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N N has two sounds : the one pure; as in man, net, noble ; the other a ringing sound like ng; as in thank, banquet, &c.
N is mute when it ends a syllable, and is preceded by m; as, hymn, solemn, autumn.
The participial ing must always have its ringing sound; as, writing, reading, speaking. Some writers have supposed that when ing is preceded by ing, it should be pronounced in ; as, singing, bringing, should be sounded sing. in, bringin : but as it is a good rule, with respect to prorunciation, to adhere to the written words, unless custom has clearly decided otherwise, it does not seem proper to adopt this innovation.
O O has a long sound; as in note, bone, obedient, over ; and a short one ; as in not, got, lot, trot.
It has sometimes the short sound of u; as, son, come, attorney. And in some words it is sounded like 00 ; as in prove, move ; and often like au ; as in nor, for, lord.
The diphthong oa is regularly pronounced as the long sound of 0; as in boat, oat, coal ; except in broad, abroad, groat, where it takes the sound of broad a; as, brawd, &c.
Oe has the sound of single e. It is sometimes long; as in fætus, Anteci : and sometimes short; as in economics, recumenical. In doe, foe, sloe, toe, throe, hoe, and bilboes, it is sounded exactly like long o.
Oi has almost universally the double sound of a broad and e long united, as in boy ; as boil, toil, spoil, joint, point, anoint : which should never be pronounced as if written bile, spile, tile, &c.
0o almost always preserves its regular sound; as in moon, soon, food. It has a shorter sound in wool, good, foot, and a few others. In blood and food it sounds like
Door and floor should always be.pronounced as if written dore and flore.
The diphthong ou has six different sounds. The first and proper sound is equivalent to ow in down; as in bound, found, surround.
The second is that of short u : as in enough, trouble, journey. The third is that of 00 ; as in soup, youth, tournament.
The fourth is that of long 0; as in though, mourn, poultice.
The fifth is that of short o ; as in cough, trough.
Ow is generally sounded like ou in thou; as in brown, dowry, shower. It bas also the sound of long o; as in snow, grown, bestow. The diphthong oy
is but another form for oi, and is pronounced exactly like it.
P P has always the same sound, except, perhaps, in cupboard, where it sounds like b. It is sometimes mute ; as in psalm, psalter. Ptolemy: and between m and t; as, tempt, empty, presumptuous.
Ph is generally pronounced like f; as in philosophy, philanthropy, Philip.
In nephew and Stephen, it has the sound of v. In apophthegm, phthisis, phthisic, and phthisical, both letters are entirely dropped.
Qu is sometimes sounded like k; as, conquer, liquor, risque.
R R has a rough sound; as in Rome, river, rage : and a smooth one ; as in bard, card, regard.
Re at the end of many words, is pronounced like a weak er; as in theatre, sepulchre, massacre.
S S has two different sounds. A soft and flat sound like z; as, besom, nasal, dismal. A sharp hissing sound; as, saint, sister, cyprus. It is always sharp at the beginning of words.
At the end of words it takes the soft sound; as, his, was, trees, eyes; except in the words this, thus, us, yes, rebus, surplus, &c.; and in words terminating with ous.
It sounds like z before ion, if a vowel goes before ; as, intrusion; but like s sharp, if it follows a consonant; as, conversion.
It also sounds like -z before e mute ; as, amuse; and before y final; as, rosy; and in the words, bosom, desire, wisdom, &c.
S is mute in isle, island, demesne, viscount.
T T' generally sounds, as in take, tèmpter. T before u when the accent precedes, sounds like tch; as, nature, vir: tue, are pronounced, natchure, virtchue. Ti before a vowel has the sound of sh ; as in salvation : except in such words as tierce, tiara, &c. and unless an s goes before , as, question ; and excepting also derivatives from words ending in ty; as, mighty, mightier.
Th has two sounds : the one soft and flat; as, thus, whe. ther, heathen : the other hard and sharp; as, thing, think, breath.
Th, at the beginning of words, is sharp ; as in thank, thick, thunder: except in that, then, thus, thither, and some others. Th, at the end of words, is also sharp ; as, death, breath, mouth : except in with, booth, beneath, &c.
Th, in the middle of words, is sharp; as, panther, orthodox, misanthrope : except worthy, farthing, brethren, and a few others.
Th, between two vowels, is generally flat in words purely English ; as, father, heathen, together, neither, mother.
