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COMBINATIONS OF CONSONANT ELEMENTS.
One of the difficulties in pronouncing the English language arises from the harsh combinations of consonants, and the rapid changes necessary to be made in the position of the organs of speech, in order to give full utterance to the more complicated syllables; the consonants, for instance, in the common words 'fifth' and clothes,' are daily omitted or imperfectly uttered, even by persons whose education would warrant us in expecting correctness of speech. Those whose usual habit of carelessness have led to so corrupt a pronunciation as this, would do well to practice the following table, involving, as it does, some of the most complicated of consonant combinations.
EXERCISE No. 9. Under Exercise No. 9 we merely repeat the practice of Exercise No. 4, for final stress, as a preparation for the complicated and harsh combinations, which follow in Nos. 10 and 11, thus:-
These are difficult combinations, and require a considerable effort of the vocal powers; in the last two lines of these imaginary words of four syllables, the utmost effort of respiration will be necessary in order to give distinctness to the sub-vowels z and zh, j and x; otherwise these elements will not be distinguished by the ear from their cognate aspirates in the latter syllables of the same words, in which they respectively occur. The effort required for such forcible utterance of syllables, is not an effort which will injure; but, on the contrary, one which must inevitably have the effect to strengthen the voice. Exercises less severe than these, would not be sufficient to prepare us for such combinations as are often found in our language. But having faithfully exercised the organs of articulation upon such combinations, until they can be distinctly uttered with considerable rapidity, we shall be prepared for such as are found among the more difficult of the words and sentences which follow :
Arm, arms, arm’d, arm’st, arm’dst, arbitrary, armament.
breadth, breadths, bragged, brag'd’st, backed, bulge, bulged, breast, breasts, brain, blacken, blackens, blackened, black
en’st, blacken’dst. Candle, candles, chips, cliffs, cleaves, crony, cranny. Deeds, dread, drone, drear, dreary, dream, dreadful. Curve, curves, curved, curved'st, curvest, curricle. Elf, elves, Elbe, elm, elms, entomb’d, engulph’d, emerged. Fall, falls, fall’st, false, flame, frame, flinched, fleeced. Grave, graves, glare, grain, grained, gland, grand, grasp. Health, healths, hung, hang’d, harp, harped, harp’st, help’st. Imprisoned, imprison'st, imprison’dst, prison, prisms. Laugh, laugh’st, latch, latched, latch’st, lamb, lambs. Mask, masks, mask'd, mask'st, must, must'st. Nest, nests, near, near’st, name, nam’d, nam’dst. Orb, orbs, ornate, suborn, suborn’st, suborn’dst, ordeal. Pluck, pluck’d, predicate, prostrate, penetrate. Queen, quench, question, equivocate, quadrate, quince. Ribs, ribb’st, range, rang'd, arranged, arrears, ripple, ripples,
rippl’st, rippl’d’st, rear, reared, rear’d'st. Slay, smoke, snail, snarl, snarl’dst, ship, shipp’d, spasm, spasms,
shelve, shelves, shelv’dst, strength, strengths.
Curves, cury'd, curv'st, cury'd’st, search’d, who, which, whe
ther, when, where, whisper, wharf.
The foregoing words, involving as they do many of the most difficult and harsh combinations of consonants frequently met with in our language, are to be read aloud with such an effort as may be required to give distinct utterance to every pronounceable* consonant contained in them.
As it will be found that very considerable force is required for this purpose, the pupil is now aware how very imperfect must be the common reading of our language, filled as it is with these combinations; and how inadequate must be the degree of effort usually applied to the pronunciation of such words.
EXERCISES FOR THE CORRECTION OF DEFECTS IN SPEECH.
In addition to the defects above alluded to, there are various other ones habitually practiced by many persons; and as these faults are seldom mentioned in books of instruction, I shall treat them separately, and prepare exercises well adapted to the correction of them. The sub-vowel sounds represented by v and w respectively, are often confounded.
Wis often used for v, and sometimes v is used instead of W. This vulgar error is usually the result of habit alone, rather than any defect in the organs of speech, and may be
* In such words as “mask’d,” “ fetch'd,” &c., the sub-vowel d' is hardly to be considered pronounceable ; it will inevitably take the aspirate sound it.'