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text 2014-01-03 23:00
The Idiosynchracies of the English Language ...

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!!!”

Gerard Nolst Trenité, Drop your Foreign Accent

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review 2013-11-12 00:05
Inside Out and Back Again
Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai

Plot Summary: Ha has lived in Vietnam all her life, but when war approaches her hometown of Saigon, she and her family flee to safety in the United States. The journey is treacherous and adjusting to the American way of life is incredibly difficult for Ha. Told through prose poetry, this moving story shows a side of America that most Americans have never and will never experience for themselves. 

 

Thanhha Lai Speaks about Inside Out and Back Again

 

 

Review: I am not a big fan of poetry, so I was not really looking forward to reading this book. However, I was pleasantly to find that I loved this story - and I think that telling it through prose poetry was a brilliant decision. The poems in this book are so simple, yet beautiful, and they describe the incredibly difficult experiences that Ha has with a sense of innocence and clarity. 

 

Ha is such an adorable character. It was so interesting to see America through her eyes. Her preconceptions of America are so funny: she expects everyone to be a cowboy and eagerly looks forward to having her own pony, and she's incredibly disappointed when she learns that this is just not going to happen. It really makes the reader aware of the fact that our own preconceptions of other countries/cultures must not be completely accurate, either. At the same time, some of the things that Ha goes through are heartbreaking, especially considering that many of them happened to the author herself. 

 

I think that this is a must-read. It is incredibly relevant as society grows more diverse and it tells an important story quickly and in a way that is easily understood. In addition to having a great message, this is just a truly enjoyable story to read. I loved it!

 

Recommended to: As you can probably tell from my review, I would recommend this book to just about anyone. More specifically, I feel that this book would be particularly of interest to an urban library, or one serving an especially diverse area, but I also believe that it would be great to include in the collection of a library serving an area that lacks diversity, because it could introduce patrons to a perspective that they may not have the opportunity to encounter. I think that it would be especially pertinent to patrons who have come to America from another country, as it could help them feel less alone in a strange land, since it's told by someone who's had the same experience. 

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review 2012-08-18 00:00
English as a Second Language
English as a Second Language - Megan Crane I don't know why i bouth this predictable romance book, I thought that set in England it would funny but it is not. I couldn't even finish it... although the cute teacher is described to be out of this world.
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review 2009-08-12 00:00
English as a Second Language
English as a Second Language - Megan Crane This book was okay. It just seemed to drag on with the same series of events happening over and over.
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review 2009-04-08 00:00
English as a Second Language - Megan Crane For me, picking up books to read can go several ways. There are the books that I love and adore and written by authors whom I love and adore. On the opposite end, there are books that look interesting, but when I get past a certain point, there’s the growing realization that the book is not what I’ve expected. And then there’s books like this, where I initially really like it, but subsequent rereads give me a noticeably bad taste. Such is the case with English as a Second Language.Aside from the fact that this features almost every irksome detail in chick (including both a gay and married best friend), I just hate how everything’s presented in this. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to sympathize with Alex, as she just comes off as a whiny, immature bitch who’s assured that her problems are not due to anything she’s done, she just has a tendency to attract clingy, whiny, uncreative people. The whole set-up of the book is based around Alex’s quarter-life crisis over an ex-boyfriend who keeps trying to make her jealous. (The only time I felt sympathetic toward her was her realization of “Oh, God what have I gotten myself into?” when she arrives in England.) Anyone who does not automatically befriend Alex with cigarettes and alcohol are promptly labeled as hateful trolls who are beneath her. This is really egregious with the other two American characters. Alex is charming and witty in her American-ness and wins over three Brits and her Spanish roommate. Suzanne and George are mean-spirited, stick-up-their-asses, ginger trolls who are out to ruin Alex’s fun. George’s subplot involves his relationship with another student, whom Alex and her friends quickly label as the “VULTURE.” Suzanne has no characterization beyond the Clingy Jealous Girl who automatically picks Alex out for competition in both romance and academia. (Which is hysterical, because Suzanne actually calls Alex out on her bullshit, and yet, we’re supposed to still revile Suzanne for doing this.) Even every other woman who shows up in the book is supposed to hate Alex. Alex’s female professor hates her and is out to humiliate Alex in every class; however, professor Sean is a combination of the Brooding Byronic Hero Trinity (Heathcliff! Rochester! DARCY! *swoon*) and is potential love interest. (Nevermind that he’s also kind of an asshole.) Not to mention, Alex pegs Sean’s unnamed love interest as unattractive, but that’s probably okay, because attractive British woman are unattractive by American standards. (..I…I don’t even.) (Side tangent: I hate the attitude toward British culture in this. If someone uses a British colloquialism or wants tea, OMG THEY ARE TRYING TOO HARD TO BE BRITISH. Because some Americans don’t prefer tea to coffee. Or use British slang. But again, Alex just loves giving someone the V and using the phrase ‘pissed.’ Also, Brits can't appreciate good American rock'n'roll; instead, they listen to POP MUSIC. The horror.)The problem this book has is that it’s got an unsympathetic lead character. Am I supposed to sympathize with Alex because she had a bad break-up (after admitting she lead the guy on)? Her quarter-life romantic crisis? The fact that she throws herself further into academia and manages to bs her way into a doctorate program? There’s a point near the end of the book where Alex goes “OMG I am such an immature bitch! And at my age! I need to start treating people better.” Aaand then she turns around and keeps making fun of George, without any inclination of feeling bad about it later. Has Alex maybe wizened up earlier in the book and not remained a troll, I would have liked this a little bit more. Sure, it’s standard chick lit, but at least I don’t feel like reaching in and bitchslapping the heroine. The point of most chick lit is to make the main character a little sympathetic, so we can root for her. Being a wiseass is fine, but not to the point where everyone else is beneath her.
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