Monthly Archives: September 2013

English pronounciation poem

This showed up on my Facebook news feed. I read the entire thing and recorded it, then let an native English speaker read the entire thing and recorded him. My conclusion is that English is tricky, but you need to have a native English speaker judge whether you’re pronouncing the words right or not (or else you’re just going to think you’re pronouncing everything right anyway).  

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;
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.
Fe0ffer 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!!!

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité


Tagged , , , , , ,

I don’t do French

I have a slightly embarrassing handicap. The truth is that I can’t pronounce French words. I’m worse than your stereotypical American southerners  you see on TV. In school, we got the choice to either read Spanish, German or French. French sounded really hard so I went with German, which I thought would be the easier option. In the years that followed I never went to France and never really had a reason or interest to learn French. BUT, there’s a point in most peoples’ lives when suddenly French words starts popping up in everyday conversations, like Bordeaux, portmanteau, cremé de la cremé, etc etc.

Sometimes, as an adult, you HAVE to say french words, but that doesn’t mean that you have to like it. In an attempt to  protest and avoid mockery of my horrible pronunciation, I’ve switched out a few french sayings so they’re easier to pronounce:

1. Pret a manger (a UK-based coffee shop franchise): Pet a manager.

2. Pain au chocolate: Chocolate bread.

3. Cul-de-sac: Ball sack.

4. Novealle Vague: Nivea Vague.

5. Prêt-à-porter: Pet a Porter.

6. Tête-à-tête: TET TET TET (said very agressively)!

Tagged , , , ,

Whatever floats your boat or finds your lost remote

I’m sitting on a coach to the airport again. Word of advice: don’t try to eat a burger and fries on a crowded bus unless you’re ok with looking like a slobbering mess.

Aside from the barely contained panic that accompanies flying and travelling long distances, I quite like travelling. The limited available entertainment makes it natural to just gaze out the window and let yourself get lost in some form of meditative philosophing state of mind.

Right now I’m listening to Beethoven’s Archduke trio, which I got curious of after reading Kafka on the shore, which in turn I got curious about after seeing an icon on a LiveJournal forum. Funny how these things works. One thing leads to another and you stumble upon something that you never thought you would like, but end up loving. It’s invaluable to keep an open mind and give things a chance.

Tagged , , , ,

Petite fourer


I tried making petite fourer. The recipe goes along the lines of this: make two sponge cakes. Cut them in half into two layers and spread jam on one side, then put the other layer on top. Cut again so each spong cakes consists of two thinner long cakes. Cut them up in rhomb shapes. Make frosting from insane amounts of frosting sugar. DIP THE RHOMBS IN THE FROSTING. Add sprinkles. Done. The only problem is that the frosting is like thick glue and the rhombs fall apart when I try to dip them. Apart from that you’re pretty much drowning them in liquid sugar. They were pretty good but the frosting measurements definitely needs some tweaking.

Tagged , , , ,

I got coffee on me

I got coffee on me. My ponytail fell into my coffee cup when I turned around. 😦

Tagged , ,

This is not your chic travelling blog XXX

[20:10:07] mindy: LOL your blog
[20:10:29] mindy: AHHAHA
[20:10:34] mindy: oh it makes me chuckle
[20:11:17] johanna: 🙂
[20:11:44] johanna: I think my friends were expecting some chiq travel blog
[20:11:51] johanna: boy were they wrong

Yes, I’m moving to London on Saturday, but trust me, there won’t be any fashion selfies of me in front of a shop in Seven Dials (love that place though) or of my extremely healthy food at a extremely chic restaurant. No, I don’t completely understand what “chic” means, but I have a growing dislike for the word and will do whatever I can to distance myself from it.

I’m very Bernard Black that way and I imagine he would agree with me on this (of course, he would view blogging as a tremendous waste of time in the first place…). As for traveling blogs? You won’t even know that I ever leave the house…! Just kidding, I’m just not much for documenting everywhere I go to. When I went to Kenya on exchange studies last summer I didn’t pack my camera because I felt like the urge to photograph everything makes me not “be in the moment” and not appreciate what I see completely. I’ve never done Instagram but I have a feeling that some people just do or eat things so they can post a cool photo of it, and that’s kind of tragic.

And the XXX in the title are kisses. Or hugs? It’s most definitely not a reference to porn parody titles. *clutches my pearls in horror* Although if someone was to make a sexy parody of chic traveling blogs, I might have to ask my resident boything to cut out the sex parts for me so I can watch it for the hilariously bad puns and cheesy acting.

PS: One of the tag suggestions that WordPress came up with for this entry is “blog”. Really?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,