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here, joined rapidly to the o in prove. Walker makes the e in bet to range in the province of a, and the i in bit to be the short sound of e in here. Mr Knowles strongly objects to these sounds being considered the same, and attempts to prove that they are formed in a different manner. If Mr Walker's account could be held as correct, we should have the simple vowel sounds reduced to seven. It is remarkable that Dr Wallis, who wrote a hundred and eighty years ago, should have stated the simple vowel sounds to be nine in number. The charge which is frequently made, then, that our sounds are extremely fleeting, and that no standard can be formed so as to continue for a considerable time, is devoid of foundation. The nine sounds exemplified above are still by many considered the nine pure sounds of the English vowels.
It cannot be denied that there are shades of sound affecting some of these pure sounds, which have been noted by orthoepists, and exhibited as distinct sounds; thus a, in some dictionaries, has three, in some four, and in others five sounds. Some obscurity has also been thrown on the quality of vowel-sounds by the pronunciation being long or short; thus the a in fast, which by some is regarded as the short a in far, is by others considered as a distinct sound.
The different sounds of this vowel are recognised in the following words-fate, fat, far, fall; some distinguish two sounds more in the words fare and fast. When the a comes before r, many correct speakers certainly do give it a broader sound than the a in fate. This sound is produced by a wider aperture of the mouth, and seems to lie betwixt the a in fate and the a in far. Fat, far, and fast, are by some regarded as all having the same sound; but cer tainly, according to modern pronunciation, there is a marked distinction, especially betwixt the two first. The a in fast holds with many a place betwixt the two.
The first sound, commonly called the slender a, is the most contracted of the whole; but in many parts of the country it is too much contracted, having that sound which all will recognise in the stage pronunciation of the Yorkshire feather for father. sound is heard in Edinburgh, and in the extreme north of Scotland, where the slender a is pronounced very strongly in this manner. This defect is easily remedied, as was mentioned before, by desiring the pupil to widen the aperture of the mouth, coming near to that fifth sound of a in fare, or nearer to the sound resembling the bleating of the sheep. This bleating sound is offensively retained by others in the termination ashun; thus generation is pronounced nearly like genereshun. The second sound, as in fat, is sounded sometimes like the a in far, and, in some quarters of the island, approaching the a in fall; thus canal is sometimes sounded canawl.*
This is the sound which the English caricature in their neighbours, when they spell man mon. Many of the Irish produce this sound too much, pronouncing can nearly like cane. The third sound, as in far, is given in some districts in Scotland like the a in fall, but this is acknowledged by all as a vulgarism, and is
The intermediate a in fast is often heard in England as if modified by r-thus clasp is like clarsp, pass, parss. The extreme is adopted by some fashionable people, who pronounce master with the a in fat. Correctness lies between, and establishes the sixth sound. The fourth or round sound, as in fall, is unknown in several provincial dialects; in others it is given nearly the same as o in note. The following table arranges these various sounds in their natural order, beginning with the vowel produced by the greatest aperture, and proceeding to the one which is the most contracted. The pronunciation of this table, the pupil being asked if he feels sensible of contraction as he goes on, will establish several distinct sounds, and give him in a short time exactness and purity:
has three sounds, as in meet,* met,† and her.‡ The first sound is
of course avoided by the well-informed. It may be useful to notice, however, that many Scotsmen, especially from the provinces, in order to avoid this sound, run into an opposite extreme, and give the a in far with an attenuation of sound quite ridiculous.
* The first sound is violated by the Irish in such words as tea, key, decent, supreme, which are pronounced ta, ka. This is confined to the vulgar; but many, aware of the national peculiarity, shift the e in words such as great, which they pronounce greet. The Scotch do not give this sound with the same delicate contraction as the English, and they do not dwell sufficiently long upon it. In pronouncing the word feel, an Englishman will dwell twice as long on the vowel as a Scotsman.
† The second sound, as in met, is pronounced by the Irish like mit; thus gentleman is gintleman, and peasantry, pisantry. The Scotch give it the sound of a in fare, or perhaps a sound somewhat broader, approaching nearly to the a in fat. Its correct sound lies nearer to the English a in fame. The obscure sound is often given by slovenly speakers in Scotland like the a in pare; thus, perfect is given parefect. The concluding er is frequently by such speakers given like the ir in mirror; thus order is pronounced ordir.
