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A LETTER is a character, written or printed, which represents an articulate sound; or a sound of the human voice in speaking

Lettors are divided into vowels and consonants.

I. A vowel is a letter which may be uttered alonc, or in connection with another vowel. The vowels are seven in number; namely, a, e, i, o, u, y,

and OBS. 1. The vowels which are heard only in connection with other vowels, are i alphabetical, and u alphabetical, and w. E is heard after į, and before u: hence these are sometimes called compound vowels. W is never vocal except when preceded by another vowel.

OBS. 2. 1, y, and w, are sometimes consonants : i in a few positions only; as in Ind-ian, Christ-ian, pin-ion, fil-ial ; where it has the sound of ý consonant: y ani w are always consonants at the beginning of syllables.

The following tables contain a description of the different vowel sounds:

Obs. For the reasons which have induced me to adopt a new nomenclature, to enumerate some sounds not enumerated by others as regular, and to vary from others in the derivation of some of the short vowels, I refer the teacher to the “ Ele ments of Reading and Oratory.”

1. A has eight sounds. 1. Alphabetical, 2. short,

any, many, miscellany, herbage. 3. Middle,

care, dare, fare. short, 5. Flat,

as heard in

liar, regular, inward.

father, calm. 6. short,

that, glass. 7. Broad,

all, law, salt 8. short,

what, want, was. 2. E has five sounds. 1. Alphabetical,

me, theme, 2. short,

pretty, been, England, facos, linen. 3 a short, as heard in

bet, end, sell.

where, there, ero, o'er, no'er. 5. short,

herd, merchant. 3. I has four sounds. 1. Alphabetical,

chide, decide. 2.

machine, caprice 3.

as heard in e short,

chin, wit, hill. 4. Middle a short,

( bird, flirt, virtue.

game, debate.



4. Middle a,



mule, pure.


4. O has six sounds. 1. Alphabetical,

tone, droll. 2. short,

love, money, other. 3. Muffled,

do, move.

as heard in 4. short,

woman, wolf. 5. Broad a,

cost, former, nor. 6. a short,

not, robber. 5. U has five sounds. 1. Alphabetical, 2. Muffled o short,

full, push. 3. Alphabetical o short, as heard in

dull, tub. 4. e short,

busy, minute, and their compounds. 5. Middle a short,

bury, and its compounds. 6. Y, when a vowel, has four sounds. 1. Alphabetical i,

my, tyrant. 2.

fancy, envy.

as heard in 3. e short,

lyric, system. 4. Middle a short, , as

myrtle. 7. W, as a vowel, has no independent sound. It becomes vocal only in conjunction with another vowel with which it forms a diphthong; as in blow, cow, howl, scowl.

The vowels frequently appear in combinations called diphthongs and triphthongs.

1. A diphthong is the union of two vowels in one articulation; as ou in sour.

2. A triphthong is a union of three vowels in one articulation ; a's eau in beau.

Both diphthongs and triphthongs are divided into proper and improper.

1. Proper diphthongs and triphthongs blend their vowels and form one sound; as ou in sour and eau in beau : improper have only one of their vowels vocal; as ea in beat, eau in beauty.


{ Baram, Isaac.


1. Aa has two sounds. 1. Of alphabetical a,


as heard in 2. Of flat a short,

2. Ae has one sound ; viz. of alphabetical e; as heard in Æneas, Cæsar.

3. Ai has threo sounds. 1. Of alphabetical a,

ail. 2. "

a short, as heard in said, again. 3. " flat a short,

Plaid, raillery. 4. Au has four sounds. 1 Of flat a short,

aunt, laugh. 2. “ broad a long,

as heard in

caught; taught 3. " " short.

laurel. 4. “ alphabetical 0,





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5. Av has always one sound ; viz., of broad a long; as in bawl, crawl. scrawl.

6. Ay has always the sound of alphabetical a long; as in bay, day, delay. 2. Ea, eau, ee, ei, eo, eou, eu, ew, ey.

1. Ea has six sounds 1. Of alphabetical a long,

break. 2 " a short,

meadow. 3. 66 middle a long,


as heard in 4. “ a short,

earth, earl. 5. « flat a long,

hearken. 6. " alphabetical e long,

appear. 2. Eau has two sounds. 1. Of alphabetical o long, 2. "

as heard in

beau, portmanteau. u, 3. Ee has two sounds.

beet. 2. “

in e short, 4. Ei has six sounds. 1. Of alphabetical a long,

deign, veil. 2. " a short,

heifer, nonparoil. 3. " middle a long,

as heard in

hoir, their. 4. “ alphabetical e long,

receive. 5. « e short,

foreign, forfeit 6. " i,

height 5. Eo has four sounds. 1. Of alphabetical a short,

leopard. 2.

e long,
as heard in

3. "
o long,

yeoman. 4. " o short,

surgeon, dungeon. 6. Eou, when a triphthong, has but one sound; viz., of alphabetical o short; as in righteous, gorgeous.

7. Eu has the sound of alphabetical u; as in deuce, deuteronomy, feud. It is often erroneously pronounced like oo. 8. Ew has two sounds.

as heard in

S show, sew. 2. “ u,

dew, mew. Like eu, it is often erroneously pronounced 00.

