« PreviousContinue »
cept 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 fallin 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.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE PRONUNCIATION OF CERTAIN
WORDS MOST FREQUENTLY MISTAKEN IN READING.
The true sound of the auxiliary verbs; also when ed
makes an additional syllable, and when not. The auxiliary verbs, shall, would, could, should, are, and have, should never be pronounced shawll, wold, cold, shold, air, and haive, but shal, wood, cood, shood, arr, and havv. *
The particular termination ed must never be pronounced as a distinct syllable, unless preceded by d or t, except in the language of scripture. One distinction indeed seems to have obtained between some adjectives and participles, which is, pronouncing the ed in an additional syllable in the former, and sinking it in the latter. Thus when learned, cursed, blessed, and winged, are adjectives, the ed is invariably pronounced as a distinct syllable; but when participles, as learn'd, curs’d, bless’d, and wing’d, the ed does not form an additional syllable. Poetry, however, assumes the privilege of using these adjectives either way, but correct prose rigidly exacts the pronunciation of ed in these words, when adjectives, as a distinct syllable. The ed in aged always makes a distinct syllable, as an aged man; but when this word is compounded with another, the ed does not form a syllable, as a full-ag'd horse.
It is perhaps worthy of notice, that when adjectives are changed into adverbs, by the addition of the termination ly, we often find the participle ed preserved long and distinct; even in those very words where it was contracted when used adjectively. Thus, though we always hear confess'd, profess'd, design'd, &c. we as constantly hear con-fess-ed-ly, pro-fess-ed-ly, de-signed-ly, &c. The same may be observed of the following list of words, which, by the assistance of the Rhyming Dictionary, I am enabled to give, as the only words in the language, in which the ed is pronounced as a distinct syllable in the adverb, where it is contracted in the participial adjective. Forcedly, enforcedly, unveiledly, deformedly, feignedly, unfeignedly, designedly, resignedly, restrainedly, refinedly, unconcernedly, undiscernedly, preparedly, assuredly, advisedly, composedly, dispersedly, diffusedly, confusedly, unperceivedly, resolvedly, deservedly, undeservedly, reservedly, unreservedly, avowedly, perplexedly, fixedly, amazedly, forkedly.
* The auxiliary verbs are as irregular in their pronunciation as in their form; and recur so often in forming the moods and tenses of other verbs, that too great care cannot be taken to pronounce them exactly right. For this purpose it would be a useful exercise, to make the pupil frequently conjugate the two auxiliary verbs are and have through all their moods and tenses; taking particular care, that are is pronounced like the first syllable of ar-dent ; have with the a short as in the first syllable of tav-ern ; and shall, exactly as the first syllable of shal-low.
When you is to be pronounced like ye; and my,
Another very common errour in reading arises from pronouncing the personal pronoun you in the same manner, whether it is in the nominative or the oblique case; or, in other words, whetheritis the principal or the subordinate word in a sentence. It is certain that the pronouns you and my, when they are contradistinguished from other pronouns, and consequently emphatical, are always pronounced with their full open sound, you, my. But it is as certain, if we observe the pronunciation of correct conversation, that we shall find them sounded ye and me, when they are subordinate words in a sentence, and have no emphasis on them; for example, You told him all the truth. Here the word you is a nominative case, that is, it goes before the word denoting action, and must therefore be pronounced full and open, so as to rhyme with new. In this sentence also, He told You before he told any body else; the word you is in the oblique case, or comes after the word denoting action, but as it is emphatical by being contradistinguished from any body else, it preserves its full open sound, as before. But in the sentence, though he told you, he had no right to tell you-here the pronoun you is in the oblique case, or follows the word denoting action, and, having no distinctive emphasis, invariably falls into the sound of the antiquated form of this pronoun, ye; and as if written, though he told
he had no right to tell ye. The same observations hold good with respect to the pronoun my. If we were to say, my pen is as bad as my paper, we should necessarily pronounce my like me, as, in this sentence, pen and paper are the emphatical words ; but if I were to say, my pen is worse than yours, here my is in antithesis with yours, and consequently must be pronounced long and full, so as to ryhme with high, nigh, &c.
The word your is exactly under the same predicament. When the emphasis is upon this word, it is always pronounced full and open, exactly like the substantive ewer; as, the moment I had read your letter I sat down to write mine : but, when it is not emphatical, it sinks naturally into yur; exactly like the last syllable of lawyer, as, I had just answered yur first letter as yur last arrived. On the contrary, if it were to be said, I had just answered your first letter, as your last arrived, with your sounded like ewer, as in the former sentence, every delicate ear would be offended. A few examples may serve to illustrate these observations still farther.
* Perhaps it was this pronunciation of the pronoun you, when in the oblique case, which induced Shakspeare and Milton sometimes to write it ye : though, as Dr. Lowth observes, very ungrammatically. The more shame for ye, holy men I thought ye.
Henry VIII His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both.
Milton, Par. Lost, b. ii. 1. 734.
“Your paper is a part of my tea-equipage; and my servant knows my humour so well, that calling for my breakfast this morning, (it being past my usual hour) she answered, the Spectator was not yet come in."
Spect. No. 92. In this example we find every my but the fourth may be pronounced so as to rhyme with high, and it would intimate the singularity of the tea-equipage, the servant, and the humour, as opposed to, or distinguished from those who have no such tea-equipage, servant, or humour: but breakfast, having no such singularity or opposition of meaning to other breakfasts, cannot have my before it pronounced like high without being absurd. Not that the sense necessarily requires the full sound of my before the former words, but admits of it only; nay, the repetition of their sound being disagreeable to the ear, and the sense not demanding it, perhaps the best mode of reading this passage would be to confine the full sound of my to that which precedes the word humour. Your, at the beginning of the sentence, requires the full sound rhyming with pure; as it
as it distinguishes the Spectator from other papers, but in the following part of the same letter :
“ Having thus, in part, signified the esteem and veneration which I have for you, I must put you in mind of the catalogue of books which you have promised to recommend to our sex; for I have deferred furnishing my closet with authors, till I receive your advice in this particular, being your daily disciple, and humble servant,
Leonora." However we may pronounce the word your preceding the word advice, the last your must necessarily be pronounced short, like yur. This sound of the possessive pronoun your always takes place where