The influence of the r on the sounds of several of the vowels has been mentioned by Walker. He mentions that when a or o come before a double r or single r, followed by a vowel, as in arable, carry, orator, horrid, they are considerably shorter than when the r is the final letter of the word, or when it is succeeded by another consonant, as in arbour, car, or for. In the same manner, he says i coming before the double r or single r, followed by a vowel, preserves its pure sound; thus ir in mirth sounds merth, but in mirror sounds with the second sound of i. Mr Walker's statement may lead to inaccuracies here. The a in carry is not merely shortened, but is given with the short sound, as in mat, a sound which Walker has made the short sound of the a in far, but which is now distinguished as a sharper sound. It has not been noticed by Mr Waiker that e, like i, is affected by the same circumstances; thus e in merry, very, are marked by him in the same way as in learn, mercy. Some have extended this principle to the letter u, distinguishing it in hurdle from the same letter in hurry.
produced by a greater contraction than a the longer approaching nearer to the palate. The second, or, as it is commonly called, the shut sound, has been spoken of in a former page. What is called the obscure sound, is heard in her, a sound which approaches nearly to the sound of u in but.
In this table, the pupil should be taught to give the e in the first line with sufficient contraction, and to prolong it.
mere here feel heal pier idea revere conceit + met bet set dreadful peasant merry very perfect mercy heard fern fervid earth.
I (Y is subject to the same rule)
has three sounds, as in fine, fin, and fir.* The first sound is a diphthong compounded of the a in father, and the first sound of e. The second sound Walker makes to be the short sound of e, and the third is an obscure sound akin to the obscure er.
fine dine I sigh mind kind idea final
has two sounds, as in note and not. This last sound is prolonged, according to Walker, in such words as or, for. The shortening effect of the r in such words as orator has been noticed. The first sound is produced by a protrusion of the lips, in the form of the letter itself the mouth not so hollow as in sounding a in hall. The second sound is reckoned the a in hall shortened.
In giving the first sound of this letter, many bring out the lips so much as to give it the sound of oo, thus most is sounded moost; others sound it like the diphthong ou, pronouncing it moust. Many of the Scotch give this sound impurely, pronouncing it nearly like the o in not. This defect may be removed quickly by desiring the pupil to protrude the lips, and produce the sound bordering almost on 00. The second sound, as in not, is often given with the first
* The Irish give the first sound as if it were compounded of the a in hall, and the e in mete. The Scotch mispronounce it in two ways; in such words as mind, find, they give it a thin sound, as if the first a and the first e were conjoined; and in such words as high, sigh, and the pronoun i, they seem to unite the third sound of a to the contracted a, as heard in Edinburgh. This fault is common in many of the English provinces. The second sound, as in pin, is also pronounced erroneously in two ways, first, by the vulgar, who give it an obscure sound approximating to the e in pen, and secondly, by many of the higher orders, who give it the same sound as long e; thus in is pronounced een, is, ees. This sound is in many places reckoned the mark of good speaking, and it has no doubt been resorted to, that it might form a contrast to the vulgar obscure sound noticed above. The same prolonging of the e is heard in the termination ision; thus decision is improperly pronounced de-seezhun. The obscure sound of i, as in virtue, is not given in Scotland with the same leaning to the u in but as in England, and when the English adopt the second sound of i before the r, as in mirror, irritate, spirit, the Scots give the obscure sound. In the termination ible, the second sound of i should be heard clearly.
†The sound of o in prove, as given by Walker, is an irregular sound of o, and I have not included it.
sound ill defined, or with the sound of u in nut. This error is corrected by desiring the pupil to sound it as if it were written naut. Some pupils find this to be difficult; the round sound of a requires a considerable rounding of the mouth, and when they are asked to give it quickly, as in not, they cannot unite exertion with rapidity. Even good speakers, who pronounce the word accurately and fully when single, do not give it its proper sound when united, as in cannot. Many even of the English err in this. Some have also a tendency to run this sound of o into u in many other words; thus conscious is kunscious-novel, nuvel-accomplish, accumplish; this is very common with those who affect correct speaking.
note only toll almost total foremost
not shot orator nor lord cannot.
has three sounds, the first as in use, the second in us, and the third in bull. The first is a diphthong compounded of the first sound of e, and the sound of u in bull; the third is the sound produced by the greatest protrusion of the lips.
