Schnee (schnee) wrote,


On the subject of English pronounciation (which you should definitely study, dearest creature in creation), here's a very amusing poem by France's Charles Battell Loomies, simply titled "O-U-G-H" (one imagines that the title is really pronounced as an annoyed "U-R-G-H!"):

I’m taught p-l-o-u-g-h
S’all be pronouncé “plow.”

“Zat’s easy w’en you know,” I say,
“Mon Anglais, I’ll get through!”
My teacher say zat in zat case,
O-u-g-h is “oo.”

And zen I laugh and say to him,
“Zees Anglais make me cough.”
He say “Not ‘coo’ but in zat word,
O-u-g-h is ‘off.’”

“Oh, Sacre bleu! Such varied sounds
Of words make me hiccough!”
He say, “Again mon frien’ ees wrong;
O-u-g-h is ‘up’

In hiccough.” Zen I cry, “No more,
You make my t’roat feel rough.”
“Non, non!” he cry, “You are not right;
O-u-g-h is ‘uff.’”

I say, “I try to spik your words,
I cannot spik zem though.”
“In time you’ll learn, but now you’re wrong!
O-u-g-h is ‘owe.’”

“I’ll try no more, I s’all go mad,
I’ll drown me in ze lough!”
“But ere you drown yourself,” said he,
“O-u-g-h is ‘ock.’”

He taught no more, I held him fast
And killed him wiz a rough.

As Trenité quipped: "My advice is to give up!"

(And let's not forget about the rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman who strode through the streets of Scarborough and, after falling into a slough, coughed and hiccoughed.)

Tags: english, linguistics, poems, poetry

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