Page images

The other diphthongal vowel u is composed of the French i, pronounced as dosely as possible to their diphthong ou, or the English de and 0, perfectly equivalent to the sound the French would give to ihe letters you, and which is exactly the sound the English give to the plural of the second personal pronoun.

The diphthong oi or on is composed of the French â and i; thus toy and boy would be exactly ex. pressed to a Frenchman by writing them tới, bái.

The diphthongs ou and or, when sounded like ou, are composed of the French â and the diphthong ou; and the English sounds of thou and nou may be expressed to a Frenchiman by spelling them thiou and nãou.

W is no more than the French diphthong ou ; thus IVest is equivalent to Ouest, and wall to oudll.

Y is perfectly equivalent to the French letter of that name, and inay be supplied by i; thus yoke, you, &c. is expressed by ioke, iou, &c.

J, or I consonant, must be pronounced by prefixing to the French j: thus joy, joy, &c. sound to a Frenchman as if spelled dje, dja:, &c. If any difficulty be found in forming this combination of sounds, it will be removed by pronouncing the d, ed, and spelling these words eljé, edjâi, dic.

Ch, in English words not derived trom the Greek, Latin, or French, is pronounced as if t were prefixed; thus the sound of chair, cheese, chain, &c. would be understood by a Frenchman as if the words were written tchére, tchize, tihene.

Sh in English is expressed by ch in French; thus shame, share, &c. would be spelled by a Frenchman chéme, chére, &c.

The ringing sound ng in long, song, &c. may be perfectly conceived by a pupil who can pronounce the French word Encore,

as the first syllable of this word is exacily correspondent to the sound in those English words; and for the formation of it, see Principles, No. 57; also the word ENCORE.

But the greatest difficulty every foreigner finds in pronouncing English, is the lisping consonant th. This, it may be observed, has, like the other consonants, a sharp and nat sound ; sharp as in thin, bath; flat as in thut, with. To acquire the true pronunciation of this difficult combination, it may be proper to begin with those words where it is initial :'ani first, let the pupil protrude his tongue a liite way beyond the teeth, and press it between them as if going to bite the tip of it ; while this is doing, if he wishes to pronounce thin, let him hiss as if to sound the letter s; and after the hiss, let him draw back his tongue within his teeth, and pronounce the preposition in, and thus will the word thin be perfectly pronounced. If he would pronounce tlut, set him place the tongue between the teeth as before; and while he is hissing as if to sound the letter 2, let him withdraw his tongue into his mouth, and immediately pronounce the preposition at. To pronounce this combination when final in bath, let him pronounce ba, and protrude the tongue bevould the teeth, pressing the tongue with them, and hissing as is to sound $; if he would pronounce wilh, let him first form wi, put the tongue in the same position as before, and hiss as if to sound z. It will be proper to make the pupil dwell some time with the tongue beyond the teeth in order to form a habit, and to pronounce daily some words out of a Dictionary beginning and ending with these letters.

These directions, it is presumed, it properly attended to, will be sufficient to give such foreigners as understand French, and have not access to a master, a competent knowledge of English pronunciation ; but to render the sounds of the vowels marked by figures in this Dictionary still more easily to be comprehended, with those English words which exemplify the sounds of the vowels, I have associated such French words as have vowels exactly corresponding to them, and which inmediately convey the true English pronunciation. These should be committed to memory, or written down and held in his hand while the pupil is inspecting the Dictionary.

Perhaps the greatest advantage to foreigners and provincials will be derived from the classifica. tion of words of a similar sound, and drawing the line between the general rule and the exception. This has been an arduous task; but it is hoped the benefit arising from it will amply repay it. When the numerous varieties of sounds annexed to vowels, diphthongs, and consonants, lie scattered without bounds, a learner is bewildered and discouraged froin attempting to distinguish them; but when they are all classed, arranged, and enumerated, the variety seems less, the number smaller, and the distinction easier. What an inextricable labyrinth do the diphthongs ei and ou form as they lieloose in the language! but classed and arranged as we find them, No. 226, &c. and 313, &c. tho con usion vanishes, they become much less formidable, and a learner has it in his power, by repeat. ing, hem daily, to become master of them all in a very little time.

