Sometimes a Strine Accent Helps

If you’re in the market for a thesis topic, may I suggest the effects of accent on rhyme? Rhyming dictionaries and songwriting books treat English rhymes as the same wherever you go, but there’s a mighty difference between what I’m allowed to rhyme and what, say, The Beach Boys were allowed to rhyme.

If I say ‘real cool kid’, it rhymes with Sid, skid, mid (life crisis) and Fid (dy Cent). But it doesn’t rhyme with ‘bread’, no matter how I try. It rhymes for The Beach Boys, though.

Sondheim rhymed ‘bother’ with ‘father’, and Alan Jay Lerner rhymed ‘bother’ with ‘rather’. That just doesn’t work in my accent. ‘Father’ rhymes with ‘rather’, but bother? I’d need a surname like Fothergill. And Lerner was writing for a British character! Does anyone know a Brit who pronounces ‘bother’ to rhyme with ‘rather’?

I have compensations. Because an Aussie accent refuses to acknowledge the letter ‘r’ in the middle of a word, I can use the word ‘farther’. Sondheim can’t use it, but I can. Similarly, I can rhyme ‘more’ with ‘roar’, and with  thaw, pour, pore, shore, Shaw, bore, maw and pawpaw. Go Strine!

But I can’t rhyme ‘love’ with ‘of’. And I wouldn’t want to, unless I was writing for an American character. Even then, it’s a horrible cliché.

Shakespeare’s accent seems to have allowed ‘love’ to rhyme with ‘prove’. Lucky bugger.

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