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with 'perfeet uniformity, leave the principal part of the word in quiet possession of what seems its lawful property; but Latin and Greek terminations, of which our language is full, assume a right of preserving their original accent, and subject almost every word they bestow upon us to their own classical laws.
Accent, therefore, seems to be regulated in a great meásure by etymology. In words from the Saxon, the accent is generally on the root; in words from the learned languages, it is generally on the termination; and if to these we add the different accent we lay on some words, to distinguish them from others, we seem to have the three great principles of accentuation ; namely, the radical, the terminational, and the distinctive. The radical: as, “ Love, lovely, loveliness;" the terminational: as, “ Harmony, harmónious;" the distinctive: as, “Cónvert, to convért."
ACCENT ON DISSYLLABLES. .' Words of two syllables have necessarily one of them ac
cented, and but one. It is true, for the sake of emphasis, we sometimes lay an equal stress upon two successive syllables; as, “ Dí-réct, some-tímes ;" but when these words are pronounced alone, they have never more than one accent. The word “á-mén," is the only word which is pronounced with two accents when alone.
Of dissyllables, formed by affixing a termination, the former syllable is commonly accented: as, “ Childish, kingdom, áctest, ácted, tóilsome, lover, scóffer, fairer, fóremost, zealous, fúlness, meékly, artist.”
Dissyllables formed by prefixing a syllable to the radical word, have commonly the accent on the latter : as, “ To beseém, to bestów, to retúrn.”
Of dissyllables, which are at once nouns and verbs, the verb has commonly the accent on the latter, and the noun on the former syllable: as, “ To cemént, a cément; to contract, a contract; to preságe, a présage.” June
This rule has many exceptions. Though verbs seldome have their accent on the former, yet nouns often have it on the latter syllable: as, “Delight, perfume.” Those nouns which, in the common order of language, must have preceded the verbs, often transmit their accent to the verbs they form, and inversely. Thus, the noun “water" must have preceded the verb “to wáter," as the verb “to correspónd,” 'must have preceded the noun “correspóndent:” and “ to pursue” claims priority to “pursuit.” So that we may conclude, wherever verbs deviate from the rule, it is seldom by chance, and generally in those words only where a superior law of accent takes place.
All dissyllables ending in y, our, ow, le, ish, ck, ter, age, en, et: as, “ Cránny, lábour, willow, wállow;" except
allów, avów, endów, belów, bestów;" “ battle, bánish, cámbric, bátter, courage, fásten, quíet;" accent the former syllable.
Dissyllable nouns in er, as, “ Cánker, bútter,” have the accent on the former syllable...
Dissyllable verbs, terminating in a consonant and e final, as, “ Comprise, escape;" or having a diphthong in the last syllable, as, “ Appéase, revéal ;” or ending in two consonants; as, “ Atténd;" have the accents on the latter syllable.
Dissyllable nouns, having a diphthong in the latter sylJable, have commonly their accent on the latter syllable ; as, “ Applause ;" except some words in ain: as, “Villain, cúrtain, mountain.”
Dissyllables that have two vowels, which are separated in the pronunciation, have always the accent on the first syllable: as, “ Lion, ríot, quiet, líar, rúin;" except o create.”
ACCENT ON TRISYLLABLES.
Trisyllables formed by adding a termination, or prefix. ing a syllable, retain the accent of the radical word: as, “ Loveliness, ténderness, contémner, wagoner, physical, bespátter, commenting, comménding, assurance.” ! Trisyllables ending in ous, al, ion; as, “Arduous, cápital, méntion,” accent the first.
Trisyllables ending in ce, ent, and ate, accent the first syllable: as, “ Countenance, continence, ármament, imminent, élegant, propagate;” unless they are derived from words having the accent on the last : as, “ Connívance, acquaintance;" and unless the middle syllable has a vowel before two consonants ; as, “ Promulgate.”
Trisyllables ending in y, as, “ Éntity, spécify, líberty, víctory, súbsidy,” commonly accent the first syllable.
Trisyllables in re or le, accent the first syllable: as, “ Légible, théatre;" except “Disciple," and some words which have a preposition: as, “ Example, indénture.”
Trisyllables ending in ude, commonly accent the first syllable: as, “ Plénitude, habitude, réctitude.”
