Can you pronounce this?

 Happy Holidays everyone! After browsing the web I came across a cute website with the following challenge. Let’s see if you can do it! If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud! Here we go:

Dearest creature in creation,

Study English pronunciation.

I will teach you in my verse

Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.

I will keep you, Suzy, busy,

Make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye, your dress will tear.

So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,

Dies and diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain.

(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)

Now I surely will not plague you

With such words as plaque and ague.

But be careful how you speak:

Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;

Cloven, oven, how and low,

Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

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;

Gertrude, German, wind and mind,

Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,

Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.

Blood and flood are not like food,

Nor is mould like should and would.

Viscous, viscount, load and broad,

Toward, to forward, to reward.

And your pronunciation’s OK

When you correctly say croquet,

Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,

Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour

And enamour rhyme with hammer.

River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,

Doll and roll and some and home.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,

Neither does devour with clangour.

Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,

Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,

And then singer, ginger, linger,

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,

Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,

Nor does fury sound like bury.

Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.

Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.

Though the differences seem little,

We say actual but victual.

Refer does not rhyme with deafer.

Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

Mint, pint, senate and sedate;

Dull, bull, and George ate late.

Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,

Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,

Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.

We say hallowed, but allowed,

People, leopard, towed, but vowed.

Mark the differences, moreover,

Between mover, cover, clover;

Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,

Chalice, but police and lice;

Camel, constable, unstable,

Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,

Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.

Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,

Senator, spectator, mayor.

Tour, but our and succour, four.

Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Sea, idea, Korea, area,

Psalm, Maria, but malaria.

Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.

Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,

Dandelion and battalion.

Sally with ally, yea, ye,

Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.

Say aver, but ever, fever,

Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.

Heron, granary, canary.

Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.

Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Large, but target, gin, give, verging,

Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.

Ear, but earn and wear and tear

Do not rhyme with here but ere.

Seven is right, but so is even,

Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,

Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,

Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)

Is a paling stout and spikey?

Won’t it make you lose your wits,

Writing groats and saying grits?

It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:

Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,

Islington and Isle of Wight,

Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough,

Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?

Hiccough has the sound of cup.

My advice is to give up!!!


English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

Adapted from



Graduate Study in China/Taiwan

The education of International students in New China began in 1950, and has witnessed great development in recent years.

Statistics show that 363 universities in 31Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities (not including Taiwan Province, Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions) received 61,869 students from l69 countries to study in China in 2001.

Chinese universities provide both diploma education and non-diploma education, with the former including senior and junior undergraduate students, Master Degree Students, and Ph.D Students, and the latter including trainees and research scholars.

Chinese universities teach different types of students with different methods. Junior undergraduate students are required to study for two or three school years according to teaching programs, together with their Chinese counterparts in the same class, and conferred diplomas after they pass examinations.

Senior undergraduate students are required to Study for four or five school years according to teaching programs, and taught separately or together with their Chinese counterparts according to subject requirements. And meanwhile, some optional courses are cut to cater to varying conditions of each student, or separate courses are added to meet different needs. These students are conferred bachelor’s degree after passing examinations and graduation thesis. Master degree students are required to study for two or three school years according to teaching programs. International students have to finish all courses set in teaching plans under the guidance of their tutors and pass examinations and graduation defense before being conferred master’s degree.

Ph.D students are required to study for two or three school years according to teaching programs. International students have to finish all courses set in teaching plans under the guidance of their tutors and pass examinations and graduation defense before being conferred doctor’s degree.

Visiting students are required to study for one or two school years and are taught either separately or together with their Chinese counterparts according to their subjects. They are conferred refresher certificates after passing examinations or proficiency assessment.

Senior Visiting Students are required to study for one or two school years. The school must offer a tutor for each of them to direct their research according to different research projects. They are conferred refresher certificates after finishing their studies and research programs.

Research scholars are offered a liaison teacher each according to their research projects. They have to depend mainly on themselves for research, and the research time is decided according to the requirements of monographic research projects.

Chinese language learners, who are equal to graduates from high schools in China, are usually required to study for one or two school years, and are conferred refresher certificates after finishing their studies.

Chinese universities encourage International students to come to China and study for MBA, and doctor’s degrees. Some universities are able to offer courses directly in foreign languages.

In order to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and people from all over the world, and to develop cooperation and exchanges in fields of politics, economy, culture, education and trade between China/Taiwan and other countries, Chinese government has set up a series of scholarship schemes to sponsor international students, teachers and scholars to undertake studies and researches in Chinese higher education institutions (Chinese HEIs).

