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Fun With Words ~ Pronunciation Variations April 29, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

Lumpus-MooseLearning to speak English is not intuitive.

Words spelled the same are often pronounced differently, and words spelled differently often share a common pronunciation.

Sound, bound, wound . . . but tuned, wound, swooned.

It’s hard to learn to read when we’re told, “just sound it out,” and the sounds are ever shifting . . . even for words spelled exactly the same:

1) The doctor wound the bandage around the wound.

2) The farmer used most of his acreage to produce produce.

3) The overflowing dump had to refuse to accept more refuse.

4) Each week, we polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead the way if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) There is no time like the present to present a present.

8 ) At the Army base, they painted a bass on the head of a bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) Invalid insurance will do the invalid no good.

12) The oarsmen had a row about how to row.

13) I won!  I am number one!

No matter how long we wonder and ponder, the pronunciation variations of the English language are apt to remain a mystery.

It’s why we love to write . . . right?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Feel free to share a few of your favorite English language idiosyncracies below!



1. Jill Weatherholt - April 29, 2017

Exactly! Happy Saturday, Nancy.

nrhatch - April 29, 2017

Thanks, Jill. Have a sun and fun filled day!

2. Val Boyko - April 29, 2017

Great! I used to use these comic differences when I taught incomers to the US. It aways brought a laugh …. and relief!

nrhatch - April 29, 2017

Proving once again that Life (and learning) are better with laughter! Have a happy day, Val.

3. L. Marie - April 29, 2017

Hilarious! A few that came to mind:
I like to whine about wine.
I heard the wind wind down.
Let’s go to two stores. You can come too.

nrhatch - April 29, 2017

Good ones, L! The idiosyncrasies of learning English provide amusement amid the challenges.

4. William D'Andrea - April 29, 2017

When my brother was 9 years old he asked my mother “How do you spell ‘Pennsylvania’?”
She told him “Sound it out.”
He began spelling “P-e-n-c-i-l…”
I suppose that means that the sounded out spelling of the name of the Keystone State would be “P-e-n-c-i-l-v-a-y-n-y-u-h”.

nrhatch - April 29, 2017

Great example, William!

5. Rainee - April 29, 2017

Great examples Nancy. No wonder it is so difficult to learn. Often there is no logical explanation either 🙂

nrhatch - April 29, 2017

The English language is akin to a busy mom answering Question #713 that day:

“But, mom . . . why do I have to XYZ?”
“Because I said so.”

6. Kate Crimmins - April 29, 2017

Glad I learned English as a toddler. I always thought Chinese was a harder language to learn.

nrhatch - April 29, 2017

Chinese seems harder to me . . . especially since the different dialects don’t interface well with one another.

7. diannegray - April 29, 2017

So true, Nancy! Have a lovely weekend xxx

nrhatch - April 30, 2017

You too!

8. William D'Andrea - April 30, 2017

I often wonder, why is it that so many highly educated political leaders, who, when they appear on TV News broadcasts, constantly mispronounce the word “Nuclear” as “Nucular”?

nrhatch - April 30, 2017

Good question . . . for which I have no answer. 😀

9. William D'Andrea - May 1, 2017

On the other hand, I’d prefer having the Leaders of North Korea only mispronouncing the activity, instead of actually engaging in it. I’d prefer the same with President Trump. If not…
“Everybody duck now!”

nrhatch - May 1, 2017

Good thing there’s lots of room under my desk! 😀

10. Barb - May 1, 2017

I loved this! Thanks! Now I can forgive myself when pausing and asking myself ‘Does that word look right?’ In a sentence.

nrhatch - May 1, 2017

Exactly! It’s no wonder that we have to stop and ponder from time to thyme.

11. colonialist - May 1, 2017

Right up my alley! These peculiarities are part of what keeps an editor in business. Except that in this unenlightened part of the world, the past tense of dive is ‘dived’, and a dove is said, ‘duv’.

nrhatch - May 1, 2017

Dove (the bird) is “duv” here too . . . a perfect rhyme for love.

But dove (the verb) rhymes with stove ~> “When Korea launched a missile, we dove under our desks.”

colonialist - May 2, 2017

It goes to prove that to move in the groove you need to shove all you strove to prove overboard.

nrhatch - May 2, 2017

I LOVE THAT! Thanks, Col!

12. William D'Andrea - May 2, 2017

Here’s something I’ve noticed on the local TV weather broadcasts, here in the New York Metropolitan Area. On the weather maps, they misspell “hale”, which is a form of precipitation, as “hail” which means to call out a greeting. That’s something I learned in elementary school. Weren’t the future weather people paying attention; or were they sitting at their desks, looking out the window at what was falling from the clowds?

nrhatch - May 2, 2017

I think you got that wrong, William.

Hale = hale and hearty.
Hail = salute, greet, or summon (as in hail a cab) but it is also a form of precipitation.

13. Debra - May 3, 2017

I was an early elementary teacher and I loved teaching students to read, but I often thought it was amazing that they actually learned! I don’t know how adult English language learners catch on! It must be an incredible challenge!

nrhatch - May 3, 2017

Some words cooperate with the “sound it out” method . . . but many do not. It’s quite a language to master!

What grade(s) did you teach?

14. Tiny - May 9, 2017

Definitely! That’s why I like to write!

nrhatch - May 9, 2017

Yes . . . all those lovely little alliterative nuances.

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