Iconic among English speakers as the publisher of myriad imaginative and tongue-tying rhymes for children, Dr. Seuss provides not only a hilarious bedside companion, but also an excellent way to challenge Finns to challenge their classic speaking trait: the dreaded Finnish monotone. Sadly, for many humorous and outgoing Finns, the cultural law that dictates: ‘thou shalt make all vocal projections flat and throaty, somewhat breathless and as devoid as possible of rhythm and expression’ is difficult to stand up to. Dr. Seuss, whose delectably delightful and devilishly difficult verses will have adults or children alike hooting with laughter, are very difficult to read in a monotone.
Skilfully written so that young children might practice not only rhyme and intonation, but pronunciation and difficult combinations of sound, they’re perfect material for enabling Finnish adults to let themselves go. But believe me, simple thimbles and single shingles and foxes in socks in boxes with chicks on clocks are not always the least demanding bedtime buddies for all English speakers either!
So here’s some of the Doctor’s advice for those of you who can put on a brave tongue and, even better, are happy to tie your face into knots:
“Do you like fresh fish? It’s just fine at Finney’s Diner. Finney also has some fresher fish that’s fresher and much finer…At Finney’s, if you’re wise, you’ll say, ‘Fetch me the finest French-fried freshest fish that Finney fries!’”
And if bacon’s more your thing, you might want to meet Pete Briggs:
“Briggs pats big pink pigs. Then Pete puts his big pink patted pigs away in his Pete Briggs’ Pink Pigs Big Pig Pigpen.”