International students under Chinese Government Scholarship Programs (hereinafter referred to as scholarship students) will be allocated in Chinese HEIs or Chinese research institutes designated by the Ministry of Education of P. R. China (hereinafter referred to as MOE) to pursue their proposed studies in the areas related to science, technology, agriculture, medicine, economics, law, management, education, history, liberal arts and philosophy.

For more information go to:


Globalization is not something we can hold off or turn off… it is the economic equivalent of a force of nature – like wind or water’ – Bill Clinton

 According to my professor, Zellyne Jennings-Craig, globalisation is the process involving increasing cross border flows goods, services, money, people, information, people and culture. The world, she said, is all interlinked – every country is interdependent on goods and services. This had a powerful effect on me as I ponder: am I a product of globalization?

I lived in Taiwan for eight years and during that time I didn’t realize, until now, that I was affected by globalization every day. My boss, Emily, was a Taiwanese aborigine who fondly told me of village’s culture, food, language and traditions. Her daughter, Esther, didn’t care much about her culture. She seemed more interested in the latest video games or the newest TV shows. I remember her eyes would widen as big as saucers when I told her about my beautiful island of Jamaica. She was also more interested in learning English than learning her own village native dialect. Her mother didn’t seem to mind though. “The world is changing ‘, she told me, “Esther must improve her English and know more about other countries in order to survive.”

I also remember living in Taiwan’s “paperless” society. Thanks to the ‘information super highway’ all transactions are done by computer. For millions of Taiwanese, paper money is a thing of the past. No longer solely used for online purchases, e-money, accessed via a smart card or mobile phone, has become a way of life for many consumers. It was also a way of life for me. If I left home without my smart card then my whole day was ruined. Every bit of information was stored on that card, including money for my bus ride, security pass for my workplace and money for food supplies. This reminded me of what Professor Jennings-Craig said ‘globalisation can be a civilizing force.’

As I reflected on my experiences in Taiwan, I’ve come to a deeper appreciation of globalization and its effects. Because of globalization, Taiwan has higher living standards, faster growth and new opportunities. And as a foreigner, it made my life there much easier and stress free. I agree wholeheartedly with Kofi Annan when he said “success in achieving sustained growth depends critically on expanding access to the opportunities of globalisation” (2001). That’s my wish for Jamaica and its people.



Annan, Kofi (2001). Special address: Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

John Lucas Barrett

TeachEnglishCaribbean shares with you another interview of a phenomenal up and coming gospel artiste, John Lucas Barrett. He began performing at the age of 5 in a children’s musical performance group, where he honed his skills in drama, singing, and dance. In December of 2007, he hosted his first solo concert, and is presently performing as a professional gospel singer in Japan. He continues to create waves in the Japanese professional music scene as he strives for excellence.

1. Where were you born and which community did you grow up?

I was born in Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas where my parents were missionaries. After my birth, my parents returned to Kingston Jamaica where I spent my childhood.

2. Which college did you attend and what did you study?

I went to Northern Caribbean University where I studied Religion and Mass Communication.

3. Where are you living now and how did you get there?

I came Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan in July 2000, as a member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

4. What is your job in Japan?

2000-2003 Asst. Language Teacher for the Miyagi Prefectural Government

2004-2006 Tohoku University student – Intercultural Communication, MA

2004-2009 Native Coordinator (Tohoku Region), ECC Junior

2007- PRESENT: Professional Gospel Singer, Hello International (Production company).

5. Describe the projects that you have worked on.

Here are some of the projects I have been involved with:

★ Youth director for the Sendai SDA Church (5 years)  –

★Hallelujah Gospel Family Soloist   – (10 years)

★ Numerous charity projects (please see the links below for details).

6. How do you find the  Japanese and Jamaican culture similar?


★I feel both that both Jamaicans and Japanese people work hard for the ‘good life’. Everyone wants to get ahead. The actual playground is totally different, but the drive for success, I feel is similar.

★Though particularly different in content and orientation, Jamaicans and Japanese people love the arts passionately.

7. What challenges did you experience living in Japan as a man of color?


★Being a man of color has in perks and challenges in this environment. Breaking stereotypes often set by Hollywood and other types of media has been a mammoth task.

8. What are the challenges you faced in Japan while building your music career?

★To make it ahead in any industry, particularly combining ministry with entertainment in Japan, has been rather challenging. With a very small Christian population, the demand for gospel music is comparatively smaller than other forms of music. The churches support, though fervent, because we are so few in number is also limited. It has been challenging, but with each small victory, very rewarding.

9. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

★ I hope to continue my music ministry.

★ I hope that my music will be heard throughout Japan, and the rest of the world.

★ I pray that the lyrics and testimony of my music will help to create a revival, necessary to usher in Christ’s second coming.

★ I hope that the Lord will bless me so that I will be able to encourage more exchange opportunities between Jamaica and Japan; particularly for young people seeking a higher education.

★ I plan to work more closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both countries to strengthen bilateral relations.

10.  On March 11, 2011 a catastrophic earthquake hit Japan. Describe the earthquake and how you felt.

Here is an article that was written about my experience and the disaster.


“Keep hope alive! Keep hope alive! No matter if the dark clouds come, Just keep hope alive! And even when the storms and trials blow, That toss you to and fro, Don’t stop believing! Keep hope alive! Just keep hope alive!””Keep hope alive!

On Saturday, March 26, 2011 John’s new song “KIBO: Keep Hope Alive”, a prayer for peace and restoration to Ishinomaki city (where several of his gospel choir members live) , resounded through the halls of the Hakodate SDA Church. Chirping birds, the sounds of a brand new day, images of people at work and at play…interrupted by a sudden quake, sounds of the tsunami, heavy breathing, and racing heartbeats. The dramatic introduction, is followed by the story of the terrible devastation, the sadness. The song also testifies of faith in God. And climaxes with the theme of the song, a message of HOPE! All present were deeply moved; moved to tears.

On March 11, 2011 John was in Sendai at the time of the earthquake. After spending a few days in a nearby shelter, he got a lift from a gentleman who lived nearby. The two, headed north, traveling the dangerous route on badly damaged roads, with not nearly enough gas for the trip. John made the miraculous journey to Hakodate in three days.

John, a member of the Sendai SDA Church, came to Japan 11 years ago from Jamaica. He ministers as a professional Gospel Singer here in Japan. His parents serve the Adventist church in Jamaica; his father a pastor and his mother a teacher. I met John three years ago at the Sendai SDA Church. We stayed in touch, and even had him visit our church to participate in our music day two years ago.

At the concert, John read a poem his mother wrote, called TSUNAMI. The poem expressed the deep worry of his mother, but even more so her strong faith and thanks to God for keeping her son safe. All eyes were wet, as the entire hall was wrapped in intense but warm emotion.

From planning to the actual concert, we had only five days. We were extremely busy, and fought against numerous odds, but with the amazing team work of all involved, we were able to put everything together just in the nick of time. Especially the accompaniment for John’s song,”KIBO” came all the way from Jamaica by email from his friend Lisa, only 30 minutes before the concert.

But in spite of all that, the hall overflowed with over 220 guests, and we collected over ¥300,000 for charity as a result.

The concert and John’s story was featured on local and national NHK TV news. The story was given a lot of attention by newspapers, and we received a lot of support from the local radio stations as well. Folk who had not been to church in years, and several first timers as well, attended the concert. This tremendous response leads us to believe that there was a higher power working throughout the entire project. We continue to praise God for the miracles He has realized through this effort.

God surpassed our expectations many times over. I pray that through God’s mercy, the message in John’s song – KIBO: Keep Hope Alive – will reach the hearts of those in need.

Hakodate SDA Church  by: Fumiki Moritake (Translation: John Lucas)


To find out more About John And his projects check out the links below:

1) HP:

2) BLOG:



1)3/26 – Hakodate Charity Concert REPORT



April 9, Saturday Weekend Cruise Music Café “Songs for the people in quake-hit areas”

2) 4/3 – Visit to Ishinomaki City REPORT



3) 4/10 – Hiroshima Charity Concert、REPORT

4) 4/17 – Sapporo Charity Concert、REPORT

5) 5/1 – Sendai Charity Concert、REPORT


Interview of a Jamaipanese – Sophia Sakaguchi

Teachenglishcaribbean is pleased to interview Jamaican Sophia Lawrence Sakaguchi, who is currently living in Japan with her family. We talk about her experiences and navigating the terrain of culture shock in Japan.

1. Where were you born and which community did you grow up?

I was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica but grew up in Glendevon.

2. Which college did you attend and what did you study?

I attended Northern Caribbean University and University College of the Caribbean where I studied Hospitality Management and Business Administration respectively.

