Here’s a fun post: this one comes from a British humor magazine. It’s a poem that includes some of the toughest, most infuriatingly unpronounceable words in the English language. It’s false friends like these (though, through, tough) that make English an enormous challenge for non-native speakers, and these unpredictable nuances that compound difficulties for people who have a hard time reading to begin with. So, if you’ve ever struggled with reading, take heart: this article purports that, if you can read this poem aloud and pronounce everything correctly, you’re doing better than some 90% of all English speakers.
My favorite passage is the following:
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Give it a try here: http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2011/12/23/english-pronunciation/