Tuesday, March 24, 2009

how do you say that?

Did you know that in British English pour and paw sound identical?

I can't quite figure out how to get my mouth around that.

For me, they rhyme with door and saw, it just doesn't work somehow.

Languages are the most peculiar things....

try this out, words with ough in them:

Say each of them aloud and listen to all the different sounds those 'ough's make.

cough
trough
enough
tough
rough
bough
through
thought
thorough
bought
fought
enough
plough

a roughty toughty brutal sort of language.

9 comments:

She said...

For my English language learners, which constitutes 90% of my students, it is just this kind of thing that "kicks their butts" and it is so damn hard to teach! But they never give up, and that determination eventually leads to their mastery of our peculiar language!!!

She said...

"who constitute" I think I need a grammar refresher course because I don't even know if that's correct, either. In my defense, I'm at the car wash reading blogs on my phone!

Beth said...

And the Brits think we say “aboot” for about! I can’t get my head (or mouth) around that one. A boot is something I put on my foot.

Although it’s tough to plough through, you must thoroughly know your English “oughs.”

elpadawan said...

Oh, and think about all those foreigners who have to understand which "english speaking country" will use which pronunciation for their "oughs" ;).

C.S. said...

That's what I like about Spanish. The letters are always pronounced the same. Heck, I have to crack open a dictionary every now and then when I run across a strange word in my native tongue that I'm not sure how to pronounce.

hulagirlatheart said...

I think the English language must be incredibly difficult for folks to learn. Heck, we screw it up all the time in these parts.

Helen said...

The pronounciation is nothing like as simple as that!! It depends where you come from as to what you do with your vowels. 'aboot' for about is Scots, but I would say 'abowt'.

This sentence is all ough's
The rough coated ploughman walked coughing and hiccoughing through the streets of Scarborough.

And you cannot write this sentence but you can say it
The man is sowing wheat, the woman is sewing a shirt, they are both so/ewing.

Great language - I would hate to learn it. It's great virtue is that you can make yourself understood on a basic level with very little grammar.

oreneta said...

She...you aren't watching all the brushes sweep all over your car? Why else go to the car wash? My vote is with who constitute, but.....
It is brutal, and brutally hard to teach...and funny.

Beth, great rhyme....love that one...I think the students are starting to like the Americans a little more in gratitude for words like plow...

elP, it does add a whole new layer of complication, thought French must be the same, and I know that Spanish and Catalan do the huge regional variation thing too....then look at all the Germans there are...the local versions, Swiss German, Austrian German....

CS, there is that about Spanish...phonetical laguages have a lot to be said for them, and Spanish is, by reputation anyway, has very few irregularities which MUST help a lot.

Hula, do you say 'you all'? I actually love that, a clarification on the second person plural. It is a little bizarre that we don't differentiate between you an individual and you as a group....except down south, and it makes so much sense.

Helen, I say about too...and I am going to be using some of those sentences for SURE! The students were asking why English kids don't learn the phonetic alphabet. I mentioned that in much of the English speaking world, you would be hard pressed to get a room full of people who could agree on the pronunciation. Dog, or dawg?

dawn said...

And according to the British, I can't even pronounce my name being a Canadian. It was frustrating when in Australia and I would introduce myself, they didn't understand and would correct me if I spelled it for them.