Author Topic: Do you rhyme “good” with “food”?  (Read 616 times)

Offline Rock100

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Do you rhyme “good” with “food”?
« on: February 24, 2020, 04:48:57 PM »
Hello. Do you rhyme “good” with “food”? Personally I do pronounce the different vowels in these words, I do know that the two shall not make a rhyme and I do my best to look as if I understand it. So, what is about you?
Thanks.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Do you rhyme “good” with “food”?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2020, 05:22:17 PM »
For a native English speaker, they're completely different vowels. Food /u/ is a long, tense vowel, while good /ʊ/ is a short, lax vowel pronounced in a less extreme way.

To relate this to some of your recent posts, this distinction is about as different as Russian soft/hard vowels (that is, it's really the following vowels that differ, rather than the consonants themselves).

If you don't distinguish them, you will sound foreign but probably will still be understood in context, in the same way that a foreign Russian speaker would be understood if they don't distinguish soft/hard sounds consistently.

To give another comparison, this is actually the same distinction as beat /i/ (long, tense) and bit /ɪ/ (short, lax, more in the center of the mouth). It's a relevant and clear contrast for native speakers, but non-native speakers can still be understood. It's also a typical example of a joke about learning English, where you want to be sure not to pronounce "sheet" or "beach" with /ɪ/!

There are also exact minimal pairs you can use, rather than these not quite equivalent examples. Here are some:
who'd vs. hood
shoed/shooed vs. should
cooed vs. could
suit vs. soot
fool vs. full
etc.

(And not that I should need to say it, but never rely on English spelling for anything except a rough guess about how a word might be pronounced. For a variety of historical reasons, including original dialectal variation and then later merging of spellings, along with other shifts, and just general inconsistency, forms like "oo" may indicate a variety of pronunciations.)

[Note: I'm writing this from the perspective of General American English. The specific pronunciation may vary in other dialects, although I don't know of any English variety that does not distinguish these sounds.]
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 05:29:34 PM by Daniel »
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Offline Rock100

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Re: Do you rhyme “good” with “food”?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2020, 06:05:10 PM »
Thanks.
> If you don't distinguish them
I do distinguish them. And I believe I can pronounce them as a native American if I do my best (many thanks to zillions of professional courses, discusses and fights in the Internet). But I do rhyme them. It may not be because I still do not pronounce them correctly. It is most likely I am the one who we say about as a bear stepped on his ear. I do rhyme them if I hear a native English speaker.
Let us consider a verse you probably do not know:
We believed we'd catch the rainbow
Ride the wind to the sun
Sail away on ships of wonder
But life's not a wheel
With chains made of steel
So bless me

And these people tell me that good and food do not make a rhyme! To my ear, it is the impeccable music that makes English verses to sound somehow rhymed. You just have no choice – you have to write brilliant music for your hits.
But there is still a chance that I have gotten used to extremely structured and overregulated rules of Russian versification and just do not notice the nuances of vowels in good and food. Or, probably, a bear…
By the way, you have told they are completely different vowels (no doubt) but have not told if YOU rhyme them.
In the other words, there are prescriptive rules and the way you feel it. There are Russians words I do know I pronounce or use incorrectly. I could do them right but I would feel uncomfortable. I believe I know nearly everything about good and food pronunciation and versification so I will rather know what natives feel about them.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Do you rhyme “good” with “food”?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2020, 06:41:38 PM »
Quote
And these people tell me that good and food do not make a rhyme!
They do not rhyme in a strict sense, and that's clear to native speakers. However, they are somewhat similar, so you can get away with it if you're not looking for a perfect rhyme (this is sometimes called a slant rhyme), which can be used intentionally or just creatively if it's hard to make an exact rhyme. But again, these words don't rhyme. It's like trying to make a rhyme with "food" and "foot". It might work out OK, but it's not a strict rhyme.
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Offline Rock100

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Re: Do you rhyme “good” with “food”?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2020, 07:21:38 PM »
Great. Thank you.
And what do you, natives, do if you have no other choice but to rhyme good and food? If say food comes first in a verse, do you change the vowel in good to be the long u too? We may mangle the pronunciation of the problem word to make it fit the rhyme in Russian (it is considered a major fault and does not happen that often). Or do you prefer to keep the pronunciation right and have that slant rhyme? Do you ever use the trick with the mangled pronunciation at all?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Do you rhyme “good” with “food”?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2020, 07:52:06 AM »
Generally slant rhymes would just be lazy rhymes that are "close enough". This happens a lot in songs, if you want to try to find some examples of people pronouncing it (easier than finding examples of recorded poetry online, probably).

So, no, the pronunciation of one word would not be changed to match the other. One trick, of course, would be not pronouncing either word very clearly, or just pronouncing both very quickly (or covering them up with enough music in the background) so that the listener doesn't notice the lack of rhyming.

The only way someone would say something like "food is good" as /fud ɪz gud/ would be as a play on words that is obviously 'incorrect' use of language, with the same kind of effect as a pun.
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