Cameron's Blog - English Pronunciation

English Pronunciation

My last name tends to throw a lot of people off, because it has far too many f’s and not enough real letters. While doing a bit of research on how to tell people how to best pronounce my name (it’s “fye-fur”, not “fiffer”), I found a neat little poem designed to showcase some of the strange ways English pronounces words. I sent it out to a couple of my friends from Norway and Greece and they politely declined to try a live reading. I can see why; I messed up about 15-20 words while reading it aloud.

Here’s an excerpt:

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.

Give it a shot, and see how well you can do with the whole poem. It’s certainly fun to do.