English spellings

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Use in English
Alphabetical word list
Retroalphabetical list  
Common misspellings  

English is notorious for its many varied, inconsistent and irregular spellings. This can be seen at its most extravagant in the field of proper nouns—for example, simply adding an 'h' to 'Maria' to make it rhyme with 'pariah', or calling oneself 'Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh' while pronouncing it 'Chumley Fanshaw'. An example of a common misspelling is 'disasterous' for 'disastrous', retaining the 'e' of 'disaster'. Many words do not turn out to have the pronunciation they appear to have: 'do' and 'to' do not rhyme with 'go' and 'no', while 'seismic', instead of being 'seezmic' or 'sayzmic', or even 'sayizmic', is in fact 'size-mic'. The above grid (reproduced and explained below) provides links to three lists and a cluster of articles devoted to these things.

To show pronunciation, these articles use correct spellings with added accent marks, instead of relying on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). In some cases incorrect respellings are placed next to the correct ones, signalled by a preceding asterisk, like thís *thíss. The accent marks show pronunciation, thús. A table of these accents (which are not part of the language[1]) can be found below; there is also an IPA key at English phonemes. Where there is more than one accent, the first is stressed, and the same is true after a hyphen, so in the respelling of Tchaikóvsky, *Chŷ-kóffskỳ, it is 'kóff' that has the main stress. (Another way of showing new stress is with a bar: Tchaî|kóvsky.) A sentence from the preceding paragraph can thus be rewritten as follows: "An example of a common misspelling is *disāsterous for disāstrous, retaining the E of disāster." Respelling may be used to exemplify an incorrect spelling, or show a correct pronunciation, or a bit of both. Unlike the IPA, where there can only be one version per pronunciation, as there must be an unambiguous one-to-one correspondence, there can be many respellings: if *disāsterous for disāstrous is a common mistake, we can also represent the pronunciation as *dizāstrus or *dizāstrous or *dizāstrəss (with 'ə', a special character – the only one used – for schwa); or we can contrast British English *dizàstrus with American *dizástrus.

Particular attention is given to homophones, words with the same pronunciation but different meanings. English is rich in homophones, many of which are also homonyms, having also the same spelling, as, for example, cán able, tin (the italicised words suggest meanings, in this case two); while homographs are words with the same spelling whose meanings are distinguished by different pronunciations.

Also of special note are words that many writers incorrectly divide. ôver and dûe, for example, combine to form overdûe, without a space in the middle. Such examples are included with ‘one word’ alongside them: alongsîde one word.

An equals sign = is placed between homophones (in some cases the approximately equals sign ≈ is more appropriate). Homographs and other similar-looking words are included after 'cf.' (Latin conferre, 'compare').

Some words from other languages, in most cases French, may sometimes appear in English with accents from those languages. Here, such spellings are shown using bold italics: touchè may be written with a French accent: touché *tooshây.

The apostrophe is an important part of spelling and so it is treated as a letter, with its own place at the end of the alphabet.

Fragments of words are in bold when correctly spelt: Ukrâine has -âine, not -âne.

Words in italics are used to suggest meanings (e.g. sêa water = sêe vision, where the equals sign denotes identical pronunciation). Words beginning with an initial capital may have no word in italics following: these are names of people, either personal or family, and/or commercial or place names. Such words are included because they often contrast with the spellings of homophones: a bank clerk might be named Clàrk or Clàrke, but probably not 'Clerk' (though BrE clerk = Clàrk/Clàrke). Unusual spellings can be explained by regular ones: Cloúgh = Clúff. An American called Maurìce Mŏrris could just as well be called Mórris Maurice ("Morris Morris") in Britain, where Maurice = Mórris (although it would be putting the conventional surname before the conventional given name).

