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Non-Rhymes?

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 :duh So, has anyone else noticed that words are pronounced differently depending, I guess, on which part of the country the rhymer grew up in?  I would swear eg that "again" rhymes with "in." To me it does, but evidently, officially it does not! So do I talk funny? I can't hear the subtle difference, unless you use "a-gain," but almost nobody does.  I'm wondering how others handle these cases of different pronunciation? Since I'm unpubl, I try to follow every "rule" to the letter and go over my ms. with fine-toothed comb, rhyme, meter, etc. . But I see a lot of published "poetry" that breaks all the "rules" and not on purpose. Frustrating.
#1 - November 29, 2015, 09:36 PM
Carol Samuelson-Woodson

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I am from NC -- and we all have different ways of saying different words.
Words that rhyme for me:

Again - tin -  Ben - Ten - When - sin - grin

Gone - bone - tone - grown - scone - phone -

yawn - dawn - lawn - gone (can be rhymed with this line and the one above... just depends on the company you are with)

body - hottie - snotty - potty (yes, the double "t" sometimes has the "d" sound)

that's just a few. I am sure I can share more later!
#2 - November 29, 2015, 09:59 PM
Being Frank (Flashlight Press)
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Again rhymes with ten to me. Just saying. I recommend getting a rhyming dictionary and look words up in it. Then you don't have to wonder. The one I use is the Random House Pocket Rhyming Dictionary. It's very comprehensive, inexpensive, and tiny enough to easily drop into a purse so you always have it with you.
#3 - November 30, 2015, 08:10 AM
Verla Kay

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Ha, ha, funny you bring this up. Donna and I just had this discussion yesterday. I was about to send a picture book off when I noticed that I'd rhymed "in" and "ten" in the first line. I'm from Georgia and currently live in Texas. None of my crit partners picked up on it. But I figured it might really stick out for a NYC editor.

I've also seen people from the New England states rhyme idea and near.  So yes, you have to be careful of regional differences.

In and again rhyme for me.
#4 - November 30, 2015, 10:15 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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I find the website http://rhymezone.com/ helpful when I write in rhyme. You can also choose to include phrases that rhyme.
#5 - November 30, 2015, 10:45 AM
Laurie Wallmark
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Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling 2017)
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
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When you need a word / that rhymes with bird,
Care not the specifics / focus on your dialects.

Hope that helps. And remembering it as a poem helps me as well.
#6 - November 30, 2015, 01:52 PM

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Sometimes the rhymes on rhyme zone are a bit skitchy.  Poor and pour are another tough pair.
#7 - November 30, 2015, 02:41 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

Yes, this sort of thing always comes up. It's inevitable. (If you think of the UK and other places, that complicates things even further.) I do try to avoid some of those words, such as "orange" --which some pronounce with two syllables and some with one.

Use dictionary.com to look it up. That can tell you both primary and secondary pronunciations. Rhymezone often has words listed that don't rhyme at all. I definitely wouldn't rely on that--although it is certainly a helpful tool that I use all the time!

And as Lill said, most editors are in NYC. Something to keep in mind.
#8 - November 30, 2015, 04:51 PM
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 04:54 PM by DianaM »
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Thanks, all, for your comments and special thanks to SarahW for her little rhyme? poem? V. cute! But, you see, I do have rhyming dictionary, have used online rhyme sites, etc. But to  me, "ten," "in," "again" all rhyme. I literally cannot hear the dif. I do check them out if I have the slightest doubt, but, I guess you could say, it's a "trigger" anyway and I need a "safe space" to get over my dismay that these perfectly good rhymes (to me) are supposedly not-OK. I'm from the midwest, and I catch myself sometimes pronouncing one-syllable words as two. So who gets to say? Me talk pretty one day!
#9 - November 30, 2015, 08:34 PM
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 08:40 PM by Carol Samuelson-Woodson »
Carol Samuelson-Woodson

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Being in an online poetry group taught me really quick that people all across the country pronounce rhyming words differently.  Many moons ago, I had a poem in which I rhymed "rock" and "walk."  They sound like perfect rhymes to my West Coast ear (and they're listed on RhymeZone), but my critique partners from New England told me there was no way those two words rhyme.  They then shocked me by explaining that Mary, merry, and marry are all pronounced differently.  I'd never heard of such a thing!  I can't even tell you how many conversations we had like that over the years...
#10 - November 30, 2015, 09:35 PM
AN EYEBALL IN MY GARDEN, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
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Wolfie, great example.

Carol, sometimes how you stress will make a difference in how the person will hear, whether it will bother their ears. And don't worry if you can't hear the difference, when you send it out to critique partners, they'll tell you what bumps or doesn't feel right.

