Because the English language is so diverse, so riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies, cumbered with odd redundancies and other strange phenomena, you can have a lot of fun with it. Below are some clever poems or other expressions that poke fun at the challenges of spelling in English.
These little works are not original to this site; many of them have been passed along via e-mail and on myriads of other web sites. There is also a lot of repetition of these ideas, and, while they all might be humourous, they're not all terribily original. I've put here the ones that I feel are the best of the bunch.
My Spell Check
Eye halve uh spelling chequer that came with mai pee see. It plane lee marques fore hour revue missed aches oui kin knot sea.
Aye strike a quay and type a whirred and weight fore hit too tel if eye um in core Hector knot, it dis plays them rill ee well.
As swoon asa miss steak is maid, it nose bee four to long, and aye can put the heir oar write; its cell dumb ever wrong.
Iran this Finnish poem threw it, and ewe will wont two no its let her purr fact awl the whey; my Czech her tolled mi sew.
Recovering Sounds from Orthography Brush up Your English
I take it you already know Of tough and bough and cough and dough. Others may stumble but not you, On hiccough, though, lough and through. Well done! And now you wish, perhaps, To learn of less familiar traps.
Beware of heard, a dreadful word That looks like beard and sounds like bird, And dead--it's said like bed, not bead. For goodness's sake, don't call it deed! Watch out for meat and great and threat: They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.
A moth is not a moth in mother, Nor both in bother, broth in brother, And here is not a match for there, Nor dear and fear for bear and pear, And then there's dose and rose and lose-- Just look them up--and goose and choose, And cork and work and card and ward, And font and front and word and sword, And do and go and thwart and cart. Come, come, I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Man alive, I'd mastered it when I was five.
Five-Year Plan: Euro-English
Original by Anton Hart The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European union, rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's government conceded that English spelling has some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phase-in plan that will simplify English spelling to what will be known as "Eruo-English." In the first year of the plan, the 's' will replace the soft 'c,' making sivil servants jump with joy. Further, the hard 'c' will be dropped in favour of the 'k,' klearing up any konfusion bekause the 'c' will only be used in konjunktion with 'h,' as in 'reach.' There will be growning publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome 'ph' will be replased with the 'f,' making words like 'fotograf' twenty persent shorter! Then, in the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more kimplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double leters, which have always ben a detriment to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent 'e' in the languag is disgrasful and should be eliminated. By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to mor radikal steps such as replasing 'th' with 'z,' and ze 'w' wiz 'v,' vhil ve kontinu to adapt zis nu system. During ze fifz year ze unnesesary 'o' kan be dropd from vords kontaining 'ou,' and similar changes vud, of kurs, be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters and spelingz. After ze fifz yer, ve vil hav a rili sensibl ritn styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis, und evryvun vil find it ezi tu undrstand ech ozer. Zen ze drem vil vinali kum tru.
If GH stands for P as in Hiccough If OUGH stands for O as in Dough If PHTH stands for T as in Phthisis If EIGH stands for A as in Neighbour If TTE stands for T as in Gazette If EAU stands for O as in Plateau The right way to spell POTATO should be GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU!
O-U-G-H by Charles Battell Loomis
I'm taught p-l-o-u-g-h Shall be pronounced "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, ______! 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.
WHY ENGLISH IS SO HARD TO LEARN?
We must polish the Polish furniture. He could lead if he would get the lead out. The farm was used to produce produce. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse. The soldier decided to desert in the desert. This was a good time to present the present. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes. I did not object to the object. The insurance was invalid for the invalid. The bandage was wound around the wound. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row. They were too close to the door to close it. The buck does funny things when the does are present. They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer line. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow. The wind was too strong to wind the sail. After a number of injections my jaw got number. Upon seeing the tear in my clothes I shed a tear. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend? I read it once and will read it again. I learned much from this learned treatise. I was content to note the content of the message. The Blessed Virgin blessed her. Blessed her richly. It's a bit wicked to over-trim a short wicked candle. If he will absent himself we mark him absent. I incline toward bypassing the incline.
As a closing thought, for those few of you who are not familiar with George Bernard Shaw's take on the problems associated with English spelling, he was somewhat cynical. To demonstrate his cynicism, he respelled the word "fish." For the "F" sound, he borrowed the "GH" from "laugh;" for the short "I" sound, he borrowed the "O" from "women," and for the "SH" sound, he borrowed the "TI" from "nation." So, the way Shaw spelled "fish" was, "G-H-O-T-I." A few years ago, one of my English classes and I put our heads together to find an even stranger spelling of "fish." We took the "F" sound from the British pronounciation of "lieutenant," the short "I" sound from the "U" in "busy," and the "sh" sound from the "CE" in "licorice" and came up with this spelling of "fish:" "E-U-U-C-E." Now I'm pretty sure that my spelling beats Shaw's. Am I right? Of course I'm right; after all, I am THE ISLAND ENGLISH TUTOR. Copyright: 2012 by A. J. Mittendorf
---A. J. Mittendorf
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