Posts Tagged ‘language’

This blessing called Indian summer

The glory of fall and Indian summer. Photo by Peter Rufi, Creative Commons

A slice of Indian summer from 2005. Photo by Peter Rufi, Creative Commons

What a glorious week! Sunshine and delicious temperatures, against the backdrop of fall colors and the special quality of light that saturates our world this time of year.

This last gasp of warmth is often called Indian summer – more about that name in a second. And it really comes in handy too. A nice psychological boost, not to mention a final window of opportunity for weather-sensitive work.

Case in point: We had a deck repair that concluded the day before a two-week road trip. All that bare wood with winter on the horizon, not good! But no worries, I thought. It can be stained when we get back. Except that our return in mid-September was so cold and rainy people were turning their furnaces on. Darn it!

Thankfully, good old Indian summer did make an appearance. Nearly a whole week of sun, no rain and temps above any danger zone for the task at hand. I spent a few solid days sanding and staining and was very grateful that chance came. Of course, there’s more that needs doing in the garden too. But those chores still happen in the cold or the damp, however less pleasant doing it then may be.

Heres more on that term, from a .pdf supplement by Brian Pierce from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

What is Indian Summer?

The first cold spell of the fall signifying the change of seasons makes many people long for Indian Summer. But what exactly is Indian Summer?

True Indian Summer is a period of abnormally warm weather following the first killing freeze of autumn. A killing freeze occurs when the overnight temperature reaches 28 degrees of cold…and may or may not occur with frost. Indian Summer typically occurs in mid to late autumn and can occur more than once.

In Europe…the equivalent of Indian Summer is termed Old Wives Summer or in poetry as Halcyon Days. In England…it is known as either St. Martin’s Summer or St. Luke’s Summer depending on the date of occurrence.

Apparently the term has become a standard term in English speaking countries. Indeed, the UK is enjoying an Indian summer this with mid-September temperatures that rival or exceed sunny Spain. This generated articles in the British press explaining that the term does not come from India, but (quite probably) from colonial days in North America.

One such explanatory item from the Guardian even cites an article from 1837 that expands on the term and its origins. A quote frequently used to source the term comes from Hector Saint John de Crèvecoeur, who wrote in 1778:

Sometimes the rain is followed by an interval of calm and warmth which is called the Indian Summer; its characteristics are a tranquil atmosphere and general smokiness.

But why call it Indian summer? Here’s what the Old Farmer’s Almanac says on that:

There are many theories. Some say it comes from the early Algonquian Native Americans, who believed that the condition was caused by a warm wind sent from the court of their southwestern god, Cautantowwit.

The most probable origin of the term, in our view, goes back to the very early settlers in New England. Each year they would welcome the arrival of a cold wintry weather in late October when they could leave their stockades unarmed. But then came a time when it would suddenly turn warm again, and the Native Americans would decide to have one more go at the settlers. “Indian summer,” the settlers called it.

A constant problem with Internet research is that so much of what is found simply copies and repeats sources, that may or may not be correct. So I throw this out to the collective and nuanced expertise of All In readership. Where do you think the term came from? Is it possibly offensive, as in the name of a Washington football team?

Whatever you call it, here’s to a grand spell of wonderful weather.

When names offend — food edition

Kaffir lime leaves are used in some South East Asian cuisines such as Indonesian, Lao, Cambodian, and Thailand (มะกรูด). Citrus hystrix leaf (Image by Fatrabbit, Creative Commons, Wikipedia)

Kaffir lime leaves are used in some South East Asian cuisines such as Indonesian, Lao, Cambodian, and Thailand (มะกรูด).
Citrus hystrix leaf (Image by Fatrabbit, Creative Commons, Wikipedia)

Last week I blogged about Ottawa’s newest pro team, the Redblacks. As best I can tell, that name has nothing to do with the type of controversy associated with teams like the Washington Redskins. (Although one reader pointed out on a Facebook comment that I neglected to mention similar arguments about the Redblack’s mascot, “Big Joe” modeled after a real Francophone lumberjack.)