The English'accent is often an insurmountable obstacle to foreigners, as the rules for it are so various and the exceptions so numerous; but let the inspector consult the article Accent in the Principles, particularly No. 492, 505, 506, &c. and he will soon perceive how much of our language is regulary accented, and how much that which is irregular is facilitated by an enumeration of the greater number of exceptions.

But scarcely any method will be so useful for gaining the English accent as the reading of verse This will naturally lead the ear to the right accentuation ; and though a different position of the accent is frequently to be met with in the beginning of a verse, there is a scthcient regularity to render the pronouncing of verse a powerful means of obtaining such a distinction of force and feebleness as is commonly called the accent: for it may be observed, that a foreigner is no less distinguishable by placing an arcent upou certain words to which the English give no stress, than by placmg the stress upon a wrong syllable. Thus it a foreigner, when he calls for bread at table, by saying, gire me some bread, laws an equal stress upon every word, though every word should be pronounced with its exact sound, we immediately perceive he is not a native. An Englishman would pronounce these four words like two, with the accent on the first syllable of the first, and on the last syllable of the last, as if written grime somebred; or rather, girme sumbred; or more commonly, though vulgarly, grimme somebred. Verse may sometimes induce a foreigner, as it does sometimes injudicious natives, to lay the accent on a syllable in long words which ought to have none, as in a couplet of Pope ś Essay on Criticism:

“ False eloquence, like the prismatic glass,

" Its gaudy colours spreads on every place." Here a foreigner would be apt to place an accent on the last syllable of eloquence as well as the first, which would be certainly wrong ; but this fault is so tritling, when compared with that of laying the accent on the second syllable, that it almost vanishes from observation ; and this misaccentua. tion, verse will generally guard him from. The reading of verse, therefore, will, if I am not miste kon, be found a powerful regulator, both of accent and emphasis,






Defuntoon of vowels and consonants

Ana sa al table of the vowels

Diperbongs and triphthongs enumerated


Coomants distinguisbed into classes


Arrigural table of the consonants


ORAK k formation of the letters


Oi the quantity and quality of the vowels


01 the indsence of accent on the sounds of the letters


The letter A and its different sounds


The butter E and its different sounds


The letter I and its diferent sounds


Tbe letter O and its different sounds


"The letter l' and its ditierent sounds


The vowel Y and its different sounds


The vowel W and its different sounds


of the diphthongs called semi-consonants


of the diphthongs AE, AI, 40, and all the rest in their alphabetical order


04 the sounds of the consonants


B, *hen mute


C. It ditirent sounds


D, its different sounds


Improperty changed into T. Dr. Lowth's opinion of this change in certain verbs, consider-

ed and corrected


F. its ditierent sounds


G, its different sounds


Galway, mute before N in the same syllable at the end of a word, exemplified in the words

*p**, ppugn, propugni, erpign, impregn, &c. with the authorities of the most respectable



H, when sounded, and wheo mute


J, its uniform sound


, when sounded, and when mute


L when sounded, and when mute


.. wtep sounded, and when mute


X. sben it has its baso-guttural sound


Waen it has its ringing sound in the participial termination ing


P. when sounded, and when mute


PH, is uniform sound

9.ts diferent sounds, when combined with u


R. when its sound is transposed


When it is to be pronounced rough, and when smooth


8. ita different sounds


When it is to be pronounced like z


W bra it is to be pronounced like sh and ch


Mr. Surridan's errour in this point detected


T. it different sounds


How it slides into ship the numerous termination tion


Why it sbdes into this sound before u, preceded by the accent


Mr Sheridan's erroar in this point detected
TH. its diferent sounds


When the h is silent in this combination


1. wben silent


l' its antorm sound


Wwbea silent, and when sounded

474, 475

1. is enactly similar to ks, and liable to the same alterations of sound


Mr Sheridan'ı ertour in this point detected


Va a coasonant, and its different sounds

2 properly resolved by Dr. Johnson into s hard
Its true name lizard


Ius different sounds


Of the Nature of Accent.





. 491





515, 513


The tendency of compounds to contract the sound of the simple

No. 515

Secondary accent


The shortening power of this accent


On Quantity.

The shortening power of the secondary accent exemplified in the uncertainty and inconsis-

tency of Mr. Sheridan and Dr. Kenrick in their division of words into syllables


On Syllabication.

