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(Slate)   What languages have invaded English? Here's an interactive graph to answer that cromulent question   (slate.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, English, graphs, languages  
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3031 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Mar 2014 at 9:18 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



38 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-03-11 06:24:07 AM  
I feel that's shallow and pedantic
 
2014-03-11 07:55:42 AM  
"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."
 
2014-03-11 08:13:46 AM  

DammitIForgotMyLogin: "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."


English is a trade language. It was the middling ground for a lot of folks. It is a language, quite literally, of compromise. The British Isles were invaded fair often. Those waves of folks left an impression. The language that resulted in the land, was a language of compromise between all those folks. It's not that "English" was invaded, but that English developed as a bridge between all those folks. It's not just words that the language has borrowed, but the structure of English--ostensibly a Germanic language that has been sucker punched and buggered by Latinates and then given repeated handies by the natives to the islands--has been altered from its roots. It is not a pure Germanic language, and has lost gender, not to mention seen vast changes in the basic phonemes far and away from those roots. Because it has always been a language of compromise between a lot of populations.
 
2014-03-11 08:41:34 AM  
I don't think it's fair to say that they invaded English.  It's more like English raped the shiat out of those other languages.
 
2014-03-11 08:49:55 AM  

hubiestubert: The British Isles were invaded fair often.


At least up until1066... then the British decided to invade everywhere else.
 
2014-03-11 09:04:46 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: hubiestubert: The British Isles were invaded fair often.

At least up until1066... then the British decided to invade everywhere else.


You mean the Norman conquests? Which imposed essentially French* on the court of England?

*OK, it was Anglo Norman which displaced Old English, but it was essentially a form of French.
 
2014-03-11 09:26:53 AM  
Alls the languages?
 
2014-03-11 09:35:39 AM  
A history of English that starts in 1150? That seems inadequate.
 
2014-03-11 09:45:21 AM  
I would say that, at the very least, the graph was missing contributions from Gaelic language and Persian. Also, would Sanskrit cover all the language families of India? Turkish would be another potential contributor. And what about Chinese? We eat Chinese cuisine, therefore we use Chinese words.
 
2014-03-11 09:47:36 AM  
If you haven't already seen it, the history of the english language in 10 minutes is a fun and informative little video.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rexKqvgPVuA
 
2014-03-11 10:04:17 AM  

Arkanaut: A history of English that starts in 1150? That seems inadequate.


That's about right, before then it was Middle English from 1066-1450 or so.  Before that is was Old English from about 450-1066.  Before that it's pretty fuzzy.
 
2014-03-11 10:09:32 AM  
I'm coming to the conclusion that "English" as we tend to think of it isn't really a language, per se. This is not to say that there isn't an "English language," per se: there is. You can see it in action, by itself, at places like The Anglish Moot. But pages like that should convince you pretty quickly that this language is not all there is to "English" at all.

English, as we currently think of it, is more like a linguistic system that incorporates subsystems from a variety of other languages. The intriguing thing about this is that while it doesn't exactly bring these subsystems in completely unaltered, it imposes far less change on them than many other languages do. Some call this egalitarian, while others call it confusing, and they're both right. For example, you cannot truly understand English academic and scientific jargon without having at least some familiarity with the structures of ancient Latin and Greek: you don't need enough to actually speak those languages, necessarily, but a basic understanding of certain root terms will make things just click in ways they didn't before. Similarly, one needs some familiarity with French to truly understand English political terminology, including military and diplomatic terms. It gets to be even more of a hodgepodge in the US, where Spanish and Yiddish have had significant influence that didn't spread nearly as much to the rest of the Anglosphere.

That's the thing about English, and all of its so-called "exceptions." It's actually a much more consistent language than it's given credit for, when you know which set of rules you need to be using, but to really know that, you have to know where your words are coming from, and that requires a fair knowledge of history in and of itself. Cram all that into your head, and things make sense. But that can be an awful lot to cram into your head. Small wonder that even among native speakers, many people question how much sense it even makes.
 
