Author Topic: Silly one for you all - works in UK English I think.  (Read 4142 times)

Offline CarrieSheppard

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Silly one for you all - works in UK English I think.
« on: May 24, 2006, 05:43:13 PM »
Spelling

Why don't we spell kite,
The way we spell night
And why do some words sound the same
As others that mean
Something different it seems
Like witch, which
Wight and white?

I find it so hard
To work out the sounds
And to know why deer isn't dear
That enough sounds so gruff
And why stuff isn't stough
Sometimes just isn't clear

So I'll carry on learning
And hard I will try
To work out the spellings
For sky and high
And no matter how odd
This language seems
I know in the end
I'll find out what it means

Offline Uncle Bill

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Re: Silly one for you all - works in UK English I think.
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2006, 10:52:30 PM »
Carrie Dear,

     It is not often that we can understand that the same facility that allows us to make puns in the English language also provides us with endless opportunities to mangle that same language beyond practical repair.  Your wonderful little poem shows us a few of those examples, with those troubling homophones that drive all those English-as-a-Second-Language folks crazy.  How troubling it must be to attempt to make sense out of our language when one’s native language may be “highly regular”in its spelling and orthography.  You and I, Carrie, may love this wild and insane melange that is called English; this amalgam of North European languages, with its maddening tendency to borrow and adopt words from other languages just because it makes sense to do so.  The end result is magnificently rich in variety and nuance, without the stodginess and lumbering affectations of some other languages.  But it has to be an absolute bear to learn as a foreigner.
     Some years ago I read a piece in a magazine (I believe it was called Quinto Lingo) in which a student was trying to grasp this exasperating thing called English.  He would read the sentence that began, “He says...”  and he would say “says,” as though the word rhymed with “rays.”  And his teacher would correct him by saying “sez.”  So when he read about the sun’s rays later he said the “sun’s rez.”  And his teacher would scream, “Rays!”  And he would think about her saying, “He sez” just a moment before and the mystery of English grew even deeper, when a word spelled quite the same now was pronounced as “raise.”  The piece concluded by saying "it sure pays to pez attention,” or something like that.
     Other languages do not have that kind of problem.  Russian, for example is so highly regular, that spelling is almost never a problem.  If you can pronounce the word, you can spell it.  And while I am not exactly sure, I believe that Russian does not have homophones (witch, which, etc.) as we do in English.
     A friend of mine, who spoke a bit of Russian, went into a restaurant with his family.  The hostess asked him if he had a reservation.  He told her that he did not have a reservation.  She said, “If you give me your name I can write it down and we’ll call you when we have a table ready for you.”  He seemed to think that was agreeable.  So he said, “My name is Myagki Znak Irkratkoija.”  The hostess blanched.  “What did you say your name was?”  He repeated, “My name is Myagki Znak Irkratkoija.”  She said, “Er, ah, h..how do you spell that?”  He said, “It’s spelled just like it sounds.”  What makes this funny to English-speakers is the wild impossibility of that tongue-twister name ever being spelled “just like it sounds.”  But almost every native Russian speaker could spell those words without any trouble (Note: please excuse my poor transliteration of the Russian here).
     I liked your delightful little poem, Carrie, and I’m glad that you wrote it and shared it with us.  It makes a more significant point about language than you may well suspect.  Way to go, girl!

UB
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sjreed56

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Re: Silly one for you all - works in UK English I think.
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2006, 11:47:44 PM »

I love it. What a delightful, lighthearted poem.  It works in US English too. ~ Sherry

Offline CarrieSheppard

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Re: Silly one for you all - works in UK English I think.
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2006, 03:45:51 AM »
Thanks UB, your erudite comments enlightening as ever.  There are much better things around that are similar (including a really funny song about driving on a parkway and parking on a driveway but I can't remember who it was by), but I'm glad my little bon mot works in US and UK English.  What a language!

I was once told by a Finn that Finnish was the first language to be used (can't remember how exactly) in computing as it was completely logical and you could apply rules that worked and didn't have bizarre exceptions. 

 ;D
Carrie

Offline Cathy C

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Re: Silly one for you all - works in UK English I think.
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2006, 09:45:28 PM »
Carrie

It is said, apart from Madarian Chinese, English is the hardest language to learn and understand and yet, it is spoken throughout the world. (think that MIGHT have more to do with the might of the British Empire than anything else :-\)

But your verse took me right back to my school days:

Hononym's >:(
Synonum's  >:(
Compund words  >:(
Adjectives. >:(
Verbs. >:(
The past tense participle. >:(............

Quote
I know in the end
I'll find out what it means



Believe me. You NEVER find out what it all means. ;D

CATHY C

Novel: Where There’s Smoke. Published by Fireborn publishing http://amzn.to/2tZKNCn

Short Story: A Killer Week Published by Bridge House http://amzn.to/2rhLVAX

Offline Symphony

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Re: Silly one for you all - works in UK English I think.
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2006, 03:16:40 AM »
Fab! I love it. As a TEFL teacher, I can really relate to this, too. It reminds me of a poem I used to read to my students a long time along - on exactly these lines ...

I hope you don't mind, but I want to suggest something about the first verse. In the second two verses the rhymes work really well because they're so close to each other. I thought the last two lines of the first verse strange because I couldn't find the rhyme. It was only when I went back to look closely that I found them - but they were too distant from one another to be effective. I really struggled with this (because any TEFL or language magazines would LOVE this poem) - and I played around a bit, but I think the only way to illustrate what I'm trying to say is to SHOW you - so I'm using your first verse and I've changed the 'order' but, hopefully, without the meaning. What do you think?

Quote
Why don't we spell kite,
The way we spell night
And why do some words sound the same
As others that mean
Something different it seems
Like witch, which
Wight and white?

Why do some words sound the same
As others that mean
Something different it seems
Like witch, which
Wight and White?
And why don't we spell kite
The way we spell night?


In reality, I've simply juxtaposed the first two lines to the end - so your 'white' is next to its original rhyme ...

Just a suggestion to play around with.

Quote
Why stuff isn't stough
really made me laugh out loud! Very funny.

Symphony

Offline CarrieSheppard

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Re: Silly one for you all - works in UK English I think.
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2006, 03:44:48 AM »
Good changes Symph - but I never thought of doing anything with it - it was just a bit of fun. 

Cheers
Carrie

Lin

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Re: Silly one for you all - works in UK English I think.
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2006, 04:08:21 AM »
And I thought Dutch was the hardest language!!   Its been a four year drag to learn it and even now Im just beginning to make sentences and talk to people, but understanding what they say is taking longer, but now I am getting there.

The problem is they dont speak as they write!!   The number 74 is vier en seventig  (47 in English)   Also you have to work out more or less what is being said through deduction!!

Anyway Carrie I did like your poem, it reminds me so much of how difficult English must be for the Dutch people to learn, but somehow they speak it like natives here in Holland.   All their slogans are written in English!!   The adverts on TV are written in English sometimes.

No wonder the Welsh are fighting back!!  Lovely poem, great style and hope to see you in Holland soon with your singing.

Lin