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Ellis, an English authority, maintains that in ask, fast, glance, &c., it is usual "to pronounce the clear vowel ah” (as in far), not only in London, but throughout the south of England, and that the sound of short a (as in and) is "seldom or never heard" in this class of words.
Bell, an English authority, remarks: "The extreme pronunciations (a in and and a in fur) are at the present day (1849) comparatively seldom heard. The precise quality of the prevailing intermediate sound cannot be correctly noted; for it ranges among different speakers through every practicable shade within these limits."
Fulton and Knight, authors of an English dictionary published in London in 1802, adopted the view that the sound of a in these words (to which sound the somewhat vague and unmeaning name of intermediate a has been given) is a shortened sound of a in far; and this view is that which has been substantially adopted in the latest revised dictionaries of Webster and Worcester.
Still we regard the remark of Bell, quoted above, as substantially cor rect. The so-called "intermediate " sound is something very indeterminate; and teachers, in the absence of any positive standard for the sound, must either adopt one of the two extremes (a in and, or a in fur), or they must hit upon some one of those medial "shades" to which Bell alludes.
§ 23. Diphthongal u. We quote the following remarks from Sargent's New Pronouncing Spelling-Book: "Long u (u= yoo) is generally heard pure in syllables ending in e mute, and when it is final in an accented syllable, or forms an accented syllable by itself as in cube, musing, unit, &c.; also when it ends or forms a syllable (unless preceded by the sound of r) either immediately before or after the accent, as in mutation, unite, penury, educate, &c.
"This sound of u is very decided when the letter that precedes it is a palatal or labial (k, p, b, f, v, m); and we rarely hear it robbed of its y quality in cube, pu'ny, abuse, refute, mute, view, &c. ; but most orthoëpists are agreed that after r long u drops its initial y element, and is equivalent to long oo (= û) in mood, as in rude, crude, intru'sion, er'udite, &c. It suffers the same loss after j, ch, and s, sounded as zh or sh, as in jury, chew, leisure, sure, &c.
"There is also a tendency to rid u of its y element after the lingual let ters t, d, l, n, especially after 1, as in lute, flute. But in conformity with the best usage we give long u after these letters its regular long mark, with the caution, that, though in such words as tune, gratitude, duke, duty, institute, numerous, new, &c., u is made to preserve its sound of yoo by the majority of cultivated speakers, yet after l (as in lute, lu'nar, flu'id, &c.) it must be slightly modified. Do not say lee-oot, flee-oot, &c. Smart and Cooley represent the modification thus: l'oot, fl'oot.
'Long u, while preserving its y element, loses a little of its sound of long oo when it occurs in certain unaccented terminations in -ure, as in nat'ure, creat'ure, ten'ure, &c. We represent this abated sound by putting the long mark under the letter thus (u).”
§ 24. Exercises in Articulation.
h exercising the voice on the elementary sounds (see § 3), first pronounce a word containing the sound, and then the sound independently, three or four times, thus: fut, ă, ă, ă. Several of the consonants, as they are heard at the beginning or at the end of a word, can be enunciated independently, although the aid of a vowel sound may at first seem indispensable. Do not confound the alphabetical names with the actual
The following Exercises contain nearly all the difficult consonant combinations in English speech. Let the word containing the combination first be distinctly enounced, and then the combination by itself, until practice shall make the utterance easy. Thus, at the beginning, let the word doom'd be enounced, and then that portion of it only which is represented by the letters md. The initial letters of the consonant combinations are here given in the order which the consonant sounds occupy in the list of elementary sounds, § 3. Where an apostrophe is placed in the examples, a letter that ought to be unsounded is omitted.
§ 25. CONSONANT COMBINATIONS.
Md, mdst, mz, mp: doom'd, doom'dst, tombs, imp.
nts, ntst, ns, nst: taunts, taunt'st, wince, canst.
nth, nths, nch, ncht, nsh: plinth, months, flinch, flinch'd, avalanche.
lb, lbd, lbz, ld: bulb, bulb'd, bulbs, hold.
Idz, ldst, lj, ljd: holds, hold'st, bulge, bulg'd.
Im, Imd, Imz, In: whelm, whelm'd, whelms, fall'n.
lv, lvd, luz, lz: shelve, shelv'd, shelves, halls.
lk, lks, lkt, lkts: silk, silks, mulct, mulcts.
Ifs, lft, ls, lst: gulfs, delft, false, fall'st.
rvdst, ruz, rz, rk: curvdst, curves, wares, hark.
rst, rsts, rth, rths: burst, bursts, hearth, hearths.
pl, plst, pld, pldst: pluck, ripple, rippl'st, rippl'd, rippl'dst.
ps, pst, pth, pths: whips, whipp'st, depth, depths.
fl, fist, fld, fldst: flame, trifle, trifl'st, trifl'd, trifl'dst.
vld, vldst, vlz, vn : driv'l'd, driv'l'dst, driv'ls, driv❜n. vnz, vnth, vz, vst: heav'ns, elev'nth, lives, liv'st.
