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122 Psalm xviii. 1-16,
ANALYSIS OF ALL THE SIMPLE SOUNDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.-REMARKS ON ACCENT, &c.
ON THE ORGANS OF SPEECH. - DISTINCTION BETWEEN VOWELS AND
CONSONANTS. -DEFINITION OF BOTH. A BRIEF account of the organs of speech, and of the manner in which the sounds of the voice are made, is useful to every one who would learn to modulate those sounds with propriety. I
can see no good reason why books designed to teach us to read and speak, that is, to manage skilfully the human voice, should entirely omit every thing relating to the structure of its organs and the mode of their operation. How few, even among persons advanced in life, and, it might be added, among scholars too, understand the true distinction between a vowel and a consonant, or know how many of either our language contains ! They have been told, in spelling books, and occasionally elsewhere, that we have twenty-six letters, six of which are vowels, and the rest consonants; and nine hundred and ninety-nine out of a thousand learners are left to believe that we have just six vowel sounds in our language, no more nor less, and twenty consonants precisely. We have, indeed, just so many characters, called letters, in common use, which meet the eye in writings or in print; but so miserably imperfect are these characters as representatives of sounds, that they teach us nothing at all in relation to the number of the latter. The same character, in many instances, is made to represent several sounds, and the same sound is represented by several characters.
As a specimen of this perversion of all propriety in the use of characters, take the vowel sound as heard, not seen, in the following words: late, ail, veil, prey, pay, gauge, great, deign, eight, tete. Here are no fewer than ten characters, or combinations of characters, namely, a, ai, ei, ey, ay, au, ea, eig, eigh,