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Not at all, hon. Nash had a different point than you did.
 
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Comparisons all can be flattering
there's no need to take them as shattering.
When it comes to a verse,
our opinions diverse.
Bring 'em on! More is better than smattering!


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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Boy, is that true, CW. I recently wrote a limerick for OEDILF that I thought was passable, but nothing special. CJ, however, claimed it was one of my best! I surely would never say that about it. Here it is:

I will serve you my pasta with sauce.
Alfredo is cheesy — the boss!
It's white, never red,
And rich tasting, it's said.
You don't want to try it? Your loss!
 
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Of course it doesn't work in UK English since "sauce" and "boss" don't rhyme.


Richard English
 
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"Of course it doesn't work in UK English since "sauce" and "boss" don't rhyme."


I think that we all should buy microphones
So that we can all hear other's dulcet tones
and for all of those times
when we must hear the rhymes
and we're too cheap to use telephones!


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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I had no idea that "sauce" and "boss" don't rhyme in the U.K. I think Richard is in the U.S. right now, but can someone tell me how they are pronounced?
 
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Perhaps we're provincial, but they rhyme in my house!

Take the sauce,
To the boss,
Ride the hoss,
Named Mr. Ross.
 
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"Sauce" is pronounced something like "sawss", whereas "boss" rhymes with "loss" or "toss".


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Well, for me, "sawss" & "boss" & " loss" & "toss" all rhyme. So, that doesn't help.
 
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Yup, for me, the vowels in sauce and boss, as well as hoss, ross, loss, and toss are all the same. Perfect rhymes be they.
 
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The Addressing of Cats, by T. S. Eliot:
    I know a Cat, who makes a habit
    Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
    And when he's finished, licks his paws
    So's not to waste the onion sauce.
 
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Ah, but for me, paws and sauce do not rhyme. Paws ends with a voiced fricative /z/ and sauce with a voiceless one /s/. Eliot was from Chicago, n'est-ce pas? (NB: pas does not rhyme with paws or sauce.)
 
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I'm sure I used to have a link to a site that let you hear the dictionary words but I can't find it now (or at least the site I thought it was no longer has sound files).

Can anyone remember where it was?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: BobHale,
 
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Ah, but for me, paws and sauce do not rhyme.

I agree, jheem. However, the "sawss" did rhyme, though I pronounce "paws" as "pawz."
 
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quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
I'm sure I used to have a link to a site that let you hear the dictionary words but I can't find it now (or at least the site I thought it was no longer has sound files).

Can anyone remember where it was?

Try:
Merriam-Webster
MSN Encarta
American Heritage Dictionary
 
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it seems to me that the common UK sound "AW" is rare in the USA. Here are some examples of when it is used in UK English:

Saw; horse; faucet; water; daughter; sort; coarse; course.

None of them rhymes with loss or boss so, please pick one that's pronounced differently from "boss" and you've maybe got it.


Richard English
 
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I just find it strange that words with "r" in them, such as "horse," "coarse," and "course" would have the "aw" sound. Isn't there an "r" sound at all in those words?

I suppose that's what makes the limerick project so difficult. Did they just decide to take the pronunciation of the limerick writer? Or, how do that handle it?
 
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Quote "...Did they just decide to take the pronunciation of the limerick writer? Or, how do that handle it?..."

Generally they argue!


Richard English
 
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quote:
Well, we don't let him out of our hands when he's not in his tank. He is a snake that enjoys being stroked.


Well - I just had to tell you that our pet, Jack, was loose for about 24 hours earlier this week. My son lost track of him (read zoned out) and we were afraid we'd lost him forever to the walls and pipes of our house. Luckily, the next day I heard him rustling through Simon's messy room.

Our pet, name of Jack, is a snake.
He suddenly staged an escape!
He was lost for a day,
thought he'd slithered away!
He came back, of the heat to partake.


Not the best poem I've ever written . . .


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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Well, I like it, especially since I have met Jack. So glad you found him!

I suppose I could workshop your limerick... Wink
 
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More power to ya, Kalleh! I love constructive criticism!