Syllabication different according to the different ends to be ittained by it

Syllabication exhibiting the sound of a word, depending, in some measure, on the pature of the

letters prior to actual pronunciation


The almost total independence of the English quantity on that of the Greek and Latin, exem-

plified by an enumeration of most of the dissyllables in our language derived from the Latin

and Greek


The only possible case in which we can argue from the Latin quantity to the English


Dissyllables from the Saxon and French languages enumerated .


Causes of the prevalence of shortening the first syllable of dissyllables from these languages - ibid.
Of the quantity of unaccented syllables ending with a vowel


Uncertainty and inconsistency of Dr. Kenrick in his notation of the quantity of these vowels ibid.

Uncertainty and inconsistency of Mr. Sheridan and Dr. Kenrick in marking the quantity

of these vowels


Exception to the general rule of pronouncing these syllables when e is folbwed by ”


Uncertainty of our best orthoepists in their syllabication of such words, exemplified by a list

from Sheridan, Kenrick, Scoti, and Perry


Peculiar delicacy of the sound of these syllables


Tendency of o before r to go into the same obscurity as e, exemplified in the diversity and

inconsistency of our best orthỏepists in marking these syllables


Table of the simple and diphthorgal vowels, reierred to as a key to the ugures over the let.

sers in the Dictionary


[merged small][ocr errors]

ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION. 1 The First Principles or-Elements of Pronunciation are Letters

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]






U :

u or you

o consonant or vue W

double u Xı




zed, or izzard. (483) 2. To these may be added certain combinations of letters sometimes used in printing; as ct, st, sh. sk, ff, ss, si, ssi, fi, ffi, fil, and &c. or and per se and, or rather et per se and ; c, sl, d, f, tế, *, tà, tk, 5, 6, 7, si, f, f, *.

3 Our letters, says Dr. Johnson, are commonly reckoned twenty-four, because anciently i and jes well as u and r, were expressed by the same character ; but as these letters, which had always as rent powers, bare now different forms, our alphabet may be properly said to consist of twenty. & irtters

4. In considering the sounds of these first principles of langage, we find that some are so simple and anmused, that there is nothing required but the opening of the mouth to make them ander, stod, and to form different sounds. Whence they have the names of vowels, or voices or vocal kenda Da the contrary, we find that there are others, whose pronunciation depends on the parular application and use of every part of the mouth, as the teeth, the lips, the tongue, the pa. shib yet cannot make any one perfect sound but by their union with those vocal sounds ; and these are called constants, or letters sounding with other letters.

Definition of Vowels and Consonants. 3. Vowels are generally reckoned to be five in number; namely, a, e, i, o, u; y and w are called 10s when they end a syllable or word, and consonants when they begin one.

Toe definition of a vowel, as little liable to exception as any, seems to be the following: A on is a simple sound formed by a continued effusia of the breath, and a certain conformation er le south, without any alteration in the position, or any motion of the organs of speech, from

Duxnt be Focal sound commences till it ends. 7. A consonant may be defined to be an interruption of the effusion of vocal sound, arising from er appixation of the organs of speech to each other. & Arrerably to this detinition, vowels may be divided into two kinds, the simple and compound Ise simple e, e. o, are those which are forned by one conforination of the organs oply; that is, the arrans renain exactly in the same position at the end as at the beginning of the letter; where to the compound vowels i and u, the organs alter their position before the letter is coinpletely sounded; nay, these letters, when commencing a sylabie, do not only require a different position utae urgans in order to form them perfectly, but demand such an application of the tongue to

for the fouth, as is inconsistent with the nature of a pure vowel; for the first of these iruss, t, when soanded alone, or ending a syllable with the accent upon it, is a real diphthoog,

voed of the sounds of u in father, and ofe in the, exactly correspondent to the sound of the ****, and when this letter commences a syllable, as in min-ion, pin-ion, &c. the sound of e with ** aut terimgates is squeezed into a consonant sound, like the double é beard in queen, different tashe simple sount of that letter in queen, and this squeezed sound in the commencing i makes

it exactly similar to y in the same situation; which, by all grammarians, is acknowledged to be a consonant.* The latter of these compound vowels, u, when initial, and not shortened by a con. sonant, commences with this squeezed sound of e equivalent to the y, and ends with a sound given to no in woo and ea', which makes its name in the alphabet exactly similar to the pronoun you. If, therefore, the ammon definition of a vowel be just, these two letters are so far from being simple vowels, that i hey may more properly be called semi-consonant diphthongs.

