Volkswagen: The Wagon of Vikings- Or Was It Vagen for Women? The Tongue Twister Guide to the V and W Words in English

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Vince and Vance went with the Volkswagen Van west to Las Vegas. Vince is from Wiesbaden and Vance is from Wernersgr√ľn. They both have fathers named Werner and they both enjoy Weizenbier (Wheat beer).

Looking at this sentence, how would you pronounce these words? Chances are, regardless of where you are coming from, you are pronouncing at least some of the words wrong. If you are a native speaker of English, chances are you are pronouncing the German words with a W when even though they start with a W, they sound like a V. This puts Wernersgr√ľn, Werner, Weizenbier and Wiesbaden in the line of fire. Yet if you are a non-native speaker of English, be it German, Russian, Arabic, or eastern European, chances are that you are pronouncing the V-words like they are W. This is where Vince, Vance and Vegas fall into that unfortunate trap. Furthermore, especially in Germany, some words that start with W are pronounced with V. Apart from west and wheat in this example, other words that fall into the crossfire include wake, watch and wear.

To keep it straight, as well as short and to the point, the Vs and Ws are always mixed up! ūüė¶ ¬†Aside from the TH-words, the VW words are one of the most difficult pronunciations in the English language for that particular reason. Another reason behind it is the way they are spoken, something where Ronnie in this video has an easy way to explain the difference between V and W words:

And while she views W-words as words spoken of a true kisser from the Czech Republic and V-words like a two-eared bunny rabbit saying “FUCK!” when spotted by a vulture, here’s another easy way to explain the difference between the VW words.

With the V-sound, it has a close relationship with the F-words, meaning air is constructed from the top part of the mouth. The difference between the F and V is the length as the V-words are longer and most of the time voiced consonants. The F-words are shorter and mostly voiceless.

As for the W-words, apart from forming that short O in the mouth and then widening it in length, one can refer to the Seven-Ws in terms of question form, meaning the Who, What, When, Where, Why, Which and How. With the exception of Who and whose (since the W there are silent), the rest follow this kissing Czech concept. This is also regardless of whether the W-words stand out alone or if a consonant is added to the W.

This takes us to the Tongue-Twister exercise featuring the uses of V and W words. Homemade by the author, it was divided up into the V-category, the W-category and the mixed category. If you can master the first two, then you should be able to master the third one easily. ūüôā A video is enclosed at the end of the article to provide you with reference on how they are pronounced in case you need assistance. ūüôā

So without further ado, away with you in your Volkswagen and be vicious, vivacious and victorious with these examples! ūüėČ ¬†Good luck! ūüôā

V-category:

V/F:

Vincent went to Fargo with Fred to visit his friend Vance, who owns a Volkswagen five-some conversion van. Fred is fat from feasting on fawn while Vincent is invincible for being Vice President of the Federation for the Advancement of Unforgivable Follies. Vince and Vance are Friends for forty-four years, while Fred is friends with Faye for fourteen fortnights.

 

V:

The Virgins value the Vikings.

The Vikings value the Vegans.

The Vegans value the Vegetarians.

The Vegetarians value the Viceroys.

The Viceroys value the Vocalists,

While the Vocalists avenged the Viceroys with Viagra.

 

W-Category:

W:

Where was Wally Worthington when we wanted him? Wally Worthington was one writer who won twenty wonderful awards for his work, while his wisdom we want, for Wally wants to whistle a wonderful, unwavering work with a whippoorwill.  But Wally Worthington will walk with a wild woman to Willy Wonker’s white and wealthy, western restaurant. Why? Wally and the wild woman want to eat a whoopee cushion.

 

TW:

Twelve twiddling twins tweeted Mark Twain on Twitter with twenty tweezers and with twelve twitches. The twisted twins tweeted that Twain twined twenty tunes about twinberries and twinflowers, twisting and twittering in a Twinkie. Twain twinkles a Twinkie in the Twilight and twists and twirls with the twins.

