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position or any motion of the organs of speech, from the mo. ment the vocal sound commences till it ends.

A consonant is a simple, articulate sound, imperfect by it. self, but which, joined with a vowel, forms a complete sound, by a particular motion or contact of the organs of speech.

Some grammarians subdivide vowels into the simple and the compound. But there does not appear to be any foundation for the distinction. Simplicity is essential to the nature

. of a vowel, which excludes every degree of mixed or compound sounds. It requires, according to the definition, but one conformation of the organs of speech to form it, and no motion in the organs whilst it is forming.

Consonants are divided into mutes and semivowels.

The mutes cannot be sounded at all, without the aid of a vowel. They are b, p, t, d, k, and c and g hard.

The semi-vowels have an imperfect sound of themselves. They are f, l, m, n, r, v, s, z, x, and c

c and soft.

Four of the semi-vowels, namely, l, m, n, r, are also distinguished by the name of liquids, from their readily uniting with other consonants, and flowing as it were into their sounds.

ge, de, zed.

Wę have shown above, that it is essential to the nature of a consonant, that it cannot be fully uttered without the aid of a vowel. We may further observe, that even the names of the consonants, as they are pronounced in reciting the alphabet, require the help of vowels to express them. In pronouncing the names of the mutes, the assistant vowels follow the consonants : as, be, pe, te, de, ka. In pronouncing the names of the semi-vowels, the vowels generally precede the consonants : as, ef, él, em, en, ar, es, ex.

The exceptions are, ce, This distinction between the nature and the name of a consonant is of great importance, and should be well explained to the pupil. They are frequently confounded by writers on grammar. Observations and reasonings on the name, are often applied to explain the nature of a consonant : and, by this means, 'the student is led into error and perplexity respecting these elements of language. It should be impressed on his mind, that the name of every consonant is a complex sound; but that the consonant itself is always a simple sound. Some writers have described the mutes and semi-vowels, with their subdivisions, nearly in the following manner.

The mutes are those consonants, whose sounds cannot be protracted. The semi-vowels, such whose sounds can be continued at pleasure, partaking of the nature of vowels, from which they derive their name.

The mutes may be subdivided into pure and impure.

The pure are those whose sounds cannot be at all prolonged; they are k, p, t. The impure, are those whose sounds may be

p continued, though for a very short space: they are b, d, g.

The semi-vowels may be subdivided into vocal and aspirated. The vocal are those which are formed by the voice ; the aspirated, those formed by the breath. There are eleven vocal, and five aspirated. The vocal are l, m, n, t, v, w, y, z, th flat, zh, ng : the aspirated f, h, s, th sharp, sh.

The vocal semi-vowels may be subdivided into pure and impure. The pure are those which are formed entirely by the voice : the impure, such as have a mixture of breath with the voice. There are seven pureml, m, n, r, w, y, ng : four impure-0, 2, th flat, zh.

A diphthong is the union of two vowels, pronounced by a single impulse of the voice; as, ea in beat, ou in sound.

A triphthong is the union of three vowels, pronounced in like manner: as, eau in beau, iew in view.

A proper diphthong is that in which both the vowels are sounded : as, oi in voice, ou in ounce.

An improper diphthong has but one of the vowels sounded: as ea in eagle, oa in boat.

Each of the diphthongal letters, was, doubtless, originally heard in pronouncing the words which contain them. Though this is noi the case at present, with respect to many of them, these combinations still retain the name of diphthongs ; but, to distinguish them, they are marked by the term improper. As the diphthong derives its name and nature from its sound, and not from its letters, and properly denotes a double vowel sound, no union of two vowels, where one is silent, can, in strictness, be entitled to that appellation; and the single letters i and u, when pronounced long, must, in this view, be considered as diphthongs. The triphthongs, having at most but two sounds, are merely ocular, and are, therefore, by some grammarians, classed with the diphthongs. Vol. I.


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A has four sounds; the long or slender, the broad, the short or open, and the middle.

The long; as in name, basin, creation.
The broad; as in call, wall, all.
The short; as in barrel, fancy, glass.
The middle; as in far, farm, father.

The diphthong aa generally sounds like a short in proper names; as in Balaam, Canaan, Isaac; but not in Baal, Gaal.

Ae has the sound of long e. It is sometimes found in Latin words. Some authors retain this form; as, ænigma, æquator, &c.; but others have laid it aside, and write enigma, Cesar, Eneas, &c.

The diphthong ai has exactly the long slender sound of a; as in pail, tail, &c.; pronounced pale, tale, &c.; except plaid, again, raillery, fountain, Britain, and a few others.

Au is generally sounded like the broad a; as in taught, caught, &c. Sometimes like the short or open a; as in aunt, flaunt, gauntlet, &c. It has the sound of long o in hautboy; and that of o short in laurel, laudanum, &c.

Aw has always the sound of broad a : as in bawl, scrawl, crawl.

Ay, like its near relation ai, is pronounced like the long slender sound of a; as in pay, day, delay.

