The English tongue is a toolkit To unlock those very English sounds In a well-oiled perfect fit. The Scots and Welsh have tongues that sit At a slightly diff’rent angle each So’s not to mangle all those subtle bits of brogue That abound within their speech. Americans are yet more rogue, Dismissing our metric metre For their own iambic feet and inches – They prefer their rhotic burr to ring, With a tongue that sounds the sweeter And a throat that swells and pinches Fine enough to let it sing. But none of we Anglophones are great At sounding French, or Japanese – We haven’t the tools we need for these. And that’s okay – we still can try, And even if we’re second-rate, There’s no need to be shy. The thing is, no two individual tongues Are contoured quite the same They vary how they’re ribbed and strung, And where they set their aim. So if we were to slur your foreign name next time we call, It’s just because our tongues are curled the other way, that’s all.
Q’s without U’s, You’re not fooling me – You’re out to confuse With your Q’s floating free. But I know you’re trick – You’re just swirly K’s, With a kick and a click To anchor a phrase. Yet sometimes in French At the end of a word, A Q is what’s mentioned, But K is what’s heard. And Arabic full of ’em, Inuit too, With gutter and phlegm To push the sound through – Less plosive, more fricative, That’s what it’s telling – It’s purely indicative, Snobbish in spelling – For only a Scot could Hope to pronounce it – No Sassenach should, They’ll mangle and trounce it.
OO is for Curloo, U is for Duv, O is for Swollo and Swon, my love. M is for Emerald – Pretty enough. F is for Fessant and also for Chuff. N is for Natcatcher, K is for Kwail, J is for Pijjon who’s bringing the mail. I is for Ider, R is for Ren, T is for Tarmigan – ta-ta, my hen.
Exclamations ! Provocations ! Explanations of excitations ! Some would say they’re overused, I disagree. Some I note refuse of late To punctuate their poetry – Not me !
Word elations ! Ejaculations ! Indications of stimulations ! The Spanish use them twice as much ¡ Caramba ! But are they just a crutch, dead weight ? Let context state the mood and timbre – Let our poems dance the samba…
Celebrations. Expectations. Declarations without notations. They feel as if they’re lacking, now… Too calm and bland. They need to somehow demonstrate The extra fate at their command, And make a stand !
Verbs in English are really German In how they like to behave – Especially when irregular, Which helps explain how give gives gave. So when a Norman interloper Such as catch is gadding about Well, either its past sees it catched up in logic, Or its sneaky imitation has caught us out. The way they are is how they evolved, And they’re simply something that must be learned. Yet even today, the strong turn weak, As learnt is ousted by the friendlier learned. Snuck may have sneaked in recently, But verbs have become less fraught – Where once they flied-out and grandstood, now Their work’s less overwrought.
Once we had foci, but now we have focuses. English loves plurals that all end in esses. Now, fungi and cacti are still in transition, Though not hard to see how conformity presses – The stylus of changes points only one way, From styli to styluses – esses must play ! Vortexes sweep aside vortices yearly, (Though axis-es point to a step-too-far, clearly, And hippos and rhinos are horrible messes If pluraled-in-full with their too-many esses. (And okay, they’re Greek, with their own rules for doubling – But that’s just the point, it’s just not worth the troubling !) Now look out for medias, datas and dices – For surely the way of agendas entices, And singular specie and crisie are coming – So sneer all you like about downing and dumbing, But language is fluid, and speakers make guesses, And boy !, our collective subconscious loves esses ! From alg-ay to alg-ee to al-jee to al-jees We’ll pluralise words as we jolly well please !
‘Yesterday’ is spoken ev’ry day, It’s just another word we say, It’s not pretentious, trite or queer. So it’s a yes to ‘yesterday’ – But very much a no-damn-way To ear-and-bile-molesting ‘yesteryear’ !
At some point in the future, I would have laboured ev’ry day – I would have gone to work and back, Is what I would will say. But further in the future, I would have been retired by then (But not yet will have go to God), And I can would be looking back And I will wondered yet agen At how such phrases once will sounded odd.
The Future Habitual aspect is a clause of speech that linguists insist does not exist.