 

SW/W:

There was a Swiss doing Swan Lake wearing her Swatch Watch on her wrist. She swaddled in the water and met Katharina Witt, who swiped the Swatch Watch swished it into a weaved swivel with White Washington underwear. Where was Washington who wore white underwear? Underwater with Winona Ryder.

 

TW/SW/W:

Twelve twisted witches were swimming with the wind, when we witnessed twenty twisted wolves, who were witty wonders of the world. The wolves were weeping with wiseguys who wore woolen sweaters weaved by sweating workers twiddling with white whisks, swearing with white wisdom teeth, while the twelve twisted witches swirled with their sweethearts, switching their swords with words.

 

Mixed Category:

V/W:

Waking in Vegas, William walked to Vincent with a victorious whistle, wondering why Warren visited Vanessa while wrestling with Vegas Wally Vanderworth, the world wrestler with wonderful vicious wild faces which wants William to wail him one.

 

V/W:

Wayne Von Western ventured with Victoria Wallace with a Volkswagen Van with four wheels to western Washington. Wayne and Victoria were whistling various vivacious songs about a white Hoover vacuum cleaner with various vinyl vibrating hoses with wax which Viviane and the Women Vikings whacked with a vulture.

 

 

V/W:

Virginia with a wonderful voice, ventured with Vivi in a Volkswagen onto Venice with Winnie to voice their vengeance with world-renowned vocalists Vincent Wallingford who videotaped with Werner and Verne their voices for Weight Watchers.

 

V/W:

Victory was wonderful. Winning was victorious. Women were invincible. Vikings were whipped, while Vince and Vance vacated the white Woolworth and went with the Volkswagen to Vegas.

 

Here’s the video where you can listen to the tongue twisters, some of which even the author stumbled during the recording……. ūüėČ

 

 

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Blacksmithing Words with TH: Mr. Smith’s Guide in using TH-words in English

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When I first came to Germany in 1999, one of the main struggles I saw and even witnessed myself in learning a foreign language was the way words were pronounced. In particular, words in English that have TH in them happen to be a struggle among Germans and other foreigners whose native language is not English. The classic example I can pull out straight away was the problem pronouncing my last name, Smith. Even though Smith is one of the top three most popular family names in the world (along with Johnson and Brown), non-native people had a lot of difficulties pronouncing my last name. Instead of Smith (where the tongue is nudged behind the lower teeth partially blocking air flow), my last name was pronounced as the following:

Smizzzz, Schmiet, Smit, Schmizz, Smis (like Swiss Miss) and Smif (like Smurf). ¬†Funny, isn’t it. ūüėČ ¬†Furthermore, many insisted that my last name should be Schmidt instead of Smith. ¬†Sorry to disappoint you, but we have a lot of Schmidt in the US and Canada, plus a beer bearing that name (which comes from my homestate of Minnesota) ūüôā :

To put it bluntly, the name is SMITH! Even more so because we have several words, whose ending is the same as my last name.

Words with TH are indeed the most difficult to pronounce in the English language- just like with the German CH, Z and all the vowels with the two dots on there. This has to do with the fact that we have two different types of TH pronunciation: the voiced (which sounds like a bee buzzing behind your teeth) and the voiceless, which produced a slight steaming sound with the tongue behind your teeth. A video below better explains how the voiced and voiceless TH’es work from a phonetical point of view:

Also important to note from a historian’s perspective that nearly every second word used during the Middle Ages had TH in there, but mostly at the beginning or end of each word, such as doth, hath, thou, cometh, etc. Many of these words over time have been transformed to the ones we use in our modern time, which meant the THes were dropped. Yet even though we’ll find our TH-words in one out of ten sentences, they are there for people to use, even though practicing can be a torture, which brings up this Tongue Twister activity. ¬†Consisting of both the video and the sentences to practice, this activity will give you amples of opportunities to work with the TH-words so that you not only know how the TH-words are pronounced but also give you the confidence needed to say them properly.

You could say that producing TH-words is like blacksmithing: you work with it until you have the right form to use. ūüėČ

It is highly recommended to watch the video to see how the TH-words are spoken before practicing. Yet how you implement them in class or practice them in groups or at home individually depends on you, the person who wants to handle this rather difficult part of English phonetics.

So enjoy and may the TH be with you. ūüôā

 

Something in a thirty-acre thermal thicket of thorns and thistles thumped and thundered threatening the three-D thoughts of Matthew the thug- although, theatrically, it was only the thirteen-thousand thistles and thorns through the underneath of his thigh that the thirty-year old thug thought of that morning.

 

There was a mammoth with the name of Thurman, who thrives in Gotha, Thuringia. The sloth slithers through at three in the morning to slither to Thorn’s thermal threading company in Furth, threading thermalware for thirty thoughtless worthless months for thirty-three Euros a month. Through thirteen months and thirty days, this mammoth threads strings from moths and makes thermal underwear. Thurman is happy.

 

Three Catholic athletes bathe in clothes in a bathtub. The thirty-somethings thoroughly thought something that’s thick through their teeths. Through their theory they thought about thieves, thugs, theocrats and heart-throbbers that thrive through their three-thousand thirty-three throwaway thermos cloth, and loath thirty times a month.

 

Thou hath throweth thy health through thy wrath with thy thick thighbone. Theoretically cometh death onto thee though Beth Smith hath saveth thy life through warmth smooth hearth.

 

The South Path is thin. The North Thruway is thick. Through thousands of thinkers, sleuths, telepaths, sociopaths and youths, badmouthing and thrashing over vermouth for the umpteenth time, is the South Path thick and the North Thruway filthy.

 

Beth’s with Ruth. Theodore’s with Faith. They’re thinking ethics. They’re thinking theology. They’re thinking myths. They’re thinking with vermouth with a twist.

 

The Moth is on meth. The moth does math. The moth thaws myths and thus they’re through with this.

 

There are thousands Smiths on Earth. The twentieth blacksmith with the thirtieth locksmith with the fortieth gunsmith with the fiftieth silversmith with the sixtieth goldsmith with the seventieth tunesmith with the eightieth coppersmith with the ninetieth songsmith with the hundredth whitesmith. Smiths ends with z, while one smith has TH.

 

Author’s note: These tongue twister stories are homemade, by the way. ūüėČ ¬†Feel free to add more to this list if you have some more. ūüôā

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Dining in Stein in Schleswig-Holstein: Some More Tongue-Twisters in English

 

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Actors, singers and comedians have done it. Teachers and professors as well. In order to better articulate their words to the audience, they had to practice speaking with a wine cork in their mouths. Situated in a vertical position between the upper and lower jaws, this technique has been proven effective in getting their mouths to move, while stretching it in a vertical position.

This exercise is also quite useful when learning English. ūüôā

There are several words, whose endings produce the “ahhh” sound, in particular the endings of I+ consonant+ E. Regardless of which consonant you choose to insert, they all have the same result- a sound you produce while your mouth is in a vertical position. The difference is simply the different intonations you use.

And therefore, using the theme of dining in Stein, in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, here are some tongue twisters for you to practice, with the goal of getting you to stretch your mouth and better pronounce the words in English.

So without further ado….. ūüôā

 

-INE/-EIN:

Two swines dine in Stein

Stein is in Holstein

Two beer steins

From Schleswig-Holstein

Enshrined in Turpentine

Like a serpentine

Whining to the swine

While dining with wine in Holstein.

 

 

-IDE/ -YDE / -Y/ -IE:

Clyde dyed his hide with dioxide

Clyde died from carbon monoxide

Dr. Hyde dyed his hide with peroxide

Dr. Hyde died from carbon dioxide.

Where are Clyde and Dr. Hyde?

They hide and confide to Heidi

And take pride from the dye on the hide

That they died from dioxide and not peroxide.

 

-IBE:

Jeff scribed a jibe

Geoff subscribed to Jibe

Jeff conscribed a bribe

Geoff unsubscribed

Jeff prescribed Geoff to Gibe

Now Geoff starts to describe

How Gibe circumscribes a bribe

And describes to a tribe

How Jibe and Gibe describe

How to circumscribe a bribe.

 

-ICE:

Three mice stole the dice

The dice had spice on ice

Three mice had lice on the ice

Who gave advice at a price.

The lice sliced the ice

And the mice were nice

And traded allspice with the lice for spice

To put on the ice.

Now the mice and the lice

Are eating ice with spice

And gave advice for allspice

Eaten while on ice.

 

 

-IME:

Two mimes chimed in.

A crime was chimed at bedtime

A mime did a crime at dinnertime

A mime chimed about a crime at nighttime

When bedtime chimed for the mime

It’s crime-fighting time at daytime

When a mime chimes about lime

Stolen at lunchtime by a mime

That lime was worth a dime

Was it worth a crime for a mime to steal a lime

When it was lunchtime and halftime

Of a football match between mimes?

 

  -ILE:

Three juveniles pile a woodpile

Two crocodiles are in the Nile

Somewhile a mile of crocodiles

Saw a pile of reptiles

While the juveniles reconcile

To the two crocodiles in the Nile

Who are bile and riled

Because the reptiles became Gentiles

Who tiled the mile of crocodiles

While the two crocodiles swam into the Nile.

 

 -IPE

Two pipers swiped bagpipes

Two bagpipes were wiped by snipers

They griped about the bagpipes’ stripes

And wiped the pipes with blowpipes.

Now the pipers griped about the blowpipes

The handypipes are way too ripe

The striped bagpipes look like cesspipes

The gripes turned to tripe

The pipers piped their bagpipes

And blew the snipers into the stovepipe

They gripe no more because the pipes are stripe

And tripe no more they try.

 

-IZE

We organize to unionize

And socialize to romanticize

And personalize to institutionalize

And nationalize to legitimize

And equalize to legalize

And overcapitalize to monopolize

And overspecialize to modernize

And overdramatize to outsize

And overemphasize to moralize

And robotize to radicalize

And vandalize to terrorize

And universalize to unrealize

And vitalize to vocalize

And spiritualize to memorialize

And stabilize to visualize its size of

a globalized  society.

 

How’s the mouth stretching now? If you feel a pull, then it’s working wonders. Keep practicing until you can hear the difference. Good luck. ūüėČ

 

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Stein is a resort town in Schleswig-Holstein. Located east of Kiel along the Baltic Sea coast, it has a population of 830 residents and belongs to the district of Pl√∂n. For more on the town, please click here to the town’s website. ūüôā

 

A video on how these I-con-E words are pronounced, produced by the author, is available here for you to listen to and use for your purpose. Have fun! ūüôā

 

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Ted is Ded: The English Guide to Regular Verb Endings

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Here is a well-known fact: There are nine different types of verb tenses in the English language, more than in other Germanic languages, but not as many as in Latin. We have past (simple and continuous), perfect (present and past), present (simple and continuous), and future (will, going to and perfect). And even when we look at past simple tense, there we have two different types. There is the regular verb tense- verbs that carry “-ed”, and there are the irregular verbs, which like Latin, you need to learn it by heart, for each verb follows its own set of guidelines for past and past participle forms. A link with the entire irregular verb tenses can be found here.

Regular Verb tenses follow a stringent set of guidelines, both in terms of word structure as well as in terms of pronunciation that learners of English will find it easier to remember than with the irregular counterpart.

In terms of word structure, regular verb tenses follow five simple guidelines:

  1. Words ending in one or more consonants require solely the “-ed” ending. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Examples include: Wanted, Rejected, Opened, Visited
  2. Words whose ending is “-e” but it is silent only need a “-d” at the end. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Examples include: Bribed, Dined, Phoned, Died, Lived
  3. Words whose ending is a vowel+ y only require “-ed” at the end. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Examples include: Played, Destroyed, Betrayed, Delayed, Stayed, Buoyed
  4. Words whose ending is a consonant + y require the replacement of the “-y” with the “-ied”. Examples include: Carried, Buried, Hurried, Studied, Married
  5. Some words, whose consonants end in m/n/t/b/p/g/l require a double consonant plus “-ed” at the end. Examples include: Banned, Slammed, Crammed, Travelled, Levelled, Rubbed, Dubbed, Stopped, Flopped, Butted (out), Jogged.¬†