Trisyllables ending in ator, have the accent on the middle syllable; as, “Spectator, creátor," &c; except «orator, sénator, bárrator, légator.”
Trisyllables which have in the middle syllable a diph. thong; as, “ Endeavour ;" or a vowel before two consonants ; as, “ Doméstic;" accent the middle syllable.
Trisyllables that have their accent on the last syllable, are commonly French: as, “ Acquiésce, repartée, magazine;" or they are words formed by prefixing one or two syllables to a long syllable; as, “ Immatúte, overcharge.”
ACCENT ON POLYSYLLABLES.
Polysyllables, or words of more than three syllables, generally follow the accent of the words from which they are derived: as, “Arrogating, cóntinency, incóntinently, comméndable, communicableness.”
Words ending in ator have the accent generally on the penultimate, or last syllable but one; as, “ Emendátor, gladiátor, equivocátor, prevaricator.”
Words ending in le commonly have the accent on the first syllable: as, “ Amicable, déspicable:” unless the second syllable has a vowel before two consonants: as, « Combustible, condemnable.”
Words ending in ion, ous, and ty, have their accent on the antepenultimate, or last syllable but two: as, “ Salvátion, victórious, activity."
Words which end in ia, io, and cal, have the accent on the antepenult: as, “Cyclopædia, punctílio, despótical.”
The rules respecting accent, are not advanced as complete or infallible: they are merely proposed as useful. Almost every rule of every language has its exceptions; and, in English, as in other tongues, much must be learned by example and authority.
It may be further observed, that though the syllable on · which the principal accent is placed, is fixed and certain, yet we may, and do, frequently make the secondary principal, and the principal secondary : thus, “ Caravan, complaisant, violin, repartee, referee, privateer, domineer," may all have the greater stress on the first, and the less on the last syllable, without any violent offence to the ear : nay, it may be asserted, that the principal accent on the first syllable of these words, and none at all on the last, though certainly improper, has nothing in it grating or discordant; but placing an accent on the second syllable of these words would entirely derange them, and produce great harshness and dissonance. The same observations may be applied to “ demonstration, lamentation, provoca. tion, navigator, propagator, alligator," and every similar word in the language.
Section 2. Of Quantity. · The quantity of a syllable is that time which is occupied in pronouncing it. It is considered as LONG Or short.
A vowel or syllable is long, when the accent is on the vowel ; which occasions it to be slowly joined in pronunciation with the following letters : as, “ Fāll, bāle, mõõd, hõūse, fēature.”
A syllable is short, when the accent is on the consonant; which occasions the vowel to be
quickly joined to the succeeding letter : as, Ant, bónnět, hủngěr.”
A long syllable generally requires double the time of a short one in pronouncing it; thus, "Māte” and “ Note” should be pronounced as slowly again as “ Mět” and “Not.”
Unaccented syllables are generally short: as, “ Admire, bóldněss, sínněr.” But to this rule there are many exceptions: as, “ Also, éxile, gángrēne, úmpire, fóretāste,” &c.
When the accent is on a consonant, the syllable is often more or less short, as it ends with a single consonant, or with more than one: as, Sadly, róbber; persíst, mátchless.
When the accent is on a semi-vowel, the time of the syllable may be protracted, by dwelling upon the semivowel: as, “Cur, can', fulfil':” but when the accent falls on a mute, the syllable cannot be lengthened in the same manner: as, “Búbble, captain, tótter.”
The quantity of vowels has, in some measure, been considered under the first part of grammar, which treats of the different sounds of the letters; and therefore we shall dismiss this subject with a few general rules and observations.
ist, All vowels under the principal accent, before the terininations ia, io, and ion, preceded by a single consonant, are pronounced long: as, “Regalia, folio, adhesion, explosion, confusion :” except the vowel i, which in that situation is short: as, “ Militia, punctilio, decision, contrition.” The only exceptions to this rule seem to be Discretion, battalion, gladiator, national, and rational.”
2d, All vowels that immediately precede the terminations ity, and ety, are pronounced long : as, “ Deity, piety, spontaneity.” But if one consonant precedes these terminations, every preceding accented vowel is short ; except u, and the a in “scarcity,” and “rarity ;” as, “ Polarity, severity, divinity, curiosity ;-impunity.” Even u before two consonants contracts itself: 'as, “Curvity, taciturnity,” &c.