Lessons From ESL
My ESL class continues to grow! today 14 students tackled a tongue-twister of a poem to practice pronunciation. How far can you get through the poem without a mistake?
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, slough, and through?
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead; it’s said like bed, not bead;
For goodness sake, don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat,
(they rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not a moth in mother.
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there.
And dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose —
Just look them up — and goose and choose.
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword.
And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Why, man alive,
I’d learned to talk it when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn’t learned it at fifty-five!
* On page 480 of the second (1975) edition of his book, “Aspects of Language”, Dwight Bolinger cited a portion of this poem. He credits Richard Krogh as its author, but says no more about its origins.
This poem was found at http://www.cupola.com/html/wordplay/english1.htm