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eyes; and in words derived from the Greek and written originally with u; as, system, sympathy, asylum.
W, is often used instead of u, after a vowel, to form a dipthong; as, raw, paw, grew, view, vow, bow, flowing, lowness.
The conjunction of two vowels to make one sound, is called a dipthong; as ea, in the word meat; ei, in veil; oi, in oil; ou, in bound. The conjunction of three vowels, forming one sound, is named a tripthong; as eau, in the word beauty; iew, in view.
When both the vowels of a dipthong are sounded distinctly, that dipthong is said to be a proper dipthong, as oi, in choice; ou, in bounce.
The dipthong is called improper, when only one of its component vowels is sounded, as ea, in feat, eagle, seal; and oa, in boat, doat, moat. Ae, is sometimes found in Latin words not completely naturalised in our language; but is no English dipthong; and is more properly expressed by e single; as, Cesar, Eneas.
Letters, which can be sounded only in combination with vowels, are named consonants, from the Latin word signifying to sound together.
W and y, are regarded as consonants when they begin a word or syllable; but placed in any other situation, they become vowels.
Consonants, which, without the aid of a vowel, give only an imperfect sound, are called semivowels. These are l, m, n, f, s.
Those consonants which readily unite with other consonants, are named liquids; and these are, l, m, n, r.
Such consonants as cannot be sounded but in conjunction with some vowel, are called mutes; these are b, c, d, g, k, p, q, and t.
SECT. 2. Concerning the sounds which the letters of the English alphabet express.
SOUNDS OF THE VOWELS.
This letter has three variations of sound according as it is combined with other letters, namely, the open, the slender, and the broad.
1. The open sound, formed by the mere opening of the mouth, as in the words father, glass, fancy, land, man, congratulate, bran which appears to be the primitive sound of a, since it seems to depend upon situation, much less than the other two; and since the first of those sounds seems to be composed of the two characters, a and i, and the latter of the two characters a, u.
2. The long, or slender sound, as prolonged
by e at the end of the syllable in which it is found, or by being placed before, tion; as in the words fame, same, lame, bane, face, mane, and in creation, profanation, generation, salvation, sanctification.
3. The broad sound, as, in the words small, call, all, tall, wall.
The letter a combines to form dipthongs, only with i or y, u or w; as in plain, wain, gay, play, say, day, where it is lengthened into the slender sound, and in raw, maw, slaughter, daughter, which connection gives it the broad sound; but the words, aunt, flaunt, gauntlet, laughter, and some others, are exceptions to this.
This letter, which occurs the most frequently of any, in the English language, has three sounds. Long, as in scene, severe, glebe; short, as in cellar, men, then, bed, them; and an obscure and nearly imperceptible sound, frequently found in the end of words; as in open, thistle, marble, centre, apple.
Before a double consonant, or two consonants, e is always short, as in the words vex, perplex, relent, assent, recess, medlar, reptile, serpent.
E at the end of a word, is always mute, excepting in monosyllables in which is no other vowel, as the, he, she; and in proper names and Greek derivatives, as Penelope, Phebe, Derbe, catastrophe It is then used to soften
or modify the foregoing consonant, as in the words, hedge, force, oblige, tame, since, rage, blame; or to lengthen the preceding vowel, as ban, bane, can, cane; pin, pine; tun, tune; fir, fire; tub, tube.
Almost all those words which now terminate in consonants, formerly ended in e, as year, yeare; wilderness, wildernesse; and this e probably, with its attendant consonant, constituted a distinct syllable, though it has been wholly
The final e does not lengthen the preceding vowel invariably; as in glove, live, give.
E forms a dipthong with a, and is then generally sounded like e long, as in the words, clear, dear, near, cleaver, appear.
E forms a dipthong with i, and then it has the sound of e long, as in seize, perceive, deceit; or of a long, as in deign, feign, neighbour; or of i short, as foreign, sovereign, forfeit.
Combined with u, it sounds like u long and soft, as in feud; so, also, when joined with w, as in dew, new.
United with o, the letter e has the sound of e long, as in people; or of e short, as in leopard, jeopardy; or, sometimes, that of u short, as in dungeon, luncheon, sturgeon.
The letter e forms a tripthong with a and u; and the sound produced is that of u; as in the words beauty, beautiful.
E joined with y, when the accent falls on it, is sounded like a long, as in grey, bey, convey; yet in the words key and ley, it has the sound of e long.
The letter i has two sounds, the one long; as in the words, line, mine; the other short, as in pin, sin. The long sound of i is always, in monosyllables, marked by the e final, as thin, thine; lin, line.
Before r, it is frequently sounded like u short, as in the words dirt, smirk, mirth; while in other words, it has the sound of e long; as machine, magazine.
I and o, when the first of those vowels is accented, form two distinct syllables, as in priority, superior, violet, violence.
In the terminations, tion and sion, i assumes the sound of sh, and gives to the succeeding o, that of u, as termination, salvation, pronounced terminashun, salvashun; but when the t is preceded by s or x, this effect does not take place, as in combustion, digestion, question, permixtion.
I, forms a dipthong with e, and then takes the sound of long e, as in shield, wield, field; ex-. cept in the word friend, where it is sounded like e short.
It makes a tripthong with eu, as in lieu, and with ew, as in view, and in both cases, has the sound of long u.