If you can correctly pronounce 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. Try them yourself.
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!!!
– B. Shaw
having recently watched *breakfast at tiffany’s* for the very first time, i have been longing to do things that i have never done before with some one – like stealing s.th. or getting some ridiculous cheap item engraved at tiffany’s or simply doing s.th. stupid or silly just for the fun of the moment
well, also recently i have started to do quite a few things, i had never done before – and it turns out to be a really good idea:
* i have started teaching english to kids and am enjoying myself immensely
* i have gotten engaged – not really, just pretend; but it feels very adventurous and perhaps i should try it for real some time
* i have made peace with my vacuum cleaner, despite my firm believe that hoovering was invented by the devil, i now do it once a week
* i have forgiven a friend, who has hurt me so much, i couldn’t even bear to think about it; but i am alright now and feeling very good about being generous and telling said friend that it’s alright
* i have tried to dance seductively with a broom as a prop and failed miserably – it still was pretty good fun, though!
* i directed a play for the first time; with my very best friend and now – right after opening night – i am still full of the thrill of success
* and lastly, best of all and really rather rebellious, i have put up stickers in a ton of illicit places around the city and occasionally been lifted up to do so by a rather new and agreeable – in all aspects – friend; a pretty uplifting experience! you should try it some day!
indeed, doing things for the first time, however small and unimportant they seem, makes me very happy to be alive and feeling oh so vibrant and joyful – life is good, always remember and you’ll be happy as well! and why not try doing s.th. new – the world is full of possibilities, just grab one and off you go
apart from some bills, i did have nice mail today – a letter from one of the long forgotten guys in a california prison, with whom i used to exchange letters for my master’s thesis and a postcard from a friend on vacation to a sunny town, about which he couldn’t but brag, since he left me at home in the rain last week – ah well, the rain is past and the sun is back, so all is well
indeed, all would really be well, if i could have a letter with this stamp on it, please
incidentally, that is tschaikowsky’s skull in the picture – no, not that tschaikovsky: the nutcracker one, but this one: also a composer and pianist, albeit not as famous as the other one, but still quite nice – especially when playing chopin – anyways, andre tschaikowsky somehow got the idea of wanting his skull to be used on stage in a hamlet production – no actor or director was brave enough until 2008 when david tennant came along and took matters into his own hands and tschaikowsky’s skull on stage – being a time lord does seem to help with strange encounters of the spiritual kind or maybe that’s got something to do with being a great shakespearean actor – anyways, this sroty makes me love david tennant and shakespeare even more, if that is possible
we went to see much ado on july 13th and on the way to the theatre my friend lost her ticket – it had david tennant’s autograph on it, which we’d gotten the night before at the stage door – we met steve at the door of the theatre, where he told us not to worry and get a reprint at the box office – that was the first brilliant!
during the intermission, steve comes up to us and asks, if my name is carola (which it is and which is printed on the ticket, since i bought it with my credit card way back in february) – so i say, yes it is and he handed me the lost ticket, which someone had picked up right outside the theatre and handed to him – that’s the second brilliant!
and steve’s management of the stage door action can easily count as the third brilliant!
we went to say theank you after all the stage door crazyness was over – but some people believe steve to be so brilliant as to deserve his own blog – a great idea, quite brilliant and well done! – steeeeeeve!