thn (th aspirate), thnd, thnz: strength'n, strength'n'd, strength'ns. tht, thndst, ths, thr: betroth'd, length'n'dst, truths, throb. thd (th vocal), thz, that: wreath'd, wreaths, wreath'st.
tl, tlst, tld, tldst: settle, settl'st, settl'd, settl'dst.
tlz, tr, ts, tst: settles, trust, combats, combať st. dl, dist, dlz, dn: kindle, kindl'st, kindles, hard'n.
dnst, dnd, dndst, dnz: hard'n'st, hard'n'd, hard'n'dst, hard'ns. dr, dz, dst, dth, dths: dread, deeds, didst, breadth, breadths. kl, klst, kld, kldst: truckle, truckl'st, truckl'd, truckl'dst. klz, kn, knst, knd: truckles, black'n, black'n'st, black'n'd. kndst, knz, kr: black'ndst, black'ns, crime.
kt, kts, ks: rocked, acts, racks, axe, six.
gd, gdst, gl, glst: fagg'd, fagg'dst, glow, mangle, mangl'st.
sl, slst, sld, sldst: slay, nestle, nestl'st, nestl'd, nestl'dst.
§ 26. Exercises in Vowel Sounds. In the following exercises when one letter of a vowel digraph is marked, it is to be understood as representing the sound of that digraph, and the other letter is to be regarded as silent; as in maid, bread, &c.
SIMPLE VOWEL SOUNDS.
Ah, äre, ärm, bär, bäth, hälf, heärth, läugh.
§ 27. COMPOUND VOWEL SOUNDS.
Heed the remarks § 23 in regard to the sound of long u (= ew). Do not pervert the pure sound of ou (=ow) into ee-ou, or of oi into long i, faults most offensive to well-educated ears.
bīte, blind, guide, height, lies, rye, skỹ, vīne.
28. LONG VOWELS BEFORE r. — See § 11.
Care, daring, fairy, gáirish, láir, parent, endearing, imperious, serious, aspiring, admirer, inquirer, míry, wiry, adorer, glōrious, glory, porous, portal, story, cũrious, demûre, endurance, impurity, puritan, security.
§ 29. UNACCENTED Vowels.
In words ending in unaccented -ary, -ery, -ory, the vowel before r is usually short, and should be sounded accordingly, though without stress.
In unaccented syllables the short sounds of a and e are relatively fainter than in accented syllables, but they should not degenerate into the sound of ŭ or t. We indicate the abated short sound by putting the breve under the letter instead of over it.
Apothecary, luminary, salutary, solitary, stationary, cemetery, confectionery, millinery, stationery, allegory, desultory, interrogatory, monitory, observatory, oratory. adage, cabbage, captain, mountain, fountain, villain. nectar, dormant, rival, fervent, fuel, colony, ivory.
§ 30. Inflection, Emphasis, &c.
Inflections are tones of speech produced either by an upward or a downward slide of the voice. In the question, "Will you go' or stay`?" there is an upward slide of the voice at go and a downward slide at stay, These are called, one the Rising, the other the Falling Inflection. The former may be marked by the acute accent ('), the latter by the grave accent (`).
Besides these, there is the compound inflection, or circumflex, in which the two inflections are united in utterance; a falling or assertive tone being followed by a rising or querulous one, or the reverse taking place; as in uttering, with an ironical expression, such a passage as the following: "Brave man to strike a woman! courageous chief!" To indicate the Circumflex, this mark (^) may be used when the falling inflection follows the rising; and this (v) to denote the reverse.
Direct questions, which can be answered by yes or no, generally take the rising inflection; as "Can he read'?" The answers to such questions generally take the falling inflection; as, "He can."
But questions of a positive character, where we anticipate or take for granted the answer, receive the falling inflection; as in "Is n't she beauti ful?" "Isn't this a lovely day`?"
Indirect questions, and those which cannot be answered by yes or no, generally take the falling inflection, as "Where is he going?" The reason is, that, the main fact of the sentence being undoubted and taken for granted, there is an implied reference to this which dictates a fall in the
The pause of suspension in incomplete sentences usually takes the rising inflection, while the termination of a sentence making complete sense requires the falling.
The rising inflection is thus associated with what is incomplete in sense, or dependent; with what is relative, doubtful, purely interrogative, or supplicatory; while the falling inflection is associated with what is complete or independent in sense, or intended to be received as such; with whatever is positive, dogmatic, or imperious.
§ 31. Continuative Tone. The continuative tone, by some writers called "The Slur," is formed by avoiding any marked inflection. It is used for the unemphatic pronunciation of the minor words of a sentence; of those passages which have little relation to the primary sense, or those with which the hearer may be supposed to be pre-acquainted.
A parenthesis, as it is a sentence within a sentence, must be generally uttered in this continuative tone; that is, it must be kept as clear as possible from the principal sentence, by a lower tone of voice, by accents approaching a level, and generally by a quicker rate of utterance. The power of lowering the voice, and commencing a sentence or clause of a sentence in a different pitch from what preceded, is a qualification indispensable to a good reader, and the parenthesis affords the best opportunity for acquiring it, because the rule is constant.
Let the learner imagine, in pronouncing the principal sentence, he is to