9. That y and w a e consonants when they begin a word, and vowels when they end one, is generally acknowled, ed by the best grammarians; and yet Dr. Lowth has told us, that w is equivalent to 00 ; but if tais were the case, it would always admit of the particle an before it: for though we have no word in the language which commences with these letters, we plainly perceive, that if we had such a word, it would readily admit of an before it, and consequently that these let terz ar- not equivalent to w. Thus we find, that the common opinion, with respect to the double capacity of these letters, is perfectly just.

io. Besides the vowels already mentioned, there is another simple vowel sound found under the op in the words woo and coo; these letters have, in these two words, every property of a pure vowel, but when found in food, mood, &c. and in the word 100, pronounced like the adjective two : here the 00 has a squeezed sound, occasioned by contracting the mouth, so as to make the lips nearly touck each other; and this makes it, like the i and u, not so much a double vowel, as a sound between a vowel and a consonant.

Classification of Voroels and Consonants. 11. Vowels and consonants being thus defined, it will be necessary, in the next place, to arrange them into such classes as their similitudes and specific differences seem to require.

12. Letters, therefore, are oaturally divisible into vowels and consonants. 13. The vowels are, a, e, i, o, u, and y and w when ending a syllable.

14. The consonants are, b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, X, , and y and w when beginning a syllable.

15. The vowels may be subdivided into such as are simple and pure, and into such as are compound and impure. The simple or pure vowels are such as require only one conformation of the organs to form them, and no motion in the organs while forming.

16. The compound or impure vowels are such as require more than one conformation of the or. gans to form them, and a motion in the organs while forming. These observations premised, we may call the following scheme

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

00 moon

[ocr errors]

Diphthongs and Triphthongs enumerated. 17. Two vowels forming but one syllable are generally called a diphthong, and three a triphthong: these are the following ae Cæsar ei ceiling

od coat

vi languid
ai aim
co people

de economy

iay buy
ao gaol
eu feud

oi voice

aye (for ever)
au taugi
ew jewel

eau beauty
aw law
ey they

ou found

eori plenteous
ay say
ia poniard

ieu adieu
eu clean
je friend

oy boy

iew view
ce reed
io passion

ué mansuetude oeu manæuvre. • How so accurate a grammarian as Dr. Lowth could pronounce so definitely on the nature of y and insist on its being always a vowel, can only be accounted for by considering the small atiention which is generally paid to this part of granwar. His words are these :

""The same sound which we express by the initial y, our Saxon ancestors in many instances expressed by the vowel e ; as euwer, your ; and by the vowel i ; as iw, yew ; long, yoring. In the word yew the initial y has precisely the same sound with i in the words vw, licu, adieu : the i is acknowledged to be a vowel in these latier; how then can the y, which has the very same sounil, possibly be a consonant in the former? Its initial sound is generally like that of i in shire, or e nearly ; it is formed by the opening of the mouth without any motion or contact of the parts : in a word, it has every property of a vowel

, and not one of a consonant.” Introd. to Eng. Gram, page 3. Thus far the learned hishop; who has too fixed a fame to suffer any diminution by a mistake in so triding a part of literature as this: but it may be asked, if y has every property of a vowel and not one of a consonant, why, when it begins a word, does it not admit of the euphonic article an before it?

An ignorance of the real composition of w, and a want of hnowing that it partook of the nature of a consonant, bas occasioned a great diversity and uncertainty in prefixing the indelinite article an before it. Our ancestors, judga ing of its nature from its name, never

suspected that it was not a pure vowel, and constantly prefixed the article an be fore nouns beginning with this letter : as an union, aa useful book. They were confirmed in this opinion by finding the an always adapted to the short th as an umpire, an umbrella, without ever dreaming that the short u is a puro vowel, and essentially different from the long one. But the moderns, not resting in the name of a letter, and conkulting their ears rather than their eyes, tave frequently placed the a instead of or before the long u, and we have seen a union, a university, a useful book, from some of the most respectable pens of the present age. Nor can we doubt a morpent of the propriety of this orthography when we reflect that these words actually begin to the car with y, and might be spelled younion, youniversity, youseful, and can therefore no more adink of en before them than year and youth. See Remarks on the word An in this Dictionary.

« PreviousContinue »