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Is English Hard?

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

Is English Hard?

Postby Slava » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:16 pm

Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:49 pm

I am fairly fluent reading several languages, with a lexicon handy if I don't grok a key word. I tried to branch out with different types of languages, two by checking out tapes from the library. Everyone seems to think listening is the best way, but I had trouble with both Japanese and Arabic. Intonation and rhythm is different, and I need to see something more or less phonetic. Tried a book on Arabic, and found too many variants of the same letter depending on whether it was at the beginning, end, or middle of a word. Have no clue whether I could learn to decipher the oriental lingos, Philip. I have enough trouble with Greek capital letters, since most of my reading there is in the NT, most of which is lower case. Hebrew is weird because of the huge vocabulary in the OT and its tendency for four or five letters randomly to disappear or change to another letter. If you're not familiar with the particular form, you have no clue as to the two or three letter root meaning. Having said all that, I always heard Sanscrit was the hardest.
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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby Slava » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:13 pm

I do like grok, and am surprised that etymonline says it is mostly obsolete now. Odd, that.

As to English being hard, here are some examples:

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!!!
-- Author Unknown

PS: this is my 4,000th post. I never thought I'd make it to 1,000.
Last edited by Slava on Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby gailr » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:23 pm

That can be read aloud, without errors.

But it requires some pauses which ruin the rhythm. :wink:
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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby Slava » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:27 pm

Plus, it makes aunt rhyme with grant, which isn't the way I say it.

Here's a second installment:

Why English is Tough - Part 2:

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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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:12 pm

Bet Doc rhymes aunt with grant, as do I.
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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby gailr » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:24 pm

^ I do as well. "Ont" always sounds affected to me, even though it's used by friends who are anything but.
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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:01 am

Us Red necks pronounce aunt and ant like ain't. None of them rhyme with grant. A Cockney would pronounce aunt as hahnt.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:55 pm

Ain't around here rhymes with paint, not pant.
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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:18 pm

Yep. Aunt, ant, an't, paint; they are all rhyming words.

It has nothing to do with the topic, but in a doggeral vein I offer the following:

Old Aunt Mariah
Jumped in the fire.
The fire so hot
She jumped in the pot.
The pot so black
She jumped in a crack.
The crack so high
She jumped in the sky.
The sky so blue
she jumped in a canoe.
The canoe so long
She jumped in the pond.
The pond so deep
She jumped in the creek.
The creek so shallow
She jumped in the tallow.
The tallow so soft
She jumped in the loft.
The loft so rotten
She jumped in the cotton.
The cotton so white
She stayed there all night.

If anyone really wants to compete in a doggeral match, top that one.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Is English Hard?

Postby gailr » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:35 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:The pond so deep
She jumped in the creek.

Around these here parts, she jumped in the "crik".
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