We may be outing ourselves as linguistic nerds, but this 19th century poem by Charles Battell Loomis gave us a chuckle. Through the narration of a presumed Frenchman, the author laments the complexities of the English language in an exploration of O-U-G-H. Enjoy!

O-U-G-H: A Fresh Hack at an Old Knot, by Charles Battell Loomis

I’m taught p-l-o-u-g-h
S’all be pronounc√© “plow.”
“Zat’s easy w’en you know,” I say,
“Mon Anglais, I’ll get through!”

My teacher say zat in zat case,
O-u-g-h is “oo.”
And zen I laugh and say to him,
“Zees Anglais make me cough.”

He say “Not ‘coo’ but in zat word,
O-u-g-h is ‘off,'”
“Oh, Sacre bleu! Such varied sounds
Of words make me hiccough!”

He say, “Again mon frien’ ees wrong;
O-u-g-h is ‘up’
In hiccough.” Zen I cry, “No more,
You make my t’roat feel rough.”

“Non, non!” he cry, “You are not right;
O-u-g-h is ‘uff.'”
I say, “I try to spik your words,
I cannot spik zem though.”

“In time you’ll learn, but now you’re wrong!
O-u-g-h is ‘owe'”
“I’ll try no more, I s’all go mad,
I’ll drown me in ze lough!”

“But ere you drown yourself,” said he,
“O-u-g-h is ‘ock.'”
He taught no more, I held him fast
And killed him wiz a rough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *