That’s for most languages, but English is different.
We want to help! First you need to understand 2 major problems in understanding English pronunciation
Problem 1:English spelling is crazy!
Solution:Punch a wall, hold your breath, scream, or just get used to it.
Problem 2:English has too many different ways to write the same sound. Students see a word pronounced one way and then incorrectly apply that sound to words with similar spelling patterns.
Let’s look at some examples: ‘idea’ and ‘sea’; words with two very different sounds that are spelled with the same ‘e’ and ‘a’ letter combination.
Or worm and storm. Worm, storm, erm, orm. The sounds are different, but the spelling is the same.
Solution:Learn the different ways that similar sounds are written. That will help you correctly pronounce new words.
How To Use This Guide
We will be using a famous poem called ‘The Chaos’ to help you improve your understanding of English pronunciation and spelling.
This poem is broken up into 6 section. Each section has a Part A, Part B, and Part C.
Poem: The Chaos by G. Nolst Trenite
Section 1 - Part A: Poem
- 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.)
Section 1 - Part B: Practice
- creature: bleacher, teacher, preacher, feature
- creation: station, nation, cremation, deflation, Haitian, aberration
- verse: terse, nurse, hearse, worse, curse
- corpse: warps, thorpes
- corps: chore, more, tore, bore, roar, oar, store, soar
- dizzy: tizzy, Lizzy, fizzy, busy
- tear: ear, beer, cheer, steer, mere, hear, here
- prayer: lair, fair, chair, pair, care, bear
- retain: brain, chain, detain, remain, abstain, insane
Section 1 - Part C: Quiz
- creature: an animal or other being, generally non-human
- creation: the action of bringing something new into existence
- verse: writing that has a rhyme and/or rhythm
- corpse: a dead body, usually human
- corps: a main subdivision of the military
- dizzy: describes the feeling of spinning around and losing one’s balance
- tear: a drop of clear salty liquid that comes out of your eyes when you cry
- tear: pull or rip apart with force
- prayer: an expression of thanks or request for help addressed to God or other object of worship
- retain: keep; continue to have
Section 2 - Part A: Poem
- 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.
Section 2 - Part B: Practice
- plague: vague, Hague
- bleak: sleek, meek, reek, sneak, peek, peak, pique
- streak: leak, speak, creek, eek, freak
- receipt: beat, beet, treat, meat, meet
- devoid: android, annoyed, avoid, destroyed
- scholar: dollar, collar, holler
- vicar: thicker, wicker, kicker, ticker, Flickr
- laurel: floral, choral, oral, moral
- bouquet: hooray, display, pray, prey, allay, away,
Section 2 - Part C: Quiz
- plague: cause continual trouble or distress to
- bleak: plain; barren; lacking color or life
- streak: a long, thin line or mark of a different color or texture than its surroundings
- receipt: the action of receiving something
- devoid: entirely lacking or free from.
- scholar: a distinguished academic, often in the humanities
- vicar: (in the Roman Catholic Church) a representative of a bishop
- laurel: a kind of plant or shrub with dark green glossy leaves
- bouquet: a nicely arranged bunch of flowers; often presented as a gift
Section 3 - Part A: Poem
- 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.
Section 3 - Part B: Practice
- flood: blood, spud, dud, scud, crud, mud
- mould: bold, cold, fold, gold, told, scold
- grieve: cleave, heave, sleeve, thieve, bereave
- fiend: cleaned, weaned, screened,
- enamour: clamour, stammer, crammer, rammer
- rival: arrival, outrival, revival, survival
- devour: cower, flower, power, sour,
- haunt: aunt, daunt, jaunt, taunt, flaunt
- zeal: eel, deal, feel, peel, real, reel, deal
Section 3 - Part C: Quiz
- flood: an overflowing of a large amount of water, especially over what is normally dry land
- mould: a hollow container used to give shape to hot liquid material (like metal or wax) when it cools or hardens
- grieve: mourn; suffer feelings of sadness over a loss of a loved one
- fiend: an evil spirit or demon
- enamour: be filled with a feeling of love for
- rival: a person competing with another for the same objective; opponent
- devour: eat hungrily or quickly
- haunt: be disturbed regularly by the presence of a ghost or spirit
- zeal: great enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective
Section 4 - Part A: Poem
- 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.
- Feoffer 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.
Section 4 - Part B: Practice
- query: leery, weary, dreary, teary
- fury: jury, pluri, curie, Yuri
- mint: sent, lent, tint, tent, bent, cent
- scenic: enoch, phrenic, splenic, hygenic
- heaven: seven, eleven, brethen, Kevin, Evan
- ache: bake, drake, flake, shake, make, take, steak, stake
- towed: mowed; toad, load, mode, bode, code
- breeches: itches, witches, bitches, snitches
- lice: rice, ice, nice, entice
Section 4 - Part C: Quiz
- query: a question, especially one addressed to an official or organization
- fury: wild or violent anger
- mint: an herb with a distinct flavor, often used in breath freshening candies and toothpastes
- scenic: related to beautiful or impressive views of nature
- heaven: a metaphorical place where good souls go when their bodies die
- ache: a continuous dull pain in a person’s body
- towed: the state of having been pulled from one place to another
- breeches: pants; trousers
- lice: a very small insect that lives on the skin of a person or animal and feeds off their blood
Section 5 - Part A: Poem
- 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.
Section 5 - Part B: Practice
- worm: squirm, firm, term, germ, perm
- tour: lure, sure, cure, demure
- four: score, fore, more, roar, core, bore, boar, roar
- alas: bass, glass, pass, sass
- battalion: scallion, stallion, Italian
- ever: never, clever, sever, lever, Trevor
- deceiver: beaver, cleaver, griever, weaver
- crevice: clevis, levis, nevis
- bass: race, case, face, mace, lace, ace
Section 5 - Part C: Quiz
- worm: a long, soft-bodied, legless, blind, invertebrate.
- tour: a trip that goes to many places
- four: a number between 3 and 5.
- alas: an old expression of grief, pity, or concern
- battalion: a large body of military troops ready for battle in the field
- ever: at all times
- deceiver: someone who misleads by a false appearance or statement
- crevice: a narrow opening or crack, especially in a large rock or wall
- base: the bottom support of something
Section 6 - Part A: Poem
- 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!!!
Section 6 - Part B: Practice
- ought: bought, naught, taught, thought
- scour: hour, flower, tower, power, shower
- roughen: toughen, muffin, puffin
- donkey: honkey, tonkey, wonky
- wits: flits, kits, knits, pits, sits, mitts
- abyss: bliss, hiss, miss, piss
- strewn: boon, dune, goon, spoon, rune, toon, coon
- indict: blight, might, write, sight, kite, tight
- plough: wow, cow, bow, foul, now, vow, chow, brow
Section 6 - Part C: Quiz
- ought: word used to indicate duty or correctness, especially concerning another person’s actions
- scour: to remove dirt or grease by rubbing very quickly and hard
- roughen: to make a more coarse or uneven surface on something
- donkey: a 4-legged hoofed animal that looks like a small horse with long ears
- wits: mental sharpness; creative intelligence
- abyss: a deep, dark, bottomless hole
- strewn: scattered over a large area
- indict: formally charge with a serious crime
- plough: a farming tool used to turn over the earth in preparation to plant seeds