Mobile menu

The Chaos :-) (On the English language)
Thread poster: Yuri Geifman

Yuri Geifman  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:09
English to Russian
+ ...
Oct 21, 2002

English for everyone:

The Chaos by Dr. Gerard Nolst Trenitй

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.

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!!!

Direct link Reply with quote

diana bb  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:09
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
EXCELLENT, YURI !!! Oct 21, 2002

Loads of fun!

I am taking it to the class tomorrow and will ask my students read it. They will definitely enjoy doing it!

Thanks a lot


Direct link Reply with quote
Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
+ ...
Another one for your English class Oct 22, 2002

We\'ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes;

But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.

Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese

Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,

But the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,

When couldn\' t the plural of pan be called pen?

The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,

But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.

And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,

But I give a boot - would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,

Why shouldn\' t the plural of booth be called beeth?

If the singular is this and plural is these,

Why shouldn\' t the plural of kiss be nicknamed kese?

Then one may be that, and three may be those,

Yet the plural of hat would never be hose;

We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,

But though we say mother, we never say methren.

The masculine pronouns are he, his and him,

But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim!

So our English, I think you will all agree,

Is the trickiest language you ever did see.

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 forty-five!


Let\'s face it -- English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren\'t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren\'t sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don\'t fing, grocers don\'t groce and hammers don\'t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn\'t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn\'t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn\'t preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another.

Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage (as compared to a horseless one) or a strapful gown (as opposed to a strapless)? Met a sung hero (\"unsung\") or experienced requited (\"unrequited) love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn\'t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.

Direct link Reply with quote

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:09
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Spellchecker Oct 22, 2002

I think a much shorter version of this was posted some months ago in \"Anglo-Saxon Attitudes\", but I prefer this one.


I have a spelling checker.

It came with my PC.

It plane lee marks four my revue,

Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,

Your shore reel glad two no.

Its vary polished in its weigh,

My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing,

It freeze yew lodes of thyme.

It helps me right awl stiles two reed,

And aides me when aye rime.

To rite with care is quite a feet,

Of which won should be proud.

And wee mussed dew the best we can,

Sew flaws are knot aloud.

And now bee cause my spelling,

Is checked with such grate flare,

Their are know faults with in my cite,

Of none eye am a wear.

Each frays come posed up on my screen,

Eye trussed to bee a joule,

The checker poured o\'er every word,

To check sum spelling rule.

That\'s why aye brake in two averse,

By righting yew too pleas,

Sow now ewe sea why aye dew prays,

Such soft wear for pea seas!

Direct link Reply with quote
Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
+ ...
Had Al Gore known... Oct 22, 2002

If GH can stand for P as in Hiccough

If OUGH stands for O as in Dough

If PHTH stands for T as in Phthisis

If EIGH stands for A as in Neighbour

If TTE stands for T as in Gazette

If EAU stands for O as in Plateau

Then the right way to spell POTATO should be: GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-10-22 18:23 ]

Direct link Reply with quote
Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
+ ...
More chaos Oct 23, 2002

As an important pro-active step in their newly launched \"Clarity Program\",

the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has just announced some

definition changes for listed companies in all US stock markets.

EBITDA: Earnings Before I Trick Da Auditors

EBIT: Earnings Before Irregularities and Tampering

CEO: Chief Embezzlement Officer

CFO: Corporate Fraud Officer

EPS: Eventual Prison Sentence

and, of course,

SEC: Securing Entitlements for Crooks

Direct link Reply with quote

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

The Chaos :-) (On the English language)

Advanced search

Translation news in Russian Federation

Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2015 Freelance
The industry-leading translation software used by over 200,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »

All of
  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs