To celebrate International poetry day, we thought it would be a good idea to dig out this literary challenge.

In 1922, Dutch poet Gerard Nolste Trenité wrote a colossal poem containing about 800 bizarre irregularities in the English language.

It reads part tongue twister, part instruction manual.

Here's how it begins:

Dearest Creature in creation

Study English pronunciation

I will teach you in my verse

Sounds like corpse corps horse and worse

Let's stop there for a moment. That last line tells us why it's so difficult to learn english: four 'or' words and not one of them sounds even remotely alike.

Once you've managed to stumble your way through the first part, surely you get used to it? Surely it gets easier?


Hear me say devoid of trickery

Daughter laughter and Terpsichore

Typhoid measles topsails aisles

Exiles similes and reviles

Scholar vicar and cigar

Solar mica war and far

One anemone Balmoral

Kitchen lichen laundry laurel

There's also this wonderfully simple line:

Eye I ay aye whey and key

The poem finally ends on a very important question:

Finally which rhymes with enough

Though through plough or dough or cough?

To which he helpfully answers:

My advice is to give up!

If you've had enough of trying to work out how to pronounce all the words, you can listen to the entire poem, below:

How did you get on? Let us know in the comments...

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