Poems for Pronunciation – Why Computers Sometimes Crash!

Not really Dr. Seuss

Not really Dr. Seuss

AUDIO-Why Computers Sometimes Crash

This poem sounds like it has been written by the children’s author, Dr. Seuss. Apparently it is anonymous but it sure sounds like him.  His poems are great for pronunciation practice. Try reading it aloud along with the attached audio file. It is Dr. Seuss for adults!

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort,
and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn’t hash,
then your situation’s hopeless and your system’s gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel to another protocol,
that’s repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall.

And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse;
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
‘cuz sure as I’m a poet, the sucker’s gonna hang.

When the copy on your floppy’s getting sloppy in the disk,
and the macro code instructions are a necessary risk,
then you’ll have to flash the memory and you’ll want to RAM your ROM,
and then quickly turn it off, and be sure to tell your Mom!


Drawing from our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/VoiceToWord) and my personal LinkedIn page (http://ca.linkedin.com/in/voicetoword,) I am re-posting some of the more interesting posts. Enjoy…

1. Here’s an interesting article on some unexpected aspects which may influence which candidate an employer picks for a job. Useful for anyone to know… http://tiny.cc/uz8z2w

2. Understanding the culture and sensibilities of a typical Canadian workplace is essential and a must, especially for foreign-trained individuals who plan to work here. There is, of course, a lot to learn. For starters, what should you call your new colleagues? Is it ok to use nick names?

3. Introverts are rather undervalued these days. Yet they make up a third to a half of the society. It’s interesting to look at how history and culture have influenced us to tend to give more prestige to extroverts than introverts. Listen to this inspiring talk about the many valuable qualities introverts have and how urban life has changed what we often value in a person:

4. No matter how big or small a business is, internal communication is crucial in strengthening workforce and in fostering teamwork.  But it’s almost inevitable for a company to encounter communication barriers. How do we simplify the flow of communication in the workplace?

5. I have written a number of posts in my blog (voicetoword.ca/blog) about how music can help us learn to speak a language more clearly and with a more native-like rhythm and pronunciation. While this video is not about learning a second spoken language, it speaks to the power of music to inspire and how it doesn’t take much. Really moving… http://lnkd.in/gDZ55e

6. Requiring “Canadian experience” could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code according to the new Ontario Human Rights Commission policy. Learn more at:http://lnkd.in/P_p8mF


This poem has many names and can be found on the internet under a number of titles. I like this one – BRUSH UP YOUR ENGLISH. The author is also in debate but I found one name – T.S Watt – with the date posted as 1954. The relationship between pronunciation and English spelling is really crazy. Try it yourself and then listen to my audio recording of it.

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, lough and through.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead -
For goodness sake don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).

A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there’s dose and rose and lose -
Just look them up – and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart -
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man alive!
I’d mastered it when I was five!

Brush up on your English

New Social Media Focus

I wanted to let everyone know about our newly re-activated Twitter account and Facebook page. We can be found on Twitter at @voicetoword and would love your comments. We also have started to post regularly on our Voice to Word Facebook page and would love your comments, likes and shares. Any suggestions regarding the types of postings you would like to see there are very welcome.

A brief look at how to improve clarity

In April, Voice to Word Director, Heather Chetwynd, and Voice to Word Communication Coach, Mark Prince, gave a short presentation to 4 out of the 5 break-out groups in the IEP Conference held at the Metro Convention Centre. The subject? Clarity. Read a bit about what we presented.



Clarity is influenced by a number of things. You might immediately assume that we are talking of ARTICULATION, which refers to the movement of the tongue, lips & other muscles in the mouth. Well that certainly is one important aspect of speech which helps us communicate clearly. But there are several other things to consider.


BODY LANGUAGE refers to the gestures, facial expressions and posture we have, and how we use space and time. This varies across culture considerably. For example, how we take turns in conversation is different. Some cultures will tend to speak sooner than others, often starting before the speaker has finished their idea, while others will leave space after someone speaks. Canadians, in the business environment, will usually speak as soon as someone else has finished. The degree and type of gesturing also varies – some cultures gesture a lot and use a lot of space around them while others gesture minimally and use little space. Smiling is another important communication technique. Have you noticed how Canadians tend to smile a lot, like a dog with its tail in the air indicating friendliness!


EXPECTATIONS and ASSUMPTIONS are also very culturally-based. The degree to which people act and speak in the way we expect them to really influences how we interpret them. For example, Canadians tend to soften critical feedback. If someone comes from a culture which says things very directly with no padding, it will probably be interpreted as rude and very strong feedback. Another example is lunchtime in the office. You may be used to having long lunch breaks, socializing a lot with your workmates and expect to eat in groups. Canadians often tend to eat at their desk or go out alone or perhaps with one friend. So new immigrants may feel their workmates are cold and rude or don’t like them.

Finally, PARA-VERBAL ASPECTS refer to the music of the language, including volume, timing, pitch, melody, phrasing, etc. You can see from this slide that how we group the words in a sentence can completely change the meaning. Volume is another difference across cultures. Canadians prefer to keep a low voice in the office. Little intonation can be interpreted as depression and good intonation will help you hold an audience’s attention.

It is important to develop an awareness of how cultures vary in these areas. If you do have issues with clarity, our advice is to speak slowly so you have time to enunciate, speak with a pleasant tone of voice and not too loud, and smile when appropriate. This way, if there is some potential misunderstanding, the listener will understand that there is no intentional negative meaning intended.

Continue to learn about how people in your culture communicate differently from the average Canadian in these areas. It is not easy to discover our assumptions and expectations so be easy on yourself and others. Observing, reading and discussing will all help. Good luck!