Written by G. Nolst Trenito, 1870 – 1946.
These verses were designed to help multi-national personnel at NATO headquarters discard their accents. After trying them, a Frenchman said he’d prefer 6 months at hard labor to reading 6 lines aloud. This has floated around for a long time, since before the Web. I first saw it while working at HP Labs back in the Eighties. It makes a great sample post for a new blog….
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.