The best way to use this poem to practice/test your pronunciation is to:
- Read the poem out loud [speaking]. Do your best to read with a good rhythm as it will help your pronunciation.
- Look at the definitions of any of the bolded words below that you don’t know.
- Listen closely to my recording of the poem while you read along. Do your best to notice any errors you made in pronunciation.
- Read the poem out loud again. Focusing on speaking with the same rhythm and flow as the native speaker.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you can read the poem flawlessly [without making any mistakes]
- Study the poem more carefully, examining the strange pronunciation of the words
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, laugh, and through.
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword
Well done! And now if 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 sakes 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,
And 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 do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man alive!
I’d mastered it when I was five.
- I take it – I assume
- Tough – strong, difficult to break
- Bough – a main branch of a tree (uncommon)
- Cough – to shoot air out from your lungs with a harsh sound, generally when sick.
- Dough – the mixture of ingredients used to make bread, before being cooked
- Stumble – make mistakes while speaking
- Hiccough – an involuntary spasm that makes a funny noise and is almost impossible to stop.
- Thorough – when something is done carefully and completely
- Cork – the brown stopper in the top of a wine bottle
- Ward – a room for patients in a hospital
- Font – a type/style of text. Examples: Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, etc.
- Dreadful – extremely bad
- Bead – a small piece of glass, stone, or other material, usually round and used in jewelry or clothing.
- For goodness sakes – to be surprised or annoyed by something
- Deed – a brave or noble act
- Threat – promising to inflict pain, injury, or death to someone
- Suite – a fancy room in a hotel
- Debt – when you owe money to someone
- Moth – a colorless butterfly
- Bother – to annoy someone
- Broth – the liquid part of a soup
- Dose – a quantity of medicine or drug
- Rose – a beautiful flower (see photo)
- Goose – a large white bird, similar to a duck (see photo)
- Thwart – to prevent someone from accomplishing something
- Cart – a vehicle used for carrying stuff.
- Man alive – used to express shock (not very common)