3. Where are you living now and how did you get there?

I am living in Japan now but how I got there is another story. I was introduced to a Japanese guy by a respectable lady while I was in Jamaica. I wasn’t serious about him because I was seeing someone else at the time but he never left me alone. After that relationship failed, I decided to give him a try and amazingly it worked out! In time, we got married but I didn’t want to migrate yet so I delayed it for a year. The reason for delaying was that I didn’t know what to expect in Japan and my husband didn’t tell me anything about the way of life there. Eventually, I migrated and I found that it wasn’t so bad even though there was a lot of culture shock.

4. What is your job in Japan?

I am currently a stay at home Mom. Sometimes I teach small children at home  but because of my busy schedule it is hard to keep a full time job. I think I am ready for a full time job now though…

5. Are the Japanese culture and Jamaican culture similar?

No, they are not similar at all!  First of all, the living conditions are very different. Japanese people sleep on Futons; the toilet is different; there is no wearing of shoes in the house; and you have to use hot tubs every night. The Japanese are very honest, polite and purpose driven…I love the Winter when  the weather is really cold! Also, Christianity is not the main religion there… it is Buddhism, so there are not many churches and you mostly see shrines and temples.

6. What challenges did you experience living in Japan as a black woman?

Well, people  stare at me alot, and some don’t want to approach me.  Many will give me a blank stare, avoid eye contact and some even laugh at me!  A  few persons will say hi and try to hold  a conversation with me …. My in-laws treat me really well. At first, I was supsicious but then I realize that they are truly nice people. Later on I realized that Japanese are really shy people so not many will readily approach you easily.

7. Are there lots of Jamaicans living in Japan? What do they do there?

There are not a lot of Jamaicans living here. Some teach English in schools and some are married and living in Japan. I have invited some Jamaicans to teach English and quite a few have taken my offer.

8. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I intend to find a good full time job preferably teaching English. I also want to ensure that my son gets the proper care that he needs.


Teachenglishcaribbean is pleased to interview our first comic blogger, Luke Martin, who currently has his own website Since living in South Korea, he noticed the many small and large ways that life is different in the country and, on his wife’s suggestion, he began drawing a comic strip about them. Hence, the magic that became, ROKetship! (ROK = Republic of Korea). The strip is a cultural comedy of sorts, which pokes fun at foreign life on this planet called, South Korea!

1. When did you start drawing comics?

I started drawing cartoons on a family trip to Florida, when I was nine, though it wasn’t until I was 12 that I actually started to format my drawings into comics. My family was gathered at my grandmother’s house after, after her funeral. I remember sitting there, watching everyone feel so sad. It was at that point, that I decided to sketch out a gag I had been kicking around in my head. I went around the room showing all of the adults and watching them crack a smile. It was my way of helping them feel better. I still feel a smile is the greatest compliment to one of my drawings.

2. Who is your inspiration for ROKetship?

My wife and I, as well as the entire expat community in Korea! The strip was meant to provide an outlet for all of the confusing and frustrating things we would encounter while trying to adapt to a totally different way of life. Often, I would just draw about things that happened to me that day or that readers would write in to tell me about. ROKetship is about shared experiences, which I think is a big part of why people enjoy the strip.

3. How long did you live in S. Korea?

Just over 2 years.

4. What did you do there? Have you taught English in another country?

I taught English in a private, after-school program for a year and then I taught middle school in the public school system the following year. I haven’t taught anywhere else, though I’d love the opportunity.

5. Did most of the scenes in the comics come from personal experience? Give an example of one experience.

Yes, absolutely! A good example would be the comic of the old woman staring, openly at the foreigner on the subway. This was a daily occurrence. Also the one where the foreigner is so proud of himself for ordering pizza on the phone. He feels he’s really grasping the language, although he ordered exclusively in Konglish (English words adopted into the Korean vernacular, but pronounced slightly differently.) Yeah, guilty!

6. What challenges did you experience when marketing your comic book?

I had more issue in producing the book. There was a language barrier which hindered using a Korean printer. I chose to use an American printer instead, only to find out that shipping would be more costly than I anticipated. Also, many of the bookstores refuse to carry books which are not represented by a known publisher/distributor.

Marketing was the fun part, though I’m fortunate that a lot of factors fell into place at the right time. The local expat publications were already carrying the strip, which provided a lot of exposure and we had a very active online community on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Tumblr. That helped to get the word out as well as some great reviews and a shout out from Seoul Podcast. We did some signing events as well.

7. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

LOL! Good question! I imagine I’ll be a happy husband and father with a webcomic and/or an online business…definitely more stamps in my passport. I intend to return to school to get a higher degree in hopes of eventually teaching at a university level. Somewhere in that ballpark, I suppose 🙂

8.What future plans do you have for Roketship?

I have considered a follow-up book, based on reverse culture shock after returning home from living overseas. I think there would be a lot of material there and that people would be able to relate to that. I also am exploring the idea of doing some resource materials for teachers: somethings that worked for me and which could be presented in a humorous and helpful way. I, of course, want to keep marketing the book and hopefully it will continue to be relevant and a good source of humor/therapy for those teaching overseas!

To order Luke’s book email him at         

Top Five Countries to Work

1. Dubai – Dubai is booming, so there are a lot jobs available there. A very significant perk for living and working in Dubai is that it is TAX FREE!

2. Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, also one of the most powerful and the one of the most favored countries to live in. It is also considered as one of the cleanest countries in the world.

3. United States – The Land of Milk and Honey is the most powerful and still one of the most favored destinations of most expatriates as it has thousand of things to offer.

4.  The United Kingdom is the biggest island in Europe. It is one of the most powerful, influential countries in the world and is unquestionably one of the foreigners desired workplace.

Australia is one of the most powerful countries in the world. Australia is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent (the world’s smallest). Aside from being one of the richest countries in the world, it is also one of the most livable countries for giving its citizen a good quality of life. Healthcare is not issues in Australia for all citizens are entitled to get medical benefits as well as retirement package for the elderly.

So let us look at the country at the top of the List – Dubai. Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the only two emirates to have veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country’s legislature.

Here is an account of Alison Andrew’s experience living and working in Dubai:

The weather in Dubai is nothing less than FANTASTIC! I love warm weather and it sure is warm here. For around 4-6 weeks in mid-winter it gets a little chilly, dropping down to around 11 degrees Celsius at night and in the early mornings, however by mid day the temperature has risen again to around 22-26 degrees.

The cost of living in Dubai is fairly high, but it’s relative to the salaries here. Rents are comparable to any big city, and in fact are generally FAR more reasonable than cities like London or New York (though a couple of years ago this wasn’t the case!).

The job market is still fantastic but of course it did take a knock from the recession along with the rest of the world. However, people are still being employed and there are still job vacancies being advertised all across the Emirate, so if you wanted to explore the option of living and working in Dubai don’t let the economy deter you, start putting feelers out.

A very significant perk for living and working in Dubai is that it is TAX FREE! This is pretty major indeed. What you earn, you earn. You get EVERY PENNY! So this is definitely something that entices a lot of people to come here.

As far as food is concerned, you’ll find that living and working in Dubai you can get everything you would expect to get in any first world country, there are lots of major supermarket chains, such as Geant, Carrefour, Waitrose and Spinneys.

When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, because this is imported in, we usually have a pick of fruits from all over the world. So, for a few weeks we’ll be getting mangoes from Kenya, and then they’ll be coming from India, and then from Pakistan. Our watermelons will be coming from Saudi Arabia, and then from Oman, and then from Egypt, etc. So we generally get our pick of great fruit from wherever it happens to be in season. The further it has traveled the more expensive it is.

There is every type of restaurant you could imagine: an enormous array of Indian restaurants, Arabic, Thai, Italian, Japanese, whatever you can think of. Vegans and vegetarians are really well catered for, raw vegans less so.

Dubai is very tolerant of different religions, but it is absolutely expected that if you are living and working in Dubai that you treat the religious culture respectfully. This is especially true during Ramadan where you may not eat or drink in public from sun up to sun down.

You also need to take a little more care in dressing and keep the hot pants and tiny halters for when you’re actually ON the beach. Make sure you wear something modest for when you’re walking around in town or going to the mall or any government office. Certain malls have dress codes and won’t exactly throw you out, but you might be given a little ‘courtesy card’ which asks that you respect the dress code, i.e. shirts with covered shoulders and skirts/shorts not above the knee.

It is also best to keep the public displays of affection to a minimum when you’re out in public. You never know if you may offend someone, and if you do, they are entitled to make a complaint, and you could get into hot water.

Living and working in Dubai has been very good for me. I have had the opportunity to begin living my dreams and doing the work that I have always wanted to do. I choose to connect with this city as my temporary home and to connect with the whole experience of living and working in Dubai. If you should choose to visit or begin living and working in Dubai yourself, I hope that it will be very good to you too.

For more information about Alison’s adventures check out her blog at