2014-03-11 10:14:47 AM  

dittybopper: I don't think it's fair to say that they invaded English.  It's more like English raped the shiat out of those other languages.


The first phrase ever written in Saxon was "Ich'm gegoing in dright".
 
2014-03-11 10:28:25 AM  
"Holde Mein Mead...Ae ken to attempt thys."
 
2014-03-11 10:32:43 AM  
This does present quite the quyzbuk.
 
2014-03-11 10:46:05 AM  

DubtodaIll: Arkanaut: A history of English that starts in 1150? That seems inadequate.

That's about right, before then it was Middle English from 1066-1450 or so.  Before that is was Old English from about 450-1066.  Before that it's pretty fuzzy.


I was hoping to see if someone's done some analysis on the works of Bede, or maybe Beowulf, or if there were other Old / Middle English works of note.
 
2014-03-11 10:50:19 AM  

Millennium: I'm coming to the conclusion that "English" as we tend to think of it isn't really a language, per se. This is not to say that there isn't an "English language," per se: there is. You can see it in action, by itself, at places like The Anglish Moot. But pages like that should convince you pretty quickly that this language is not all there is to "English" at all.

English, as we currently think of it, is more like a linguistic system that incorporates subsystems from a variety of other languages. The intriguing thing about this is that while it doesn't exactly bring these subsystems in completely unaltered, it imposes far less change on them than many other languages do. Some call this egalitarian, while others call it confusing, and they're both right. For example, you cannot truly understand English academic and scientific jargon without having at least some familiarity with the structures of ancient Latin and Greek: you don't need enough to actually speak those languages, necessarily, but a basic understanding of certain root terms will make things just click in ways they didn't before. Similarly, one needs some familiarity with French to truly understand English political terminology, including military and diplomatic terms. It gets to be even more of a hodgepodge in the US, where Spanish and Yiddish have had significant influence that didn't spread nearly as much to the rest of the Anglosphere.

That's the thing about English, and all of its so-called "exceptions." It's actually a much more consistent language than it's given credit for, when you know which set of rules you need to be using, but to really know that, you have to know where your words are coming from, and that requires a fair knowledge of history in and of itself. Cram all that into your head, and things make sense. But that can be an awful lot to cram into your head. Small wonder that even among native speakers, many people question how much sense it even makes.


It is a language to itself. Germanic at its core, but it has been heavily influenced by a LOT of languages along the way. Studying Old English, you are closer to its Germanic roots, but still with Latinate structures thanks to the Romans. If you want a good overview of the roots and influences of English, with its familial structures, I might suggest, A Biography of the English Language by C. M. Willward. She does a nice job breaking down the language, and its structures, both from a political standpoint, as well as with the waves of immigration that English bore. Those waves of immigration heavily influenced a Germanic tongue, and one of the reasons that there are conflicting rules, is that English has absorbed influences from French, from Latin, from those kooky Picts and Celts. It is a great trade language from this, because of its versatility. And that is really what English is: a trade tongue. It is a bit more evolved than a pidgin, and taken on a life far beyond a creole between Latin and Germanic mixes that the Saxons and Vikings brought. English rose from those structures from traders and the conquered, and then became itself further influenced by the Saxons, the Normans and all the interplay between the various natives--Britons, and Welsh which all derived their own structures from the Picts--and then the oddness across the way with Gaelic. Those inter-related languages all wound up influencing English--from the Germanic Angles who rolled in fair early--nearly as much as the French and Latin.

English is supposed to absorb words and structures. Its versatile in creating dialects and pidgins and creoles, that often seem to the untrained ear unintelligible, but retain the structures of English--which is to say, often confusing, because it relies on structures that are borrowed from Latinates as well as Germanic and apply them willy nilly. We still retain odd structures, thanks to print. Knight as a for instance. People complain bitterly at times about how crazy it is that we use a silent K in it. Save, that at one point, that wasn't silent. Print has preserved some of these structures, despite changes to the spoken tongue. And English has undergone a lot of changes since the Old English, and certainly from Middle English.
 
2014-03-11 10:57:24 AM  

Arkanaut: DubtodaIll: Arkanaut: A history of English that starts in 1150? That seems inadequate.

