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Dearest creature in creation - The Chaos /'keıɒs/

Symbols only

"The Chaos" is a poem which demonstrates the irregularity of English spelling and pronunciation, written by Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946)

http://ncf.idallen.com/english.html

https://www.learnenglish.de/pronunciation/pronunciationpoem.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1V6Nn6aAmw

Printable version (PDF)

Click on the players of each stanza to listen to the sentences and don't hesitate to read them out loud !

 

1 Play
Play
Dearest creature in creation,
ˈdiərist 'kriːʧə ın kriː'eıʃən
Study English pronunciation.
ˈstʌdi 'ıŋglıʃ prəʊnʌnsiːˈeıʃən
I will teach you in my verse aı wıl tiːʧ juː ın maı vɜːs
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
saʊndz laık kɔːps kɔə hɔːs ənd wɜːs
I will keep you, Susy, busy,
aı wıl kiːp juː 'suːzi, 'bızi
Make your head with heat grow dizzy meık jɔː hed wıð hiːt grəʊ 'dızi
Tear in eye, your dress you'll tear,
tıərın aı jɔː dres juːl tɛə
So shall I ! So hear my prayer.
səʊ ʃælsəʊ hıə maı preə

 

2 Play
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Just compare heart, beard and heard, ʤʌst kəm'pɛə hɑːt bɪəd ənd hɜːd
Dies and diet, lord and word, daız ənd ˈdaɪət lɔːd ənd wɜːd
Sword and sward, retain and Britain, sɔːd ənd swɔːd rı'teın ənd 'brıtn
(Mind the latter how it's written). maınd ðə 'lætə haʊ ıts 'rıtn
Now I surely will not plague you, naʊ aı ˈʃʊəli wıl nɒt pleıg juː
With such words as plaque and ague wıð sʌʧ wɜːdz əz plæk ənd 'eıgjuː
But be careful how you speak. bət biː ˈkeəfʊl haʊ juː spiːk
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak; seı breık ənd steık bət bliːk ənd striːk
Cloven, oven, how and low, 'kləʊvn 'ʌvən haʊ ənd ləʊ
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe. skrıpt rı'siːt ʃəʊ ˈpəʊim ənd təʊ

 

3 Play
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Hear me say, devoid of trickery, hɪə miː ˈseɪ dɪˈvɔɪd əv ˈtrɪkəri
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore, dɔːtə ˈlɑːftə ənd tɜːp'sıkəri
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles, ˈtaɪfɔɪd 'miːzlz ˈtɒpslz ˈaılz
Exiles, similes, and reviles; ˈeksaɪlz ˈsimiliz ənd riˈvailz
Scholar, vicar, and cigar, 'skɒlə 'vıkə ənd sı'gɑː
Solar, mica, war and far; 'səʊlə 'maıkə wɔː ənd fɑː
One, anemone, Balmoral, wʌn ə'nɛməniː bælˈmɒrəl
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel; 'kıʧın 'laıkn ˈlɔːndri 'lɒrəl
Gertrude, German, wind and mind, 'gɜːtruːd 'ʤɜːmən wınd ənd maind
Scene, Melpomene, mankind. siːn melˈpɒmɪniː mænkˈaınd

 

4 Play
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Billet does not rhyme with ballet, 'bılıt dʌz nɒt raım wıð 'bæleı
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. buːˈkeı 'wɒlıt 'mælıt 'ʃæleı
Blood and flood are not like food, blʌd ənd flʌd ɑː nɒt laık fuːd
Nor is mould like should and would. nɔː ız məʊld laık ʃʊd ənd wʊd
Viscous, viscount, load and broad, ˈvɪskəs 'vaıkaʊnt ləʊd ənd brɔːd
Toward, to forward, to reward. ˈtɔːd tə 'fɔːwəd tə rı'wɔːd
And your pronunciation's OK ənd jɔː prəʊnʌnsiːˈeıʃənz əʊ'keı
When you correctly say croquet, wen ju kəˈrektli ˈseɪ krəʊ'keı
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve, 'raʊndıd 'wuːndıd griːv ənd sıv
Friend and fiend, alive and live. frend ənd fiːnd ə'laıv ənd lıv

 

5 Play
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Ivy, privy, famous; clamour 'aıvi 'prıvi 'feıməs 'klæmə
And enamour rhymes with hammer. ənd ɪˈnæmə raımz wıð 'hæmə
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb, ˈrɪvə ˈraɪvəl tuːm bɒm kəʊm
Doll and roll and some and home. dɒl ənd rəʊl ənd səm ənd həʊm
Stranger does not rhyme with anger, 'streınʤə dʌz nɒt raım wıð 'æŋgə
Neither does devour with clangour. ˈnaiðə dʌz dı'vaʊə wıð 'klæŋgə
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt, səʊlz bət faʊl hɔːnt bət ɑːnt
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant, fɒnt frʌnt wəʊnt wɒnt ɡrænd ənd grɑːnt
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger, ʃuːz gəʊz dʌz naʊ fɜːst seı 'fıŋgə
And then singer, ginger, linger, ænd ðɛn ˈsiŋə 'ʤınʤə 'lıŋgə
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge, ˈriːəl ziːl məʊv ɡaʊdʒ ənd ɡeɪdʒ
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age. ˈmæridʒ 'fəʊliıʤ mı'rɑːʒ ənd eıʤ

 

