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0. This letter has a long sound, as in tone, lone, obedient, corroding; and a short sound, as in the words, lot, shot, rot, got, lock, bottom.
In some words, o is sounded like u short, as son, done, attorney; and in others, it has somewhat of the sound of au, as nor, lord, for.
O coalesces into a dipthong with a, and has then the sound of long o, as in the words coat, moat, throat, coal, groan, approach ; but in broad and groat, it is sounded as a broad. When united with e, that dipthong assumes the sound of single e, sometimes long, as in antæci; sometimes short, as æconomic; but since ce is no English dipthong, those words are better spelt with e single, agreeably to their sound.
O unites with i, as in the words oil, boil, soil, noisome; and this coalition appears to unite the sounds of the two letters as nearly as can be, without mutual destruction, and therefore approaches more nearly to the notion of a perfect dipthong, than any other combination of letters in our language.
Double o almost invariably has a long and full sound; as in moon, spoon, noon, soon, room, food. In the words wool, good, foot, it takes a shorter sound, while in blood and flood, it sounds like u short. Moor, poor, floor, door, are pronounced as if spelt, more, pore, flore, dore.
O formed into a dipthong with u has several Varieties of sound. The natural sound of ou, as in bound, mound, ground; the sound of u short, and of double o; as is in the words enough, tough, rough, journey, trouble; youth, soup; the sound of au, as in cough ; of long o, as in mourn, bourn, though.
Some of these different sounds are used to convey different significations ; as, bow pronounced bo, an instrument for shooting ; bow, sounded bou, an inclination of the head or body; sow, the female of the hog tribe; sow, pronounced so, the act of committing seed to the ground; bowl, a round body; bowl sounded bole, a wooden vessel for containing liquids, or other substances.
Ou, when constituting the final syllable of a word is sounded like u; as, honour, favour, labour. Dr. Johnson disapproves the method which some writers have adopted, of spelling those words favor, honor, labor, retaining the Latin termination.
In some words u is long; as, use, flute, muse, tube, mule, rule ; in others it is pronounced short; as, us, concussion, mustard, gull; in others, it has a kind of eonfused intermixed sound, somewhat resembling 00; as, bull, full, bushel. Sometimes this letter changes its natural sound into that of i, and of e; as in the words, business, busy, bury.
The letter u unites with the other vowels, and with itself in many instances, but has, then, rather the force of w; as in quaff, quit, quest, languid. When united with i, it sometimes extinguishes the sound of that letter, as in juice ; sometimes it loses itself in it; as, guide, guilt, guinea, quince, and sometimes it assumes the sound of 00; as, fruit, recruit. United with o, this letter takes the sound of wo; as in the expressions, quote, quorum. Joined with y it is pronounced like e long; as in soliloquy, obloquy.
At the end of a word, u with e, is sometimes mute; as in plague, synagogue, vague, harangue.
Before words beginning with u long, the article a is now generally used; as, a union, a university, a use ; but before such as begin with a short u, an is always placed; as, an usher, an uproar, an umbrella.
Y. When y is used as a vowel, its sound is precisely similar to that of i, as when found in the end of words. It is generally changed into i in the middle of words, but retained in derivatives, when it was part of a dipthong in the primitive ; as, destroy, destroyed; dismay, dismayed; betray, betrayed.
SOUNDS OF THE CONSONANTS.
The sound represented by this character, is formed by a strong pressure of the under lip against the upper, united with the vowel e. This letter admits no variation of sound, in any situation whatever; as, button, bubble, barb, timber. In some words it is mute; as, subtle, debt, doubt; and it is imperfectly heard in the words climb, comb, tomb, womb.
C. This letter has a hard sound like that of k, produced by the opening of the mouth with the tongue closely pressing against the front teeth of the lower jaw, united with the vowel a; and it is thus pronounced before a, o, u, t, l, r; as in cat, cake, cart, camp, countenance, curtain, careful, cucumber, and when it ends a syllable ; as in the words, victim, flaccid.
When coming before e, i, or y, c has generally the sound of s, a kind of hissing produced by pressing the tip of the tongue against the lower teeth, elevating the middle of the tongue towards the palate, and breathing through the opening left; example, certain, century, city, cyclops, race, fleece, dancing, mercy.
When it immediately precedes k, c is perfectly lost ; as in stick, kick, back, block.
Before the terminations, eous, ious, c has the sound of sh; as in the words, gracious, ocean, cetaceous, social ; and in some instances, it is silent; as in indictment, victuals. Formerly c was not used as a final letter,
k being generally placed after it at the end of a word, probably because e usually followed those letters when united ; as in the words, sticke, musicke, blocke; and as long as that vowel retained any sound, so placed, it must invariably have softened the c, but for the intervention of k. And even if the c had been doubled, to mark the shortness of the preceding vowel, the latter c would have been softened by the e. There was, therefore, no alternative but to write the kk, or ck, and the last method was preferred. But as the final e has long been silent, and, indeed, entirely dismissed from such terminations, the necessity for the interposing k is removed, and that letter has been gradually dropped. In words of two or more syllables, therefore, the k is now commonly omitted; as, music, public, politic, mimic, traffic. Words compounded with monosyllables, ending in ck, preserve that orthography; as, candle-stick, laughing-stock, planet-struck.
C, combined with h, for which combination there is no particular character in the English alphabet, as in the Greek, has the sound of tch, or tsh ; as in charm, church, chubby; or of k, in words derived from the Greek; as, character, chorus, chimera, chord, choler, archangel, arçhives, head-ach, anarch, stomach; or of sh in French derivatives; as,chagrin,chaise,chandelier. In the word yacht, pronounced yot, it is silent,