Tag Archives: Language

English Pronunciation: A poem by G. Nolst Trenite (With Pronunciations and Definitions!)

I have found what is definitely one of my new most favorite poems. To quote the original site:

“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‚Äôd prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.”

Of course, I don’t think those numbers are anything but made up, but it is still a great description of the poem. Also, instead of just copying the poem and pasting it over here, I’ve provided footnotes that allow you to look up the definition and pronunciation of the words I didn’t understand and/or didn’t know how to pronounce when I first read the poem. Some were very surprising. Enjoy! (Note: Unless you read it out loud, IT DOESN’T COUNT! ūüôā )


 

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

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*, pass, 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!!!

 


 

  • Corps – “Core,”¬†a main subdivision of an armed force in the field, consisting of two or more divisions.
  • Sward – I know of no other word pronounced like it, so here’s the link:¬†http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sward.
  • Ague – “Ay- gyoo,” malaria or some other illness involving fever and shivering.
  • Terpsichore – “Terp (like burp) – sick – or – ee,”¬†one of the nine Muses and goddess of dance and chorus.
  • Vicar – “Vick – er,”¬†(in the Roman Catholic Church) a representative or deputy of a bishop.
  • Balmoral – “Ball – more – ell,” ¬†Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
  • Laurel – “Lore – ell,”¬†an evergreen tree or bush with shiny pointed leaves.
  • Melpomene – “Mell – poe – (something like) money,”¬†the Muse of Tragedy.
  • Billet – “Bill – it,”¬†a place, usually a civilian’s house or other nonmilitary facility, where soldiers are lodged temporarily.
  • Viscount – “Vy (like cry) – count,”¬†a man who is a member of the British nobility and who ranks below an earl and above a baron.
  • Sieve – “Siv,” a utensil consisting of a wire or plastic mesh held in a frame, used for straining solids from liquids, for separating coarser from finer particles, or for reducing soft solids to a pulp.
  • Mauve – “Mov (the “o” is like in top),” a light or medium purple color.
  • Transom – “Tron (like the movie) (or, American way, it’s “tran,” like “man”) – tsum (pronounce the “ts” like the “ts” in “bats,” then the “um” like “yum”),”¬†a bar of wood or stone across the top of a door or window.
  • Victual – “Vid – le (rhymes with “little”),”¬†food usable by people.
  • Foeffer – Feoffer, “Fe (like “bet) – fur,”¬†one who makes a feoffment, one who makes¬†the granting of a fee.
  • Zephyr – “Ze (like “bet”) – fur,” a soft gentle breeze.
  • Arabic – “Air – uh – bick,”¬†of, belonging to, or derived from the language or literature of the Arabs.
  • Chaise – “Shaze (rhymes with “blaze”),”¬†a horse-drawn carriage for one or two people, typically one with an open top and two wheels.
  • Aye – “I,”¬†an affirmative vote or voter, especially in British Parliament, corresponding to yea in U.S. Congress.
  • Aver – “Uh – vair (like the “v-e-r” in “very”),”¬†state or assert to be the case.
  • Skein – “Skane (rhymes with rain),”¬†a length of thread or yarn, loosely coiled and knotted.
  • Aerie – “(Pronounced a variety of different ways, but in the poem rhymes with “berry”),”¬†a large nest of a bird of prey, especially an eagle, typically built high in a tree or on a cliff.
  • Phlegmatic – “Fleg¬†(like “beg”) – ma (as in “math”) – tick,”¬†not easily excited to action or display of emotion.
  • Paling – “Pail (like the bucket) – ing,” a fence made from pointed wooden or metal stakes.
  • Groats – “Grotes¬†(rhymes with oats),” grain without the covering, such as wheat or oats, broken into fragments.
  • Gunwale – “Gun – ull (as in “dull”) (rhymes with “tunnel”),” the top edge of the side of a boat.
  • Hiccough – “Hih (as in “hit”) – cup,” a hiccup, or “an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm and respiratory organs, with a sudden closure of the glottis and a characteristic sound like that of a cough.”

Interesting Observation: Better Late Than Never

You all probably have heard the phrase “Better late than never” at least once in your lifetime; if not, well, it’s better late than never to learn it. Either way,¬†a friend recently said it to me, and I was about to reply “yeah, of course, it’s always better late than never,” when I realized something: “What if it was my execution?” :/

Imagine the executioner coming to your jail cell to fetch you; he unlocks the door, binds your hands, and as he leads ¬†you to the guillotine, he says, with an apologetic look on his face, “I’m really sorry that it has taken so long to get your execution set up, we’re usually not this sloppy; but, you know, better late than never, right?”

~ George

Interesting Observation: Happy New Year!

A new year has started! There. That’s a pretty interesting observation if you think about it, so the post must be finished. Sign:¬†~ George. Done.

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Not really ūüôā As you probably know, it’s a the start of a new¬†year. You can tell because of all the people saying “Happy New Year!” all the time. I’ve said it myself a few times,¬†but I started wondering what we were actually saying when we said “Happy New Year” to people. If you look closely, it isn’t actually a sentence at all, just a noun plus two adjectives. Saying¬†“Happy New Year!” to people is grammatically the same as yelling¬†“Purple Tin¬†Piano!” at them.

Of course, we¬†aren’t yelling “Purple Tin Piano” at them, and of course we mean something more than “adjective¬†adjective¬†noun”. What we omit when we say “Happy New Year” is the two words¬†“Have a”. When we add those words, we get “Have a Happy New Year”, which is a complete sentence. We just drop the verb¬†to make it easier to say. Furthermore, “Have a Happy New Year” is still leaving out a bunch of words.¬†What we actually mean is¬†“I wish that you may be happy throughout the rest of this new year.” No wonder we shortened it.

Anyhow, as if I haven’t said it enough, Happy New Year! (However you want to read¬†it) ūüôā

~ George

The Ultimate Wish: Part 3 of 3 – Fun

 

You’ve made the wish. You protected the universe from yourself, and yourself from the universe. Now it’s time to enjoy your awesome power

As I wish for things in real life, I’ll post them here. Something big to note though, I won’t just wish for anything I want. After all, that would take all the fun and joy and surprise out of life. For example, I won’t wish that I was an awesome soccer player, because that takes the fun out of playing soccer. Better things to wish for are along the lines of being able to fly, because I can’t fly (I think ūüôā ), and there’d be no joy-robbing if suddenly I could fly.

  1. I wish to be able to fly (Not very original, I know, but it’d still be awesome)
  2. I wish to be able to turn myself and anything else I want invisible, as well as being able to turn¬†anything that is invisible visible (Again not very original, but you could get in some serious trouble if you’re seen flying around. Also, something everyone seems to forget about is that when you say “I wish to be able to turn myself invisible”, they¬†don’t mention turning visible again ūüôā )
  3. I wish that my toes (or some other injury) were completely healed (Some people reading might know that I was on crutches for two weeks and in a boot for another three weeks because of a toe injury that still bothers me sometimes. Something like that definitely has to go when you are all powerful)
  4. I wish I wasn’t so sore right now (Probably something that I’d wish a lot ūüôā )
  5. I wish to be able to go to sleep and wake up exactly when I want to (I have trouble getting to sleep, and almost everybody has trouble waking up, so this solves both problems in one go)
  6. I wish to have Telekinesis (Perhaps the best wish for the lazy person and the busy person alike, the ability to move stuff around with your mind would be awesome)
  7. I wish that my body can adapt to cold and/or heat, in such a way that I keep my complete abilities and no damage is caused to my body. (Fall just started, and earlier today I had to swim in a very cold pool for swim team. It would be very nice to not be bothered by temperature.)
  8. I wish to be able to understand, read, speak, and write in any language that I hear, see, or want to understand.¬†(It’d be very helpful to say the least)
  9. I wish to be able to change what happens inside a book and see what the characters would do¬†in such a way that the change is only applied to the book that I am holding at the time of changing it and only after I have said “I, ______, am changing this book”.¬†(This would be Great if you like reading. Not only could you fix any situations that you didn’t like (such as a¬†favorite character dying), but you’d also have a story that would never end. You could just keep changing the situation and seeing what the characters do! As for the restrictions, you don’t want to mess up every book¬†you look at¬†and you certainly don’t want to mess up every copy of the book¬†in the world.)

Notable exceptions (wishes that some might want, but I personally don’t)

  • I wish for x amount of dollars¬†(There are a number of reasons that I wouldn’t want this. First off, with wish power you could easily earn a real income without magically getting the money from nowhere. Second, with wish power, many things that would need money you can easily get for yourself.)
  • I wish to be stronger/faster/thinner/better at soccer, etc.¬†(Something that I’m happy about myself is that I’m fit. Even though I could wish myself to be extremely fast, it’d take the joy ¬†out of winning in a race. Wishing that I was as good of a swimmer as Michael Phelps would ruin all the fun of competitive swimming. While some may want to be stronger, I¬†feel¬†good the way I am)

These are just a few of the things I’d wish for, and I know that you can easily think of others that I missed. Leave any suggestions/ questions in the comments!

~ George

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This post is part of a 3 post triad, each focusing on a specific aspect of “The Ultimate Wish”.