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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    Our pet, name of Jack, is a snake.
    He suddenly staged an escape!
    He was lost for a day,
    thought he'd slithered away!
    He came back, of the heat to partake.
Quite nice, CW. I'm very enamoured of the internal rhyme of 'Jack' and 'back' in lines one and five. It could become tremendously witty if you can find a way to sprinkle in a couple more -ack words (aback? lack? flak? wrong track?) or even imperfect rhymes like -acked or -act.

(which thought has just inspired a Tom Swifty.)
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Hic et ubique:
... or even imperfect rhymes like -acked or -act.

Imperfect rhymes? CJ would be aghast!

Tinman
 
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CJ would be aghast!

That would be his problem. Poetry is not algebra.
 
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lol - would he yack?


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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quote:
CJ would be aghast!

I do post on OEDILF peroidically. To be honest, CJ is not as obsessive there as he was here about perfect rhymes. However, many of the other OEDILFers are!

Not perfect...but I had fun!

We were taken aback by the lack
Of our snake who escaped through the back.
How that Jack he did slither...
From hither to thither!
Though he's back in his shack for a snack!

OEDILFers would not like the 3 unstressed syllables between L4 and L5!
 
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The OEDILF crowd
Should read all their poems out loud.
The syntax that's oral
Solves many a quarrel
'bout lines of which authors are proud.
 
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Kalleh that is awesome!

Jo - I love yours, too!


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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Jo-
You're right about poem vocalizing.
It does help to quell the uprising,
Of critics from Surrey,
Who with great haste and fury,
Request rhyme and meter revising.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: TrossL,
 
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The way to pronounce is a matter
O'er which all we linguists do natter.
We argue and bitch
Over lingual switch
And the difference 'tween jargon and patter.
 
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Well, this is it! I have died and gone to heaven. I know it. First, I have been basking in the activity of this board all weekend. And now TROSSL is back with us! Oh, how we have missed you, TrossL! To welcome you back I am going to post a limerick I have always loved, by our dear Hic. For those of you who weren't here then, it was all in jest, I assure you. We were having lots of limericking fun! [I just wish our CJ would pop in once in awhile!]

Forget about CJ, dear TrossL:
Only his ego's collossL.
When you can be had
By a lusty young lad,
Who needs a shriveled old fossL?

I love both of yours, Jo and TrossL! Wink

As linguaphiles often we fail
Cuz perfection we hail...until stale!
Is is stressed or unstressed?
Which word is the best?
We rail and we wail...off to jail!

Oh, it just figures! Even with this limerick making fun of the nitpickers...I go to the dictionary to see if the "ail" words are pronounced with 1 or 2 syllables! Roll Eyes
 
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As a writer from green leafy Surrey
I think that it's right that I worry
'bout limerick faults,
Like verbal assaults,
Rhyming Surrey with fury, not hurry!


Richard English
 
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Those Brits don't know how to pronounce;
Their words are all jumbled...they flounce.
An "a" become "ah;"
It's Idear and fah.
But their accent is really what counts! Wink

I know, words don't flounce. However, I was using "flounce" to mean "to move in a lively bouncy manner." Big Grin
 
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limericks revisited...

There has been discussion in an OEDILF workshop that the following limerick, with an L4 unnatural stress, is just fine. In fact it has 11 or so people who have announced it ready for approval. There is further discussion there that unnatural stresses in limericks are totally acceptable. At some point then, when does it become a poem and not a limerick? Are there any identifying characteristics of a limerick at all? If one person says he doesn't care about unnatural stresses, can another say he doesn't care about rhymes? Here is the limerick in question (look at L4):

The best public restroom's designed
With a person-in-need's needs in mind.
When people who've waited
Are accommodated,
The neighborhood smells more refined.

How many of you actually say "AC-com-mo-DATED," which is what it would have to be to work? Since "accomodated" is the word being defined, it has to be kept. Whether the word is really defined or not (I think not) is another question.

Then, Richard posted these limericks to speak to the point of unnatural stresses, which just tells me why I don't like unnatural stresses.

A limerick must be quite short
(Or at least that's what people are taught)
But a limit on word
Count is absurd
(Though this "rule" will attract some support).

