Erdoğaiku: farm animals

Inspired by a poem by German comedian Jan Böhmermann (and the consternation it caused by narrow minded people like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) and – thematically – Ruben L. Oppenheimer’s  cartoon, as well as Nichtlustig’s Joscha Sauer’s cartoon. Of course the fuzz started with a video (that was quite funny, the poem was quite tasteless). However, this all let Meneer D to conceive the Recep of a new form of poetry: the satirical Japanese poem. Called Erdoğaiku.

Meneer D kicks (off) and hopes that the Erdoğaiku will have many followers. For the love of satire and poetry!

Erdoğaiku: I do love satire / but I just do not do it / with farm animals

Related reading: Erdoğaiku: landbouwdieren

Mindsociation

Mindsociation
Every time I find
Within my mind
Weird associations
Resulting in creations
Like this kind
of verse

(uit het archief, december 2008)

English pronunciation: The Chaos by Gerard Nolst Trenité

Meneer D just stumbled on an awesome poem, The Chaos, describing the irregularities of English pronunciation. It’s like spelling fish as ghoti when you apply British rules of pronunciation. It’s Opperlans avant la lettre, but then situated in the world of English speakers (and it’s more Opperlans than you might think, just see the section at the bottom about the history of the poem). The poem below is called “The Chaos” and was written by G. Nolst Trenité, also known as Charivarius (1870-1946). Meneer D just wished he had written it!

Well, Meneer D actually has been challenged to come up with a Dutch version, pointing out all irregularities in Dutch spelling and pronunciation (a starting point can be taugé-touché or verveling-sterveling). It would be too much honour to compare Meneer D’s Dutch wordy wits, with this brilliant language study by Nolst Trenité. But Meneer D will try, however it will be a time consuming project on its own. To be continued…

Now back to The Chaos. Let’s quote:

This version is essentially the author’s own final text, as also published by New River Project in 1993. A few minor corrections have however been made, and occasional words from earlier editions have been preferred. Following earlier practice, words with clashing spellings or pronunciations are here printed in italics.

Just try to read the poem out loud. That’s the only way you can really experience the difficulties in pronunciation. And don’t worry; the vast majority of native English speakers won’t be able to pronounce all words correctly. It’s a classic piece. Enjoy it!

The Chaos – Gerard Nolst Trenité

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;

Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it! 10

Just compare heart, hear and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word.

Sword and sward, retain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it’s written).

Made has not the sound of bade,
Say – said, pay – paid, laid but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,

But be careful how you speak,
Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak, 20

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;

Woven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,

Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,
Missiles, similes, reviles.

Wholly, holly, signal, signing,
Same, examining, but mining, 30

Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far.

From “desire”: desirable – admirable from “admire”,
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,

Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,
Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,

One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.

Gertrude, German, wind and wind,
Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind, 40

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.

This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,

Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. 50

Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.

Discount, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward,

Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?
Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.

Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live. 60

Is your R correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes with Thalia.

Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
Buoyant, minute, but minute.

Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;

Would it tally with my rhyme
If I mentioned paradigm?

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy? 70

Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
Rabies, but lullabies.

Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,

You’ll enveloplists, I hope,
In a linen envelope.

Would you like some more? You’ll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.

To abjure, to perjure. Sheik
Does not sound like Czech but ache. 80

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.

We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover.

Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice,

Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label. 90

Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,

Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit
Rhyme with “shirk it” and “beyond it”,

But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,

Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor, 100

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
Has the A of drachm and hammer.

Pussy, hussy and possess,
Desert, but desert, address.

Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.

Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,
Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker“,
Quoth he, “than liqueur or liquor“, 110

Making, it is sad but true,
In bravado, much ado.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.

Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.

Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.

Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
Paradise, rise, rose, and dose. 120

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.

Mind! Meandering but mean,
Valentine and magazine.

And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,

Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier (one who ties), but tier.

Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring? 130

Prison, bison, treasure trove,
Treason, hover, cover, cove,

Perseverance, severance. Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.

Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.

Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffet, buffet;

Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn. 140

Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.

Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)

Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don’t mention,

Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did, 150

Funny rhymes to unicorn,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.

No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod.

But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,

Troll and trolley, realm and ream,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme. 160

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,

But you’re not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,

How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
When for PortsmouthI had booked!

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty, 170

Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce, and obsequies.

Please don’t monkey with the geyser,
Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,

Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature.

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,

Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan. 180

The TH will surely trouble you
More than R, CH or W.

Say then these phonetic gems:
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget ‘em

Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,
Lighten your anxiety.

The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight – you see it; 190

With and forthwith, one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,

Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry, fury, bury,

Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,
Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath. 200

Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners

Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
Puisne, truism, use, to use?

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,

Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,
Put, nut, granite, and unite

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer. 210

Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.

Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific;

Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it

Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry. 220

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.

Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,

Rally with ally; yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!

Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver. 230

Never guess – it is not safe,
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.

Starry, granary, canary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,

Face, but preface, then grimace,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, oust, joust, and scour, but scourging;

Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir. 240

Mind the O of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,

With the sound of saw and sauce;
Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.

Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.

Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable, but Parliament.

Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen, 250

Monkey, donkey, clerk and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.

A of valour, vapid, vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),

G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I of antichrist and grist,

Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.

Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll. 260

Pronunciation – think of Psyche! –
Is a paling, stout and spiky.

Won’t it make you lose your wits
Writing groatsand saying ‘grits’?

It’s a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,

Islington, and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father? 270

Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, bough, cough, hough, sough, tough??

Hiccough has the sound of sup
My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

Now a bit more about this poem. Meneer D found it originally on this spelling blog. The English Spelling Society published an introductory article about it [Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1994/2 pp27-30 later designated J17]: The Classic Concordance of Cacographic Chaos, by the hand of Chris Upward. It turns out there are several versions of Nolst Trenité’s poem out there. Good to read some about backgrounds and reconstructions! It’s also the source of the version of the poem I published here.

It already struck Meneer D’s mind; Googling on Nolst Trenité (a rather unusual name), Meneer D found people in The Netherlands. Turns out the author of the poem was a Dutchman and lived in Meneer D’s hometown of Utrecht and studied at the same university:

The author of The Chaos was a Dutchman, the writer and traveller Dr Gerard Nolst Trenité. Born in 1870, he studied classics, then law, then political science at the University of Utrecht, but without graduating (his Doctorate came later, in 1901). From 1894 he was for a while a private teacher in California, where he taught the sons of the Netherlands Consul-General. From 1901 to 1918 he worked as a schoolteacher in Haarlem, and published several schoolbooks in English and French, as well as a study of the Dutch constitution. From 1909 until his death in 1946 he wrote frequently for an Amsterdam weekly paper, with a linguistic column under the pseudonym Charivarius.

Also good to know: intentially this poem was written for foreign learners of English, published as aanhangsel (appendix) in 1920. Some words may be ancient by now and pronunciation may have changed over time. The Dutch will feel at home with it in more than one way. A proud piece of language history!