Links to letter articles and lists

Use in English
Alphabetical word list
Retroalphabetical list  
Common misspellings  

In the navigation table above (reproduced at the top of each article in the cluster) the cells in each row link as follows:

  • Top row: articles on each letter and its use in English. There are similar articles on GH, the apostrophe and the hyphen.
  • Second row: alphabetical lists of of commonly misspelt and/or mispronounced words, alongside more regular words they may be confused with (words beginning with an apostrophe are here). Some incorrect spellings are also listed, signalled by an asterisk: *dispánd disbánd means that the word is 'disband'. (The bottom row is devoted entirely to misspellings and typos.)
  • Third row: retroalphabetical lists, arranged alphabetically according to the final letter of the word and continuing backwards through it:
In the retroalphabetical lists the headword is on the right. In this way, suffixes and other word endings can be seen grouped together, just as prefixes can be seen in normal alphabetical order. So, instead of ádd båll coúsin, we have réplicA fláB plástiC; and so for mûsiC, see under -C, for mûsicaL, see under -L, for pàrticlE, see under -E, and so on.
Some suffixes are included separately; their pronunciation may or may not apply to following words ("always -ãrian" means there is no other pronunciation of -ãrian).
Throughout, the apostrophe is treated as the last letter, after Z. (Words ending in an apostrophe are also here.)
For clarity, italic association words are to the left of the example word:
woman mâid = make mâde
Some incorrect spellings are listed retroalphabetically, in which case the misspelling goes on the right, just as in the alphabetical list:
wêasel *wêasal
  • Bottom row: common misspellings including typos (blue-linked for checking purposes), followed by the correct versions.

Two main varieties are distinguished: British English (BrE), that of the UK and much of the Commonwealth (see also Commonwealth English), and American English (AmE), that of the USA and Canada (without the cåught = cót merger that has occurred in some parts of North America).

Unlike dictionaries, the lists include personal and place names for their own sake and for contrast.

Table of accents

These accents are intended to show the pronunciation while retaining the spelling: they are not part of the language. Those on i and y show the same sound; similarly with u, oo and w. Accented vowels are stressed ( is normally unstressed, as in háppy). ā, not in the table, means that the sound is à in standard British and Commonwealth pronunciations but á in American and other British and Commonwealth speech.

Front vowels Back vowels
e i y[2] a o u oo w[3]
The typical short sound, never occurring at the end of a word (acute accent) pét pít crýpt cát dóg[4] nút
The typical long sound, corresponding to the names of the letters A, E, I, O and U (circumflex accent) sêe nîce nâme nôse rûle toô neŵ
Sounds shown with the grave accent (- and - indicate the BrE ó sound of the following a, ẁad rhyming with qùad; òu and òw are diphthongs sounding like àù in àùtobahn: nòw has this sòund) èight (= â) machìne (= ê) quaỳ water = kêỳ lock
(= ê)
àre òther, blòod
(= ú)
fùll (= oò), qùantity (= w) foòt (= ù) ẁant (= wó)[5]
The ër sound (umlaut accent) përson bïrd mÿrtle (ëarth) wörd pürr
The åw/ŏr sound (ring accent)[6] (cŏin) (jŏy) åll mŏre (for some BrE speakers) sůre
The ãir sound (tilde accent) (thére) (ãir = Ãyr) stãre
Irregular (respelling needed) sew (= ) meringue (*məráng) because (*bikóz) woman (*wùmən), women (*wímən) business (*bízníss)

Example sentences

These sentences show how the accents may be used, for example, when teaching pronunciation. Words without accents are monosyllables with the schwa sound, a neutral grunt.

The usual short sound, acute accent:

The gínger cát was jéalous of the bláck cát: howéver, the tábby was a véry dífferent mátter - the stúff of réveries, ín fáct.

The usual long sound, circumflex accent:

Sây mŷ nâme thrêe tîmes with stŷle and Î’ll gô and fînd a tûne to plây for yoû.

The third sound, grave accent:

Christìna Grèy shoùld (and dòes?) lòve her mòther and fàther.

The ër sound, umlaut:

But fïrst, Mÿrtle, fürther dïrty, ïrksome and distürbing wörk for the nürses.

