Ear, but earn and wear and tear, Do not rhyme with here but ere.

This post (“90% Of People Can’t Pronounce This Whole Poem. You Have To Try It.”) includes one of those exercises in how strange the English language sounds. Words that are spelled alike sound different. Words that sound alike are spelled differently. This one is special, in my opinion, because it’s a rhyming poem. It’s long, and there are many words in it, some that many of us might not be familiar with, or at least that don’t get used often in ordinary average American English conversation.

What I like about most about this “poem” (what another might call rhyming verse) is that because if rhymes, it assists with pronunciation. Words that you don’t know how to pronounce you can figure out because you expect each couplet to rhyme. I imagine this is a technique that researchers of old poetry could use to understand and translate — if you know what the pattern is supposed to be, you can fill in the bits you don’t know. I’m sure there’s a name for this ethnographic technique. Maybe I’ll look it up.



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