Whole language vs. Phonics, anyone?

I’m taught p-l-o-u-g-h
Shall be pronouncé “plow.”
“Zat’s easy w’en you know,” I say,
“Mon Anglais, I’ll get through!”

My teacher say zat in zat case,
O-u-g-h is “oo.”
And zen I laugh and say to him,
“Zees Anglais make me cough.”

He say, “Not ‘coo,’ but in zat word,
O-u-g-h is ‘off.’”
Oh, Sacre bleu! Such varied sounds
Of words makes me hiccough!

He say, “Again mon frien’ ees wrong;
O-u-g-h is ‘up’
In hiccough.” Zen I cry, “No more,
You make my t’roat feel rough.”

“Non, non!” he cry, “you are not right;
O-u-g-h is ‘uff.’”
I say, “I try to spik your words,
I cannot spik zem though.”

“In time you’ll learn, but now you’re wrong!
O-u-g-h is ‘owe.’”
“I’ll try no more, I s’all go mad,
I’ll drown me in ze lough!”

“But ere you drown yourself,” said he,
“O-u-g-h is ‘ock.’”
He taught no more, I held him fast,
And killed him wiz a rough!

– Charles Battell Loomis

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2 thoughts on “Whole language vs. Phonics, anyone?

  1. Hehehhe, this is so funny! Oh, I like this poem very much! C B Loomis has a point, though doesn’t he.

    Seriously, though, I still think it’s better to memorize twenty rules or so than to memorize every single word in the English language. Hehe, yes, I’m an incurable firm believer in phonics.

    Oh well, it’s a great poem. Thanks for sharing it! :D

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