The ŏr sound (sůre here is with British pronunciation = Shåw), the ring, or half-ring:

Sůre yoû ŏught to cråwl ón åll fŏurs, m’lŏrd?

Irregular, without accent, instead with respelling:

Many women? Any woman! (pronounced: *Ménny wímmin? Énny wùman!)

Double letters

The following alphabetical table shows examples of how letters can be doubled in English.

Double consonant letters before suffixes are used (as often elsewhere) to preserve short vowel sounds, as in flípped (not *flîped), rebélled (not *rebêled) and pégged (not *pêged, which if regular would in any case be pronounced *pêjed). Compare scrâped, past of scrâpe, and scrápped, from scráp. In the case of t, doubling it after an unstressed vowel and before a suffix may seem unnecessary, but in some cases it can be doubled before -ed: either tàrgeted or tàrgetted (but always commítted).

The sign # indicates a double letter that is rare in that position; capital-letter words indicate that the double letter in this position is only found in names. An asterisk (*) indicates a respelling to show pronunciation, and an equals sign (=) introduces a homophone.

letter initial medial final final + silent e
A àardvark #[7] bazàar # bàa #
B ríbbon ébb # Crábbe (= cráb)
C sóccer (*sócker), accépt (*əxépt)
D hídden ádd
E êel bêen sêe
F Ffoùlkes éffort óff Clíffe (= clíff)
G aggréssion (-g-), exággerate (-j-) égg # Légge (= lég)
H hítchhike # (accidental)
I skìíng # Hawàìi #
J hàjj # (also spelt hàdj)
K púkka; boòkkeeper (accidental)[8] #
L llàma[9] # fílling wéll bélle beauty (= béll ring)
M súmmer Crámm (= crám) grámme (= grám)
N dínner ínn # pub Ánne (= Ánn)
O oôze, oòmph # foôd, foòt, flòod, doŏr toô Loôe (= loô)
P flípped stéppe Asia # (= stép foot)
Q Sadìqqi #
R érror pürr
S méssy lóss crevásse
T bétter ẁatt couchétte -sh-
U vácuum # (*vákyoôm)
V révved #
W Lawwell # (accidental)
X Éxxon ™ # Bób B. Sóxx #
Y Khayyàm #
Z fízzy búzz

Names of the letters

The names of the letters of the alphabet are rarely written out in English (a simple capital being the normal usage: "with a C, not a K") so that, unlike in many other languages, most of their spellings have a rather unofficial status. But they can be shown as follows, using real words where possible:

A: â (the indefinite article, when stressed), èh? what?

B: exist, bêe sting

C: occasionally cêe; sêe look, sêa ship

D: Dêe River, surname

E: ê as in êmail, ê-mail

F: éff as in the euphemism éff óff

G: gêe up, exclamation *jêe

H: âitch as in drópping your âitches

I: Î me, eŷe vision

J: jây bird

K: Kây person

L: él elevated railway (AmE)

M: ém dash

N: én dash

O: ôwe debt, ôh! exclamation

P: pêa pod, pêe urine, p pence (BrE)

Q: queûe line, cûe ball, prompt

R: àre be, BrE àh exclamation

S: occasionally éss

T: têa drink, têe golf, do-re-mi

U: yoû me, eŵe sheep

V: Vêe Bobby

W: "doúble you" (*dúblyu; cf. vácûum, which actually does have a doúble Û)

X: éx- past

Y: whŷ reason (voiced w, as in BrE)

Z: BrE zéd, AmE zêe

The Chaos

by Gerard Nolst Trenité

This poem on pronunciation irregularities was first published in 1920. Accent marks, respellings and editorial comments have been added to reflect current British English pronunciation. The unadorned poem, with an introduction, can be found here.

The Châós (*câyóss)

Dêarest crêature ín creâtion

Stúdying English (*Ínglish) pronunciâtion,

Î wíll têach yoû ín mŷ vërse
Sòunds lîke cŏrpse, cŏrps (*cŏr), hŏrse and wörse.

