« PreviousContinue »
without either permitting the letters to coalesce as if written pose, fiiss, miss, &c. or suffering the ts to make a distinct syllable like the vulgar of London, as if written pos-tess fis-tes, mis-tes, &c. but letting the t be heard, however feebly, yet distinctly between the two hissing letters. For the acquiring of this sound, it will be proper to select nouns that end in st or ste; to form them into plurals, and pronounce them forcibly and distinctly every day. The same may be observed of the third person of verbs ending in sts or stes, as persists, wastes, pastes, &c.
Pronouncing w for v, and inversely. The pronunciation of v for w, and more frequently of w for v, among the inhabitants of London, and those not always of the lower order, is a blemish of the first magnitude. The difficulty of remedying this defect is the greater, as the cure of one of these mistakes has a tendency to promote the other.
Thus, if you are very careful to make a pupil pronounce veal and vinegar, not as if written weal and winegar, you will find him very apt to pronounce wine and wind, as if written vine and vind. The only method of rectifying this habit seems to be this. Let the pupil select from a dictionary, not only all the words that begin with v, but as many as he can of those that have this letter in any other part. Let him be told to bite his under lip while he is sounding the v in those words, and to practise this every day till he pronounces the v properly at first sight': then, and not till then, let him pursue the same inethod with the w; which he must be directed to pronounce by a pouting out of the lips without suffering them to touch the teeth. Thus, by giving all the attention to only one of these letters at a time, and fixing by habit the true sound of that, we shall at last find both of them reduced to their proper pronunciation, in a shorter time than by endeavouring to rectify them both at
Not sounding h after w. The aspirate h is often sunk, particularly in the capital, where we do not find the least distinction of sound between while and wile, whet and wet, where and were, &c. Trifling as this difference may appear at first sight, it tends greatly to weaken and impoverish the pronunciation, as well as sometimes to confound words of a very different meaning. The best method to rectify this, is, to collect all the words of this description from a dictionary, and write them down; and instead of the wh to begin them with hoo in a distinct syllable, and so to pronounce them. Thus let while be written and sounded hoo-ile ; whet, hoo-et; where, hoo-are; whip, hoo-ip; &c. This is no more, as Dr. Lowth observes, than placing the aspirate in its true position, before the w, as it is in the Saxon, which the words come from; where we may observe, that, though we have altered the orthography of our ancestors, we have still preserved their pronunciation. Not sounding h where it ought to be sounded, and
inversely. A STILL worse habit than the last preyails, chiefly among the people of London, that of sinking the h at the beginning of words where it ought to be sounded, and of sounding it, either where it is not seen, or where it ought to be sunk. Thus we not unfrequently hear, especial. ly among children, heart pronounced art, and arm, harm. This is a vice perfectly similar to that of pronouncing the v for the w, and the w for the v, and requires a similar method to correct it.
As there are but so very few words in the language where the initial h is sunk, we may select these from the rest; and, without setting the pus pil right when he mispronounces these, or when he prefixes the h improperly to other words, we may make him pronounce all the words where h is sounded, till he has almost forgot there are any words pronounced otherwise. Then he may go over those words to which he improperly prefixes the h, and those where the h is seen but not sounded, without any danger of an interchange. As these latter words are but few, I shall subjoin a catalogue of them for the use of the learner. Heir, heiress, herb, herbage, honest, honesty, honestly, honor, honorable, honorably, hospital, hostler, hour, hourly, humble, humbly, humbles, humour, humorist, humorous, humorously, humour
Where we may observe that humour and its compounds not only sink the h, but sound the u like the pronoun you, or the noun yew, as if written yewmour, yermorous, &c.
Suppressing e where it should be pronounced, and
pronouncing it where it should be suppressed.
The vowel e before l and n in a final unaccented syllable, by its being sometimes suppressed and sometimes not, forms one of the most puzzling difficulties in teaching young people to read. When any of the liquids precede these letters, the e is heard distinctly, as woollen, flannel, women, syren ; but when any of the other consonants come before these letters, the e is sometimes heard, as in novel, sudden: and sometimes not, as in swivel, sadden, &c. As no other rule can be given for this variety of pronunciation, perhaps the best way will be to draw the line between those words where e is pronounced, and those where it is not; and this, by the help of the Rhyming Dictionary, I am easily enabled to do. In the first place, then, it may be observed, that e before l, in a final unaccented syllable, must always be pronounced distinctly, except in the following words : shekel, weasel
, ousel, nousel (better written nuzzle), navel, ravel, snivel, rivel, drivel, shrivel, shovel, grovel, hazel, drazel, nozel. These words are pronounced as if the e were omitted by an apostrophe, as shek’l, weaz'l, ous'l, &c. or rather as if written, sheckle, weazle, ouzle, &c.—but as these are the only words of this termination that are so pronounced, great care must be taken that children do not pronounce travel, gravel, rebel (the substantive), parcel, chapel, and vessel, in the same manner; a fault to which they are very liable.
E before n, in a final unaccented syllable, and not preceded by a liquid, must always be suppressed, except in the following words : sudden, mynchen, kitchen, hyphen, chicken, ticken (better written ticking), jerken, aspen, platen, paten, marten, latten, patten, leaven or leven, sloven. In these words the e is heard distinctly, contrary to the general rule which suppresses the e in these syllables, when preceded by a mute, as harden, heathen, heaven, as if written hard'n, heath'n, heav'n, &c. nay even when preceded by a liquid in the words fallen and stolen, where the e is suppressed, as if they were written falln and stol'n: garden and burden, therefore, are very, analogically pronounced gard'n and burd'n, and this pronunciation ought the rather to be indulged, as we always hear the e suppressed in gardener and burdensome, as if written gard'ner and burd'nsome.
This diversity in the pronunciation of these terminations ought the more carefully to be attended to, as nothing is so vulgar and childish as to hear swivel and heaven pronounced with the e distinctly, or novel and chicken with the e suppressed. To these observations we may add, that though evil and devil suppress the i, as if written ev'l and dev'l, yet that cavil and pencil preserve the sound of i distinctly; and that latin ought never to be pronounced, as it is generally at schools, as if written lat'n.