Th, between two vowels, in words from the learned languages, is generally sharp; as, apathy, sympathy, Athens, apothecary.
Th is sometimes pronounced like simple t; as, Thomas, thyme, Thames, asthma.
The strangest deviation of this letter from its natural sound, is in the words busy, business, bury, and burial; which are pronounced bizzy, bizness, berry, and berrial.
i is now often used before words beginning with u long, and an always before those that begin with u short; as, a nnion, a university, a useful book; an uproar, an usher, an umbrella.
The diphthong ua, has sometimes the sound of wa; as Il assuage, persuade, antiquary. It has also the sound of middle a ; as in guard, guardian, guarantee. Ve is often sounded like we ; as in quench, querist, con
It has also the sound of long u; as in cue, hue
ague. In a few words, it is pronounced like e short ; as in guest, guess. In some words it is entirely sunk ; as in antique, oblique, prorogue, catalogue, dialogue, &c.
Ui is frequently pronounced wi; as in languid, anguish, extinguish. It has sometimes the sound of i long; as in guide, guile, disguise : and sometimes that of i short; as in guilt, guinea, Guildhall. In some words it is sounded like long u; as in juice, suit, pursuit: and after r, like 00; as in bruise, fruit, recruit.
Uo is pronounced like wo; as in quote, quorum, quondam.
Uy has the sound of long e; as in obloquy, soliloquy ; pronounced obloquee, &c.; except buy, and its derivatives.
V V has the sound of flatf; and bears the same relation to it, as b does to p, d to t, hard g to k, and z to s. It has also one uniform sound; as, vain, vanity, love.
W W, when a consonant, has nearly the sound of 00; as water resembles the sound of coater; but that it has a stronger and quicker sound than oo, and has a formation essentially different, will appear to any person who pronounces, with attention, the words wo, woo, beware ; and who reflects that it will not admit the article an before it; which oo would admit. In some words it is not sounded; as in answer, sword, wholesome : it is always silent before r; as in wrap, wreck, wrinkle, wrist, wrong, wry, bewray, &c.
W before h is pronounced as if it were after the h ; as, why, hwy; when, hwen ; what, hwat.
W is often joined to o at the end of a syllable, without affecting the sound of that vowel ; as in crow, blow, grow, know, row, flow, &c.
When w is a vowel, and is distinguished in the pronunciation, it has exactly the same sound as u woula have in the same situation ; as, draw, crew, view, now, sawyer, vowel, outlaw.
X X has three sounds, viz.
It is sounded like at the beginning of proper names of Greek original; as in Xanthus, Xenophon, Xerxes.
It has a sharp sound like ks, when it ends a syllable with the accent upon it; as, exit, exercise, excellence; or when the accent is on the next syllable, if it begins with a consonant; as, excuse, extent, expense.
It has, generally, a flat sound like gz, when the accent is not on it, and the following syllable begins with a vowel ; as, exert, exist, example; pronounced, egzert, egzist, egzample.
Y Y, when a consonant, has nearly the sound of ee; as, youth, York, resemble the sounds of eeouth, eeork: but that this is not its exact sound, will be clearly perceived by pronouncing the words ye, yes, new-year, in which its just and proper sound is ascertained. It not only requires a stronger exertion of the organs of speech to pronounce it, than is required to pronounce ee; but its formation is essentially different. It will not admit of an before it, as ee will in the following example; an eel. The opinion that y and w, when they begin a word or syllable, take exactly the sound of ee and oo, has induced some grammarians to assert, that these letters are always vowels or diphthongs.
When y is a vowel, it has exactly the same sound as i would have in the same situation; as, rhyme, system, justify, pyramid, party, fancy, hungry.
z Z has the sound of an s uttered with a closer compression of the palate by the tongue: it is the flat s; as, freeze, frozen, brazen. It may be
proper to remark, that the sounds of the letters vary, as they are differently associated, and that the pronunciation of these associations depends upon the position of the accent. It may also be observed, that, in order to pronounce accurately, great attention must be paid to the vowels which are not accented. There is scarcely any thing which more distinguishes a person of
poor education, from a person of a good one, than the pronunciation of the unaccented vowels. When vowels are under the accent, the best speakers and the lowest of the people, with very few exceptions, pronounce them in the same manner; but the unaccented vowels in the mouths of the former, have a distinct, open, and specific round, while the latter often totally sink them, or change them into some other sound.