In terms of pronunciation, regular verb tenses follow three key rules:

D-form: words with ¬†l/ v / n / m / r / b / v / g / w / y / z / and vowel sounds have a pronunciation ending with “-d”. ¬†Most of these endings have a voiced sound, especially with words with the endings b/g/l/m/n/s/z. In other words, if words have a buzz, they’re responded with a “duh!” ūüėČ ¬†Examples of such words include the following:

advised (ad’vaiz) + d,  agreed, allowed, answered, appeared, arrived, believed, belonged,
burned, called, carried, changed, cleaned, closed, covered, cried, damaged, described, 

died,  dried, earned, encouraged, enjoyed, entered, explained, explored, filled, 

followed, happened, interviewed, imagined, jailed, killed, listened, lived, loved, measured, 

moved,
opened, planned, played, performed, pulled, realized, remembered, rained,

repaired,   saved, shared, shaved, showed, signed, slammed, stayed, snowed, 

studied, tried, traveled, turned, used, welcomed, whispered, worried, yawned

T-form: words with¬†¬†p / k / s / ch / sh / f / x / h are pronounced with “t” at the end. Most of these words have voiceless endings. That means if a person in the library says “Shhhhhhh!,” you can respond with “-it”, meaning…….. ūüėČ ¬† You can imagine what would happen if you were to do this in reality……. ūüėČ

Here are some examples to practice:

asked, baked, brushed, cooked, cracked, crashed, danced (da:ns) + t, dressed, 

dropped,
escaped, finished, fixed, guessed, helped, hoped, hiked, joked, jumped, knocked, 

kissed, laughed (læf)+t, locked, looked, missed, mixed, packed, passed, picked, pressed, pushed
pronounced, relaxed, slipped, smoked, stopped, shopped, talked, typed, 

walked, washed,  watched, worked

Ted is Ded form: ¬†words whose consonant ending is either “d” or “t” have the “-ed” that is pronounced as “-id”. As a chime, you have this sentence: Ed needed Ted but Ted is Dead (ded). Cruel but effective way to remember this……. ūüėČ

Examples to practice include:

accepted, afforded, attended, arrested, collected, contacted, counted, decided, 

defended, 
demanded, divided, ended, expanded, expected, exported, flooded, graduated,

hated
hunted, included, invited, invented, landed, needed, painted, planted, printed, 

presented,  pretended, protected, provided, rented, repeated, reported, 

respected, rested, scolded
skated, started, shouted, treated, visited, waited, wanted, wasted

Unlike irregular verbs, where index cards are the necessary approach to learning verbs and their past equivalent, there is no real solution except to practice saying the words at home by yourself or with your friend or loved one. One can also try a few of these exercises below, while at the same time, compare how past tense in your own country is different to this one.

http://www.pearsonlongman.com/ae/download/spectrum/pdfs/book2/sp2_pronpuzz.pdf

http://www.autoenglish.org/gr.edpron.pdf

While past tense is not as severe as in Latin, it is much more difficult than in many other languages, whose rules are simpler to follow, like the German past and perfect forms, which are not subdivided. ūüôā

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The Shunned: A guide to suffixes with -ion, -ial, and -ian

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The word “shun” is one of the worst words a person practicing Christianity can say when practicing their religious faith. To shun someone means to exclude him or her from a religion or club for actions considered a violation of the code of conduct. Martin Luther was shunned by the Catholic Church for his publication of his 95 Theses in 1517, questioning the Pope in Rome about the way people believe in Christ, the sale of Indulgences, and excluding people from the Church, giving the rights to read the Bible in Latin to the privileged ones. In other words, his accusation against the Church for its exclusion ended in his own excommunication.

Look at the last sentence closely: accusation, exclusion and excommunication. While the first word means to defer responsibility to the Church for its actions, the last two mean the same as shun. However, in grammatical terms, they all share one common denominator: they all ended in “-shun!”

