|The Cunning Linguist, by Dr. Lederer.|
I was reading through a Steven Pinker book entitled Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language, and came across a gem of a poem. It talks about some things none of us quite understands, irregular verbs. Richard Lederer, the author of the poem: A Tense Time with Verbs, manages to explain what we cannot grasp and even put it to rhyme.
This guy is the master of puns, also, consider the book title to your right and you will see.
The verbs in English are a fright.
How can we learn to read and write?
Today we speak, but first we spoke;
Some faucets leak, but never loke.
Today we write, but first we wrote;
We bite our tongues, but never bote.
Each day I teach, for years I taught,
And preachers preach, but never praught.
This tale I tell; this tale I told;
I smell the flowers, but never smold.
If knights still slay, as once they slew,
Then do we play, as once we plew?
If I still do as once I did,
Then do cows moo, as they once mid?
I love to win, and games I've won;
I seldom sin, and never son.
I hate to lose, and games I lost;
I didn't choose, and never chost.
I love to sing, and songs I sang;
I fling a ball, but never flang.
I strike that ball, that ball I struck;
This poem I like, but never luck.
I take a break, a break I took;
I bake a cake, but never book.
I eat that cake, that cake I ate;
I beat an egg, but never bate.
I often swim, as I once swam;
I skim some milk, but never skam.
I fly a kite that I once flew;
I tie a knot, but never tew.
I see the truth, the truth I saw;
I flee from falsehood, never flaw.
I stand for truth, as I once stood;
I land a fish, but never lood.
About these verbs I sit and think.
These verbs don't fit. They seem to wink
At me, who sat for years and thought
Of verbs that never fat or wrought.
This is all fine work by Dr. Lederer and if you own it or if you're Dr. Lederer and don't want it up here I'll gladly take it down, simply send me a message here: Contact Us. Thank you.
- Amazon.com: Words and Rules (In case you buy things).
- Amazon.com: The Cunning Linguist, by Dr. Lederer (book).
- Richard Lederer's site: Verbivore.
- Jewish World Review, October 26, 2010: A Tense Time With Verbs.
You might also like: