This all sounds rather straightforward, however things start to get complicated when it comes to pronunciation, which can give both beginners and advanced
learners a headache. Th- sounds can be articulated with or without sound depending on the word, as in thank you and there is, other words may be written in the same exact way but pronounced differently, with different meanings. The present and past form of read for
example. Same spelling but different tense, pronunciation and meaning. Not to mention the numerous troublesome regional differences; an often embarrassing
example is the vital difference in meaning of "pants" in UK and US English. If you are feeling particularly confident in your English pronunciation skills, try reading the following verse aloud:
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.