after six long months of happy anticipation, last week was the week – and last wednesday the day i have been waiting for – i went to see david tennant and catherine tate, the most gorgeous man and the funniest woman, in shakespeare’s much ado about nothing at the wyndham’s theatre in london
it was an adventure indeed – the night before, on tuesday, we took our tickets and went to the stage door to try and get an autograph already – the result was a lot of giggling and a very happy me, being a melted puddle of carola on the floor, after i had not only gotten a couple of perfect photos and autographs, but also heard their voices – really, i am no groupie and screaming fan girl, but i’ll make an exception for scottish and ginger people
now the happy anticipation for wednesday night was almost too much to bear – after some excitement, when my travel companion had lost her ticket (incidentally with david tennants autograph on it) and we had to get a new one and after the guy at the door wanted to rip my ticket, so i had to get a new one as well, so he wouldn’t rip of david tennant’s autograph – seriously! – we were safe and sound in our seats, in row 5 with a perfect view of the stage and not many more moments to go before the play started
initially having been introduced to both david tennant and catherine tate through doctor who, i have learnt to appreciate them for the great actors they are, even apart from doctor who – don’t get me wrong, i am still a huge fan of the doctor, but david tennant and catherine tate are so much more than just doctor and donna – i would miss them on tv, but seriously, stage acting is their true calling – they were amazing, the chemistry between them just perfect – i could watch them on stage every night
the play itself was a wonderful modern twist on shakespeare’s greatest romantic comedy – reluctant lovers is one of my all-time favourite classical themes – benedick and beatrice are the epitome of reluctant lovers, there’s so much going on between the two of them, not just on stage, but in between the lines as well, they have a history and not a boring one
being set in the 80s this version took an interesting new turn – the stage, the costumes, the music, it all made sense and was very 80s indeed – some people might not like it, but i loved it – a revolving stage created constant surprising moments and great set changes – the cast showed a variety of perfect costumes, dressing up for the various occasions throughout the play – i’ll never forget david tennant’s benedick in lace tights, mini-skirt, wig, over-sized sunglasses and pig snout for the costume party or the memorable moment, when he overhears don pedro, leonato and claudio talking of beatrice’s love for him – the stage was turning, the actors going back and forth between four big columns and benedick ended up being smeared from head to toe in white paint – it sounds confusing, but was actually just amazing, funny without being silly or overdoing it
they sing as well, not live, but for the soundtrack – yes, that’s right, the play has it’s very own soundtrack – here’s a bit of a teaser for you – the play’s version of an 80s summery feel good hit – real shakesperean lyrics of course
being set a mediterranean island, it’s great to see, how director josie rourke managed to add small details to create an overall feeling for the setting, the characters and the story – favourite moments include benedick making quite a first entrance on a golf cart – beatrice and benedick sitting by the pool and the light effects actually creating pool reflections on the walls without there even being a pool – benedick trying to rhyme a sonnet for beatrice and failing miserably, that actually made me cry – claudio singing of his love and being the perfect picture of a sunny boy, while a hangoverish, cynical benedick in a superman shirt makes fun of him, creating a lovely sense of parody – bachelor parties, including strippers and a great deal of crazyness, for hero and claudio – and a dogberry to die for, talking of comic relief, he’s your perfect example and john ramm was fantastic
but the complete cast were brilliant – jonathan coy was a wonderful leonato – tom batemen a claudio to die for, showing off his hot body and being so genuinely in love you couldn’t help but fall in love with him a little bit yourself – sarah macrae a deserving hero to this loverboy – adam james a don pedro with a wonderful sense of humour and genuine attachment to his men – and finally elliot levey as the villainous don john, who is not completely dislikable, as his bitterness in this version has little to do with jealousy and quite a lot with him being a gay man in the navy
ths far, the play was a total success for me and the money well spent – it could only be topped of by steve, the greatest door guard in the world, dropping by our seats in the intermission and bringing back the lost ticket, which had been found outside – needless to say, we were amazed someone actually gave that back, what with it having david tennant’s signature on it!
on to the second half – darker scenes and sober moods – hero’s desertion at the altar is tragic and there’s nothing comic about it, the audience feels with her, but nevertheless cannot help but enjoy the confessions of love from beatrice and benedick
Benedick: “I do love nothing in the world so well as you- is not that strange?” Beatrice: “As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing.”
and of course it all ends in happiness and bliss as the cast dances along to “sigh no more” and the audience goes wild – the night ended in happiness for me as well – another visit to the stage door and i now own a signed copy of the script book and a few more memories of having seen david tennant and catherine tate close up and live – the only thing i now long for is to some day meet them in person and have a chat without there being crazy fans around and people pushing to get autographs, photographs and offers of marriage and children
all in all an amazing experience – i could go and see the play every night, but i’ll have to make do with listening to yet another classic comedy feature from the soundtrack – perfection!