The chaos of English spelling

English spelling is notoriously inconsistent. A Dutch writer, Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946) wrote a poem The Chaos highlighting some of the irregularities and inconsistencies. The first version appeared in 1920 in his textbook Drop Your Foreign Accent: engelsche uitspraakoefeningen. The author also wrote a linguistic column for an Amsterdam weekly paper from 1909 to 1946 under the pseudonym Charivarius.

Here are the first 4 lines of the poem:

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
   I will teach you in my verse
   Sounds like corpsecorpshorse and worse.

The full text comprises 274 lines and includes about 800 examples. That text, with some background information, is at http://ncf.idallen.com/english.html

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