English Pronunciation: A Tongue-Twisting Poem

For those of you looking for a challenge to practice your English pronunciation, I present you with a poem highlighting some of the crazy variations in English.

I want you to try and read it aloud before listening to the podcast below. Since I teach an American accent, that is the way I recorded it. British English pronunciation would vary slightly on some words. Have fun – and be sure to try it yourself first and then listen closely to the podcast and see how well you did. Good luck!

Fun English Pronunciation Poem
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, slough, and through.
Well don’t! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps.
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard but sounds like bird.
And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead,
For goodness sake don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not a moth as in mother
Nor both as in bother, nor broth as in brother,
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear, for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose—
Just look them up—and goose and choose
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword
And do and go, then thwart and cart,
Come, come! I’ve hardly made a start.
A dreadful Language? Why man alive!
I learned to talk it when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn’t learned it at fifty-five.

So, how was it? Harder than you thought? Not so bad? If you did well with this one, you are well on your way to communicating fluently in English! I have another, more diabolical English pronunciation poem that I will share soon – but I have to practice a few of the words first!

If it was a challenge for you and you’d like some personalized coaching on your pronunciation, you can get a free session with me after you take my free accent screening at www.losemyaccent.com.

Download