Lost in Translation

Little Darth is a classic third child. He’s a bit spoiled (in part due to birth order, in part due to the fact that he’s a baby). We’re pretty laid back about things that we NEVER would have allowed when The Tweenager was his age (some of his very first solid foods were strawberry yogurt and peanut butter…both of which he sucked down like manna from Heaven…I mean, he actually bent his head and LICKED THE TRAY when we fed him peanut butter).

But probably the most clear indication of third child syndrome is that he doesn’t speak. He doesn’t need to. With three adults and two older brothers in the house, his every need is anticipated. He points, lifts his arms, grunts, and his will is done.

Well, it’s done after we figure out what he wants.

Since he’s fifteen months old and doesn’t talk.

He’s pretty good with “thisssss” (in reference to ANYTHING he picks up), but nothing else with any consistency. Yesterday I was getting him dressed and ready for his 15 month well-child visit, and The Manimal said “Mommy, when is Little Darth gonna start talking human?”

I guess it kind of makes sense since The Manimal is pretty convinced that Little Darth is some sort of alien sent to make his life miserable.

I’m not too worried about it. The doctor will probably do an evaluation if he’s not talking by his 18 month visit. In our house he’ll eventually talk out of sheer self-preservation.

Speaking of speaking, I came across this fun poem this week. Well, fun is relative, I suppose, but if you’re a lover of words, like I am, you’ll appreciate it. It’s much cooler if you read it aloud, but you probably should do it out of earshot of friends or family.

Or they’ll probably think you’re weird.

Or an alien.

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

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 give up!!

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2 Responses to Lost in Translation

  1. KathyB. says:

    I can see now you are very clever and creative with words in more than just gift boxes! I love your blog. Regarding the 3rd child, I remember my mother finally snapping at me ( the oldest) one day when I was 4 and telling me to “SHUT UP and let your sister talk!” Well, all 4 of us girls speak quite well and one of our sisters ( the 3rd) makes her living speaking all over the world, so I guess she did just fine.

    Thank-you for the wonderful &thoughtful Christmas box.~

  2. sgmlilja says:

    What a wonderful poem! I had to sit here and read it out loud 3 times just because it was fun! Ha!! Annika just gave me the, “Mommy are you alright in the head”, look! Thank you for sharing that.

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