I speak Hindi and the alphabet is organized according to the sounds (without any accents) k, kh, g, gh (written out like this, you can tell the difference) but my poor husband thinks I'm just saying k,k,k,k. It's pretty funny. Plus we have sounds that aren't in the English language and he can't for the life of him make them.

Okay, back to rhymes. I think the best you can do is write your poems, have them critiqued and then send them out. Then you and your editor can hash out the finer points. Sometimes, you have to rewrite an entire couplet fifty times to make the thing work but it's usually better than the first try.

Good luck, Vijaya

#11 - December 01, 2015, 05:33 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
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Yep, I remember those convos, Laura!

Carol, it doesn't mean that the way you say it is "wrong". It just means that many of your readers won't pronounce it the way you want them to and that can throw off your meter. Like I said, it's useful to know what the primary/most common pronunciation is. That can usually be found on Dictionary.com

Ever see any British poems where they rhyme "again" with "rain"? :)

I find it interesting that you say "in" and "ten" rhyme. So if you say "tin", it sounds the same as "ten"?

I once tried to rhyme "gone" with "on" (perfect rhymes to my ear). Boy, did I get a lot of objections.
#12 - December 01, 2015, 05:37 AM
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Yep, for most people in KY "ten" and "tin" are pronounced the same, Diana.

But I couldn't believe my own kids grew up in my house and pronounce "witch" and "which" the same. They are different to me.

I'm with you that 'gone' and 'on' rhyme.
#13 - December 01, 2015, 01:03 PM

"Which" and "witch" are different to you? Do you pronounce the "h"? Fascinating. I think it's kind of cool that pronunciations vary--although it can be inconvenient.
#14 - December 01, 2015, 06:02 PM
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That's so funny, Ev. I love the Southern accent and my kids are picking it up quickly, esp. when they listen to country music. And Dagny was born with a Texas drawl ... I have no idea why.
Diana, I think which and witch are perfect homonyms too.

Vijaya
#15 - December 01, 2015, 06:15 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
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Quote
Yep, I remember those convos, Laura!

I had a feeling you'd chime in on that, Diana! ;)  Those were always very illuminating.

For what it's worth, "which" and "witch" sound the same to me, too.  And "on" and "gone" are perfect rhymes to my ear.

On the other hand, "in" and "ten" don't rhyme to me.

Language is such a fascinating thing! :)
#16 - December 01, 2015, 09:45 PM
AN EYEBALL IN MY GARDEN, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
www.LauraWynkoop.com

I was surprised when someone told me when Care and Bear don't rhyme at all because the way I speak I don't know how they don't rhyme.  I had to look the words up in a rhyming dictionary,too.
#17 - December 02, 2015, 05:31 PM

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Thanks, everyone, for great comments. I have published in magazines; single poems, but no luck in finding a publisher for my rhyming books. I just put in request in Critique Share Category for another rhymer to swap ms. with, since non-rhymers can't understand the fine points. There used to be "poetic license." I think you have to earn your license by publishing a rhyming book or two. I see a lot of "stretching" in what's published and, for that matter, also in the great poets; however, for getting the foot in the door, you don't want anything that can be criticized. Esp because editors are so eager! to criticize, right off the bat, before they read two words, as if rhyme is a disease and you are unclean and should hide until you get over it. Maybe you've noticed that!? I must be very lenient and loose in my aural abilities since every example above rhymes for me.
#18 - January 17, 2016, 09:13 PM
Carol Samuelson-Woodson

This is a fascinating thread.   I'm also just beginning to stretch my legs and write a few stories in rhyme.  To my ears, nearly all of the examples above (with the exception of 'again' and 'rain') rhyme. 

The differences in dialect seem to be yet another big challenge in executing strong rhyme in Picture Books.

I've been using rhyme zone and sticking with the suggestions in BOLD, but have been forced to use at least one of the suggested near rhymes from the site.  From what I've been able to learn online about writing in rhyme, we are allowed to use a near rhyme on an extremely limited basis (like one near rhyme in the entire text) but it must really fit with the meter and the story arc.

The OP sounds like a very careful writer... Perhaps the 'ten' and 'in' are acceptable rhymes to most, and acceptable near rhymes to the rest of readers?  I have no idea...   :-\
#19 - January 17, 2016, 09:50 PM

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Great thread! I generally stay away from again - I'm not even sure how I pronounce it most days.  Sarah Kemp rhymes near with idea in The Worst Princess - this is distracting to me because that is not even close to how I pronounce it. In order to rhyme I have to change my accent! But the rest of the book is flawless & the story is pretty good.   But in the non rhyming book, Davy Crockett Saves the World by Rosalyn Schanzer I tend to change to a lovely Southern Drawl for the whole book becasue the text is just screaming for it.
#20 - January 18, 2016, 06:22 AM

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