The Ultimate Wish: Part 2 of 3 – Safety

You were just given the ability to grant wishes and have become the most dangerous person both on the planet and to the planet. With a single wish you could destroy the earth. If anyone find out about your power they might seek to control you, or perhaps simply kill you. What are the first wishes you make to ensure that you (and humanity) survives?

In bold are the wishes, and in parenthesis are my comments on the particular wish. “!!!” will be placed in front of particularly important wishes, although they are all important. Note: if you were going to make these wishes, you’d probably want to find the precise wording of the wish; these are more of the idea of the wish than the wish itself

  1. !!!!!! I wish that all the wishes I grant must be fulfilled according to my intention(so that I won’t be surprised by the outcomes of my wish. Definitely should be first, because it is critical to everything else. Also needs to be the most precisely worded)
  2. !!! I wish to need a password to grant wishes(so that I won’t accidentally make a wish that I shouldn’t; perhaps the password is a very hard word that I’ve written down)
  3. I wish that I am not able to grant a wish without¬†consciously¬†agreeing to¬†it¬†(again, I don’t want to accidentally¬†destroy the world. The first wishes will have a lot to do with that)
  4. I wish that if I say the word/phase __________(really long, hard phrase), and then speak¬†of a previous wish, then all the effect of that wish will be undone, apart from the knowledge that I had to say the phrase for some reason(In case I make a wish that messes everything up, despite my precautions. The last phrase is so that I’d know not to wish for whatever I was about to wish for)
  5. !!! I wish that if I say the word/phase __________(another really long, hard phrase), and then speak of a previous wish, then all the effect of that wish will be undone, apart from any effects it had on myself(In case I make a wish that messes something up, but I want to remember what happened anyway)
  6. I wish that if I die, all the effects of the last wish I made before my death¬†would be undone if¬†one of the consequences of the wish was my death¬†(If I destroy the universe, then the wish would be undone (hopefully), perhaps I might want to not make it¬†the¬†last¬†wish I made, in case it wasn’t the one that killed me (and the universe))
  7. I wish that if I am about to make a wish that will cause the death of someone I will know exactly¬†30¬†seconds before¬†I make the wish, along with what the wish would have been¬†(more backup for the “don’t destroy the earth” plan)
  8. I wish that any wish I make containing the word __________ (word that I’d never unintentionally say in a wish) will be undone¬†exactly 24 hours after my death, unless I¬†wish otherwise (Just in case)
  9. Having hopefully protected the universe from myself (although I may want to do something about the time stream), the following wishes will be mostly about protecting me from the universe.
  10. I wish to be able to grant wishes without speaking out loud¬†(in case I’m¬†in a situation that I can’t speak, such as underwater or gagged, although perhaps I should need to speak to decrease the possibility of accidental wishing?)
  11. !!!!!! I wish that I’ll automatically know and understand the answer to any question I ask, so long as it doesn’t regard the future.¬†(This is a REALLY big one, with this power alone you could rule the world. If I wasn’t already wishing to grant wishes, this would be one of my “3 wishes”. Maybe someday I’ll do a post on it)
  12. !!! I wish to be able to stop and start time (note: unless I made wish #1 of this post, this could lead to some dire consequence, such as not being able to start time again, or instantly killing me. Also, this is important for my safety because it can help me get out of bad situations)
  13. I wish that I wouldn’t age while time is stopped.¬†(Who knows how the whole “Time Stop” thing would work, so it’s better to be prepared)
  14. !!! I wish that if I were to die, time would rewind until exactly 5¬†minutes before I lost clarity of thought and start again, but I’d know exactly what killed me and how it killed me¬†(You might want to put a limit on how many time this happens; “clarity of thought” is supposed to help against dying when I’m asleep or drugged.)
  15. I wish to be completely¬†indestructible¬†so long as I¬†cannot think clearly, along with the 10 minutes following the point at which I am thinking clearly¬†(This wish¬†has two purposes: 1st, if someone tries to attack me while I am asleep, drugged, or confused, they won’t succeed; 2nd, if something really bad happens while I’m asleep or something, I will have a chance to fix it)
  16. I wish that any bullet,¬†missile, rocket, dart, sword, or knife thrown or shot at me will instantly be teleported¬†¬†inside the black hole at the center of the galaxy¬†(I know that there are many other things that could kill me, some of which I might add later, but this is just to cover the basics. Besides, if I said¬†anything¬†thrown at me would disappear, then dodgeball and games like it would become much less fun. As for the black hole part, I figured that no matter what someone shoots at me, it isn’t something a black hole couldn’t handle, meanwhile if the person was desperate enough it might blow up the sun, or something)
  17. I wish that the moment someone decides that he/she wants to kill me, he/she will immediately forget that he/she wants to kill me (pretty self-explanatory, I think)

Notable Exceptions (wishes that I thought would be good, but upon further reflection turned out to be bad ideas)

  1. I wish to be able to teleport anywhere at conscious desire¬†(with the power to wish for anything, I¬†can easily wish to be any place I want. Having taken¬†some measures to make sure that I¬†don’t accidentally wish for something bad, it’d probably be safer to just stick with that rather than risk accidentally teleporting myself into the center of the sun, for instance)
  2. I wish to be able to know the future (or something along those lines)(I never thought this would be a good idea, but I thought I’d explain why I make the last statement in wish #10. It’s pretty simple, to be honest. In many of¬†the movies/books, the person who knows the future often dies or something else horrible because he/she¬†tries¬†to change it. While that may be just in fiction, I wouldn’t want to be the first to try it.)

This post will continue to be updated as I think of more, but for now this is good. Part 3 is about the fun I’d wish for¬†now that everything is safe.

~ George

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This post is part of a 3 post triad, each focusing on a specific aspect of “The Ultimate Wish”.

The Ultimate Wish: Part 1 of 3 – The Wish

You’ve done the impossible and found a real¬†Genie of the¬†Lamp. You have three wishes. What do you wish for?

As the sort of person who tries to find the best¬†answers to any question (“What’s your dream car?” someone once¬†asked me. I said “The Batmobile”), I’ve come up with what I think¬†is The Ultimate Wish, the wish to be able to grant wishes. I’m also the sort of person who wants everything specified, so that the genie couldn’t misinterpret it in any way. This post is going to focus on the¬†three first wishes and what those three wishes would be, down to every last detail. I’ll edit this post as I think of either better phrasing of the wishes or better wishes.

Wish One:  I wish to know and understand everything that there is to know about genii and wishes, in such a way that will not cause me physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual harm, and does not involve tampering with my body, mind, or spirit in any way that would cause me distress or to not realize that I am in distress.

Wish Two (The Ultimate Wish): I wish that I have the ability to grant any wish to myself, at any time, in any place, in any dimension, in any timeline, in any body that I may be in, up to 9 googolplex times, without causing harm to me emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually.

Wish Two (alternate): If I learn something from my first wish that would stop me from getting The Ultimate Wish granted, then I would use this wish to compromise whatever would stop my wish¬†from happening, from wishing that the genie would forget a rule to wishing that the genie had the power and want to grant me my wish.¬†If the genie would try to misinterpret my wish then I’d wish that he would have to interpret the wish as I think. I should probably add the word for word wishes for any scenario that I think might happen, so I may do that in the future.

Wish Three: I would keep this as a redundant wish, in case the second wish failed or I lost my wish granting powers.

Wish Three (alternate): If I used the alternate for wish two, then wish three would be used for The Ultimate Wish

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Hopefully any problems that the genie causes would be fixable through my own wishes. If you notice anything that I should add/change/remove, please comment. Part 2 is about what wishes I’d make immediately after making The Ultimate Wish

~ George

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This post is part of a 3 post triad, each focusing on a specific aspect of “The Ultimate Wish”.

Weirdly Spelled Words

One day Patricia and I were talking about something and somehow we started thinking of weirdly spelled/hard to spell words, so I’ll be updating this ongoing list of words that I come find. If words are weirdly spelled for the same reason than either I won’t include them or I will lump them together. The weird part of each word will be in bold and separated from the rest of the word. Definitions and pronunciations are found at dictionary.com.

S er gea nt –¬†[sahr-juhnt] – noun:¬†a non-commissioned army officer of a rank above that of corporal.

wr¬†ough¬†t –¬†[rawt] –¬†verb:¬†Archaic except in some senses. a simple past tense and past participle of work

r ei gn Р[reyn] Рnoun: the period during which a sovereign occupies the throne. verb (used without object): to possess or exercise sovereign power or authority.

bizar¬†re –¬†[bih-zahr] –¬†adjective:¬†markedly unusual in appearance, style, or general character and often involving incongruous or unexpected elements; outrageously or whimsically strange; odd

leag eu Р[leeg] Рnoun: a covenant or compact made between persons, parties, states, etc., for the promotion or maintenance of common interests or for mutual assistance or service

ri¬†gh te¬†ous –¬†[rahy-chuhs] –¬†adjective:¬†characterized by uprightness or morality

fj¬†ord –¬†[fyawrd, fyohrd] –¬†noun:¬†a long, narrow arm of the sea bordered by steep cliffs: usually formed by glacial erosion.

~ George