The first sound is often mispronounced, suit being pronounced soot or shoot. This sound (00) is often heard in all syllables beginning with s or 1, d, t, or th. The analysis of the vowel needs only to be presented to the eye to cure this defect; thus super should be marked on a board or written before them seeooper, and the true pronunciation, though with a little exaggeration, will immediately follow. The second sound is often given in England like oo, thus trunk sounds troonk; and the third sound is often given short when it should be long, and long when it should be short; thus, to pull is pronounced like pool, and fool is sounded nearly like full. There is often, too, in the second sound, in such terminating syllables as duct, cious, tion, a tendency with many to pronounce it as if it were dict, shis, shin. In such words as regular, the u is often given obscurely.
sue lure duke plural blue tune fume
moon pool fool good pull full handful.
SEMI-VOWELS AND MUTES-DISTINCTNESS.
Purity of accent is much regulated by the sound of the vowels; distinctness, by the exact pronunciation of the consonants. We have seen that vowels are unobstructed sounds; it is now to be remarked that the partial or total interception of the voice by the lips, tongue, palate, and teeth, produces that modification of sound called a consonant. If the interception of the breath is total, the consonant can have no sound; thus p, t, k, are total interceptions by a strong compression of the lips, the tongue, and the palate, and their power is only felt when they come off or explode on a vowel, or intercept a vowel. These letters are therefore called mutes.
The same disposition of the organs with the sound directed to go forth partly through the nose and partly through the mouth, form b, d, and the sound of g in game; these are called by some semi-mutes, or demi-semi-vowels. The semi-vowels are not so much intercepted; thus, if the lips are closed, and the voice passes through the nose, the sound of m is produced; and if the fore part of the tongue be applied to the palate, with the breath going through the nose, n is produced; and if the tongue be drawn a little backward towards the throat, we produce the final sound of the words sing, ring. Let the nose be stopped, and if we then attempt to produce these, we will nearly articulate b, d, or g as in game, a thing which we may notice in the pronunciation of m, n, and ng, by persons labouring under a cold, when emission of breath through the nostrils is partially or totally intercepted. R is produced by the quivering of the tip of the tongue; s and by the escape of the air through the teeth. If the tongue is drawn up a little, and the breath intercepted, we have the sounds of sh and xh. If the tongue is protruded behind the upper teeth, we have the sounds of th in think and thee. The sound of g in gem, and of ch in chair, are composed, according to the generality of orthoepists, of d before sh, and t before sh, and Walker has marked these sounds with these letters united. The consonants have been also divided into vocals and whisperers, many vocals having their correspondent whisperers; thus the whisperer f has its vocal v; s has x; th, as in truth, has th as in thee; the g in age, and the j in jaunt, has the ch as in chair. In pronouncing the first of these letters, there is a mere emission of breath differently modified in each; in pronouncing the second, there is a humming sound perceptible. The mutes, although never whisperers, have their vocal correspondents, thus p has b, t has d, and the sound of k in kind has its vocal in g in egg; l, m, n, r, are all vocal.
The knowledge of the application of the organs in the production of consonants is important to the teacher and to the pupil. Many of the consonants are given feebly and loosely; in the lip-sounds, such as p and b, the lips are frequently not sufficiently compressed, and in those sounds where the tongue has a nice part to perform, as in t, d, or r, the organ is frequently not applied or exerted properly. In all such cases, it is important that the pupil should know the organ over which he is to exercise control, and the way in which he is to apply it. These three last letters are frequently mispronounced, especially in combination, and students should therefore have frequent exercises on them, with the sound recurring as frequently as possible. Sentences such as this should be pronounced frequently. "It is indeed to be dreaded that the danger will drive him distracted." Such sentences are preferable after a little progress has been made to a mere string of unconnected words ; in the latter case, the equal force given to each word enables them to pronounce the letters distinctly, and such an exercise is extremely useful to a beginner; but in a sentence when