Monday, February 25, 2013

Pronunciation - Some Problem Words

Pronunciation: Some Problem Words …
1 … The following is a word which has different meaning and pronunciation depending on the context of associated text …

TEAR by itself is undefined
However, in the following sentence it is clear how each occurrence of TEAR should be pronounced.

The TEAR in her blouse brought a TEAR to her eye.

It may not be so obvious when reading other text and could easily bring a TEAR to the ear of any listener.

2 … CORPSE and CORPS are two words which are very similar but with entirely different pronunciation.
You could say the CORPS in CORPSE is not core.

3 … Just because some words end in the same sequence of letters does not mean that they will necessarily rhyme

BOUGH will rhyme with DOUGH and BOW but if you COUGH there is irritation.
To CUP it all a HICCOUGH is very different from a COUGH.

RETAIN and GAIN is the same but BRITAIN just has to be different. And those that climb a MOUNTAIN have no thought that it could be a mount ten.
QUERY and VERY are, of course, VERY different.
LIVE is never like being ALIVE – if you are not ALIVE you will LIVE to make mistakes.
I’m sad to say that GRIEVE and SIEVE also fall through this same hole.
BEAK may rhyme with SPEAK but BREAK and STEAK ache to be different.
4 … Two words which I sometimes mispronounce and misspell are PLAGUE and PLAQUE. One reason is distinguishing between letters when reading. I hope to be more attentive in the future and not be so PLAGUED.
5 … Place names are always difficult - consider ISLINGTON and ISLAND, and in Australia MANUKA is certainly not a MANCHESTER.

The above was written after reading the work of G. Nolst Trenité who explored the many idiosyncrasies of the English language. Below are some lines from one of his poems exploring pronunciation … words to be read carefully as distinct from the castle at Caerphilly

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.

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