But a limerick might have variable size
Though to stretch it too far is unwise
But it's right if there's rhyme
At a suitable time
And the last line's a cunning surprise.

My point is, what is the bare minimum of a limerick? 5 lines? Is that it?

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To be pedantic - I actually composed those to limericks to make the point about the possibility of variable line length in limericks - although stress variation will inevitably occur when line length varies.

Quote "...My point is, what is the bare minimum of a limerick? 5 lines? Is that it?..."

I decided to check with the great OED and their definition is:

"A humerous or comic form of 5-line poem with a rhyme scheme aabba"

Nothing about line length, stress or scansion. Just as long as the poem has five lines with lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyming, and lines 3 and 4 rhyming with each other - then it's a limerick. One could take issue with this definition, of course, especially about the humerous requirement since I have seen many fine limericks that are not humerous - but are certainly limericks.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Richard English,


Richard English
 
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quote:
I decided to check with the great OED and their definition is, "A humerous or comic form of 5-line poem with a rhyme scheme aabba." Nothing about line length, stress or scansion.
Anyone who believes that that is all a limerick requires, is invited to submit meterless rhyme to a Wash. Post Style Invitational Challenge. Would they accept it as being a limerick, or instead say that there are requirements of meter which thou may not eschew?

Or perhaps I should restate the above. Wink
 
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Anyone who
Believes that that is all a limerick requires, is invited to
Submit meterless rhyme to a Wash. Post Style Invitational Challenge. Would they
Accept it as being a limerick, or instead say
That there are requirements of meter which thou may not eschew?
 
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I'll tell you what - that's a lot better than most of the poetry in the Oxford Book of English Verse, most of whose inclusions eschew any form of rhyme at all.


Richard English
 
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You know how every so often one of your kids can say something that is just so cute you just want to hug them? I couldn't hug her because she was calling me from afar, but my youngest, a real sweetie, just cracked me up today.

I was so proud of my Bulls limerick, and I wanted to recite it to her. But...first I asked her if she knew what a limerick is. I had expected something like, "Yes, it's a sexual poem," because that's what a lot of people think. Well, here is what she said, "Yes, I think it is a poem with no rhymes that speaks through codes."

Oh my. I have been chuckling ever since. Big Grin
 
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OK. Here we go.

I have spent a little time researching and, as I suspected, there are many opinions as to what constitutes a limerick but one common theme is that the rules (and the rhythms)are neither carved in stone nor set in concrete. Some even suggest that any 5-line poem with the aabba structure is a limerick - but I wouldn't go so far as that myself.

Wikpedia says:

The rhyme scheme is usually aabba, with a rather rigid meter. The first, second, and fifth lines are three metrical feet; the third and fourth two metrical feet. The rhythm is usually considered an anapestic foot, two short syllables and then a long, the reverse of dactyl rhythm. However, many substitutions are common. (my emboldening)

The first line traditionally introduces a person and a location, and usually ends with the name of the location, though sometimes with that of the person. A true limerick is supposed to have a kind of twist to it. This may lie in the final line, or it may lie in the way the rhymes are often intentionally tortured, or in both. Though not a strict requirement, the best limericks are usually those that additionally show some form of internal rhyme, often alliteration, sometimes assonance or another form of rhyme.

Here are some of the better sites:

http://freespace.virgin.net/merrick.sheldon/limerickrules.htm
http://www.sfu.ca/~finley/discussion.html
http://psychcentral.com/psypsych/wiki/Limerick_(poetry)#Structure
http://www.arcanumcafe.com/articles/limerick0602.php

I hope this helps with your decisions as to what is truly a limerick. As to what is truly poetry, see my posting elsewhere.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Richard English,


Richard English
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
OK. Here we go.

I have spent a little time researching and, as I suspetced, their are many opinions as to what constitutes a limerick but one common theme is that the rules (and the rhythms) are carved neither carved in stone nor set in concrete. Some even suggest that any 5-line poem with the aabba structure is a limerick - but I wouldn't go so far as that myself.

Wikpedia says:

The rhyme scheme is usually aabba, with a rather rigid meter. The first, second, and fifth lines are three metrical feet; the third and fourth two metrical feet. The rhythm is usually considered an anapestic foot, two short syllables and then a long, the reverse of dactyl rhythm. However, many substitutions are common. (my emboldening)

The first line traditionally introduces a person and a location, and usually ends with the name of the location, though sometimes with that of the person. A true limerick is supposed to have a kind of twist to it. This may lie in the final line, or it may lie in the way the rhymes are often intentionally tortured, or in both. Though not a strict requirement, the best limericks are usually those that additionally show some form of internal rhyme, often alliteration, sometimes assonance or another form of rhyme.

Here are some of the better sites:

http://freespace.virgin.net/merrick.sheldon/limerickrules.htm
http://www.sfu.ca/~finley/discussion.html
http://psychcentral.com/psypsych/wiki/Limerick_(poetry)#Structure
http://www.arcanumcafe.com/articles/limerick0602.php

I hope this helps with your decisions as to what is truly a limerick. As to what is truly poetry, see my posting elsewhere.


I have a copy of The Lure of the Limerick. It has some really hilarious limericks, but also some quite explicit ones too.

This is another good site about limericks and I see that it contains the parody "There was an old man of St. Bees" by W. S. Gilbert (the lyricist of the Gilbert and Sullivan team who were the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber of the 19th century).
 
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Dianthus: "I have a copy of The Lure of the Limerick. It has some really hilarious limericks, but also some quite explicit ones too."

Not implying, I trust, that 'hilarious' and 'explicit' are mutually exclusive? Wink
 
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Not implying, I trust, that 'hilarious' and 'explicit' are mutually exclusive? Wink


Not in the slightest Smile. In fact, some of the explicit ones could well be hilarious - but I'm fartoo young and innocent to know of such things Wink!
 
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Di, is Lure of the Limerick a collection of limericks, or more like a treatise upon limericks? Personally, I'd enjoy the latter more than the former! A collection I mightily enjoyed was Legman's The Limerick, which I unfortunately loaned out to an absconding bounder many years ago.

If you want an on-line collection, there's an extensive one here. Don't be put off by the initial appearance that you have to load each limerick individually. You'll find that the sight consists divides the limericks alphabetically among 26 pages, so that each time you load a page you'll find quite a few to read.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Hic et ubique:
Di, is Lure of the Limerick a collection of limericks, or more like a treatise upon limericks? Personally, I'd enjoy the latter more than the former!


It's both. The first half is mostly about the types of limericks and their history and origins and the second half is a collection of limericks arranged alphabetically. At the end is a Bibliography which stretches to about five closely-printed pages. It's probably out of print now.

I don't read it very often now because it's now become a loose-leaf volume - very loose-leaf Frown.

I've been googling (they can't get you for it Smile) and discovered that the editor, W. S. Baring-Gould, wrote a biography of Sherlock Holmes and is the grandson of Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, who was a collector of folk songs, a composer and an author. His most famous hymn was "Onward Christian Soldiers", to which Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame) wrote the music.

quote:
A collection I mightily enjoyed was Legman's The Limerick, which I unfortunately loaned out to an absconding bounder many years ago.


I've had that experience - and not just with books Frown.

quote:
If you want an on-line collection, there's an extensive one here. Don't be put off by the initial appearance that you have to load each limerick individually. You'll find that the sight consists divides the limericks alphabetically among 26 pages, so that each time you load a page you'll find quite a few to read.


I'll check it out, thanks Smile.
 
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Richard, I'd have to say that Wikipedia gives arrant nonsense here.

Of course, if you want to get a firm handle on the 'rules', you should look to a collection verses that are recognized as being limericks. If any verse fails to meet the 'rule', but is still considered a limerick, it proves that the author of the 'rule' is wrong.

As to meter, Wikipedia says "The rhythm is usually considered an anapestic foot [stress on third syllable] ... However, many substitutions are common." Of course, the vague exception leaves you with no rule at all. Notice that if "the first line traditionally introduces a person and a location," as Wikip. says, it will typically not be anapestic: it will begin with "There once was a ... ", and the strees will fall on the second syllable.

As I recall, Virge made an excellent statement of the meter rules, a bit less than a year ago.

As to content, Wikip. says "The first line traditionally introduces a person and a location..." Many do so -- but the vast majority do not. As best I can tell, that structure is 'traditional' only in the sense that Edward Lear relied upon it.

And as to aesthetics, where Wikip. says, "the best limericks are usually those that additionally show some form of internal rhyme, often alliteration, sometimes assonance or another form of rhyme," that's purely the taste of the writer, and a rather personal preference at that. In truth, very few limericks have interal rhyme.

Generally, it's a sloppy article. There are also many more-minor errors, such as mis-quotation of the Nash limerick and mis-attrribution (to Sullivan) of a verse by Gilbert.
 
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As I said (or rather meant to say but I see I made a couple of typos - now corrected) "...there are many opinions as to what constitutes a limerick but one common theme is that the rules (and the rhythms)are neither carved in stone nor set in concrete...."

Wikpedia's definition may be flawed - I neither support nor oppose it - I merely quote it. The other treatises, though, are more detailed and may be more accurate.

My point in researching this was simply to see whether my own feelings about the limerick form - that it is more flexible than some on the OEDILF site seem to believe - are justified. I think they are.

Indeed your own statement, "...If any verse fails to meet the 'rule', but is still considered a limerick, it proves that the author of the 'rule' is wrong...." seems to put the situation, and my belief, very well.


Richard English
 
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quote:
The rhyme scheme is usually aabba, with a rather rigid meter. The first, second, and fifth lines are three metrical feet; the third and fourth two metrical feet. The rhythm is usually considered an anapestic foot, two short syllables and then a long, the reverse of dactyl rhythm. However, many substitutions are common. (my emboldening)


How very different that paragraph would have sounded had it been:

"The rhyme scheme is usually aabba, with a rather rigid meter (my emboldening). The first, second, and fifth lines are three metrical feet; the third and fourth two metrical feet. The rhythm is usually considered an anapestic foot, two short syllables and then a long, the reverse of dactyl rhythm. However, many substitutions are common."

I was surprised with the comment about limericks traditionally introducing a person and a location. Many surely don't. That rigid interpretation sounded more like a DD to me. I hadn't even known that to be an issue with a limerick. I feel similarly about the internal alliteration or rhyming. I know that's a pet of CJ's, but I had always thought that to be individualistic, and surely not the mark of a "good limerick."

Wikpedia's definition may be flawed - I neither support nor oppose it - I merely quote it.

I know many love Wikpedia. Since anyone can contribute to it, I often worry about its accuracy.

I guess the statement "...If any verse fails to meet the 'rule', but is still considered a limerick, it proves that the author of the 'rule' is wrong...." doesn't do it for me.

Here is an approved limerick on OEDILF:

Aeolistic's when somebody's talking
And talking and talking and talking
And talking and talking
And talking and talking
And talking and talking and talking!

Obviously that site considers it a limerick. Even though it meets the meter requirements, and I suppose the rhyming ones, it doesn't have any cleverness to it. I suppose, though, that some people may consider all the "talkings" clever or meeting that humorous rule. I don't. However, it was easy to write, I will give you that! Wink
 
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Hmm. Here (as best I remember) is my own OEDILF limerick for "again"

When defining a word like "again"
I'll just write the same word again
And again and again
And again and again
And again and again and again.

Which I rather liked when I thought of it.
 
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Originally posted by Richard English:
it seems to me that the common UK sound "AW" is rare in the USA. Here are some examples of when it is used in UK English:

Saw; horse; faucet; water; daughter; sort; coarse; course.

None of them rhymes with loss or boss so, please pick one that's pronounced differently from "boss" and you've maybe got it.


I heard an extract from an ancient BBC radio programme the other day and the speaker had that terribly nasal, "fraightfully" upper-crust BBC announcer accent that was mandatory right up to the 1970s. He pronounced "lost" as "lawst".

In one of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operettas, either The Pirates of Penzance or HMS Pinafore (I can't remember, I've sung in both) there's a misunderstanding about the word "often" being heard as "orphan". In modern pronunciation (and in all except the "fraightfully" upper class accents alluded to earlier), those two words do not sound even remotely alike, but they must have done so to G & S audiences or it would not have been mentioned - or made so much of.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Dianthus,
 
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