Mispronunciation

Is anyone attempting to learn English out there?  Even for us it’s difficult!

Have a crack at this one – It was written by Charivarius, also known as Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870~1946).

“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.”

And so it continues but my head hurts…And once you have mastered the pronunciation there’s always a danger of getting your worms mixed up!  Over to Mr Barker…

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Learn 50 words of Italian by the end of this post

When you are chatting with i tuoi amici (your friends), you don’t ask “Dov’è il bagno per favore?” You talk about “la vita quotidiana” (everyday life).

Non è facile (it’s not easy) chiaccherare (to chat) quando si impara una lingua (when you’re learning a language) perchè (because) hai difficoltà di capire (you have difficulty in understanding). Però (however) sounding confident, pronunciation and making the effort to communicate is half the battle.

In ogni paese (in every country), tutta la gente (everyone) secondo me (according to me) sia contenta che hai almeno provato (is happy that at least you tried).

Allora fate gli sbagli (so make mistakes), ridere (laugh) e divertitevi (enjoy yourselves).

Non siamo a scuola!
We are not at school!

And that’s your 50 words in Italian!

Old technology

Record Player

Record Player (Photo credit: Rolf Venema)

We spend our whole lives these days trying to upgrade our lives and it’s a constant race! About a year ago I started regressing I think and bought myself a record player. So satisfying!When we were growing up we were very excited to have a tape recorder – record players were for grown ups to touch only. We might have got our sticky fingers on them. We did buy records, which I still have but the tape player was so much more fun! Tapes meant blank tapes, which meant you could make mix tapes; record the chart show and record yourselves being silly. The tapes are still somewhere under lock and key.

I remember Dad’s old typewriter and the sound it made. There was a bottle of tippex next to it for correcting mistakes. We did get an Atari computer with a few games on it but until my dissertation I didn’t really use a computer. The odd game here and there (Chuckie Egg), but essays at school were hand written and at university were word processed.

We had a telephone with a dialling circle – not good if you had to dial 999 quickly. We had a phone upstairs in Mum and Dad’s room as well as downstairs, which meant a bit of privacy to talk to friends and later boyfriends. You were never quite sure if someone was listening in though! Phones were attached to the wall so you couldn’t lose them. If you made arrangements with someone you made sure you were there to meet them. Mobiles didn’t exist until university days and even then not everyone had them.

Old telephone
Old telephone (Photo credit: macinate)

Bruised Ballerina

I had a sparkly silver bike which I was showing off on.  I was riding it up and down Leveller Road and I thought I would go up to the top of the hill and ride down the pavement as fast as I could.  I remember sitting on my bike at the top of the hill and thinking it would be a really good idea to try something different.  So I turned the handlebars back to front – it had a front wheel that could turn 180 degrees.  Off I set with the handlebars backwards as fast as I could.

Of course I fell off.  Right at the bottom of our drive.  Grazed knees, elbows, teeth out, cut hands, face – everything.  But the best thing was that I had to go to a school BBQ that afternoon and I was dressed as a ballerina in my beautiful pink tutu.  A slightly battered, bruised and bandaged up ballerina with no front teeth and a black eye.

Childhood Memories

My childhood was relatively average.  I had a normal upbringing with loving parents and an older sister, four grandparents, two dogs and a house with a garden in suburban England.  I had little concept of the world outside and was lucky enough to grow up in a safe, warm and protected environment.  I went to ballet lessons, Brownies then Guides, drama classes and did averagely at school.

My friends from primary school were the same as me – mostly girls, no one’s parents were divorced and we all shared the school run and went to tea at each other’s houses.  The Mums shared out the duties.  We were all happy.  Some parents were a bit stricter than others; some let us have fishfingers and chips; some sat us down to traditional tea with egg & cress sandwiches and glasses of squash or milk.  Mum was always there when we got home from school.

My secondary school friends were still similar to me but the odd difference was starting to creep in.  The odd divorced parent started to appear on the scene.  It was an all girls school and I remember it fondly now, although at the time I’m sure it was torturous, evil and a waste of time.  We were lucky enough to be taught all kinds of subjects – a variety of languages, arts & crafts, music, drama.  The list goes on…We were privileged and protected until one day or rather one year we all learned to drive!  Freedom.

We all grew up in the beautiful British countryside which meant that we all lived miles apart from each other.  Rural bus services went once a week if you were lucky!  We spent 16 years relying on parents for lifts everywhere.  (My older sister suddenly became my friend, because she could drive 3 years before me, although she did have to put up with me tagging along everywhere!)  Being able to drive meant we could escape to the pub, into town, each others’ houses.  Life was good.  We were learing independence.

Feeling confident and sparky we were suddenly plunged into confusion – boys appeared into our lives for the first time.  Up until now boys had only been distant older or evil younger brothers of friends.  You may think that 16 is quite old to meet boys but remember the protection from the world – all girls school, home in a country town.  Boys just simply didn’t exist until the world opened up. [to be continued]