NCPR’s weekend guy Jonathan Brown and I exchanged a few emails on the topic. I admitted much fondness for the (unofficial) UC Santa Cruz mascot, the Banana Slug. And mentioned personal displeasure at how the University of Hawaii caved in on their long-honored insignia of a rainbow. (Emblematic of the many rainbows seen in wet Manoa Valley and for Hawaii’s rainbow of multi-ethnic cultural heritage.)

Just as I was thinking this sort of brouhaha is mostly confined to the world of sport, I read that a key ingredient in Thai cooking is in dire need of a less-racist name.

How many cooks and foodies out there are proud because they know about kaffir limes? (I use the leaves, which impart a quintessential flavor.)

But now I’ve learned the name “kaffir” is basically equivalent to the “n-word” in places like South Africa. Oh dear.

L.V. Anderson, assistant editor for Slate, writes about the whole issue here, including an attempt to track down how “kaffir” might mean different things:

As it happens, the very earliest written instance of kaffir lime yet to be uncovered suggests that the word’s origins have nothing to do with the South African slur. As the Oxford English Dictionary points out, Scottish botanist H.F. Macmillan used the term in his 1910 Handbook of Tropical Gardening and Planting to refer to a lime found in Sri Lanka, the home of the ethnic group that refer to themselves proudly as the Kaffirs. Macmillan lived there for 30 years, and it was there that he wrote his botanical handbook. It is difficult to say how he, and the other people he heard using the term kaffir lime, understood the connotation of the word, but it seems at least possible that the name began innocuously. Given that the earliest evidence of the lime’s name comes from Sri Lanka, lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower told me, “It seems very likely that it comes from that particular strand.”

Citrus hystrix Kabuyao (Cabuyao) fruit (left), used in Southeast Asian cooking, with galangal root. (Image by Fuzheado Creative Commons, Wikipedia)

Citrus hystrix Kabuyao (Cabuyao) fruit (left), used in Southeast Asian cooking, with galangal root. (Image by Fuzheado Creative Commons, Wikipedia)

Anderson says even if the origin of the name is free from malice, it rankles now. So maybe the safest thing to do is use what it’s called in Thailand: makrut.

Of course words mean different things – depending on time, place and the ear of the beholder, as explored in this June article by Geoffrey Nunberg “When Slang becomes a slur” for the Atlantic. Nunberg says it all shifted in the 1960’s:

That was when we collectively acknowledged that every group was entitled to control its own linguistic destiny, and decide what it should and shouldn’t be called—that groups had the right to define themselves.

“Redskin” has simply been the slang word the white man used for the Indian. Like all slang words, it was infused with the attitudes about the thing it names.

The principle had far-reaching consequences. When the decade opened, liberal-minded people referred to Negroes (or to “the Negro,” as LBJ liked to say), while an unreconstructed rear guard still talked about “coloreds.” By the decade’s end, pretty much everybody was using “blacks.” Over the following decades Orientals became Asians, queers became gays, and the new terms “Latino,” “Hispanic,” and “Chicano” were added to the vocabulary. And the old word “slur” acquired a new meaning to refer to a word that conveyed an ethnic or racial insult, one whose use was not just unkind, but as a social thought crime. Not even the vocal reactions against “political correctness” in later decades called the right of self-naming into serious question. Those on the cultural right may ridicule PC ideas about race and gender, but in their public discussions they’re as fastidious as anybody else about avoiding words that are regarded as offensive or simply outmoded.

This debate resonates in Canada too, over teams small and large, as shown by complaints about the Nepean Redskins (they changed the name) and the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos.

A similar back-and-forth exists for the military’s policy of naming helicopters for tribes like Apache or Kiowa – criticized in this June op-ed in the Washington Post by Simon Waxman.