It is sometimes difficult to find out the rules involving suffixes for all words in the English language because even though they change the grammatical function of the words (derivation between nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs), the rules of pronunciation and the meaning of the words after adding the suffixes are different, thus making it difficult to work with this topic.

 

There are some suffixes, like the “shunned ones-” the theme of this article, where one can look at the pattern behind the spelling of the words and how they are pronounced. This is the case here. The “shunned ones” feature words, whose suffix endings consist of the following: ¬†-tion, -sion, -cation, -zation, -sation, -cial, -tial, ¬†-tian, -cian, ¬†and in a couple cases, -science.

Examples of such words are found below:

special, nation, technician, organization, realisation, and conscience

Note the endings marked in cursive. ¬†With the exception of nation, all of the aforementioned comprises of a root word, plus a “shunned” suffix, whose pronuncialtion starts with an “sh-” sound. Hence the word shun. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†As a general rule, regardless of the number of syllables in each word with a shunned one, the stress is always at the second to the last syllable, as seen in the examples below:

special, technician, organization, communication, commercial

In German, because many words have similar meanings, especially with those with “-ion”, the stress is at the end of the word. However, as some words have -sierung- as equivalents, the “-sier-” portion is stressed, not the “-ung.”

Here are some exercises that will help you practice your pronunciations with the “shunned ones.” Enjoy! ūüėÄ

 

Exercise 1. ¬†Practice pronouncing the following “shunned words” and determine the meanings in your own words, and (in some cases), your own native language. Notice the difference?

-cian/-tian:  physician, pediatrician, mathematician, logician, politician, electrician, mortician, optician,  magician, musician, Christian

Note: These endings indicate that they represent personal nouns.

 

-tion:  evolution, emancipation, citation, devotion, emotion, station, annexation, devastation, commotion, procrastination, affirmation, confirmation, explanation

-sion:  confusion, inclusion, exclusion, expulsion, introversion, conversion, inversion, diversion, division, recession, procession, percussion, concussion, collision, commission

Note: These endings indicate that they are nouns that represent events.

 

-zation:  utilization, organization, memorization, internationalization, localization, regionalization, urbanization, McDonaldization, rationalization

-cation: classification, clarification, gratification, personification, unification, implication, medication, fortification, identification, modofication, vacation

Note: These endings deal with nouns representing process. The German equivalents are mostly -sierung, but there are some that end with -barkeit.  A link to McDonaldization is highlighted. 

 

-cial: beneficial, special, social, crucial, official, judicial, psychosocial, facial, multiracial, spacial, financial, glacial, artificial, provincial.

-tial: confidential, spatial, celestial, preferential, presidential, essential, exponential, torrential, potential, residential, martial, differential.

Note: These endings function mainly as adjectives, although a few of them function as nouns. 

 

Exercise 2. Tongue Twisters:

The emancipation, regionalization, localization, annexation, proclamation, creation of a nation creates great communication.

The obsession of a procession makes a concussion caused by collision due to inclusion by the commission.

She was essential, she was special, she was residential, she was social, she was an official.

Vacation is the best medication against gratification of the mummification not mortification nor gasification nor petrification nor personification of the co-worker.

The unionization of an organization makes rationalization an Americanization through the categorization of the barbarianization of the generalization of the republicanization of this country.

How many physicians, pediatricians, mathematicians, logicians, politicians, electricians, morticians, opticians,  magicians, beauticians, and musicians do we need to make a good Christian?

Evolution makes pollution; revolution makes execution; prostitution makes prosecution; distribution makes resolution; dillusion makes institution.

Shunned means the exclusion, expulsion, excommunication, circumvention, polarization, isolation, decomission, rejection, elimination of a person from an institution because of a revolution, insubordination, insurrection and damnation of its organization.

 

And for the record, that was what happened to Martin Luther in 1517. But he lived to start the revolution that led to the establishment of the Lutheran Church. ūüėČ

God bless that man. Amen! ūüôā

Author’s Note: A video produced by the author shows you how the words are pronounced. Only the tongue twister portion has been recorded, yet you can refer to the video to see how the shunned words are spoken before explaining the rules further. How the video is used is up to the user.¬†

 

 

 

 

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