That's Dum
September 6, 2008 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Those more lettered than I can critique his idea, but that was a nice performance.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:08 PM on September 6, 2008

Sounds like Andy Rooney...
posted by tss at 4:32 PM on September 6, 2008

It's not the same without the sledgehammer and watermelons.
posted by psp200 at 4:33 PM on September 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

"...and we'd spell 'come' CUM"

Who's to say we don't?
posted by piratebowling at 4:44 PM on September 6, 2008

Its bin dun.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:56 PM on September 6, 2008

I clapped! An excellent video.

I wish we could rationalize English spelling, by moving to a phonetically based system, for just the reason the video shows.

But the problem is that then we wouldn't be able to understand each other as well - we just don't all pronounce words the same way. I work with non-standard spelling from the 17th century, and the educated writers are fine, but sometimes I get very confused by the strong accents you see in the phonetic spelling of the less well educated. Imagine people from Ghana, Singapore, New Zealand, Newfoundland, or Tennesee all trying to understand each other writing phonetically.
posted by jb at 5:19 PM on September 6, 2008

For example, under a simplified system would "caught" and "cot" be spelled the same way, or differently? Brits would say they should be different, but most Canadians would say that they should be the same. There are words that rhyme for me which don't for my husband, like "caught" and "bot".
posted by jb at 5:23 PM on September 6, 2008

Very nice. But isn't the metric alphabet easier?
posted by stargell at 5:41 PM on September 6, 2008

The man's 102 -- God blez im.
posted by Faze at 5:51 PM on September 6, 2008

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all. Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli. Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.
posted by empath at 6:10 PM on September 6, 2008 [9 favorites]

For example, under a simplified system would "caught" and "cot" be spelled the same way, or differently? Brits would say they should be different, but most Canadians would say that they should be the same. There are words that rhyme for me which don't for my husband, like "caught" and "bot".

Once Palin gets in power, they will be spelled the same way. And knitting and mitten will rhyme. And no abortions.
posted by gjc at 6:14 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Empath, you can't fool me. That's how you translate English into Dutch.
posted by gjc at 6:16 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

"If we were like other languages..."

You mean like French, where "ai", "es", "est" and "et" are all pronounced the same way?

And all rhyme with "aller"?

And with "chez" and "été" and "fait" and "palais" and "armée"?

And "forêt" and "dès"?
posted by Flunkie at 6:34 PM on September 6, 2008

Holy cow, there was *video*? I swear the first time I visited I only got the audio.
posted by tss at 6:44 PM on September 6, 2008

The *much* underrated comedian Gallagher wrote this back in the 1980s, I think. I don't remember which special it's in, but I know it's in his new watermelon DVD set.
posted by phenylphenol at 7:08 PM on September 6, 2008

Found a link to Gallagher on YouTube doing this routine roundabouts 1982.
posted by phenylphenol at 7:25 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Holy cow, there was *video*?

Well, there was Quicktime, which is almost video.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:55 PM on September 6, 2008

Considering this man is 102 and says he hasn't done this in a while, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that he'd done it long before Gallagher in 1982. Other than the ending, the schtick is so remarkably similar, that I think there must've been some sort of cross-pollination going on here.
posted by ErWenn at 7:55 PM on September 6, 2008

The Chaos (by G. Nolst Trenité, a.k.a. "Charivarius"; 1870 - 1946)

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye your dress you'll tear,
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

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).

Made has not the sound of bade,
Say said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,

But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,

Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,

Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles.
Exiles, similes, reviles.

Wholly, holly, signal, signing.
Thames, examining, combining

Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war, and far.

From "desire": desirable--admirable from "admire."
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier.

Chatham, brougham, renown, but known.
Knowledge, done, but gone and tone,

One, anemone. Balmoral.
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel,

Gertrude, German, wind, and mind.
Scene, Melpomene, mankind,

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, reading, heathen, heather.

This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;

Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rime with "darky."

Viscous, Viscount, load, and broad.
Toward, to forward, to reward.

And your pronunciation's O.K.,
When you say correctly: croquet.

Rounded, wounded, grieve, and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive, and live,

Liberty, library, heave, and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven,

We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover,

Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police, and lice.

Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label,

Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal.

Suit, suite, ruin, circuit, conduit,
Rime with "shirk it" and "beyond it."

But it is not hard to tell,
Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,

Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, and chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,

Ivy, privy, famous, clamour
And enamour rime with hammer.

Pussy, hussy, and possess,
Desert, but dessert, address.

Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants.
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.

River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.

Stranger does not rime with anger.
Neither does devour with clangour.

Soul, but foul and gaunt but aunt.
Font, front, won't, want, grand, and grant.

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger.
And then: singer, ginger, linger,

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.

Query does not rime with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.

Dost, lost, post; and doth, cloth, loth;
Job, Job; blossom, bosom, oath.

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual.

Seat, sweat; chaste, caste.; Leigh, eight, height;
Put, nut; granite, and unite.

Reefer does not rime with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, Senate, but sedate.

Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific,

Tour, but our and succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria,

Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion.

Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay.

Say aver, but ever, fever.
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.

Never guess--it is not safe:
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralph.

Heron, granary, canary,
Crevice and device, and eyrie,

Face but preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust, and scour, but scourging,

Ear but earn, and wear and bear
Do not rime with here, but ere.

Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,

Monkey, donkey, clerk, and jerk,
Asp, 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, like rowlock, gunwale,

Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict, and indict!

Don't you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?

Finally: which rimes with "enough"
Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?

Hiccough has the sound of "cup."
My advice is--give it up!
posted by exlotuseater at 9:43 PM on September 6, 2008 [9 favorites]

"a superb crop of high school and college girls"?

I forgive him the arrant sexism, because he's four million years old. However, this kind of thing is like a giant explosion of intestinal gas: foul, putrid, and something you're willing to overlook in someone who's hopelessly elderly, but that you're surprised to hear others respond to in any way other than polite revulsion.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:16 PM on September 6, 2008

Yay, exlotuseater! I was just thinking of that poem yesterday!

Also, I propose that Europanto be the solution to this.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:05 AM on September 7, 2008

Sidhedevil: He's expressing nostalgia for how the women of his generation were so adorable 80 years ago.

And you glossed over the most important part:

"They… made you hope desperately that somehow the one you longed for would not discover what a bum piece of humanity you really were."
posted by blasdelf at 6:55 AM on September 7, 2008

Hm, I had once read a short advertisement for a language-teaching school that read like Europanto and was quite funny. It began by inserting innocuous words and by the end (okay, it was just a paragraph actually) it was in fully-blown Europanto.
posted by ersatz at 7:54 AM on September 7, 2008

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