Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A learned friend came to me once - by Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane
A learned man came to me once.
He said, "I know the way, -- come."
And I was overjoyed at this.
Together we hastened.
Soon, too soon, were we
Where my eyes were useless,
And I knew not the ways of my feet.
I clung to the hand of my friend;
But at last he cried, "I am lost."

What interests in this poem by Stephen Crane is the adjective 'learned' in the first line. Most of you - whether you are a NS or a (fairly competent) NNS of General British - will know that this adjective is pronounced either /lɜːnɪd/ or /lɜːnəd/ because you've /lɜːnd/ (or lɜːnt/) English prop'ly.

Test yourself with these sentences:
  1. the seminar was held by an elderly learned professor;
  2. leadership is a learned skill;
  3. JIPA is a learned journal;
  4. I 've learned more from my father than from my mother;
  5. art historians are more learned than art critics;
  6. I think my learned friend has a problem;
  7. elegance is learned, my friend;
  8. I trust my learned colleage has learned his lesson;

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