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Bigbird  (Level: 248.9 - Posts: 3337)
Mon, 19th Mar '07 9:12 PM


I received the following poem by email, and I thought it was really clever. It's also the longest thing I've ever seen, but it might appeal to the trivia bugs in some of you:


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)

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Mon, 19th Mar '07 10:00 PM

I ADORE this! Thank you so much!

Suzer22  (Level: 165.6 - Posts: 1982)
Mon, 19th Mar '07 10:06 PM

Whose idea was this goofy language, anyway???

Allena  (Level: 266.2 - Posts: 1406)
Mon, 19th Mar '07 10:23 PM

Darn Sumarians...

Surreyman  (Level: 272.1 - Posts: 2771)
Tue, 20th Mar '07 4:36 AM

You colonals jest always did have problems .........

Sploofus Editor
Sploofusaurus (Editor)  
Tue, 20th Mar '07 4:48 AM

Thank you for posting that, Alice! Now members may understand what editors have to deal with.......!

Aslan  (Level: 27.6 - Posts: 356)
Tue, 20th Mar '07 7:39 AM

Cool post, Alice. I am definately gonna copy and save this for when I have 3 or 4 hours to read it!

Surreyman  (Level: 272.1 - Posts: 2771)
Tue, 20th Mar '07 1:28 PM

Does anyone want the Welsh version!

Mindmonkey  (Level: 278.8 - Posts: 295)
Tue, 20th Mar '07 1:46 PM

If anyone has had the misfortune of trying to learn German, Mark Twain wrote a wonderful essay about the process called "The Awful German Language." It's one of the funniest things I've read.

Cypressriver  (Level: 59.9 - Posts: 160)
Wed, 21st Mar '07 11:54 PM

Why yes, Surreyman, I'd love the Welsh version! Could you also transcribe it phonetically and include a pronunciation guide--it would be SO fun to read aloud at gatherings.

Surreyman  (Level: 272.1 - Posts: 2771)
Fri, 23rd Mar '07 6:03 AM

This is a party piece I wrote years back to educate my English friends!

It’s easy, you see ...
‘C’ is not ‘see’
But always like ‘K’ in ‘Kat’

And double-’D’
Is nothing like ‘Dee’
But just like ‘th’ in ‘That’

‘F’ as in ‘fat’?
Never like that,
It’s ‘F’ as in ‘very’, not ‘fairy’

For ‘fun’ and ‘frolics’
The ‘F’ you need
Is two of ‘em, like ‘ffoot’ and ‘fferry’.

‘G’s always like ‘get’
Never ‘George’ or ‘Jet’
But ‘LL’ will get you real crazy ...

Just try and be sick
With an ‘L’ on the end
Or try ‘Thl’ if you’re goin’ to be thlazy!

‘Rh’ you just turn
And pronounce like ‘Hr’
But it’s ‘Si’ that might just fool yer

It’s really a ‘Sh’
But here we go now
On those vowels, which are even worser!

‘U’ is always
As in ‘see’ or ‘sit’
There’s Welsh crazy to look!

And that famous ‘W’
Is simply ‘Ooooooooh!’
As in ‘food’ or, often, ‘book’

The ‘Y’ can be lots,
Usually ‘u’ or ‘i’
“B(u)t t’s mad”gives you the reins

So now you can hear
Welsh pronouncing here .......
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch reigns!

Surreyman  (Level: 272.1 - Posts: 2771)
Fri, 23rd Mar '07 7:02 AM

Sorry - don't know where the light bulb came from!

That should read "But it's mad"

Aslan  (Level: 27.6 - Posts: 356)
Fri, 23rd Mar '07 8:09 AM

Nice one, Surreyman.

My favorite pronunciation warning is the old story about spelling FISH:

Writers who try to rely too completely on the sound of English words for hints on how to spell often have trouble with some of the peculiar sound-spell combinations in the language. One apocryphal (apokrifil?) story tells about a girl who, when asked to spell "fish," wrote GHOT on the chalkboard. It makes perfect sense, of course, if it's the same "gh" we see in cough, the same "o" we hear in women, and the same "t" we hear in nation.


Surreyman  (Level: 272.1 - Posts: 2771)
Fri, 23rd Mar '07 9:18 AM

And - true, the Pacific nation of Kiribati is pronounced 'Kiribass'.
A 19th. century Brit missionary had the islands' only typewriter, and the 's' had broken. The nearest he could replace the 's' sound was by typing 'ti', and it stuck (the spelling, not the typewriter!)!!

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Fri, 23rd Mar '07 3:15 PM

Ooooh! Good one, Surreyman! That's going straight into my "Fact or Crap?" category file!

Loved the Welsh piece. I have a nifty pronunciation key in a book by Morgan Llewelyn; very helpful but it's not as fun as yours.


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