6 Play
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Query does not rhyme with very, ˈkwɪəri dəz nɒt raɪm wɪð ˈveri
Nor does fury sound like bury. nɔː dəz ˈfjʊəri ˈsaʊnd ˈlaɪk ˈberi
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth. dʌst lɒst pəʊst ənd dʌθ klɒθ ləʊθ
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath. dʒɒb nɒb ˈbʊzəm ˈtrænsəm əʊθ
Though the differences seem little, ðəʊ ðə ˈdɪfrənsɪz siːm 'lıtl
We say actual but victual. wiː seı 'æktjuːəl bət 'vıtl
Refer does not rhyme with deafer. 'riːfə dʌz nɒt raım wıð ˈdefə
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer. 'fefə dʌz ənd 'zefə 'hefə
Mint, pint, senate and sedate; mınt paınt 'sɛnıt ənd sı'deıt
Dull, bull, and George ate late. dʌl bʊl ənd ʤɔːʤ et leıt
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific, ˈsiːnɪk 'ærəbık pə'sıfık
Science, conscience, scientific. 'saıəns ˈkɒnʃəns saıəntˈıfık

 

7 Play
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Liberty, library, heave and heaven, 'lıbəti 'laıbrəri hiːv ənd 'hevən
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven. ˈreɪtʃl̩ eɪk mʊˈstɑːʃ ɪˈlevn̩
We say hallowed, but allowed, wiː seı 'hæləʊd bət ə'laʊd
People, leopard, towed, but vowed. 'piːpl 'lepəd təʊd bət vaʊd
Mark the differences, moreover, mɑːk ðə ˈdɪfrənsɪz mɔəˈrəʊvə
Between mover, cover, clover; bɪˈtwiːn ˈmuːvə ˈkʌvə ˈkləʊvə
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise, ˈliːʧız 'brıʧız waız prı'saıs
Chalice, but police and lice; 'ʧælıs bət pə'liːs ənd laıs
Camel, constable, unstable, 'kæməl ˈkʌnstəbl ʌn'steıbl
Principle, disciple, label. 'prınsıpl dıˈsaıpəl 'leıbl

 

8 Play
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Petal, panel, and canal, ˈpetl̩ ˈpænl̩ ənd kəˈnæl
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal. weıt səˈpraɪz plæt 'prɒmıs pæl
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair, wɜːm ənd stɔːm ʃeız 'keıɒs tʃeə
Senator, spectator, mayor. 'senətə spek'teıtə meə
Tour, but our and succour, four. tʊə bət aʊə dʊə 'sʌkə fɔː
Gas, alas, and Arkansas. gæs ə'lɑːs ənd 'ɑːkənsɔː
Sea, idea, Korea, area, siː aɪˈdɪə kəˈrɪə ˈeəriə
Psalm, Maria, but malaria. sɑːm mə'rıə bət məˈleərɪə
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean. juːθ saʊθ 'sʌðən klenz ənd kliːn
Doctrine, turpentine, marine. 'dɒktrın 'tɜːpəntaın mə'riːn

 

9 Play
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Compare alien with Italian, kəmˈpeə 'eılıən wıð ı'tælıən
Dandelion and battalion. ˈdəndilaiən wıð bə'tæliən
Sally with ally, yea, ye, 'sæli wıð əˈlai jeı jiː
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key. aı aı eı eı weı ənd kiː
Say aver, but ever, fever, ˈseɪ əˈvɜː bət ˈevəˈfiːvə
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver. ˈnaiðə ˈleʒə skeın dı'siːvə
Heron, granary, canary. ˈherən ˈɡrænəri kəˈneəri
Crevice and device and aerie. ˈkrevɪs ənd dɪˈvaɪs ənd ˈeəri

 

10 Play
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Face, but preface, not efface. feɪs bət ˈprefɪs nɒt ɪˈfeɪs
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass. flɛm fleg'mætık æs glɑːs beis
Large, but target, gin, give, verging, lɑːʤ bət 'tɑːgıt ʤın gıv ˈvɜːʤıŋ
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging. ɔːt aʊt ʤaʊst ənd skaʊə bət 'skɜːdʒiŋ
Ear, but earn and wear and tear ɪə bət ɜːn ənd weər ənd teə
Do not rhyme with here but ere. duː nɒt raım wıð hıə bət eə
Seven is right, but so is even, 'sɛvn ız raıt bət səʊ ız 'iːvn
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen, 'haıfən 'rʌfn ˈnevjuː 'stiːvn
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk, 'mʌŋki ˈdɒŋki tɜːk ənd ʤɜːk
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work. ɑːsk ɡrɑːsp wɒsp ənd kɔːk ənd ˈwɜːk

 

11 Play
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Pronunciation -- think of Psyche! prəʊnʌnsiːˈeıʃən θıŋk əv 'saıki
Is a paling stout and spikey? ız ə 'peılıŋ staʊt ənd 'spaıki
Won't it make you lose your wits, wəʊnt ıt meık juː luːz jɔː wıts
Writing groats and saying grits? 'raıtıŋ grəʊts ənd 'seııŋ grıts
It's a dark abyss or tunnel: ıts ə dɑːk ə'bıs ɔː 'tʌnl
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale, struːn wɪð stəʊnz stəʊd ˈsɒlɪs ˈɡʌnl̩
Islington and Isle of Wight, 'ızlıŋtn ənd aıl əv waıt
Housewife, verdict and indict. ˈhʌzif 'vɜːdıkt ənd ın'daıt

 

12 Play
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Finally, which rhymes with enough? 'faınəli wıʧ raımz wıð ı'nʌf
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough? ðəʊ θruː plaʊ ɔː dəʊ ɔː kɒf
Hiccough has the sound of cup. ˈhikʌp hæz ðə saʊnd əv kʌp
My advice is to give up! / give it up! maı əd'vaıs ız tə gıv ʌp / gıv ıt ʌp

 

 

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