Hold on, says U.S. Army aviator Maj. Crispin Burke in his piece “Everyone Relax – The Army’s Native American Helicopter Names Are Not Racist“. Burke says “there’s a difference between honor and exploitation”:

Although not an official policy, Army officials typically name attack aircraft for tribes that historians have noted for their martial prowess. The RAH-66 Comanche, for instance, honored a tribe of mounted warriors that out-maneuvered, out-rode and out-fought the best-equipped U.S. Cavalry—a feat even more impressive when one considers the Comanche first encountered the horse only in the late 17th century.

So what evidence do we have to suggest that Native Americans aren’t offended by the Army’s tradition? Take, for instance, the fact that Army Material Command actually gets approval from Native American tribes before naming its aircraft. That’s according to the Department of the Army’s Pamphlet 70-3, paragraph 1-11-4-g, for you sadists out there.

Still not convinced? Well, consider that some Native American tribes don’t just approve of the Army’s naming convention, they give their outright blessing—literally.

In 2012, Native American leaders were on hand to bless two brand new LUH-72 Lakota helicopters—named for the nation which handed the Army one of its most notorious defeats at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

The two helicopters, christened “Eagle” and “Turtle” for prominent Native American symbols, carry honor feathers in their cockpits, gifts from the tribe to the North Dakota National Guard.

Frankly, this tends to be a dangerous conversation. Debate opens up all kinds of name-calling, regardless of how individuals approach the topic.

Case in point: I am often offended by those who seem to want to control this discussion by suggesting anyone who disagrees is a racist. (Bad as racism is, politically correct bigotry is no more attractive.) To some extent I value freedom of expression more than some (utterly impossible) goal of making sure no one ever has hurt feelings.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to learn and remember “makrut lime”, because I see no need to make a freedom of speech issue over the other name. (I had no idea that word came with so much baggage!)

How do you decide which words to drop from your general vocabulary?

Charting the f-word, there’s an app for that

At they mine the Twitterverse for F-bomb deployments and present them in real-time on a worl map.

At they mine the Twitterverse for F-bomb deployments and present them in real-time on a world map. There’s a whole lotta cussin’ goin’ on.

This item sort of blends “local lad makes good” with “what is the world coming to?” And if you dislike profanity, please steer clear, because that’s the topic.

As recounted by Michael Woods for the Ottawa Citizen, Carleton University student Martin Gingras created an app that tracks the use of the F-word on Twitter. According to the article:

The idea originated during a conversation the third-year computer science student had with a couple of colleagues while on a co-op stint at BlackBerry.

The colleagues were arguing about something, and eventually someone dropped a bad word. “It just really degraded the entire level of intelligence of our conversation really quickly,” Gingras said.

The software developers started thinking about how often people swear and how neat it would be to map that out. Gingras spent a weekend last month working on it, and an application was born.

Here’s the website for that app,

I continue to be amazed at the shift in what can be said in public. Times have changed, for sure.

Case in point: we haven’t had a TV for close to 3 years. After a long spell of not watching The Daily Show, the spouse set up a way to record it via some computer magic. Now we watch episodes one day later, at an earlier time. OK, offending words are bleeped out. But wow, does Jon Stewart cuss like a sailor. (Was he always that profane?) I have to say, I think he’s overdoing it. The swearing seems excessive, like an easy crutch, replacing actual words with a few choice off-color terms, uttered with varying emphasis.

Complaining about profanity raises the risk of looking like some fuddy-duddy prude. I’ve seen both sides of that. My parents and grandparents pretty much never swore. My mom’s main cuss word was “rats!” My paternal grandmother once dropped a glass bottle of shampoo while unloading groceries from the car. It shattered across the garage floor in a swath of soapy glass shards. Lots and lots of tiny glass shards. The clean up would be a real bother. “Damn” she said. I was flabbergasted. And thrilled. (Grandmother swore!!! Amazing!)

I never swore at home but learned to cuss at school, to fit in. I cussed as a young adult, but had to keep a leash on it in case the wrong words slipped out when I worked in radio and was often live on air. The spouse and I stopped cussing once we became parents. Fine young son is grown and gone, so now we cuss again. Kind of more than I want, actually. It can sneak up on you. I’d like to dial that back.

