Monday, November 28, 2011



I'm taught p-l-o-u-g-h shall be pronounced "plow"!
"Zat's easy when 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, _______! Such varied sounds
Of words makes me to 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'rout feel rough."

"Non, not!" 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 shall go mad,
I'll drown me in ze l'ough!"

"But ere you drown yourself," said he, "O-u-g-h is "ock"!"
He taught no more, I held him fast,
And killed him weeth a rough!

Composed well over a century ago, this bit of light verse by Charles Battell Loomis nicely illustrates the vagaries of English spelling and pronunciation.

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