Î wíll kêep yoû, Sûsy, busy (*bízzy),

Mâke yŏur héad wíth hêat grôw dízzy;

Têar ín eŷe, yŏur dréss yŏu'll téar;
Quêer, fãir sêer (*sêe-er), hêar mŷ prãyer.

Prây, consôle yŏur lòving pôet,

Mâke mŷ côat loòk neŵ, dêar, sew (=sô) ít!

Júst compãre heàrt, hêar and hëard,
Dîes and dîet (*dîət), lŏrd and wörd.

Swŏrd (*sŏrd) and swård, retâin and Brítain

[Mînd the látter hòw ít's wrítten].

Mâde hás nót the sòund of báde,
Sây–said (*séd), pây–pâid, lâid but pláid.

Nòw Î sůrely wíll nót plâgue yoû

Wíth súch wörds as vâgue and âgûe,

Bút bê cãreful hòw yoû spêak,
Sây: gúsh, bùsh, steâk, strêak, breâk, blêak,

Prêvious, précious, fûchsia (*feŵsha), vîa,

Récipê, pîpe, stúdding-sâil, choîr (=quîre);

Wôven, óven, hòw and lôw,
Scrípt, recêipt (*rissêet), shoe (=shoô), pôem, tôe.

Sây, expécting fråud and tríckerỳ:

Dåughter (*dåwter), làughter (*làfter) ánd Terpsíchorê (*Terpsíckery),

Brànch, rànch, mêasles, tópsails, aîsles (*îles),
Míssîles, símilês, revîles.

Whôlly (=hôly), hólly, sígnal, sîgning (*sîning),

Sâme, exámining, but mîning,

Schólar (*scóllar), vícar, and cigàr,
Sôlar, mîca, wår and fàr.

From "desîre": desîrable - ádmirable from "admîre",

Lúmber, plúmber, biêr, but brîer,

Tópsham, broûgham (*breŵəm), renòwn, but knôwn,
Knówledge, dòne, lône, góne, nòne, tône,

Òne (=wòn), anémonê, Balmóral,

Kítchen, lîchen (=lîken), låundry, laurel (lórrel).

Gërtrude, Gërman (J-), wínd and wînd,
Beau (=Bô), kînd, kíndred, queûe, mankînd,

Tŏrtoise (*tŏrtus), türquŏise, chámois-léather (*shámwà-),

Rêading, Réading, hêathen, héather.

Thís phonétic lábyrínth
Gíves móss, grôss, broòk, brôoch, nînth, plínth.

Háve yoû éver yét endéavoured

To (=toô)[10] pronòunce revêred and sévered,

Dêmon, lémon, ghoûl, fòul, sôul,
Pêter, pétrol and patrôl?

Bíllet dòes nót énd lîke bállèt (*bállây);

Boûquèt, ẁallet, mállet, chálèt.

Blòod and flòod are nót lîke foôd,
Nŏr ís môuld lîke shoùld and woùld (=woòd).

Bánquet ís nót nêarly pàrquèt,

Whích exáctly rhŷmes wíth khàkì. —not usually nowadays

Díscòunt, vîscòunt (*vîcòunt), lôad and brŏad,
Towård, to fŏrward, to (=toô) rewård,

Rícochèted and crôchèting, crôquèt?

Rîght! Yŏur pronunciâtion's OK.[11]

Ròunded, woûnded, griêve and síeve,
Friénd and fiênd, alîve and líve.

Ís yŏur R corréct ín hîgher?

Kêats assërts ít rhŷmes Thalîa.

Hûgh, but húg, and hoòd, but hoôt,
Buŏyant, mínute, bút minûte.

Sây abscíssion wíth precísion,

Nòw: posítion ánd transítion;

Woùld ít tálly wíth mŷ rhŷme
Íf Î méntioned páradîgm?

Twòpence, thréepence, têase are êasy,

But cêase, crêase, grêase and grêasy?

Cŏrnice, nîce, valìse, revîse,
Râbíes, but lúllabîes.