As evidence that I am not a total wet blanket here’s an homage to proper use of the F-word [strong language warning times 50] that cracks me up every time. Does anyone know who created the voice track and the accompanying cartoon? Might be something to do with Monty Python, but I am having trouble finding source attribution.

What’s your take on swearing? Is there any point in trying to curb it now that standards have swung this far?

Language matters

O Canada in three languages, all of which matter.

O Canada in three languages, all of which matter.

When it comes to language, this much seems clear: words and language are both subject to interpretation. And language does change, for all sorts of reasons.

By chance, I’ve been running into a fair number of language-related issues recently. Case in point: in Canada, there’s a well-organized push to tweek the lyrics to the national anthem, O Canada to be more gender inclusive.

Is tweek a sufficiently neutral term? Because the pro-change camp says the original lyrics were gender neutral so theirs is but a push to restore the correct wording.

Here’s the offending line: True patriot love, in all thy sons command. Critics say it would be no trouble at all to go back to In all  of us command.

There are a couple of problems with the pro-change argument. Firstly, there seem to have been lots of versions of that song, so historical authenticity may be a weak justification. Secondly, if non-offensive, inclusive wording is the over-riding goal, there’s more “fixing” ahead, as the French lyrics use decidedly Christian imagery:

As in thy arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross

As you can imagine, positions on this range from: never heard of it/don’t care, to it’s-fine-leave-well-enough-alone, to this-is-really-important-and-must-be-accomplished! (I will spare you the dozens of articles and editorials that tackle the subject and the arguments rage back and forth.)

The pro-change group Restore Our Anthem presents their case and tries to head off critical FAQs on this website.

Although female, my own view one some of these questions is a bit stodgy and conservative. It might sound a bit like this: since there is no pleasing everyone, don’t even try. Decide each case on merit.

Indeed, this op-ed by Jackson Doughart suggests stripping all the words to O Canada might be the only way to silence critics. He dashes off an attempt at a ‘politically correct’ version as well:

O Canada! So tolerant and grand
True liberal love, where all people can land
With growing hearts, we see thee live
The Good North quiet with glee
From far and wide
O Canada, we keep two tongues and creeds
We keep our land lovely and treed
O Canada! We give our best to thee
O Canada! We give our best to thee

Doughart says the power of O Canada is actually found in the music, as opposed to what he called the lyrical power of the U.S.’s Star Spangled Banner. (Often criticized in the U.S. for being overly militaristic.)

But I began the post by saying several examples of this type of battle had caught my eye. Here are some others: Canada’s Snowbirds are allowed to keep that name despite a complaint to the language commissioner over an English-only nickname. (The Snowbirds are Canada’s equivalent to the USAF’s Thunderbirds, a crack squad of planes that fly in tight formation.)

Uh-oh. I just saw the squadron badge emblem for the Snowbirds when I went to link a URL for this post. It appears to have an Indian wearing a feather as the central image. Which brings me to examples of language and image that become more hurtful and heated.

Here in Ottawa, a youth football team recently announced they would stop using the name “Redskins” as a somewhat reluctant nod to outside pressure.

The same back-and-forth exists for the Washington Redskins football team, with an owner who vows to defend that name against opponents who have heartfelt reasons to ask for change.

Honestly, I don’t know where to go with that. I’m white. In general, my feelings toward native people run along the lines of sympathy and respect. So if native people say certain terms are racist and disrespectful, maybe their views have to be what counts. I mean, they would know best, right?

The trouble is, where does it end? Is it enough if one person stands and says “I’m offended”? No? OK, how about one hundred people? One million? Ten percent of the nation at large? 51% of everyone? 100% of a small minority who are but 5% of the larger group? You know, is this a vote, a sensitivity contest or a matter of marketing and public relations?

To continue that line of questioning: is sexism something only women can adjudge? Are minorities the only ones who can define racism?

