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The Longest Now

Dearest Dutchman in Creation
Monday November 22nd 2004, 3:57 pm
Filed under: international

For all you linguists out there.  Here is a fantastically droll essay on the sufferings of a British expat pronouncing his way through life in Holland (Hmm, here’s another shorter one; must be the latest fad).

The author references what must be the greatest English pronunciation criticism ever written, The Chaos — one which I first encounted this month.  I ascribe this in part to my growing up in the US, where few English teachers could pronounce all of the Britishisms required to preserve rhyme and meter.  However, it turns out that this gem was genreally lost for a few decades, and only slowly and in various editions made its way into the general consciousness at the end of the last century.  It never fails to make me smile just trying to read it through in my head.

The origin of the poem is curious; it is claimed to have been devised by a teacher of English for a young student, or to help multinational NATO personnel polish their accents.  It was certainly composed by a Dutchman, Gerald Nolst Trenite (1870-1946), and parts continued to be written until his death.  Perhaps this is why I first saw it on a page about pronouncing Dutch…  I like it so much, and clean online copies are so hard to come by, I should put up my own.

Dearest Dutchman in Creation …

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