Porcupyn's Blog

September 28, 2007


Filed under: Travel — Porcupyn @ 12:25 pm

Yes, it exists and yes, we’ve been there, but definitely not done that. When our trip was planned about a decade ago, I neglected to research the climate up north, and consequently, learned from experience that it takes quite a bit for the upper half of the USA to thaw out and – the real show stopper – May is definitely not the place to be up north for us southerners!

September 26, 2007

A Chainmail …

Filed under: Our Languages — Porcupyn @ 3:04 pm

… this might land in an e-mail box near you. 🙂

Just for grins, I tried reading aloud the following passage; after the first few lines, got a word that I pronounced reasonably, then got one that I am sure I missed, then when I got a third one that I was not really sure of, to keep my wits around me, I had to abandon the rest.

My twisted tongue is now in hiding and refuses to come out. 😉

If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be
speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the
world. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six
months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself.

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!!!

September 25, 2007

Another of my favourites …

Filed under: Music,Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 12:39 pm

September 23, 2007

A suggestion for Dhoni and his think tank

Filed under: Cricket — Porcupyn @ 7:44 am

First up for the new ball – hopefully Umar Gul (3 for 15 or something like that in four overs against NZ) will get it – send in a Harbhajan or a Sreesanth as one of the openers. At best, you will get a couple of boundaries or sixes; at worst, you will lose a tailender or two, and perhaps a maiden over, which Sehwag, Gambhir, or Uthappa also would’ve played out anyway; plus, one of them could have gotten out!


September 21, 2007

The Changing English Language

Filed under: Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 1:12 pm

Once upon a time, I used to spell the word now-a-days with hyphens; I have since switched. Nowadays, hyphens are becoming extinct by the hundreds!

The American usage of momentarily used to confuse me momentarily. Momentarily (sic), I would grasp the usage from the context. It appears that the Usage Panel agrees with me.

 Usage Note: Momentarily is widely used in speech to mean “in a moment,” as in The manager is on another line, but she’ll be with you momentarily. This usage rarely leads to ambiguity since the intended sense can usually be determined on the basis of the tense of the verb and the context. Nonetheless, many critics hold that the adverb should be reserved for the senses “for a moment,” and the extended usage is unacceptable to 59 percent of the Usage Panel.

September 19, 2007

Washington D.C. – off the beaten path

Filed under: Travel — Porcupyn @ 11:42 pm

Just northwest (I stand corrected – it is North, not northwest, per the map) of Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C., along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, lies a picnic area/park called Gravelly Point. The location – depending on wind direction – provides an excellent vantage point for those interested in gazing at planes landing or taking off. We spent 15 fun minutes there last Sunday (rush hour for the planes according to the linked article). Too bad I forgot to bring my camera out – I only have video recordings :-(. Oh well …

There is another point just south of the airport too, near a Marina – take Marina Drive from the Parkway.

One of Anup Jalota’s great ones …

Filed under: Music — Porcupyn @ 11:30 pm

Do check out his ghazal ‘तुम्हारे शहर का मौसम …’ too.

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