I recently read an exploration on the origin and meaning of the classic phrase “to call a spade a spade”, which also asked if the term was derogatory. Seemingly not, according to the history presented.

I’ve also read a similar exploration of the term “rule of thumb” and guess what? Contrary to common wisdom of today, it did not arise from some standard on the size of the rod with which one may beat one’s wife. Yet current better-safe-than-sorry advice suggests dropping phrases that have become tainted through sloppy rumor.

I can remember how some of my elders struggled to keep up with shifts in racial terms. How once upon a time “Negro” was the most polite word one could use, an advance over “colored.” To call someone “Black” when “Negro” was more refined was insulting. Some from that generation were afraid to switch to Black or African American until it became clearer which word would win out.

Meanwhile, upon moving to Canada, I ran into the term “visible minority.” Here’s an official definition: “…persons, other than aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.” Someone probably meant well with that construct, but it fails to settle all objections, as expressed in this commentary by Francis Woolley:

Indeed, there is something almost racist about the assumption that whites are the standard against which anyone else is noticeably, visibly different. That may be why the United Nations Council on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has asked Canada to reflect upon its use of the term visible minority

Even if “visible minority” goes the way of Negro, good luck finding new terms that satisfy all!

Perhaps everything is happening just as it should? Words don’t go on some electoral ballot to be voted up or down. But we all vote – everyday – with our own choices for use and meaning.

When it comes to language, how do you gauge what’s offensive or not?

“The” before a road name: how come?

Source: WordPress

Source: WordPress

For those of you who missed last week’s kick off of the new “how come?” feature at All In, here’s the deal: you ask a question about the region, we post it here, and solicit answers from others in the community.

For example, last week, we had a question about Amish in the north country. We had a real expert weigh in on that one, Karen Johnson Weiner.

This week, our question comes from Donica Margaret via our Facebook page. She asks:

“How come people here call a road “the” whatever road? As in, Suzie lives in the green house on The Smith Road (instead of just Smith Road). My husband and I aren’t from here and I find it to be so…odd? My husband, a fluent French speaker, assumes that it’s a French influence (e.g., la rue).”

Where we come from, Bill is holding those turkeys on The Maple Ridge Road. Right?

Where we come from, Bill is holding those turkeys on The Maple Ridge Road. Right? Photo: Ellen Rocco

Then, someone pointed out that this custom seems to apply only where it’s a road name–the “the” is not there when we refer to a route or an avenue.

And, Gary Pierce wrote, “Good one, Donica. I’ve lived here all my life and never realized that until someone from Buffalo pointed it out to me. Example, I tell people I live on “the” Harper Road, where as my friend says I live on Harper Road.”

While I grew up in Manhattan, I’ve lived here long enough to have adopted the “the” custom. I definitely use it when speaking about the road someone lives on. Always. The only example of an anomalous “the” that I can think of from my childhood is “The” Bronx. None of the other boroughs have a “the” — it’s stand alone for Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

I searched briefly to see if I could find out why The Bronx has a “the.”Couldn’t find a definitive answer, but I’m guessing that it has something to do with being named after The Bronx River. Maybe? Here’s a link to The Bronx Historical Society’s page.

Okay, I don’t think we’ve really answered the “the” question. I’m going to see if our word friend, Grant Barrett of “A Way With Words” can help us out.

Stay tuned…or post your theory below. And, remember, we’re looking for your questions–from the trivial to the deep and meaningful. It’s all good. Email those questions to and we’ll see if someone can answer them.

Swearing across cultures: The beaver said what?!

This phrase was once taboo in polite company in England, being a corruption of “God’s body!”

Here’s one about potential traps strewn across unfamiliar cultural landscapes.

As recounted by the National Post, a French author and a French publishing house with a popular series of  children’s books set in Quebec got it wrong – very wrong – in terms of appropriate language for young readers.

Heads up! Swearing ahead – as found in chapter 4, page 28 of La rivière sans retour:

“Taberna-a-a-cle!” the beaver hollers, uttering a swear word that in Quebec is roughly as offensive as the f-word in English. The author of the book aimed at 6- and 7-year-olds helpfully includes a footnote explaining that tabernacle is a “Québécois word indicating surprise.”

