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ON THE ORGANIC FORMATION OF THE VOWELS.
A. There are three long sounds of this letter, which are formed by the greater or lesser expansion of the external parts of the mouth.
The German a, heard in ball, wall, &c., is formed by a strong and grave expression of the breath through the mouth, which is open nearly in a circular form, while the tongue, contracting itself to the root, as if to make way for the sound, almost rests upon the under jaw.
The Italian a, heard in father, closes the mouth a little more than the German a; and, by raising the lower jaw, widening the tongue, and advancing it a little nearer to the lips, renders its sound less hollow and deep.
The slender a, or that heard in lane, is formed on the mouth still higher than the last; and, in pronouncing it, the lips, to give it a slender sound, dilate their aperture horizontally; while the tongue, to assist this narrow emission of breath, widens itself to the cheeks, and raises itself nearer to the palate; and, by these means, a less hollow sound than either of the former is produced.
E. The e in equal is formed by dilating the tongue a little more, and advancing it nearer to the palate and the lips, which produces the slenderest vowel in the language: the tongue is, in the formation of this letter, as close to the palate as possible, without touching it;- the moment the tongue touches the palate, the squeezed sound of ee, in thee and meek, is formed; which, by its description, must partake of the sound of the consonant y.
1. The i in idol is formed by uniting the sound of the Italian a in father and the e in equal, and pronouncing them as closely together as possible.
0. The o in open is formed by nearly the same position of the organs as the a in water ; but the tongue is advanced a little more into the middle of the mouth; the lips are protruded, and form a round aperture like the form of the letter; and the voice is not so deep in the mouth, as when a is formed; but advances to the middle or hollow of the mouth.
U. The u in unit is formed by uniting the squeezed sound ee to a simple vowel sound, heard in woo and coo. The oo in these words is formed by protruding the lips a little more than in o, forming a smaller aperture with them; and, instead of swelling the voice in the middle of the mouth, bringing it as forward as possible to the lips.
Y final in try, is formed like i ; and w final in now, like the oo which has just been described.
In this view of the organic formation of the vowels, we find that a, e, and o are the only simple or pure vowels; that i is a diphthong, and u is a semi-consonant. It will be the teacher's duty to obtain in his pupils the distinct enunciation of the vowels, by observing well the organic action that takes place, and rectifying it when defective; for this reason, he should require his pupils to pronounce both vowels and consonants, till they can give their perfect and compound sounds clearly and distinctly.-Walker.
ON THE ORGANIC FORMATION OF THE CONSONANTS,
AND THEIR ARTICULATION.
P and B are formed by closing the lips till the breath is collected, and then letting it issue by forming the vowel e.
F and V are formed by pressing the upper teeth under the under lip, and sounding the letter e before the former and after the latter of these letters.
T and D are formed by pressing the tip of the tongue to the gums of the upper teeth, and then separating them by pronouncing the vowel e.
S and Z are formed by placing the tongue in the same position as in T and D, but not so close to the gums as to stop the breath; a space is left between the tongue and the palate for the breath to issue, which forms the hissing and buzzing sound of these letters.
SH, heard in mission, and zh in evasion, are formed in the same seat of sound as s and z; but; in the former the tongue is drawn a little inwards, and at a somewhat greater distance from the palate, which occasions a fuller effusion of breath from the hollow of the mouth than in the latter, which are formed nearer to the teeth.
TH in think, and the same letters in that, are formed by protruding the tongue between the fore teeth, pressing it against the upper teeth, and at the same time endeavouring to sound the s or z; the former letter to sound th in think, and the latter to sound th in that.
K, and C hard, are formed by pressing the middle of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, near the throat, and separating them a little smartly to form the first, and more gently to form the last of these letters.
CH in chair, and j in jail are formed by pressing t to sh, and d to zh.
L is formed by nearly the same position of the organs as t and d, but more with the tip of the tongue, which is brought a little forwarder to the teeth, while the breath issues from the mouth.
M is formed by closing the lips as in p and b, and letting the voice issue by the nose.
N is formed by resting the tongue in the same position as in t or d, and breathing through the nose with the mouth open.
R is formed by placing the tongue nearly in the same position as t, but at such a distance from the palate as suffers it to jar against it when the breath is propelled from the throat to the mouth.
NG in ring, sing, &c. is formed in the same seat of sound as g hard; but, while the middle of the tongue presses the roof of the mouth, as in g, the voice passes principally through the nose, as in n.
Y, consonant, is formed by placing the organs in the position of e, and squeezing the tongue against the roof of the mouth, which produces ee, which is equivalent to initial y.
W, consonant, is formed by placing the organs in the position of oo, described under u, and closing the lips a little more, in order to propel the breath upon the succeeding vowel which it articulates.*
In this sketch of the formation and distribution of the consonants, it is curious to observe on how few radical principles the almost infinite variety of combination in language depends. It is with some degree of wonder we perceive that the slightest aspiration, the almost insensible cadence of nearly similar sounds, often generates the most different and opposite meanings. In this view of nature, and in every other, we find uniformity and variety very conspicuous. The single fiat at first imposed on chaos, seems to operate on language; which, from the simplicity and paucity of its principles, and the extent and power of its combinations, proves the goodness, wisdom, and omnipotence of its origin.-Walker. ·
* The tutor should take an early opportunity of exercising his pupil in the clear, free, and forcible articulation of these consonants; he should be rigidly questioned on the manner in which he forms each of the sounds, and required to give examples of the letters distinctly uttered, before he attempts the reading of any of the lessons in this volume.
LESSONS FOR PRACTICE. The principal difficulties of English pronunciation arise from the difficulty in the articulation of the sounds expressed by the letters 1, r, s, th, sh, and h aspirate. The tutor will, therefore, require his pupil to give distinct articulation to the following words.
EXERCISE UPON L. Lean, long, line, loll, lull, lovely, lively, lightly, lately, listlessly, literal, littleness, lovingly, locally, loyally, latently.
How sweetly slow the liquid lay
In holy hallelujahs rose,
And live unto its close.
Let lords and ladies laugh and sing :
As loudly and as light,
Dull care a distant flight.
EXERCISE UPON R. Roar, road, rogue, rhubarb, rack-rent, raftered, rambler, raillery, ratify, raree-show, ravager, readership, re-affirm, rebuker, regulator, rarefier, receptory, reciprocal, recognise, refrigerant.
Ruin seize thee, ruthless king.
Exercise UPON S.
This consonant has a sharp and flat sound. The sharp sound is heard in the name of the letter, and in the words same, sin. The flat sound is that of z, heard in is, was, has; and these two sounds, accompanied by the aspirate or h, form all the varieties found under this letter.
Sacred and silent heavenly wisdom stands,
Reposing her soft wings,
That speak of sweeter things;
Sweet tenderness, and song,
From sorrow and sad wrong;
With sprightliness, and shines
Through Nature's vast confines,
'Tis sweet to hear
Exercise UPON TH.
This lisping sound is almost peculiar to the English. The Greek theta was certainly not the sound we give it: like its principal letter it has a sharp and flat sound. Th in the beginning of words is sharp, as in thank, think, except in the following words :-this, that, than, the, their, them, then, thence, there, they, thine, thither, those, though, thus, thy.