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Wednesday, February 2, 2011


At the Ambient Cafe yesterday, Letho was telling me of plans for new granite tops.
He said granite to rhyme with night, stressing the last syllable.
I told him how I pronounced it. Then I tried to think of other words that had a similar spelling and pronunciation. Pronunciation was often spelt wrongly by instructors at the English language school I taught at in Japan.
"His pronounciation is poor, and so is his grammer."

It took a long time to come up with other words. Last night, as I was trying to get to sleep, my mind was still working. I was interested in how I tackled the problem. It seemed quite a different process to a mathematical problem. One technique, which I use when I forget .... what are those things called....words, is to go through alphabet. Oh, that is a systematic approach, which is used in maths. At another stage, I found myself thinking visually. When spell, I like to see how a word looks.

The first word I came up with was composite. Opposite quickly followed. There were a couple more, but I did not write them down, and cannot remember them.  What I really wanted was a word ending in nite that sounded nit. Favourite came later, then one of the cakes in the cafe spurred on carrot. We were getting further away from the spelling I wanted, but the same idea. Chocolate.

Then I fell asleep.

This morning, I visited my favourite computational knowledge engine Wofram|Alpha. There must be other places where you can do similar searches, but I have found Wolfram does some neat things with words. If you want anagrams, just type "anagrams of (insert word here)" and up they come. How many words can you make using the letters GRANITE? Type "words from granite". Up come several options, including three anagrams at the bottom – ingrate, tangier and tearing. You probably want without repetition, so click on "Disallow repetition". Up come 152 words. 

I typed "words ending nite" and got this:

It was just a matter of spotting the words with the right sound. Not like right, that is.
There are not that many, but some. Infinite is a difficult one to explain when you have finite.

If you just want ite on the end, there are more.

Again, not many rhyming with granite.

Probably the most common word that I hear pronounced differently by Bhutanese (and Indians, who often are their English teachers) is determine. Yes, deter mine. It looks like two words put together. Can you think of some words which have a similar spelling to determine and rhyme with it? Rhyme with determine, not rhyme with it!


  1. Um bro..I think you spelt "grammar" wrong.....sixth line of your post

  2. Martin
    You know that, and I know that, but the NOVA language teacher did not!