Imagens da página

This exercise may be supposed to represent a list of words, each word having two syllables, the first syllable of each word containing a sub-vowel element and a vowel element; the last syllable of each word containing the cognate aspirate element with the same vowel. So that the only difference between the two syllables of each word, consists in the consonant element being sub-vowel in the one, and aspirate in the other.

Numerous errors are daily committed in the common utterance of language, involving the neglect of this distinction; the sub-vowels are confounded with their cognate aspirates. We often hear the element B substituted for its cognate “p,' as in the word Jupiter sounded with the sub-vowel 'b;' "Jubiter ;'' Baptist pronounced · Babtist;' and sometimes the opposite error is committed, as in the word “Jacob' sounded "Jacup.'

The sub-vowel element represented by D' is sometimes incorrectly pronounced like its cognate aspirate "T,' as in the word dreadful pronounced more like dretful.' Sometimes the converse, as "pardner' for partner ;' here the sub-vowel is used wrongly for the aspirate sound.

The aspirate element represented by 'k’ is misused for the sub-vowel sound, cognate to it, represented by g (hard g) as in the word 'indefatigable ;' the opposite fault has been committed in the word “moccasin,' sometimes called 'moggasin.'

The aspirate represented by 'f' or 'ph’ is used for subvowel ',' as in the word 'nephew,' where the correct sound is sub-vowel.

The aspirate th' for the sub-vowel th as beneath and underneath' for 'beneath' and 'underneath.'

The aspirate “s' for the sub-vowel « z,' as in the words disease,'Israel,' dishonor,'' hesitate,' and many others frequently pronounced aspirate in the first syllable. Sometimes the sub-vowel sound is heard for the aspirate, as in the word

possess' and also in " rise' (when a noun). The sub-vowel sound zh' is frequently used for the aspirate sound sh,' as in the words “ Asia,'· Persia,' and 'cynosure.' The cognates represented by J and Ch are seldom confounded, so far as I have observed, unless by foreigners or persons addicted to German provincialisms.

The sub-vowel sound of æ (gz) is often used indiscriminately for the aspirate sound (ks). The former sound (sub-vowel) is correct in the words “exact,' “exempt,' "example,' “exonerate,' exhibit;' but the aspirate (ks) in the words "exile,' "exotic,' exoteric,' exorcise,' exhibition,' &c.

And lastly, the sub-vowel sound of W is often used instead of the aspirate 'wh' in the words which, why, when, where, what, while, and their compounds also in the words white, wharf, whistle, whisper, wheat, whist, whale, wheel, wheeze, whelm, whet, whey, whiff, whig, whip, whim, whisk, whirl, . whiz, whittle, whitsun, and some few others. These words, and such as are derived in some way from them, constitute nearly all which are in common and frequent use, and thus liable to be mispronounced by substituting the sub-vowel sound which is represented by 'w' for the aspirate which is represented by ówh,' but would be still better represented by hw.'



The object of these exercises being to teach the subject of pronunciation, including accent and the various kinds of force, they are interrupted by such definitions and explanations as our progress may render expedient and useful. ACCENT is the term used to denote that force or stress of voice which is applied to a syllable to distinguish it from another syllable in loudness. With this definition of accent we are prepared to proceed to exercises constructed with reference to perfecting our pronunciation in this respect. In a more advanced stage of our progress, it will be seen that a great essential to correct and elegant reading is involved in the manner of producing our accent.

We will suppose the preceding exercise to have been performed as it is most likely it was performed; namely, with accent upon the first of the two syllables in each word. Let the same exercise now be repeated with the accent marked strongly upon the second syllable in each word, and it will be perceived at once that there is a strong tendency to slight the pronunciation of the first or unaccented syllable of each word, making the vowel in that syllable an indefinite or obscure sound, much like that of short ŭ, as būpā būpä būpą būpă, &c.; and this fault runs throughout the common pronunciation of our language. When schoolmasters endeavor to correct the careless manner of pronouncing the unaccented vowels, their pupils either disregard the instruction altogether, or commit the grosser fault of giving a sort of accent to unaccented vowels. It is not here meant that no schoolmaster ever yet comprehended the difference between accent and correctness of vowel sound; only that pupils seldom use both correctly.

Should any earnest student strive to get the benefits legitimately belonging to such exercises as this one and that immediately following, without the aid of a teacher, I would recommend such to see to it that the accent be strongly marked and the unaccented syllables be uttered in most striking contrast with the accented ones, as to loudness alone, carefully preserving the vowel sound in each light syllable, and making it precisely like the accented one, excepting only as to loudness. This is rarely done well without a teacher.

The next exercise will be especially calculated to give the pupil a command over this indispensable element in good reading, viz.: the true vowel sound on unaccented syllables. This depends upon the right management of accent; without which the attainment of good and correct reading must be regarded as a hopeless task.


We have only to repeat the last or aspirate syllable of each word in the preceding exercise, in order to form words of three syllables. Bāpā, in the foregoing, represented a word of two syllables; we now repeat the last one, and this gives us bapapa, representing a word of three syllables, having the same vowel sound in each syllable. Each word has a different vowel element, but the syllables of each word have all the same vowel sound.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »