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When examined as to their quantity, the phonetic sounds are of two classes, — (1) Stopt and (2) Continuant.
1. Stopt sounds are those that may not be held profitably to any considerable extent. They are capable of slight duration but are not all of the same length. For example b, d, and g are longer than p, t, and k, but not sufficiently long to be called continuants. The sounds of s and sh may be excepted occasionally for the purposes of expression, as in the hiss or the injunction to silence, when they may be prolonged to advantage.
2. Continuant sounds are such as may be prolonged to advantage. Examples : 1, m, r, v, ā, a, 7, i, etc.
III. REQUISITES OF PRONUNCIATION In the application of the phonetic sounds in pronunciation there are four prime requisites : (1) Correct Quality of Vowel Sound, (2) Clear Articulation, (3) Correct Syllabication, and (4) Proper Accent.
SECTION I. QUALITY OF VOWEL SOUND
Quality of Vowel Sound is the shading given to the vowels by different positions of the articulating organs. To illustrate : there are six different qualities or sounds of a given in standard dictionaries, as follows : a (ale), a (arm), a (all), a (ask), a (air), a (at). The careful distinction given to these and other vowel sounds is the groundwork of correct pronunciation. The dialects and provincialisms heard in different sections of this and other English-speaking countries come chiefly from wrong sounding of the vowels.
DEFECTS IN VOWEL QUALITY The following are some of the most common defects in vowel quality :
(1) a (ale) is frequently modified to short Italian a (ask), with e to close, thus : day = dae. Pronounce the following with the positive long sound of the vowel : day stay gray
(2) Italian a (arm) is often modified to short Italian a (ask); to short a (at); to broad a (all); or even to flat a (air). Retain the Italian sound in the following : vaunt haunt launch
calm daunt jaunt haunch
palm gaunt stanch balm
(3) Broad a (all) and its equivalent o (order) are often given with Italian a (arm); thus thought becomes thot. Preserve the broad sound. all awful sought
thought wrought daughter straw
caught fought (4) Short Italian a (ask) is often given as Italian a (arm) under the mistaken belief that the Italian a's are of the same quality; more often it is made short a (at), and very often a (air). Preserve the short Italian sound in the following: ask blast brass
staff (5) Short a (at) is frequently sounded like one of the Italian a's, especially by singers who find them more agreeable for song notes. Thus măn and stånd become män and ständ.
Short a before r is quite often given as short e (met). Thus mărry becomes morry. Preserve the short sound in the following: and mad marry
Harrison parasite (6) In pronouncing e, i, u, and y before r no effort need be
, made to distinguish between them. This conclusion is reached after careful perusal of the latest standard dictionaries. her sir
Hyrcan (7) Long 00 (moon) and u (rude) are often given the sound of short 00 (foot). Retain the long oo in the following: root
(8) The equivalent sounds, (son) and u (up), are often given the sound of o (got); not infrequently e (met). Pronounce with short u (cup) the following: love mother gun
budge (9) Long u (y +00) is a much abused sound. The tendency is to drop the y element when the sound is preceded by a consonant. Best usage sanctions this when l precedes u, if the I be preceded by another consonant. The Century Dictionary permits the use of long oo without the y element in words like the following: blue slew
fluent In the following and similar words the y element should be retained without making it unduly distinct. duke constitute lute
(10) A fruitful source of mispronunciation is the tendency to make all short o’s alike; for example, sot and sõng, which have the same diacritical mark, should not be given alike. The latter should have a broader sound intermediate between short o and aw, for the reason that a vowel is lengthened or shortened by the quantity of the consonant that succeeds it. In this instance ng is much longer than t. This intermediate sound is heard in accented syllables in which o is followed by f, ft, ss, st, n, ng, and g.
off cough loft
lost cost frost
long song dog