Tomahto – Tomayto: British and American Pronunciation

There’s a brilliant George Gershwin song that compares British and American pronunciation. It goes, ‘You say tomayto, and I say tomahto’. The lyrics are fantastic but they’re not 100% accurate which is troubling for word nerds. We wanted to create a song that reflected pronunciation differences with greater accuracy. Hope you like it.


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American and English Pronunciation Song Lyrics

I am English. I’m American. I speak English. I speak ‘merican.
I say ‘tomahto’. I say ‘tomayto’. And oregano, the herb. And oregano, the herb.
In our leisure. In our leisure.
We like ballet. We like ballet. A matinee. A matinee. (Together) A ballet matinee.
Our relationship is clearly very fragile. Fragile. Fragile.
It borders on emotionally volatile. Volatile. Volatile.
It’s futile. Futile. Don’t get hostile. Hostile.
I eat pate. I eat pate. Like a gourmet. Like a gourmet.
I take vitamins. Vitamins. I use vaccine. Vaccine.
I take one route. My route’s different.
I narrate. No, you narrate. And you dictate. No I dictate.
You’ve got to translate. Translate.
Birmingham. Birmingham. Canterbury. Canterbury.
Leicester. Leicester. Worcester. Worcester.
It’s a controversy. Controversy.
There’s no respite. No respite.
Degas, Monet, Manet, Renoir. Degas, Monet, Manet, Renoir.
We’ve no defense. No defense. No privacy. Privacy. Dynasty. Dynasty.
It’s zed. It’s zee. It’s buoy. It’s buoy.
I like bananas. I like bananas. It’s a vase. It’s a vase.
It’s a garage. It’s a garage. Aluminum. Aluminium.
I am English. I’m American. I speak English. I speak ‘merican.
We can’t dictate. We can’t dictate.
We’ve got to translate. Translate.

To see this video with a clickable transcript, click here.
The IATEFL webinar that I mention at the end of this video is over now, but it has been archived for members to watch. Teachers – IATEFL is an excellent professional organisation and well worth joining.

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