The Chaos – a poem by Gerard Nolst Trenite

The Chaos (ABRIDGED)

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.
Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

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.

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.

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!!!

By Dr. Gerard Nolst Trenite

To read the full version (which I highly recommend) click here

This issue of English pronunciation often leaves foreigners form whom English is their second language stumped. In fact these days some of this would trip up an awful lot of Brits too!

I just love it 🙂

Best wishes

Lis Goodwin – your voice coach

Homonyms by Lis Goodwin

Homonyms are words which sound the same, but have different spellings and mean different things.

Your test today is to find the meanings of the homonyms in these three sentences. Leave me your answers in the comments!

It was raining as the reigning Monarch took her time reining in her recalcitrant steed.

There was no basis for the boys to play basses while the baseball players hit their bases.

She could see from the caret, that the jewellery advert was misspelled, and that not only were the carats all wrong and the karats too few, but somehow carrots had also been added, giving more than the necessary golden glow.

I hope you enjoy these!

Best wishes

Lis Goodwin, your voice coach

How posh is your vocabulary?

This is rather fun – I got 100% on this – share your score in the comments!

How Posh Is Your Vocabulary

(N.B. Buzzfeed it not suitable for children unless supervised)

Does vocabulary matter? YES! A resounding yes, because accurate use of language inbues your words with their TRUE meaning. Inaccurate language produces stilted communication – because you aren’t really saying what you mean!

Voice coaching includes improving vocabulary as part of the work – I believe it’s vital to good and confident communication!

Best wishes

Lis Goodwin, your voice coach