Ah, yes. As his canoe was swept away in the rapids, the happy young beaver was … surprised!

Cuss words vary by culture, don’t they? Anyone from this region probably knows this topic (and the important words) well enough. For outsiders like me, the Post article contains a helpful side bar about other religion-based profanity, and the relative level of offense.

Meanwhile, what happens to swear words if/when the whole reason such use is offensive fades from memory? Even respectable museums have picked up on this topic, as when Le Musée Des Religions Du monde presented “Tabernacle: The exposition that curses”.

An earlier National Post article examined the cultural shift that prompted the exhibit:

At the Musée des religions du monde (Museum of World Religions) in Nicolet, about 110 kilometres northeast of Montreal, Jean-Francois-Royal is regularly struck by the widening gulf between Quebecers and their Catholic heritage. “We are at the point where we have a generation of students who ask, ‘Who is the guy on the cross?’ ” Mr. Royal, the museum’s director, said.

Writing in The Johnson (a blog featured in The Economist, named for dictionary-maker Samuel Johnson) “M.D./Ottawa” asks “If you profane something no one holds sacred, does it make a swear?

The post begins with nostalgia:

One of the formative experiences of my youth was being taught how to paddle a four-man racing canoe during summer visits to my French-speaking cousins at their cottage north of Quebec City. To keep in sync, paddlers would sing. And the favourite song of my male cousins, which I would roar with great gusto while not understanding a word, started like this:  “En hiver, calvaire! Ça glisse, calisse!” Only much later did I realize these lines, which translate as: “In winter, Calvary! It’s slippery, Chalice!” were not to be repeated in front of adults, as both calvaire and calisse were swear words in Quebec.

I can relate! Anxious to fit in and speak “good” pidgin English in Hawaii, I picked up a few choice Portugese swear words, without knowing how strong they were, or why they could offend. They just sounded, well, pointedly useful! (All that when my own parents never went farther than “rats!” or – if really provoked “damn!”)

Even so, some words probably don’t belong in books for 6 year-olds!

When you explore new places or learn new languages, how do you handle the identification – and use – of cuss words?

How to talk North Country

Grant Barrett’s visit to the region brought home to me the importance of the connection between how we talk and who we are. You will know us by our accent. It’s the way we determine who is us, and who is them.

But just what makes up the North Country accent? Or is it accents? Is there a formulary of rhythms, grammatical constructions, pronunciation shifts and so forth that define the sound? How far does it reach? Can it be defined? Can it be taught?

That’s a boatload of questions. But let’s make a start with a catalog of signature North Countryisms, things we do with language that, taken together, might help us zero-in on the local lilt.

I’m interested in everything from the anecdotal to the academic, and look forward to a broad-ranging chin-wag on the topic we all keep on the tip of the tongue.

We’ve visited this topic in the past. To help start the conversation, here are some features from the Way-Back Machine discussing North Countryisms and place names.

Heard up North: Pronouncing Theresa (The Town)

Heard up North: Chateaugay, Eh?

Heard Up North: 3 Words (The Particular Language of the North Country, Cont.)

Heard up North: “Went Up!”

Heard up North: Yupper! (& Beaver Meadows)

Heard up North: Slab City, Sodom, and Swastika

Heard up North: Place Names “Negro Creek”

Heard up North: Haws, We Gotch Ye

Heard up North: How the North Country got its name

You say potato, I say potahto

Mr Potahto Head

Barb Heller passed this around NCPR last week. I had not seen it before, so I thought some of you might have missed it as it made the digital rounds. Lots of fun. I think we should have the NCPR staff record it. What do you think?

It’s worth a read out loud:

If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. (Keep in mind this comes from a British source, so pronunciations may vary a bit from our common usage.)

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
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.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Fe0ffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, 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 grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to just give up!!!

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

Source: The Poke