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Poem of English Pronunciation

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I grew up in the neighborhood of Pfalz, Germany namely Saarland, Germany. And I remember that as a child, my teachers were always trying to get us to speak proper German. They did that by telling us that my local dialect sounds stupid and uneducated. In Saarland, some schools teach french as the first foreign language, which makes it the third language that I learned before I ever learned any English. After having worked in the UK for more than ten years, I now regard my dialect no more stupid than eg the swiss dialect, (a variation on the German language) that is even spoken on their national television. I have worked in Switzerland as well and know from personal experience that even lectures are held in their dialect.

Anyway, I would miss it when local dialects or Scottish, Irish, South African, Australian and so on, disappeared. It adds so much colour (mind the "u") to the language. I have found that "Queens English" is invaluable for an German in Birmingham, Huddersfield or Ashington (all UK), given the fact that you want to communicate. I remember my first day in the UK, when I could not answer the question "Would you like a cup of tea?" because I understood not a single word of it.


Yup, Tom, I can confirm what Chris says about Canadian spelling - right down to being cursed with the certainty of making a mistake somewhere (witness my attempts to use "ise" and "ize" correctly  :o). Ah well, makes life interesting! For myself, I find "colour" without the "u" rather bland - colourless you might say! Just my little quirk, though. I imagine there are Americans who get annoyed in the other direction - I suspect that my wife is one of them!

It's good to see that poem getting the attention it deserves -- it's very creative! I found this introduction attached to it a few years ago:

Multinational personnel at NATO headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language -- until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud.
--- End quote ---

Another one I came across some time back, not mentioned yet in this thread, is (re)posted as "So you wanna learn English".

For anyone wanting guidance through the madness, there's a great page called Common Errors in English by Paul Brians of Washington State University. It's quite thorough!


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