One of the best ways to teach children the alphabet is to turn it into a song. But singing the alphabet, instead of simply chanting out the letters monotonally, requires the division of the set of letters into digestible chunks, those being best (for the sake of the children, at least) which tend to rhyme with each other. And the best known of these is undoubtedly the setting of the alphabet to the tune of the children's nursery rhyme, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Now, consider the division of letters into lyrics for this song--
ABCD/EFG
HIJK/LMNOP
QRS/TUV
WX/Y and Z
Followed by an obligatory recap verse of affirmance of the fact of the alphabet just having been sung--
'now I know my ABC's, won't you come and sing with me.'
And, naturally, in some instances, particularly sadistic children will use the end of the song to launch right straight into a new rendition of the same.

The song in this formulation pivots on four of the eight letters of the alphabet which rhyme with 'E.' This is in fact the only logical scheme of rhyming points capable of working in the English alphabet, there being no comparable phoneme scheme within that arrangement of letters. There are only three oddly distributed letter rhyming with 'A' (A, J, K), the same for 'U' (Q, U, W), and two for 'I' (I, Y), and really none for any other letters of the alphabet. Oh, I suppose one could almost rhymre 'H' with the A/J/K cluster, and 'M' and 'N' sound close enough to one another, but to nothing else. And, heck, the necessary running together of the string from 'L' to 'P' sounds like it ought to be a word: Elemenopee. Could be the name of an elemental urinary anemone.

But for other languages, perhaps, this is not so simply done. The Greek alphabet for example is mostly composed of two-syllable pieces -- alpha, beta, gamma, delta, etc. -- and with some strange sounding ones in there as well. But even alternate pronounciations of the English alphabet throw spanners in the works, for those in Great Britain pronounce 'Z' as 'zed,' and some renditions from that island nation shift the cadence so as to roughly rhyme that with the letter 'N', jamming together the extra letters between 'N' and the end as such:

ABCD/EFG
HIJK/LMN
OPQ/RSTUV
WX/Y and Zed
So, now you know something more about the ABC's -- won't you come and sing with me?


----

FERRASSIC

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