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will creep into occasional or local use, nor, on the other hand, be induced to follow innovations, or changes adopted without sufficient sanction. A cultivated taste is always perceptible in pronunciation, as in every other expression of mind; and errors in pronouncing are unavoidably associated with a deficiency in the rudiments of good education.
To obtain an undeviating standard of spoken language is impossible. The continual progress of refinement, and, perhaps, sometimes, an affectation of refinement,--and at all events irresistible custom, -are perpetually producing changes in speech, which no individual and no body of men can completely check. Neither Walker, therefore, nor any other orthoepist, can be held up as permanent authority in every case. Still, there is seldom or never an individual so happily situated, as to be necessarily exempt from local peculiarities which are at variance with general use. An occasional appeal to the dictionary, must therefore be useful to the majority of persons; and, of the various dictionaries in common use,
may on the whole, the safest guide to good usage in pronunciation. A few allowances must, of course, be made for those cases in which a sound is noted, that cannot be exactly expressed to the eye, by any combination of English letters. The chief of these instances are explained in the exercises in articulation and pronunciation.
Persons who are desirous of perfecting their pronunciation would do well to read aloud, daily, a few columns of Walker's * dictionary, and mark with a pencil those words which they find they have been accustomed to mispronounce, themselves, or to hear mispronounced by others. This exercise, however, must be
be taken as,
* The author would refer to Mr. J. E. Worcester's edition of Todd's combination of Johnson and Walker's Dictionaries, as, haps, the fullest and most accurate work of its kind. Mr. W.'s Comprehensive Dictionary presents the same matter, in a form adapted to schools. The same author's edition of Dr. Webster's Dictionary, is a book of great practical value, in the department of orthoepy, from the distinct and satisfactory manner in which it indicates those words which are liable to various modes of pror unciation, and those in which Dr. Webster's style is peculiar.
performed on the column which contains the orthoepy, and not on that which contains the orthography, as errors would otherwise escape unnoticed. T'he following will be found an easy way of committing to memory the words which are marked as above mentioned. Let the student compose a sentence comprising all the words which he has marked in one reading; and by repeating such a sentence several times daily, the correct pronunciation of the words will soon be permanently impressed on his mind. A steady course of such application will, in a few months, enable him to pronounce correctly every word in the English language, and save him from embarrassment and errors in reading or speaking in public.
Errors in pronunciation may regard either the quality of sound in letters, or the placing of accent on syllables. The former may be classed alphabetically, for the convenience of referring easily to particular letters.
The letter A. The errors committed in obscuring the sound of this and other letters, have been already pointed out, under the head of articulation. The following errors do not necessarily imply any indistinctness in articulating, but rather a mistake regarding the particular sound to be given to this letter, in different circumstances.
Errors.—The indefinite article is often pronounced with the sound of a in fate for that of a in fat; thus, I saw ā man, for I saw à man. This is merely a childish error, continued from the elementary schools, and should be avoided, as rendering pronunciation formal, precise, and mechanical.
A in unaccented initial syllables, is mispronounced in the same way; thus ābate for ăbate ;-so is a final, as in Cubā for Cubă; and, generally, a unaccented, in the following and similar syllables : honorāry, obdurācy, peaceably, for honorăry, obdurăcy, peaceăbly.
RULE.—The letter a, constituting an unaccented syllable, or occurring at the end of an unaccented syllable, has the sound of a in that, as in the words, Atone, lunacy, habitual, algebra, &c., which must not be pronounced Aytone, lunacy, habitual, &c.; but ătone, lunăcy, hăbitual, &c.
Examples for Practice. Abash * abandon abed abet abettor ability above about abode aboard abolish abominate abortion abreast abyss acclamation acute adamant adept admirable adore adorn adoption adult adrift afar afresh afloat again agree agreeable alarm alas alert alike amass amaze amend amid amuse apart apace apology are araneous aright arise arcana Asia atone Athens atrocious avail avenge avert aver avow awake aware away bade canal cadaverous calamity cadet caliginous calumniate canine canonical canorous caparison capitulate caress catarrh cathedral censurable chimera commendable conversable convalescent contumacy comfortable conformable constable contrary corollary creditable curvature customary decalogue declaration demagogue despicable dictatorial dilatory dilemma diploma drama Persia privacy.
In one class of words, the opposite error of giving the sound of a in fat instead of a in fate, is prevalent, as in Mătron for matron,
The same error is often heard in the pronunciation of words of Hebrew, Greek or Latin origin, as in Drăma for drāma, Achăia for Achăia, Isiah for Isaiah.t
Where two As occur in the same word, the one which is mispronounced is in Italic type.
+ Wherever local usage sanctions the broad A, in pronouncing the ancient languages, that sound may, of course, be adopted, without positive error, in reading such words, when embodied in an English sentence. But where, as in both Old and New Eng. land, the classical orthoepy is anglicised, the flat sound of A should be heard,
Examples for Practice. Patron patriot patriotism matronly satyr Saturn datum desideratum arcana transparent transparency azure stratum Diana Caius Isaiah Sinai..
Note. -Patriotic patronage patronised, are exceptions.
E. Errors.—The sound of e in me, for that of e in met, as in re-creant for rec-reant.
Examples for practice.-Recreate recreation relaxation reformation heroine heroism defalcation preface recreant.
Error.—The sound of e in met, for that of e in me, as in es-tate for e-state.
Examples. for practice.-Esteem establish escape especially.
For other errors, see lesson and exercises in articulation.
I. Error.—The sound of i in pine, for that of i in pin, as in Di-rect for direct, [de-rect,] masculine for masculin.
5 Examples for practice. ---Diverge vivacity vicinage divert.
Adamantine amaranthine bitumen digress dilate digestible digest (verb) digression dilacerate dilute diminish diminution diminutive diploma direction directors diversion divorce diversity diversify divest divinity divisible divulge feminine fertile finesse fiducial financier finance febrile hostile juvenile liquidity litigious mercantile minute minotaur minuteness minority philosophical philosophy piano piazza pilosity reptile sinistrous.
For other errors, see as above.
Error.The sound of o in no, for that of o in not, as in Progress, process, produce (noun), extol; mispronounced Pro-gress, &c., for prog-ress, &c.
The sound of o in not, for that of o in no, as in Revolt, sloth, portrait; mispronounced Revolt, &c., for revölt, &c.
The sound of o in no, for that of o in done, as in Testimony, patrimony, matrimony, nugatory, dilatory, none; mispronounced Testimony, &c., for testimony, [testimůny.]
For other errors, see lesson and exercises in articulation.
U and Y.
For errors in the sounds of these letters, see as above.
See, as above.
D and T. Error.-These letters, when they occur before u sounding as in tube, are mispronounced in two ways:
1st. Through carelessness or affectation, they are softened too much, as in Ejucate and nachure, for edjucate and nātchure.*
* The true sounds of these letters, when they occur as above, cannot be easily expressed to the eye. The d and the t, however, should be softened but very little. A slight softening of these letters in the above situation, is natural and appropriate; as we may find by adverting to the very prevalent softening of these letters, in the current pronunciation of such phrases as would you,''could you,''intreat you,' containing a similar combination of sounds. It is the excess, and not the thing itself, that is to be avoided, in probouncing the words in the text above. .