9. Ey has three sounds. 1. Of alphabetical a long,

bey, prey. 2.

e long,

as heard in koy, alloy. 3. i,

eye. 3. Ia, ie, ieu, iew, io, iou.

1. Ia, when a diphthong, has the sound of alphabetical e short ; as in marriage, carriage.

2. Je, when a diphthong, has four sounds. 1. Of alphabetical a short,

friend. 2. " e long,

chief. 3. «

e short,
as heard in

sieve, species i,


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1. Of alphabetical long,






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3. Ieu has the sound of alphabetical u; as in lieu, adieu, purlieu. 4. Iew has also the sound of alphabetical u; as in view, review

5. Io, when a diphthong, has the alphabetical o short sound of u; as m marchioness, cushion.

6. lou, when a triphthong, has the sound of alphabetical o short; as in precious, vezatious. It is often incorrectly pronounced after d as a (riphthong; as in tedious, spoken as if written te-je-ous or te-jus.

4. Oa, oe, oeu, oi, oo, ou, ow, oy.

1. Oa has two sounds. 1. Of broad a long,

broad, groat. 2. “ alphabetical o long,

as heard in

boat, road. 2. Oe has five sounds. 1. Of alphabetical a short,

cecumenic, fætid. 2. " e long,

fætus, eiliad. 3. "

o long,
as heard in

foe, hoe.
4. "
o short,

does. 5. " muffled o long,

canoe, shoe. 3. Oeu has the sound of muffled o long; as in maneuvre.

4. Oi has six sounds. 1. Of middle a short,

avoirdupois. 2. “ broad a and of al

boil, toil. phabetical e long 3. “ alphabetical e long,

as heard in chamois, turcois. 4. " e short,

connoisseur, tortoise. 5. " i,

choir. 6. " w and broad a long,

devoir, reservoir. 5. Oo has four sounds. 1. Of alphabetical o long,

door, floor. 2 o short,

blood, flood.

as heard in 3. “ muffled o long,

fool, inoon,

rood. 4. o short,

hood, root. 6. Ou has six sounds. 1.*

bound, doubt, cloud, hour. 2. Of broad a long,

3. “ alphabetical o long,
4. "

mourn, though.
o short,
as heard in

enough, tough. 5. 6 muffled o long,

soup, through. 6. o short,

could, would. 7 Ow has three sounds. 1 *

brown. 2. Of broad a short, as heard in knowledge. 3. “ alphabetical o long,

blow, blown. 8. Oy has only one sound; viz., that of broad a and alphabetical e long ; as in cloy, boy.

5. Ua, ue, ui, uo, uoy, uy.

1. Ua has three sounds. 1. Of w and alph. a long,

assuage, persuade. 2. « flat

a long, as heard in guard, piquant. 3. “ alphabetical e short,

victuals, victualer. * This sound has no representative.


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ague, hue.

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2. De has four sounds. 1. Of w and alph. a short,

quench, conquest. 2. “ alphabetical a short, 3

coquet, guest. 6 middle

as heard in a short,

conquer, guerdon. 4. “ alphabetical u,

It is sometimes mute; as in antique, dialogue, &c.

3. Ui has four sounds. 1 Of w and alph. e short,

languid, vanquish.
2. “ alphabetical e short,

guilt, guinea.
as heard in

guide, disguise.

juice, pursuit. 4. Uo has two sounds. 1. Of w and alph. o long, 2.

quote, quotatie n. w and alph. o short,

as heard in

quoth. 5. Uoy has one sound: viz., of w and broad a and e long; or of w and oi in boil It occurs only in one word: buoy.

6. iy has three sounds. 1. o and alph. e long,

Iphabetical e long,

buy, and its derivatives.

4. «



as heard in plagay, rogu?

A consonant is a letter which, as the name implies, can

sounded without the aid of a vowel. The consonants , c, d, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z ; to h must be added th, ch, sh, zh, wh, ng: being plainly elesary sounds, and as such belonging to the alphabet, though formally included in it. Consonants may be divided into two classes : real conso.nts, and substitutes.

By a real consonant, is meant that which has a peculiar ind determinate sound of its own, though it may assume that of another letter or a combination of letters; and by a substitute, one which has no peculiar and determinate sound of its own, but uniformly represents that of some other letter or combination of letters.

1. The real consonants are, b, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, ch, sh, th, oh, ng.

Real consonants are either unchangeable or changeable. Unchangeable consonants are those which uniformly have the same sound : changeable, those which, besides having their peculiar sounds, in certain positions assume other sounds.

A consonant is not changeable because in one or two instances it may assume another sound ; (which may be merely a vicious effect of custom ;) but only when it assumes another sound, in the same position in all words, or generally; and hence when this assumption can be traced to a general law.

1. The unchangeable are, b,f, h, j, k, l, m, p, r, v, w, y, sh, th, wh.

1. B. Its sound is heard in rebel, robber, cub. After m 'except in accumb, succumb, rhomb,) and before t, in the same

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