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Vowel Combinations Are A Mystery

      The inconsistencies of the English language are legendary and rhyme patterns can be especially perplexing. You'd think that there would be a reliable correspondence between vowel patterns and the sounds of words, but blood, food, and good do not rhyme despite each having a double-o. If this were the only such example, it could be written off as an exception, but the list of such exceptions is quite long. For example, goose does not rhyme with choose. Meat, great, and threat do not rhyme and for that matter, heard and beard do not rhyme. To add to the craziness, there is a long list of words with different letter patterns which do rhyme. For instance, true rhymes with few, sun rhymes with one, foe rhymes with low, shirt rhymes with hurt, dead rhymes with bed, and bird rhymes with word. Most explanations for these peculiarities have to do with the phonological history of English and often mentioned is a period of time known as The Great Vowel Shift. You can do research into those topics if you are sufficiently interested, but for now please enjoy the video embedded on this page!

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Lyrics:

The English language sure is strange
Letters and sounds often do not match
Like comb, tomb, and bomb, for example
It doesn't make sense! What's the catch?

Letter combinations don't mean a thing
Take hose, dose, and lose if you disagree
And bone, gone, and lone don't rhyme with one
Vowel combinations are a mystery

Beard does not rhyme with heard
And sword does not rhyme with word

The list of examples goes on and on
Like blood, food, and good with the double-o
Paid and said and cord and word
How this is possible, I do not know


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