Teacher: Ok class, today we’re going to rehearse the song we learned yesterday. Do you still remember the song?
Teacher: What was the name of the song?
Students: Do-Re-Mi from “The Sound of Music”.
Teacher: Great! Now, let’s sing the song again. Together, on my mark, 3-2-1. Doe a deer a female deer …
A student: Excuse me Sir. Is it “dough” as in “doughnut”.
Teacher: No. It’s “doe” as in D-O-E.
A student: Oh, so it’s not D-O-U-G-H?
Teacher: Well, those words happen to be homophones. They have the same pronounciation but their spellings are completely different.
A student: Hmm, how about “though”. You know, “although” and “eventhough”.
Teacher: (taking a deep breath) They’re not only different in terms of spelling but also different in terms of phonetic sound. In “doe” and “dough”, we use /d/ sound. So, they will be /doʊ/, whereas “though” uses /ð/, which will be /ðoʊ/. We use /ð/ in words like; “THe”, “faTHer”, or “boTHer”. (The teacher stresses the last word heavily.)
A sudent: (Sensing iritation) Ah, so I see.
Teacher: Well, I hope you understand that now. Anyway, let’s get back to our previous topic, singing. So, you still remember the lyric and melody. Again, on my mark. 3-2-1.
A student: Doe a dough although not though …
A student: But the lyric matches the melody. (kaboooooor)
Feel free to use this joke for your stand up material in front of . . . linguistic nerds.