That's about right, before then it was Middle English from 1066-1450 or so.  Before that is was Old English from about 450-1066.  Before that it's pretty fuzzy.

I was hoping to see if someone's done some analysis on the works of Bede, or maybe Beowulf, or if there were other Old / Middle English works of note.


I took an Old English class in school and did a full translation of Beowulf.  It was very interesting to see the ambiguity of translation possibilities from the story we've come to agree on today.  Old English has a different syntax as well as lettering and pronunciation is varied.  Caedmon's Hymn is the earliest work we have in Old English and is actually pretty good.  Also the works of Aelfric and Wulfstan are impressive. If you're looking for the great works in Middle English that's the Faerie Queene and Canterbury Tales though my favorite would probably be Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. While you can see the roots of Modern English in all of those texts they are notably different in that you have to learn the vocabulary and syntax in order to understand them.  Middle English is graspable to anyone with a high school education though you're going to miss a lot in the vocab.  Old English is pretty unintelligible unless you do a course study in it.
 
2014-03-11 11:09:38 AM  

DubtodaIll: Arkanaut: DubtodaIll: Arkanaut: A history of English that starts in 1150? That seems inadequate.

That's about right, before then it was Middle English from 1066-1450 or so.  Before that is was Old English from about 450-1066.  Before that it's pretty fuzzy.

I was hoping to see if someone's done some analysis on the works of Bede, or maybe Beowulf, or if there were other Old / Middle English works of note.

I took an Old English class in school and did a full translation of Beowulf.  It was very interesting to see the ambiguity of translation possibilities from the story we've come to agree on today.  Old English has a different syntax as well as lettering and pronunciation is varied.  Caedmon's Hymn is the earliest work we have in Old English and is actually pretty good.  Also the works of Aelfric and Wulfstan are impressive. If you're looking for the great works in Middle English that's the Faerie Queene and Canterbury Tales though my favorite would probably be Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. While you can see the roots of Modern English in all of those texts they are notably different in that you have to learn the vocabulary and syntax in order to understand them.  Middle English is graspable to anyone with a high school education though you're going to miss a lot in the vocab.  Old English is pretty unintelligible unless you do a course study in it.


English really took a hold, when printing became standardized. And that is sort of why you get folks who are all up in arms about "true" English, because they recognize the power that solidifying the "right" kind of English. Which is why you see a lot of countries switching from British Standard English to American Standard today. And why grammarians are so adamant about solidifying rules for their particular dialects, because that standardization is exactly how English rose. English has a ton--or tonne--of dialects. Left alone to itself, English lapses into localized tropes, and it is wonderfully capable of forming dialects, and incorporating local languages to form creoles. Thanks to print, we have mutually intelligible English thanks to these frozen forms, despite the local differences in pronunciation and dialect forms. Today's world is far too interconnected to allow the isolation for these dialects to truly split from the mother tongue, despite all the folks who put up the hue and cry, but the forms of spoken English DO have a lot of variation, which is why you see the BBC Standard and the American Broadcast dialects being promoted, as well as American Standard and British Standard being trotted out. It is a means of political control, as well as "protecting" the language.
 
2014-03-11 11:15:30 AM  

dittybopper: I don't think it's fair to say that they invaded English.  It's more like English raped the shiat out of those other languages.


The Norman French Invasion of England in 1066 is where most of your Greek/Latin/French comes in.
 
2014-03-11 11:19:42 AM  
I feel compelled to point out that a few of their examples are somewhat misleading. Example: "war" came from a French language, but the French got it from a Germanic language, so it kinda washes.

dittybopper

I don't think it's fair to say that they invaded English. It's more like English raped the shiat out of those other languages.

They definitely invaded, between the Church and Scandinavians the Normans...
 
2014-03-11 11:28:54 AM  

hubiestubert: DubtodaIll: Arkanaut: DubtodaIll: Arkanaut: A history of English that starts in 1150? That seems inadequate.

