« VorigeDoorgaan »
should in the same analogy hear Indian pronounced Injian; odious, ojeous; and insidious, insidjeous. In this pronunciation of these words, the speaker has always the strongest analogy on his side; but he ought to avoid sinking the i, and reducing Indian into two syllables, as if written In-jan ; odious as o-jus ; and insidious as insid-jus. The i ought to be heard distinctly like e in these words, as if written and divided into In-je-an, o-je-us, insid-je-ous, &c.
For want of attending to this evident analogy, there are few English words more frequently mispronounced than the word pronunciation. A mere English scholar, who considers the word to pronounce as the root of it, cannot easily conceive why the o is thrown out of the second syllable ; and therefore, to correct the mistake, sounds the word as if written pronounciation. Those, who are sufficiently learned to escape this errour, by understanding that the word comes to us either from the Latin pronunciatio, or the French prononciation, are very apt to fall into another, by sinking the first aspiration, and pronouncing the third syllable like the noun sea. But these speakers ought to take notice, that, throughout the whole language, c, s, and t, preceded by the accent, either primary or secondary, and followed by ea, ia, io, or any similar diphthong, always become aspirated, and are pronounced as if written she. Thus the very same reasons that oblige us to pronounce partiality, propitiation, especially, &c. as if written parsheality, propisheation, espesheally, &c. oblige us to pronounce pronunciation as if written pronunsheashun.
See Principles prefixed to the Critical Pronouncing Dictionary, Nos. 357, 450, 461, and the word ECCLESI
ASTICK. We may conclude by observing, that this liquid sound of these letters is no fanciful departure from true orthography, but is the genuine and spontaneous production of the national ear; and as it tends to give a mellow flow of sound to a considerable part of the language, it should certainly not be discouraged.
In this word, and some of the other examples, it may be noted, that the secondary accent operates on these letters exactly in the same manner as the primary; and that as the secondary accent is before the cia, it makes it she-d, as much as the primary before tion makes it shun.
Suppressing the sound of the final consonants. One great cause of indistinctness in reading is sinking the sound of some of the final consonants, when they are followed by words beginning with vowels, and of some when the next word begins with a consonant.
Thus the word and is frequently pronounced like the article an, both before a vowel and a consonant, as both men and money are wanting to carry on the war; where we hear this sentence as if written, both men an money are wanting to carry on the war. The suppression of d in this case is, however, much more tolerable than when it is followed by a vowel, and particularly the vowel a, followed by n; for in this position there is not only a disagreeable repetition of the same sound, but, in some measure, a confusion in the sense. Thus we often hear that u subject is carried on by question and answer, as if written, a subject is carried on by question an answer; and he made his meal of an apple and an egg, as if written, he made his meal of an apple an an egg. So that it ought to be made a general rule always to pronounce the d in and, when a vowel begins the next word, and particularly when that word begins with an.
The sound of f, when final, is liable to the same suppression, when a consonant begins the succeeding word, and particularly the th. Nothing is more common than to hear the want of men is occasioned by the want of money, pronounced the want o'men is occasioned by the want o'money; and, I spoke of the man who told me of the woman you mentioned, as if written I spoke o'the man who told me o'the woman you mentioned.
It may, however, be observed in mitigation of this, that where there is no pause between words, the last consonant of one word, and the first of another word, are very apt to coalesce, like double consonants, which are really double only to the eye; but when there is a perceptible pause at the end of a sentence, or member of sentence, the final consonant ought then to be pronounced distinctly; and instead of letting the organs remain on the last letter till the sound dies, they ought to be smartly separated by sounding what the French call the mute e after the final consonant. All the mute consonants are liable to this imperfect pronunciation, but it is in none more perceptible than in words ending with t or d, especially if preceded by another consonant. Thus if I say, I took down my hat, but before I had put it on my head, Mr. Johnson came into the room, and let the tongue remain on the palate on the t and d, at the end of the words hat and head, they want much of that ar
ticulation they would have, if the tongue were smartly separated by a rebound, as it were, from the palate, and the mute e pronounced after them somewhat as if spelled in this manner: I took down my hat-te, but before I had put it on my head-de, Mr. Johnson came into the room.
The same want of articulation may be perceived in the following sentence, if the tongue be suffered to remain too long on the palate on the consonants at the end of the words in the following sentence: he received the whole of the rent, before he parted with the land : and the superior distinctness of pronouncing it with the t and d, finished by a smart separation of the organs, and somewhat as if written he received-de the whole of the rent-te, before he parte-de with the lan-de. The judicious reader will observe that this rule must be followed with discretion, and that the final consonant must not be so pronounced as to form a distinct syllable; this would be to commit a greater errour than that which it was intended to prevent; but as it may with confidence be asserted, that audibility depends chiefly on articulation, so it may be affirmed that articulation depends much on the distinctness, with which we hear the final consonants ; and trifling therefore as these observations may appear at first sight, when we consider the importance of audibility, we shall not think any thing that conduces to such an object below our notice.
The rough and smooth sound of R. Scarcely any letter is more difficult to pronounce with propriety than the r. What forms great part of the peculiarity of the Irish accent, as it is called, is
the rough and harsh pronunciation of this letter; and the soft, smooth, or rather inarticulate sound of it, marks a striking singularity of what is called the cockney pronunciation, or the pronunciation of the common people of London; so that the true sound of this letter seems to lie in the medium between these extremes.
But first it will be necessary to observe, what I have never found noticed by any of our orthoëpists, that as the Greek and some other languages have a rough and a smooth, or a harsh and a soft r, so has the English, and that each of these are proper in certain situations. The rough r is formed by jarring the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth, near the fore-teeth ; the smooth r is a vibration of the lower part of the tongue, near the root, against the inward region of the palate, as close to each other as possible, without coming into contact. The first r is proper at the beginning of words, and the second at the end of words, or when succeeded by a consonant. In England, and particularly in London, the r in bar, bard, card, regard, &c. is pronounced so much in the throat as be to little more than the middle or Italian a, heard in father, as if written baa, baad, caad, regaad; while in Ireland the r, in these words, is pronounced with so strong a jar of the tongue against the fore-part of the palate, and accompanied with such an aspiration or strong breathing at the beginning of the letter, as to produce that harshness we call the Irish accent. But if this letter is too forcibly pronounced in Ireland, it is often too feebly sounded in England, and particularly in London, where it is sometimes entirely sunk; and it may, perhaps, be worthy of observation, that