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lessons, on Breakfast Table Science. These last, it is hoped, will not prove entirely unsuccessful attempts to communicate useful knowledge in an attractive and familiar style.
Some few of the selections, especially in poetry, may perhaps be thought a little too advanced for the age for which this Reader is intended. But it does no harm to a boy or girl to read now and then a poem which somewhat tasks the faculties, and requires the mind, if one may so say, to stand on tiptoe to reach it. The mental discipline will be of service in the growth of the intellect.
This work completes the series of Grammar School Readers, the preparation of which has been the chief employment of the compiler's leisure hours for some two years past. They have been shaped upon a uniform plan, as far as possible, and aim to conduct the pupil by progressive steps from lower to higher points. The whole series has been carefully and conscientiously compiled, and with the earnest hope that it may be conducive to the growth of good principles, generous sentiments, and good tastes in the
G. S. HILLARD. BOSTON, August, 1857.
THE following scheme of exercises in orthoepy is intended as a manual for the daily practice of those who use this volume, to secure correct habits of articulation and pronunciation. Every lesson in reading should be prepared for by an exercise in this manual, even though a short one. The reading is sure to be executed better if the organs of speech be brought into vigorous play by some previous exercise of this sort. The definitions and explanations are meant for the teacher, who must make his pupils first acquainted with the sounds by hearing, before any description can be understood. As a blind man cannot understand any definition or theory of colors, so — – precisely so — no one can learn any thing of the theory of spoken language, the mechanism of speech, until his ear is able to recognize, with discrimination, the sounds employed in speaking. It is quite possible that even some teachers will find it difficult to keep the distinction clearly in mind, between the orthographic and orthoepic forms of words. But any one who wishes to understand the subject will test every proposition by repeated experiments with his own voice. To facilitate that object, examples are given in print, whenever the point to be brought out could be made certainly evident by any intelligible contrivance of orthography. Such examples, if understood, should be attentively practised; and if not, should be practised attentively till they are understood. Let it be kept in mind that the example is an example of sound only, and is to be spoken, therefore, before it is an example of any thing. The sound is represented by letters in Italic type. If the example be represented by a consonant letter, do not give the alphabetic name of the letter, but its proper sound.
$1. Orthoepy treats only of the sounds used in the words of a spoken language. The representing of such sounds to the mind, through the sense of sight, by written or printed words, belongs to orthography. The primary elements of orthoepy, then, are sounds, not letters.
NOTE. This definition must be distinctly understood, and kept in mind. Letters are the elements of orthography, and, to avoid confusion, we abandon the terms letter, vowel, consonant, diphthong, &c., to their use in that department of English grammar. It is considered possible that, at some time, in some original language, every letter stood for, or suggested, some one sound only, and every sound was thus suggested, or represented, by some one letter only. But this is very far from being the case with English orthography at present. Accordingly, in attempting to represent orthoepic elements by letters which stand sometimes for one sound, sometimes for another, and sometimes for none at all, it is necessary to select, for this use, a word in which the representative letter shall suggest a known sound, that is to say, a sound learned from an instructor by hearing and imitation. This method is used in the following pages, the representative letter, or letters, being in Italic type, and separated from the other letters of the word by a hyphen. Thus e-ve signifies a single orthoepic element, namely, the sound properly given to letter e in the word eve; l-oo-k represents the sound given to the letters oo in the correct pronunciation of the word look. It should be remembered that this roundabout process, or some other still more artificial, is made necessary, not by any confusion or uncertainty in the sounds themselves, but by the irregularities and complications of English orthography. For in actual speech the elements may all be distinctly articulated separately. Thus, in the following exercises, in speaking the element e-ve one sound only is uttered — that, namely, which is given to e in the word ; so of all the rest.
Let it be an invariable rule to designate an element, in speaking, by simply producing it. nstead of saying, “the sound of a as heard in at,” for instance, say “ a-t,” giving the sound which a represents in the word, singly, exactly, and without circumlocution. This habit will soon lead to an appreciation of the fact that orthoepy is naturally prior to, and philosophically independent of, orthography.*
$ 2. 1. The sounds of a spoken language depend on the action of various organs. Some are produced by a mere expulsion of voice, while the mouth is held open in a certain position. These are simple vocal sounds; as, e-ve, a-h, o-n. Others require a change in the opening of the mouth while the voice is sent out. These are compound vocal sounds; as, a-le, i-ce, oi-l. The vocal sounds are all called tonic elements.
2. Other sounds are produced by shutting, more or less closely,
* It will also lead to an appreciation of the fact that English orthography is most unphilosophically independent of orthoepy. For most of its specific derelictions, however, etymology must be held to answer, as, at the very least, an avowed accessory after the fact.