LOL cat talking in ‘capshuns’

This is something that I have often wondered.

Self doubt is a terrible affliction.

I talk to my cats in ‘capshuns’; is that enough proof. Am I the only person who does this? It’s worrying.

It’s worrying because I am a stickler for correct English, it’s one of the problems of being a teacher of the language, a prerequisite, if you like.

But I must admit that I do get a certain perverse pleasure from butchering the language for fun. I do silly things like make regular verbs irregular (arrive, arrove, arriven) and vice versa; or try going a whole day without conjugating the verb ‘to be’, as in I be happy today. In some cases, it actually makes sense, makes the language simpler.

Have a read of this and you will see part of the problem that makes English so hard to learn, besides its system of verbs being easier,it’s just… just so irregular.

The chaos

A poem on English pronunciation

Charivarius, (G.N. Trenite: 1870–1946).

Dearest creature in creation,
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
It will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye your dress you’ll tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer:
Pray console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it.
Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, Lord and word.
Sword and sward, retain and Britain,
(Mind the latter, how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say–said, pay–paid, laid, but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak:
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak,
Previous, precious; fuschia, via;
Pipe, shipe, recipe and choir;
Cloven, oven; how and low;
Script, receipt; shoe, poem, toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery;
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore;
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles;
Exiles, similes, reviles;
Wholly, holly; signal, signing;
Thames, examining, combining;
Scholar, vicar and cigar,
Solar, mica, war, and far.
Desire–desirable, admirable–admire;
Lumber, plumber; bier but brier;
Chatham, brougham; renown but known,
Knowledge; done, but gone and tone,
One, anemone; Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen; laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German; wind and mind;
Scene, Melpomene, mankind;
Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross; brook, brooch; ninth, plinth.
Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rime with darky.
Viscous, viscount; load and broad;
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s O.K.
When you say correctly; croquet;
Rounded, wounded; grieve and sieve;
Friend and fiend, alive and live,
Liberty, library; heave and heaven;
Rachel, ache, moustache; eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed;
People, leopard; towed, but vowed.
Mark the difference moreover
Between mover, plover, Dover;
Leeches, breeches; wise, precise;
Chalice, but police and lice.
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, discipline, label;
Petal, penal and canal;
Wait, surmise, plait, promise; pal.
Suit, suite, ruin; circuit, conduit,
Rime with: “shirk it” and “beyond it”;
But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pall, mall, but PallMall.
Muscle, muscular; goal and iron;
Timber, climber; bullion and lion;
Worm and storm; chaise, chaos, chair;
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Ivy, privy; famous; clamour,
And enamour rime with “hammer”.
Pussy, hussy and possess,
Desert, but dessert, address.
Golf, wolf; countenants; lieutenants
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.
River, rival; tomb, bomb, comb;
Doll and roll, and some and home.
Stranger does not rime with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Soul, but foul; and gaunt, but aunt;
Font, front, won’t; want, grand and grant;
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then; singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal; mauve, gauze and gauge;
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.
Query does not rime with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post; and doth, cloth, loth;
Job, Job; blossom, bosom, oath.
Though the difference seems little
We say actual, but victual;
Seat, sweat; chaste, caste; Leigh, eight, height;
Put, nut; granite but unite.
Reefer does not rime with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull; Geoffrey, George; ate, late;
Hint, pint; senate, but sedate.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific;
Science, conscience, scientific.
Tour, but our, and succour, four;
Gas, alas and Arkansas!
Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern; cleanse and clean;
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian.
Dandelion with battalion,
Sally with ally, Yea, Ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
Never guess–it is not safe;
We say calves, valves; half, but Ralf.
Heron, granary, canary;
Crevice and device and eyrie;
Face, preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic; ass, glass, bass;
Large, but target, gin, give, verging;
Ought, out, joust and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and wear and tear
Do not rime with “here” but “ere”.
Seven is right, but so is even;
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen;
Monkey, donkey; clerk and jerk;
Asp, grasp, wasp; and cork and work.
Pronunciation–think of psyche–
Is a paling, stout and spikey;
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
writing groats and saying “groats”?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel,
Strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Don’t you think so, reader, rather
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally: which rimes with “enough”,
Though, through, plough, cough, hough or tough?
Hiccough has the sound of “cup”,
My advice is … give it up!

See what I mean?

Now on with the day. Brazilian… Love them, but they have a terrible problem. Brazilians need to know everything. For example a simple road accident report in a western newspaper might take a couple of column-inches; here a whole full page spread covers the same accident in almost indecent intimate minute detail.

Here’s a case in point.

Pedro Leonardo – Singer and heart throb

The story so far: 32 days ago a young singer Pedro, son of one of Brazil’s famous sertaneja (country & western) crooners, Leonardo, had a car accident in Goias. After a gig in the north of the country he decided to drive home alone, against his father’s advice. The result was, he fell asleep at the wheel and rolled the car. He broke a leg and had some head injuries and was rushed to hospital and they induced a coma and later transfered him to a major hospital in São Paulo, where he had a couple of cardiac arrests.

The kid was in bad shape. Now I have nothing against the young man, he’s about 20, clean cut and the girls love him. I can’t castigate him for rolling the car either; I did the same to my Dad’s car at 16.

But, every day there have been reports in the papers, big spreads, double page in some cases. Every news bulletin on TV carries the news. There has been no let up. Doctors, hospital workers, relatives, father, fans giving televised interviews in front of the hospital. The news, ‘he flinched,’ ‘he’s breathing on his own,’ ‘he turned in bed,’ ‘he reacted to stimulus.’ It has all been news.

Yesterday, the fervor began again. ‘He’s out of the coma,’ ‘he spoke,’ he recognised some songs,’ ‘he talked to his father.’ His father heard about the news during a show up north. He then interrupted his repertoire to give the audience a blow by blow reporting of his son coming out of the coma. The fans just lapped it up.

But already today, both news slots, devoted more than the average news item to the miracle. Of course, it’s all ‘graças a Deus’ (Thank God), ah, I don’t think anyone has said thanks to the doctors yet, not publicly anyway, that wouldn’t be newsworthy.

Maybe I’m just jealous that I didn’t get this coverage when I rolled Dad’s car. Quite frankly, I’m glad I didn’t. I didn’t want the world to know what a fool I had been.

See, maybe I am crazy…