woman moped after her moped was stolen.
The message that the enemy had been routed was routed via France.
The Holocaust denier was strangled with a 20 denier stocking.
Iodine is listed in the periodic table and produces periodic acid.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:54 pm

APPLAUSE ! ! !
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:55 pm

Audiendus,
Either regional pronunciation variations or plain ignorance on my part give me trouble with the following words that are spelled the same but should perhaps be pronounced differently. I pronounce them the same in every instance. My local dialect of Southern merged with Texan, even in the college educated version, dictates this to me. The one about bathing leaves me clueless as to its meaning much less its pronunciation. Since we don’t have a standard way to spell things as they are pronounced without special markings on the letters, I don’t know if you can explain the differences in pronunciation to me, but please try. I have a makeshift pronunciation method that follows. The only difference I can understand is the one using routed. I would pronounce both instances the same, something like “RAU-tid”. You probably pronounce the second instance “RUU-tid”. Don’t say the latter if you are in Texas or you will be considered a furriner or, worse, a Yankee.
On irony, if I spoke Appalachian English I would call the second instance “OWRN-ee” and I wouldn’t know the meaning of the first instance. Since I have some book larnin’, I do know what the first instance means. I would say “II-ruh-nee” for both instances.

These are the sentences I question:
The irony was that the irony substance was more valuable than gold.
The piano sonata alternates between forte and piano.
After bathing the baby, she went bathing.
The message that the enemy had been routed was routed via France.

Please reply.
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Postby Audiendus » Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:12 am

I can only speak authoritatively for (southern) British English, but I'm sure the following applies (at least to some extent) to other accents too:

The irony was that the irony substance was more valuable than gold.
1st irony: r pronounced. 2nd irony: r silent.

The piano sonata alternates between forte and piano.
1st piano: short a. 2nd piano: long a (as in Italian).

After bathing the baby, she went bathing.
1st bathing is from the verb "bath"; pronounce it like that + ing. (This applies however you pronounce "bath".)
2nd bathing is from the verb "bathe"; pronounce it like that + ing.

The message that the enemy had been routed was routed via France.
1st routed is from "rout"; pronounce it like that + id.
2nd routed is from "route"; pronounce it like that + id.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:08 pm

Audiendus, none of your pronunciations hold true in the American south. I've never heard irony without the r. Piano always sounds the same (short a as in mat), since its full name is pianoforte. Bathing is always long a as in May, and when we speak of showering or soaking in a tub it's still a long a. If we're in the ocean, lake, or pool, it's prounounced swimming. Rout and route have the same sound as in cow, except some misplaced Yankees do pronounce it as root.
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Postby Audiendus » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:35 pm

Just to elaborate on a few points:

The 2nd "irony" is the adjective meaning "like iron" (iron-y).

The 2nd "piano" is the Italian musical direction meaning "play softly". ("Forte" meaning "play loudly" is pronounced "fortay".)

Do you ever use "bath" as a verb, or is it always "bathe"? In British English, to bath someone means to give them a full wash in a tub; to bathe them could mean either that or some more limited kind of wash. Hence the different pronunciations of "bathing".

For the American pronunciation of "route", Wiktionary gives both the "root" and "rout" forms (in that order).
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:23 am

I don't know that I've ever heard irony used to refer to actual metal. I doubt seriously that someone in our neighborhood would drop the r. We mispronounce iron by changing the i to a, as in arm - thus arn. We never use bath as a verb, only bathe, and the latter is never a synonym for swimming. I play piano, have sung and directed choirs, but have always pronounced piano with a short (flat) a, whether referring to the instrument or p in the directions. It does become a schwa in pianissimo. About 10-1 I hear rout, not root.
On the British side, the Englanders I've known all say shedule for schedule. Here it's always a hard c, like k - thus, pronounced skedule. And then there's Cockney!
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Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:47 am

Thank you for the effort to enlighten me Audiendus. I still cannot be sure how you pronounce some of these words. I spent a lot of time working in England, but it was near Northampton, so I suppose that doesn’t count. I notice that the further north I go in England the more easily I understand the local dialect. Thanks for the Southern (USA) confirmation Perry Lassiter. It is true that England English and American English diverge at many points. Neither is wrong. We just speak differently. I think the pond that separates us may have something to do with it. But never doubt, Audiendus, that I am an anglophile.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Postby bnjtokyo » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:26 am

"Since we don’t have a standard way to spell things as they are pronounced" - P. Hudson.

Actually, we do albeit with some special symbols and letters. It's called the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and a short course is available here
http://web.uvic.ca/ling/resources/ipa/ipa-lab.htm

You can also get there from this site by going to Dictionaries on the top page and then selecting Specialty Glossaries and scrolling down to Linguistics where there is a link to the above site.

A version that allows you to cut and paste the symbols is available here
http://weston.ruter.net/projects/ipa-ch ... /keyboard/

For example, my pronunciation of both uses of "bathing" in "After bathing the baby, she went bathing" is
[beðɪŋ]

Interesting to learn that the first usage in the UK is pronounced [bæθɪŋ] or is it [baθɪŋ]?
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Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:22 pm

bnjtokyo,

I am aware of the IPA. As with many Americans, I am pretty provincial, and I am also lazy. Though I have studied German and Spanish and am interested in language in general, I am actually monolingual. I believe the English language is the greatest artifact God has allowed the human race to create. Other languages are good, especially for comparison purposes, the study of etymology, and, naturally, for native speakers. Living in Texas as I do, I have to know some Spanish. I speak a sort of “Tex-Mex”. I call it “trabaho palaver” or “work talk”. Don’t look this up in any dictionary. It is not there. Do you know Spanish? Do you know that Spanish grammar is practically impossible to learn? Well, it is for me. If I remember right, there are sixteen regular verb cases! For the most part I am an Anglophile and an Anglophone. IPA is difficult. My Chinese students have another pronunciation system for English words. It is difficult.

As an ESL teacher to Chinese students, I need to be able to pronounce Mandarin words written with Roman letters. I am not a master of it but I do fairly well. This is mostly so I can pronounce my student’s names.

I want an English pronunciation guide that is done with the exclusive use of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. Actually, we don’t need them all; c and x are not very useful. I have created such a system but I am not ready to share it publicly. It still needs work. My international students use it and seem to like it. It is something like the one Dr. Beard uses. I do not have the key to Dr. Beard’s pronunciation scheme so it is not always useful to me. Has he published a key?

Thank you for your interest in my pronunciation plight.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:28 pm

post script to bnjtokyo,

I forgot to say that I know IPA well enough to understand how we (Americans, you and I) and the English pronounce bathing. Maybe I should take another look at IPA.
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