Óf súch púzzling wörds as nåuseous,

Rhŷming wéll wíth cåutious, tŏrtious,

Yoû'll envélop lísts, Î hôpe,
Ín a línen énvelôpe.

Woùld yoû lîke some mŏre? Yoû'll háve ít!

Áffidâvit, Dâvid, dávit.

To (=toô) abjûre, to përjure. Shèik
Dòes nót sòund lîke Czéch but âche.

Líberty, lîbrary, hêave and héaven,

Râchel, lóch, moustàche, eléven.

Wê sây hállôwed, bút allòwed,
Pêople, léopard, tôwed but vòwed.

Màrk the dífference, moreôver,

Betwêen mover (*moôver), plòver, Dôver.

Lêaches, brêeches, wîse, precîse,
Chálíce, bút polìce and lîce,

Cámel, cònstable, únstâble,

Prínciple, discîple, lâbel.

Pétal, pênal, and canál,
Wâit, surmîse, pláit, prómíse, pál,

Sûit, suìte, rûín. Cïrcuít, cónduít

Rhŷme wíth "shïrk ít" and "beyónd ít". —still?

Bút ít ís nót hàrd to téll
Whŷ ít's påll, måll, but Páll Máll.

Múscle, múscular, gâol (=jâil), îron,

Tímber, clîmber, búllion, lîon,

Wörm and stŏrm, chaise (*shézz), châós, chãir,
Sénator, spectâtor, mãyor,

Îvy, prívy, fâmous; clámour

Hás thê Â of dráchm and hámmer.

Pùssy, hússy ánd posséss,
Désert, but desërt, addréss.

Gôlf, wolf (=Woòlf), còuntenance, lieuténants

Hŏist ín lieû of flágs léft pénnants.

Coùrier, cŏurtier, tomb (*toôm), bómb, cômb,
Còw, but Cowper (=Coôper), sòme and hôme.

"Sôlder, sôldier! Blòod ís thícker",

Quôth hê, "than liqueûr ŏr líquor",

Mâking, ít ís sád but trûe,
Ín bravàdo, múch ado (*adoô).

Strânger dòes nót rhŷme wíth ánger,

Neîther dòes devòur wíth clángour. —neither does anger: *áng-gə

Pîlot, pívot, gåunt, but āunt,
Fónt, frònt, wônt, wånt, gránd and grānt.

Àrsenic, specífic, scênic,

Rélic, rhétoric, hygìênic.

Goòseberry, goôse, and clôse, but clôse,
Páradise, rîse, rôse, and dôse.

Sây invèigh, nèigh, but invêigle,

Mâke the látter rhŷme wíth êagle.

Mînd! Mêándering but mêan,
Válentîne and mágazìne.

Ánd Î bét yoû, dêar, a pénny,

Yoû sây máni-(fôld) lîke many (*ménny),

Whích ís wróng. Sây râpier, pìêr,
Tîer (òne who tîes), but tìêr.

Àrch, archângel; prây, dòes ërring

Rhŷme wíth hérring ŏr wíth stïrring?

Príson, bîson, tréasure trôve,
Trêason, hóver, còver, côve,

Persevêrance, séverance. Ríbald

Rhŷmes (but pîebåld dòesn't) wíth níbbled.

Phâeton, paêan, gnát, ghåt, gnåw,
Liên, psŷchic, shóne, bône, pshåw.

Dôn't bê dòwn, mŷ ôwn, but roúgh ít,

Ánd distínguish bùffèt, búffet;

Broôd, stoòd, roôf, roòk, schoôl, woòl, boôn,
Worcester (*Wùster), Boleýn, to (=toô) impûgn.

Sây ín sòunds corréct and stërling

Hëarse, hêar, heàrken, yêar and yëarling —yëar and yêarling are about as likely

Êvil, dévil, mézzotínt,

Mînd the Z (zéd)! (A géntle hínt.)

