Imágenes de páginas

represent many more sounds, monothongal and diphthongal, as will be found in the utterance of the folJowing common words: A-11, a-rm, a-t, a-le, e-ve, e-nd, i-n, i-sle,

o-ld, o-n, d-o, u-s, u-nion, in which the sign A, alone, represents four distinct sounds.

And there are many consonant sounds which are not represented by any single sign or letter, but require the combination of several letters to represent their power : as the sounds ch in church, th (soft) in truth, thin, and th (hard) in that, &c.

Yet these are elementary sounds; and this shows the necessity of clearly distinguishing between the mere alphabetical sign and the elementary sound, or sounds, which it represents.

Now, as the perfect appreciation and utterance of the elementary sounds are necessary to the attainment of a clear and distinct articulation of the language, which their combination forms, it is essential to adopt a classification and nomenclature which shall convey a clear and distinct idea of their value in speech. For that end, none can be found more definite and exact than that propounded by Dr. Rush, in his eloquent and philosophical work on the human voice.

He divides the elementary sounds of our language into


which may be thus briefly defined :

1. TONICs (having tone)—those elementary sounds which have a distinct and perfect tone or vocality, proper to themselves, and capable of being held or prolonged by the voice indefinitely.

Such is the sound of a in a-rm, a-11, &c., of e in e-ve, of o il o-ld, &c.

By vocality is meant that full, or (as Dr. Rush defines it) “that raucus quality of voice which is contradistinguished from a whisper or aspiration.” This distinction may be illustrated by uttering the exclamations - um !” as an expression of doubt, inquiry, &c., and "sh !" (for hush !) as enforcing silence: in the first of which (um !) there is vocality, and in the second (sh !) merely a whispered aspiration, without tone or vocal sound.

2. SUB-TONICs-whose sound has also tone or vocality, but inferior to that of the tonics in fullness and power of sustainment.

Such is the sound of b as heard in b-ad, d in d-ear, l in l-one, m in m-ode, n in n-ose, &c.

3. Aronics—whose sound is without tone; that is, an impulsion of breath without vocality.*

Such is the sound of p heard in p-ad, t in t-ime, s in s-igh, f in f-ade; the utterance of which is in the nature of an explosive whisper.

* Mr. Knowles, in his Grammar, talks of "voice without breath," as the distinctive mark of the pure semi-vowels. Voice without breath! This is an organic impossibility. Voice cannot be produced without breath, though breath alone does not, without the assistance of the vocal organs, produce voice: as, in uttering the letter S, a mere sibilation of the breath takes place without vocality: for the hissing of a serpent is not a vocal sound; though the word hiss cannot be uttered without the



The following is a list of the pure Tonics : their sound is given in the separated Italic of each word, according to its ordinary pronunciation.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


1. The tonic sound of a in a-ll, and of o in o-n, is organically the same ; with this difference in quantity, that in a-ll it is long, in ð-n it is short; they are accordingly here marked under the same numeral, with the distinctive mark -, long, or u, short.

6. So the tonic of e in ē-ve, and of i in ž-11, is organically the same, differing only in quantity ; numbered and marked accordingly.

5. The same of e in thēre, and e in end. 8. The same of o in d-o, and u in b-ŭ-11. 9. And of u in ū-rn, and u in ŭ-s.

We have in the above scheme nine distinct pure tonic elements, whose sound is monothongal; that is, capable of being produced by one simple process of articulation, and of being prolonged to an indefinite time, without any change of tone, or

serpent-like sibilation. Voice without breath is flame without fire!

alteration of the vocal organs, from the commencement to the close of its sound.

The term monothongal is used in contradistinction to

[blocks in formation]

The above two lists of pure and mixed tonics contain all the tonic sounds, monothongal and diphthongal, that are found in our language.t

Of course, in speaking here of diphthongal tonics, I discard the grammatical definition of a diphthong: for, according to that, the sound of oo, as in ooze, is called diphthongal, whereas it is really a pure tonic element; it is the sound of o in d-o. In articulation, a diphthong is the union of two tonics, in which the actual utterance of each takes place: the radical, or com

* Å-le, Äi-l.—The authority of Dr. Rush is in favor of con. sidering these sounds identical ; that is, he classes the å in a-le as diphthongal; but after a very nice examination by a good ear, I think a distinct sound may be traced in äi-d, from that which is found in fa-de-in päi-n, from pa-ne. For this reason I have classed them as separate tonic sounds; the one pure, the other mixed.

† It is necessary to observe, that in adopting the nomenclature of the elementary sounds, propounded by Dr. Rush, I have thought it advisable to depart in some instances from his arrangement and definition of those sounds, and also to make additions thereto. I mention this, that that learned and philosophical writer may not, by any chance, have to bear the imputation of any errors which may appear in my arrangement or definition of those elementary sounds, or of their power and value in speech.

mencing sound, being different from that which is heard at its close or vanish ; thus, the sound of the name of the letter u, (as heard in the word u-nion,) is compounded of the ê in e-ve and the 8 in d-o: that is, its radical (or root) is é, its vanish is 8, making eo, or ü, as in u-nion.

The following table shows at one view the whole system of Tonic Elements, pure or monothongal, and mixed or diphthongal.


« AnteriorContinuar »