B. B keeps one unvaried sound, at the beginning, middle, and end of words ; as in baker, number, rhubarb, &c.

In some words it is silent; as in thumb, debtor, subtle, &c. In others, besides being silent, it lengthens the syllable ; as in climb, comb, tomb.

C. C has two different sounds.

A hard sound like k, before a, 0, u, r, 1,1; as in cart, cottage, curious, craft, tract, cloth, &c.; and when it ends a syllable; as in victim, flaccid.

A soft sound like s before e, i, and y, generally: as in centre, face, civil, cymbal, mercy, &c. It has sometimes the sound of sh; as in ocean, social. C is mute

in czar, czarina, victuals, &c. C, says Dr. Johnson, according to English erthography, never ends a word; and therefore we find in our best dictionaries, stick, block, publick, politick, &c. But many writers of later years omit the k in words of two or more syllables; and this practice is gaining ground, though it is productive of irregularities ; such as writing mimic and mimickry ; traffic and trafficking.

Ch, is commonly sounded like ich; as in church, chin, chaff, charter : but in words derived from the Greek, has the sound of k; as in chymist, scheme, chorus, chyle, distich: and in foreign names; as, Achish, Baruch, Enoch, &c.

Ch, in some words derived from the French, takes the sound of sh; as in chaise, chagrin, chevalier, machine.

Ch in arch, before a vowel, sounds like k; as in arch-angel, archives, Archipelago; except in arched, archery, archer, and arch-enemy: but before a consonant it always sounds like tch; as in archbishop, archduke, archpresbyter, &c. Ch is silent in schedule, schism, and yacht.

D. D keeps one uniform sound at the beginning, middle, and end of words; as in death, bandage, kindred, unless it may be said to take the sound of t, in stuffed, tripped, &c. stuft, tript, &c.

E. E has three different sounds.

A long sound; as in scheme, glebe, severe, pulley, turkey, behave, prejudge. See PROSODY. Chapter 1. Section 2. On “Quantity."

A short sound; as in men, bed, clemency.

An obscure and scarcely perceptible sound; as open, lucre, participle.

It has sometimes the sound of middle a; as in clerk, serjeant: and sometimes that of short i; as in England, yes, pretty.

E is always mute at the end of a word, except in monosyllables that have no other vowel: as me, be, she: or in substantives derived from the Greek; as catastrophe, epitome, Penelope. It is used to soften and modify the foregoing consonants; as force, rage, since, oblige: or to lengthen the preceding vowel: as, can, cane; pin, pine; rob, robe.

The diphthong ea is generally sounded like e long; as in appear, beaver, creature, &c. It has also the sound of short e; as in breath, meadow, treasure. And it is sometimes pronounced like the long and slender a; as in bear, break, great.

Eau has the sound of long o; as in bcau, flambeau, port

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new, dew.

manteau. In beauty and its compounds, it has the sound of long u.

Ei, in general, sounds the same as long and slender a; as in deign, vein, neighbour, &c. It has the sound of long e in seize, deceit, receive, either, neither, &c. It is sometimes pronounced like short i; as in foreign, forfeit, sovereign, &c.

Eo is pronounced like e long; as in people; and sometimes like e short; as in leopard, jeopardy. It has also the sound of short u; as in dungeon, sturgeon, puncheon, &c.

Eu is always sounded like long u or ew; as in feud, deuce. Ew is almost always pronounced like long u; as in few,

Ey, when the accent is on it, is always pronounced like a long; as in bey, grey, convey ; except in key, ley, where it is sounded like long e.

When this diphthong is unaccented, it takes the sound of e long; as, alley, valley, barley. See Prosody. Chapter 1. Section 2. On “Quantity." 2

F. F keeps one pure unvaried sound, at the beginning, middle, and end of words; as fancy, muffin, mischief, &c. except in of, in which it has the flat sound of ov; but not in composition; as, whereof, thereof, &c.

We should not pronounce a wive's jointure, a calve's head; but a wife's jointure, a calf's head.

G. G has two sounds : one hard; as in gay, go, gun : the other soft; as in gem, giant.

At the end of a word it is always hard; as in bag, snug, frog. It is hard before a, o, u, l, and r; as, game, gone, gull, glory, grandeur.

G before e, i, and y, is soft, as in genius, gesture, ginger, Egypt; except in get, gewgaw, finger, craggy, and some others.

G is mute before n; as in gnash, sign, foreign, &c.

Gn, at the end of a word or syllable accented, gives the preceding vowel a long sound; as in resign, impugn, oppugn, impregn, impugned: pronounced, impune, imprene, &c.

Gh, at the beginning of a word, has the sound of hard g: as ghost, ghastly; in the middle, and sometimes at the end, it is quite silent; as in right, high, plough, mighty.

At the end it has often the sound of f; as in laugh, cough, tough. Sometimes only the g is sounded; as in burgh, burgher.

H. The sound signified by this letter is, as before observed,

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