That's about right, before then it was Middle English from 1066-1450 or so.  Before that is was Old English from about 450-1066.  Before that it's pretty fuzzy.

I was hoping to see if someone's done some analysis on the works of Bede, or maybe Beowulf, or if there were other Old / Middle English works of note.

I took an Old English class in school and did a full translation of Beowulf.  It was very interesting to see the ambiguity of translation possibilities from the story we've come to agree on today.  Old English has a different syntax as well as lettering and pronunciation is varied.  Caedmon's Hymn is the earliest work we have in Old English and is actually pretty good.  Also the works of Aelfric and Wulfstan are impressive. If you're looking for the great works in Middle English that's the Faerie Queene and Canterbury Tales though my favorite would probably be Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. While you can see the roots of Modern English in all of those texts they are notably different in that you have to learn the vocabulary and syntax in order to understand them.  Middle English is graspable to anyone with a high school education though you're going to miss a lot in the vocab.  Old English is pretty unintelligible unless you do a course study in it.

English really took a hold, when printing became standardized. And that is sort of why you get folks who are all up in arms about "true" English, because they recognize the power that solidifying the "right" kind of English. Which is why you see a lot of countries switching from British Standard English to American Standard today. And why grammarians are so adamant about solidifying rules for their particular dialects, because that standardization is exactly how English rose. English has a ton--or tonne--of dialects. Left alone to itself, English lapses into localized tropes, and it is wonderfully capa ...


That's true for most all language it's just that English has emerged as the most widespread language on this planet due to the sheer amount of print it has produced.  All live languages are fluid and dynamic.  All languages have local dialects and variations mostly attributed to geography.  The primary use of language is to exchange information between individuals.  You do not need "proper" grammar to make yourself understood however it does help to eliminate misunderstandings.  With the advent of the internet it has essentially created another location for the language to pervade even if that location doesn't actually exist on a map.  Conversations occur within that area and the language is molded to the uses of the individuals within that location.  I have never viewed the establishment of proper and standardized grammar as an important endeavor.  Its primary use is to establish a "formal" version of a language and to establish a denotation for the education level of an individual language user.  Language is dynamic and the rules are always shifting regardless of where the rule makers try to establish censure.  Trying to lay down concrete rules for any language is as futile an effort as establishing concrete rules for dance.
 
2014-03-11 11:30:17 AM  
On a further note I know of only 3 words that have persisted from Old English to Modern English without variation in meaning or form:  Man, House, and Gold.
 
2014-03-11 11:36:18 AM  
The English language does not  borrow words.  English follows other languages out of the bar and down a dark alley, whereupon it conks them on the head and rifles through their wallet for any interesting new vocabulary.  English is a linguistic mugger, not especially particular about the provenance of it's words so long as the speaker cam make himself understood.

Of course, having the flexibility of an olympic gymnast is a double edged sword.  English is wonderful as an international language because if a "foreign" word suits the purpose better that word will be appropriated.  But, for a non-native speaker, the lack of any rational rules or order to the vocabulary makes it a nightmare to learn sometimes.
 
2014-03-11 11:46:06 AM  

DubtodaIll: I have never viewed the establishment of proper and standardized grammar as an important endeavor.  Its primary use is to establish a "formal" version of a language and to establish a denotation for the education level of an individual language user.  Language is dynamic and the rules are always shifting regardless of where the rule makers try to establish censure.  Trying to lay down concrete rules for any language is as futile an effort as establishing concrete rules for dance.


And a lot of linguists would agree with that. But, the establishment of grammars has always been about establishing which dialect is in power. Be that in Britain, be that in the US--which oddly enough, put out its own Americanized spellings fair soon after splitting with Britain--be that in Japan. Be that in France.

What is interesting is the advent of recording technology today. While writing has slowed linguistic drift by a great deal--and the shifts between Old English and Modern are very much signs of that it didn't stop it--recording technology now means that the dominant dialects are preserved for folks to actually hear. It is NOT a coincidence that BBC English and American Broadcast, and associated dialects of those in power are preserved. Recording means that people can now hear changes, in very much real time, and likewise even in relatively isolated pockets, can hear the dialects associated with power, and adjust their own speech accordingly. Or associate folks who use that dialect within their own socio-economic context. Be that neighborhoods, be that regional. It hasn't stopped dialects from forming, or evolving as new folks are added to the mix to neighborhoods and regions, but it likewise gives examples for folks to pattern themselves upon without having a sponsor to get out of their particular situation, if they want to do so. Or just mimic to make fun of folks in power. This is a tool that folks are using with great gusto. I point to my own experience in teaching English--American Standard nominally--and how nations are now adopting American Standard as "their" favored dialect, in order to show their place in the world. BSE is fading, on an international scale, and while it has strongholds still, and a good amount of speakers, more and more folks are looking to the American Standard as their model. That IS a political statement in and of itself.
 
2014-03-11 12:15:47 PM  
My contrafibularities to Subby for finding this.
 
2014-03-11 12:46:14 PM  
English is the lingua franca of global commerce and diplomacy.

But not literally.
 
2014-03-11 03:22:59 PM  
Clearly, English was embiggened by the addition of these loan words from other languages.
 
2014-03-11 04:04:45 PM  

cgraves67: I would say that, at the very least, the graph was missing contributions from Gaelic language and Persian. Also, would Sanskrit cover all the language families of India? Turkish would be another potential contributor. And what about Chinese? We eat Chinese cuisine, therefore we use Chinese words.


That's because most of the Gaelic contributions have had their credit given to Latin instead if there's a Latin root that came even close.
 
2014-03-11 06:43:34 PM  

Millennium: I'm coming to the conclusion that "English" as we tend to think of it isn't really a language, per se. This is not to say that there isn't an "English language," per se: there is. You can see it in action, by itself, at places like The Anglish Moot. But pages like that should convince you pretty quickly that this language is not all there is to "English" at all.

English, as we currently think of it, is more like a linguistic system that incorporates subsystems from a variety of other languages. The intriguing thing about this is that while it doesn't exactly bring these subsystems in completely unaltered, it imposes far less change on them than many other languages do. Some call this egalitarian, while others call it confusing, and they're both right. For example, you cannot truly understand English academic and scientific jargon without having at least some familiarity with the structures of ancient Latin and Greek: you don't need enough to actually speak those languages, necessarily, but a basic understanding of certain root terms will make things just click in ways they didn't before. Similarly, one needs some familiarity with French to truly understand English political terminology, including military and diplomatic terms. It gets to be even more of a hodgepodge in the US, where Spanish and Yiddish have had significant influence that didn't spread nearly as much to the rest of the Anglosphere.

That's the thing about English, and all of its so-called "exceptions." It's actually a much more consistent language than it's given credit for, when you know which set of rules you need to be using, but to really know that, you have to know where your words are coming from, and that requires a fair knowledge of history in and of itself. Cram all that into your head, and things make sense. But that can be an awful lot to cram into your head. Small wonder that even among native speakers, many people question how much sense it even makes.


i1.ytimg.com
 
2014-03-11 09:27:55 PM  
The elephant in the room, however, is how Latin and French dominate the picture in just about every period.

Um... you really, really don't understand what the phrase "elephant in the room" means, buddy.  It's something important and obvious that people  don't talk about.  English scholars talk about incorporation of French and Latin vocabulary and grammatical constructs farking  constantly, it takes like 10 tabs of LSD, a 15-pound sledge, and three ant farms to get them to farking  stop talking about it,  ever.  It's like the only topic of conversation their profession even has.

// English is so generalized that it pretty much murdered all the old pidgin tongues that used to serve as practical trade languages, though, that part is true.
 
2014-03-11 09:56:43 PM  
i.imgur.com
 
2014-03-11 10:27:38 PM  
I'd love to see what happens with Asian and African "trade" English. Much like Latin and Greek steam-rolled through the Roman Empire and squashed local tongues, in many places with multitudes of local languages if you want to get shiat done with people from two provinces over you need to use English.  I know the English used in international aviation has its own weird sound to it, I'd imagine the "English" that comes out of Singapore or Lusaka is eventually going to be very different than what your hear now.

 Hell, one of Papua New Guinea's official languages is Tok Pisin, which is an English/local creole, and it reads like some excerpt from Moby Dick.

God only knows what we'll get out of the internet.  YouTublish is coming!
 
2014-03-11 11:08:28 PM  

Bonzo_1116: I'd love to see what happens with Asian and African "trade" English. Much like Latin and Greek steam-rolled through the Roman Empire and squashed local tongues, in many places with multitudes of local languages if you want to get shiat done with people from two provinces over you need to use English.  I know the English used in international aviation has its own weird sound to it, I'd imagine the "English" that comes out of Singapore or Lusaka is eventually going to be very different than what your hear now.

 Hell, one of Papua New Guinea's official languages is Tok Pisin, which is an English/local creole, and it reads like some excerpt from Moby Dick.

God only knows what we'll get out of the internet.  YouTublish is coming!


The Philippines has done some interesting things with English. And Spanish for that matter. Tagalog has borrowed heavily from both--I know, it's odd since English and Spanish are the official languages--and Filipinos can drive you nuts speaking Tagalog because you will get a few words here and there, and a bit more if you speak Spanish, and then dash all your hopes for understanding the conversation.

I was set to teach English in Malaysia, teaching English teachers to switch from BSE to ASE. I really wish now that I'd taken the plunge, but the then girlfriend, turned wife, and now ex-wife..."let's go to New England" she said. The chance to see Guam and explore the island chains was strong, but I succumbed to huge...tracts of land...
 
2014-03-11 11:12:26 PM  
The great thing about English is we don't care.  That's what makes it work - it's the melting pot language.  A language that needs defending is a language that's already dead.
 
2014-03-12 04:28:03 AM  

SomeAmerican: The great thing about English is we don't care.  That's what makes it work - it's the melting pot language.  A language that needs defending is a language that's already dead.


We gave all our uptightness away for syntax based on word order and assloads of adjectives and nouns.

"Me go store super quick tomorrow" will be understood anywhere in the English speaking world, even though it's garbage according to your sixth grade English teacher. Even "tomorrow, me go store super quick" or "I'll go first thing to the store tomorrow" all mean the same thing. As long as you don't bust apart the critical subject-verb-object you will be understood, even in the example I just gave with an intransitive verb...you can cram any shiat into the subject-verb-object model and it works OK.

I going store, I go store, I am going to the store...even "I am to store" would get the idea across. English is very forgiving to garbage grammar, as long as that basic syntax order is obeyed. I can read Tok Pisin OK, as long as I know the vocab, because just like English, it has the same basic underlying brute-force syntax.

Much like game of Go, rules is simple, but beautiful mastery very plenty hard.
 
2014-03-12 05:32:42 AM  

Bonzo_1116: SomeAmerican: The great thing about English is we don't care.  That's what makes it work - it's the melting pot language.  A language that needs defending is a language that's already dead.

We gave all our uptightness away for syntax based on word order and assloads of adjectives and nouns.

"Me go store super quick tomorrow" will be understood anywhere in the English speaking world, even though it's garbage according to your sixth grade English teacher. Even "tomorrow, me go store super quick" or "I'll go first thing to the store tomorrow" all mean the same thing. As long as you don't bust apart the critical subject-verb-object you will be understood, even in the example I just gave with an intransitive verb...you can cram any shiat into the subject-verb-object model and it works OK.

I going store, I go store, I am going to the store...even "I am to store" would get the idea across. English is very forgiving to garbage grammar, as long as that basic syntax order is obeyed. I can read Tok Pisin OK, as long as I know the vocab, because just like English, it has the same basic underlying brute-force syntax.

Much like game of Go, rules is simple, but beautiful mastery very plenty hard.


Good post.
 
mjl
2014-03-12 02:29:46 PM  
http://www.frivolity.com/teatime/Songs_and_Poems/english_is_tough_stu f f.html

Why is English the lingua franca

Multi-national personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language ... until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself.


ENGLISH IS TOUGH STUFF
======================

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
 
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