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LESSONS IN ENUNCIATION.
No branch of elementary education, is so generally neglected as that of reading. It is not necessary, in proof of this assertion, to appeal to the prevailing want of appropriate elocution at the bar, or in the pulpit. The worst defects in reading and speaking, are by no means confined to professional life, and occasions which call for eloquent address: they extend through all classes of society, and are strikingly apparent in the public exercises of colleges, the daily lessons of schools, in private reading, and in common conversation. The faults now alluded to, are all owing to the want of a distinct and correct enunciation, which, whatever may become of higher accomplishments, would seem to be alike indispensable to a proper cultivation of the human faculties, and to the useful purposes of life.
It is unnecessary here to enlarge on the intellectual injuries arising from the want of early discipline in this department of education; or to speak of the habits of inattention and inaccuracy, which are thus cherished, and by which the English language is degraded from its native force and dignity of utterance, to a low and slovenly negligence of style, by which it is rendered unfit for the best offices of speech.
The following exercises are intended to prevent, or to correct, the prevalent errors of colloquial usage : they embrace all the elementary sounds of the English language, with the most important among those that occur in combinations which are liable to mispronunciation. A correct and careful articulation of them, if practised with due frequency, and continued for a length of time sufficient to render accuracy habitual, will secure a distinct and appropriate enunciation, in all exercises of reading and speaking. To attain this result, the following points require particular attention.
1st. That the exercises be always performed with great force and clearness of articulation, so as to become a useful form of discipline to the organs. The aim should be, in every case, to give the utmost articulate force of which the voice is capable.
2d. The sound of each element should be perfectly at command, before proceeding to the enunciation of the words in which they are exemplified.
3d. Great care must be taken to avoid a formal and fastidious prominence of sound, on unaccented syllables : every word, though uttered with the utmost energy, must retain the proportions of accented and unaccented syllables in their natural and appropriate pronunciation.
TABLE OF THE ELEMENTARY SOUNDS OF THE ENGLISH
LANGUAGE. [The elements contained in this table should be practised, with and without the words in which they are exemplified, with great attention to accuracy, and repeated as a daily preliminary exercise.)
2. A, as in Far; VOWEL SOUNDS.
AU, as in Launch.
AW, as in Awe;
AU, as in Laud.
4. A, as in Fat.
OY, as in Boy.
20. OU, as in Pound; AY, as in Prayer. OW, as in Down. 7. E, as in Me;
22. P, as in Pulp.
23. M, as in Mime. EA, as in Head.
24. W, as in Wan.
EA, as in Heard; 25. V, as in Vane.
26. F, as in Fife; 10. I, as in Pine;
PH, as in Phial;
GH, as in Laugh. 11. I, as in Pin;
Dental Sounds. Y, as in Hymn. 27. D, as in Dead. 12. O, as in No;
28. T, as in Tent. OA, as in Oak; 29. TH, as in Thin. OU, as in Course;
30. TH, as in Thine. OW, as in Own. 13. O, as in Move;
31. J, as in Joy; 00, as in Mood;
G, as in Giant. U, as in True. 32. CH, as in Church. 14. O, as in Nor.
33. SH, as in Shape;
TI, as in Nation ; 15. O, as in Not.
CI, as in Gracious; 16. O, as in Done;
CE, as in Ocean.
34. S, as in Hiss; 17. U, as in Tube.
C, as in Cipher. 18. U, as in Pull;t 35. S, as in Trees; 0, as in Wolf.
Z, as in Haze. See exercises,' on these sounds, pp. 15, 16, 17. No. 5 is, properly, the same with No. 15.
| Not properly a separate sound, but rather that of No. 13, shortened.
| Properly the same with No. 13, but shortened still more.
36. S, as in Measure.
Palatic Sounds. 37. K, as in Key;
C, as in Cake;
Q, as in Queen. 38. G, as in Gag. 39. Y, as in Ye.
Aspirate. 40. H, as in Hail.
Nasal Sounds. 41. N, as in No.
42. NG, as in Sing;
N, as in Finger, Sink.
Palatic and Dental Sounds,
combined. 46. X, as in Ox;t 47. X, as in Example.t
These sounds constitute all the elements of articulation in the English language. The exercises which follow, are merely various examples of these rudiments, as they occur in different combinations. The exercises are also designed for lessons in pronunciation; as this branch, not less than that of articulation, is much neglected in early instruction, and the practice of the one conveniently comprises that of the other.
The main purpose of reading and speaking, is to communicate thought. The most important point in elocution, therefore, is a distinct and correct enunciation, without which it is impossible to be rightly and clearly understood. The chief design, accordingly, of this department of education, is, by appropriate exercise, to cultivate the organs of speech, to strengthen and discipline the voice, and, at the same time, to eradicate incorrect habits of utterance, which may have been contracted through early neglect.
Enunciation may, for the purposes of instruction, be considered in connexion, 1st, with articulation, or the management of the organs of speech; 2dly, with pronunciation, or the sounds of the voice, regarded as modified by usage, or custom, in the language which is spoken.
* See exercises,' on the letter R, p. 28.
† Properly combinations formed by ihe union of Nos. 37 and 34, and of Nos. 38 and 35.
EXERCISES, EMBRACING THE ELEMENTS OF ARTICULA
TION AND THE RULES OF PRONUNCIATION. The following exercises are chiefly a transcript from Angus's compend of Fulton's system of Orthoepy, and Smart's Practice of Elocution. The words in the tables should be read with great force and distinctness : they may thus be made a useful organic exercise, for imparting strength and pliancy of voice, as well as energy and clearness of articulation; they may serve also for mechanical discipline on inflections, if read in successive portions as marked in a few instances. The grave accent, or falling inflection, () denotes the downward slide of voice, as heard at a period; the acute accent, or rising inflection, (*) denotes the upward slide, usually heard at a comma. The application of these inflections, is not necessary to practice in articulation, and, if found embarrassing, may be omitted. The early acquisition of them, however, will save much time in future lessons; and since the words in these exercises must all be articulated with one inflection or other, the inflection actually used, may as well be regular as arbitrary. The punctuation of the examples, is intended to aid the application of inflections.
SOUNDS OF THE VOWELS. A, as in the word Fate : Ai, as in Ail: Ay, as in Lay.
The sound of a, mentioned above, is marked by Walker, as the 'first' sound of this letter: it might be conveniently designated as the long name sound, from its quantity or length, and the circumstance of its forming the alphabetical name of the letter.
This vowel is not what it would, at first sight, appear to be,-a perfectly simple sound : it consists, in reality, of two sounds,—that which, in common pronunciation, commences the name of the letter, (a) and that which, in a prolonged utterance, is heard at its close, and which approaches to the name sound of the vowel e. A clear and just articulation of the name sound of a, has regard to this complexity of its nature, and closes with a very slight and delicate approach to the sound of e, so slight as to be barely perceptible to a