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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19
* These may be called sub-tonics, with reference to the vowels, all of which possess the character of tonics in a higher degree.
On the foregoing Tables we shall make only the following practical remarks:
1. By prolonging the sounds of the long vowels, and dwelling upon them, the learner will perceive, that except ?,ä, ē, and oo, they are not pure, but pass into other sounds; thus ā, i and oi pass into ē; 7, ū and ou, into oo. It appears, therefore, that these latter are strictly diphthongs. This characteristic of these elements cannot fail to become apparent even to the unpracticed student, by making each of them terminate an interrogative sentence. Thus, Is this called ā? Is that called 7 ? &c.—This peculiarity in the structure of these sounds needs to be carefully marked and attended to; otherwise, when they are prolonged, they may lose their true pronunciation. The sound with which they commence must not be dwelt upon too long, nor must they be allowed to pass on to the final sound too soon; as, in either
case, the true sound of these elements as heard in speech is lost.
2. There follows the utterance of the consonant elements, a breathing or little voice, which has been conveniently designated the vocula, or vocule. This is most apparent after the utterance of the mutes, to which indeed it is essential. As a function of the voice, it possesses a power in speech which will be referred to hereafter. In the utterance of these elements however, the vocule should not occupy a prominent place.
3. Except the first four, the tonic consonant elements are most obviously capable of being prolonged at pleasure. These also may be prolonged by practice, and may acquire a considerable degree of fulness and force. When thus protracted, they exhibit a guttural murmur which, when sounded alone, has no peculiar beauty, but in the compounds of speech often adds much to the grace, as well as to the effect of utterance.
4. R should be made vibrant, whenever it is followed by a vowel which is articulated ; and in energetic expression, may be thus uttered even when followed by a consonant. The peculiarity here referred to, in the articulation of this element, consists in giving a single percussion of the tongue against the roof of the mouth. If, in common discourse, the vibration of the tongue is continued, or if the r is made vibrant at all, except before the open vowels, it savors of affectation, or presents the provincialism which so strongly characterizes the dialect of the Irish. The full beauty of this sound can be developed only by much practice; and cannot be mistaken, when heard in such words as ruin, pray, &c.
5. The z is one of the most agreeable sounds to the ear that our language furnishes. But its agreeable qualities are developed only as the tongue recedes from the teeth. It should be entirely divested of the hissing sound of s; and this can be done only by withdrawing the tongue, in its utterance, not only from a contact with the teeth, but from a close approximation to them. It is worthy of remark, that in our written composition, this element is sometimes represented by x, as in exhibit, &c.; and much more frequently by s than by z, its proper representative. Thus the aspirated hiss heard in the words sin, yes, &c., even though sometimes represented by c, and even by x, does not occur in our language nearly so often as its appropriate sign presents itself to the
eye. 6. The atonics, including the mutes and aspirates, take the name we give them from the fact of their being destitute of vocality in their utterance. The learner will not then expect to produce a sound, in his attempts to utter these elements.
7. In the attempt to utter the mutes, nothing can be heard but the vocule of which we have before spoken.
8. In practicing on the elements, as well as in ordinary speech, the aspirates should be passed over lightly. All prolongation of these is a defect in utterance.
9. In the exercises on these simple elements, as well as on all the future tables, great care should be taken to open the mouth so as to afford a free passage for the sound. The lips should never be compressed in speaking. Except in the pronunciation of the elements 7, 00, and ou, all protrusion of the lips however should be avoided. It is this erroneous position of the lips that produces the fault of articulation called Mouthing.*
Before leaving this section, the learner should be certain that he has the exact sound of each of the alphabetic elements fully at his command; and when he has become entirely familiar with them, he may be assured that he will not be likely to fail in any of his attempts to utter them in the compounds of speech. Unfortunately, the graphic characters employed in our language do not, except in a few cases, of themselves indicate the exact sound to be given to them in the words in which they occur. This must be learned from Dictionaries, and by observing the best usage. But when this is done, the learner has but to employ his already disciplined organs in the execution of what usage
and taste shall dictate. * Sheridan uses this term differently. “By Mouthing," he says, " is meant dwelling upon syllables that have no accent, and ought therefore to be uttered as quickly as consistent with distinct articu lation; or prolonging the sound of the accented syllables beyond their due proportion of time."
A GOOD articulation is a rare excellence even among those who are called good speakers; and such is its value, that it can even atone for many
other deficiencies. It is of great service to the speaker, as it enables him to make himself heard anywhere, without any great effort of the lungs, and also secures to him the attention of his hearers. A good articulation can scarcely fail to secure attention. And to the hearers also, it is a matter of much interest ; since it enables them distinctly to hear what is said, and that with an agreeable satisfaction, instead of having to put forth a painful effort. When the alphabetic elements found in the tables of the last section can be uttered with facility, and with accuracy and neatness, a foundation deep and broad has been laid for a good articulation. For these are the very sounds which occur in speech, though not such as are heard in the pronunciation of the names of the graphic characters composing our alphabet. When once, then, the learner has them at command, he can rarely fail in his articulation for want of ability to utter them as they occur in the compounds of speech. As regards the vowel sounds, though not difficult of utterance, yet, inasmuch as the letters by which they are represented have no uniform sound, and are often not sounded at all, in vulgar pronunciation they are not unfrequently substituted the one for the other, or suppressed altogether. Thus we are compelled to hear sudden, hyphen, sloven, mountain, uncertain, Latin, satin, gospel, chapel, poem, pronounced as if spelled—suddn, hyphng. slovn, mountn, uncertn, Latn,satn, gospl, chapl, pom; and so of a