Nòw yoû nêed nót pây atténtion

To (=toô) súch sòunds as Î dôn't méntion,

Sòunds lîke pŏres, påuse, pŏurs and påws,
Rhŷming wíth the prônòun yŏurs;

Nŏr are próper nâmes inclûded,

Thôugh Î óften hëard, as yoû díd,

Fúnny rhŷmes to ûnicŏrn,
Yés, yoû knôw them, Våughan and Stråchan —nowadays regularised to *Strákhən

Nô, mŷ mâiden, cŏy and còmely,

Î dôn't ẁant to spêak of Chòlmondeley (*Chúmley).

Nô. Yét Froûde compãred wíth pròud
Ís nô bétter thán McLeod (*McClòud).

But mînd trívial and vîal,

Trîpod, mênial, denîal,

Trôll and trólley, réalm and rêam,
Schédule, míschief, schísm, and schême.

Àrgil, gíll, Argŷll, gíll. Sůrely

Mây bê mâde to rhŷme wíth Råleigh,

Bút yŏu're nót suppôsed to sây
Pìquèt rhŷmes wíth sóbriquèt.

Hád thís ínvalid inválid

Wörthless dócuments? Hòw pállid,

Hòw uncoûth hê, còuchant, loòked,
Whén for Pŏrtsmouth Î had boòked!

Zeûs, Thêbes, Thales, Aphrodîtê,

Páramour, enámoured, flîghty,

Épisôdes, antípodês,
Ácquiésce, and óbsequies.

Plêase dôn't mònkey wíth the gêyser,

Dôn't pêel 'tâters wíth mŷ râzor,

Rāther sây ín áccents pûre:
Nâture, státure ánd matûre.

Pîous, ímpìous, límb, clîmb, glúmly,

Worsted (wùsted), wörsted, crúmbly, dúmbly,

Cónquer, cónquest, vàse, phâse, fán,
Ẁan, sedán and àrtisan.

The TH (*têe-âitch) wíll sůrely troúble you

Mŏre than R, CH ŏr W (*àh, cêe-âitch ŏr doúble-û)

Sây thén thêse phonétic géms:
Thómas, thŷme, Therêsa, Thames (*Témz).

Thómpson, Chátham, Wåltham, Stréatham,

Thére are mŏre but Î forgét 'em -

Wâit! Î've gót ít: Ánthony,
Lîghten yŏur anxîety.

Thê archâíc wörd ålbêít

Does nót rhŷme wíth èight - yoû sêe ít;

Wíth and fŏrthwith, òne hás vŏice,
Òne hás nót, yoû mâke yŏur chŏice.

Shoes (=shoôs), gôes, dòes. Nòw fïrst sây: fínger;

Thén sây: sínger, gínger, línger.

Rêal, zêal, mauve (*môv), gåuze and gâuge,
Márríage, fôlìage, mìràge, âge,

Hêro, héron, quêry, véry,

Párry, tárry, fûry, bury,

Dòst, lóst, pôst, and dòth, clóth, lôth,
Jób, Jôb, blóssom, bosom (*bùzm), ôath.

Fåugh, oppúgnant, kêen oppûgners,

Bòwing, bôwing, bánjo-tûners

Hôlm yoû knôw, but nôes, canoes (*canoôz),
Pûisnê (*poôny), trûísm, ûse (*yoûss), to ûse (*yoûz)?

Thôugh the dífference sêems líttle,

Wê sây áctual, but víctual,

Sêat, swéat, châste, càste, Lêigh, èight, heîght,

Pùt, nút, gránite, ánd unîte.
Rêefer dòes nót rhŷme wíth déafer,

Féoffer dòes, and zéphyr, héifer.

Dúll bùll Géoffrey, Geŏrge ate (*ét) lâte,
Hínt, pînt, sénate, but sedâte.

Gáelic, Árabic, pacífic, —Scottish; or regular Gâelic if Irish

Scîence, cónscience, scientífic;

Toûr, but òur, doûr, súccour, fŏur,
Gás, alás, and Àrkansås.

Sây manoeûvre, yacht (*yót) and vómit,

Néxt omít, whích díffers fróm ít

Bôna fîdê, álibî
Gŷrate, dòwry ánd awrŷ.

Sêa, idêa, guínea, ãrêa,

Psàlm, Marìa, bút malãria.

Yoûth, sòuth, soúthern, cléanse and clêan,
Dóctrine, türpentine, marìne.

Compãre âlien wíth Itálian,

Dándelîon wíth battálion,

Rálly wíth állŷ; yeâ, yê,
Eŷe, Î, ây, aŷe, whèy, kêy, quaỳ! —ây mê, archaic expression of sadness, ây = èh

Sây avër, but éver, fêver,

Neîther, léisure, skèin, recêiver.

Néver guéss - ít ís nót sâfe,
Wê sây càlves, válves, hālf, but Râlf.

Stàrry, gránary, canãry,

Crévice, but devîce, and éyrie,

Fâce, but préface, thén grimâce,
Phlégm, phlegmátic, áss, glāss, bâss.

Báss, làrge, tàrget, gín, gíve, vërging,

Ŏught, òust, jòust, and scòur, but scoürging;

Êar, but ëarn; and ére and téar
Do (*doô=) nót rhŷme wíth hêre but héir.

Mînd thê Ô of óff and óften

Whích mây bê pronòunced as ŏrphan, —scarcely heard nowadays

Wíth the sòund of såw and såuce;
Ålsô sóft, lóst, clóth and cróss.

Pùdding, púddle, pùtting. Pútting?

Yés: at gôlf ít rhŷmes wíth shútting.

Réspîte, spîte, consént, resént.
Lîable, but Pàrliament.

Séven ís rîght, but sô ís êven,

Hŷphen, roúghen, néphew, Stêphen,

Mònkey, dónkey, clerk (=Clàrk) and jërk,
Ásp, grāsp, ẁasp, demèsne, cŏrk, wörk.

 of válour, vápid vâpour,

S of neŵs (-z) (compãre neŵspâper (-ss-)),

G of gíbbet (j-), gíbbon, gíst (j-),
Î of ántichrîst and gríst,

Díffer like divërse and dîvers,

Rívers, strîvers, shívers, fîvers.

Ònce, but nónce, tôll, dóll, but rôll,
Pólish, Pôlish, póll and pôll.

Pronúnciation - thínk of Psŷchê! -

Ís a pâling, stòut and spîky.

Wôn't ít mâke yoû lose (=loôs) yŏur wíts
Wrîting grôats and sâying 'gríts'? —no longer

Ìt's a dàrk abýss ŏr túnnel

Streŵn wíth stônes lîke rôwlock, gúnwale,

Íslington, and Îsle of Wîght,
Hòusewîfe, vërdíct and indîct.

Dôn't yoû thínk sô, rêader, ràther,

Sâying làther, bâther, fàther?

Fînally, whích rhŷmes wíth enoúgh,
Thôugh, throûgh, bòugh, cóugh, hóugh, sòugh, toúgh??

Hiccoúgh hás the sòund of súp.

Mŷ advîce ís: GÍVE ÍT ÚP!


  1. A few different accents, mostly from French, sometimes crop up in English, however; see French words in English.
  2. When not accented, y is usually the semi-consonant of yoû and yés.
  3. When not accented, w is usually the semi-consonant of and wíll.
  4. In American English this short British sound is replaced by the longer à in most positions, and by ŏ before r.
  5. Grave accents on w and on a u following a q indicate the sound of the following a: à in American English, but in British the extra sound ó as in the British pronunciation of hót.
  6. å and ŏ show the same sound: ideally the o too would have a ring over it, but this symbol is not available, so ŏ is used instead.
  7. àardvark and Transvàal are from Afrikàans, itself a further example.
  8. With a pause to indicate both k’s are pronounced.
  9. Also representing a Welsh sound in place names like Llandudno (-dídno) and Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwrndrobllllantysiliogogogóch.
  10. Strong form of to, not normal in a verb's infinitive, necessitated by the metre.
  11. The pronunciation required by the metre is "ôkay", though the K is normally the stressed syllable: okây.