Page images
PDF
EPUB

single and full sounds. Mr. Walker holds that we may say, “I delivered him frum the danger he was in.” It should be, I delivered him from, as if pronounced fraum the danger he was in. He says, “I wrote to a friend fur his advice.” It should be pronounced as if written faur his advice. He also asserts that we may say, “He died be his own hands, or he died by his own hands." This word should never be pronounced otherwise than as if written buy.

Examples in proof "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”

How could we reconcile our ears tom « For since be man came death, be man came also the resurrec. tion of the dead."

Although the author frequently differs from Mr. Walker's pronunciation, yet he considers his dictionary as the best authority for the pronunciation of our language.

The writer would be wanting in justice to the memory of a great and good man, were he to remain silent in a book like this, upon the subject of his stupendous work.

Noah Webster has bequeathed to his country and to posterity, a mighty and imperishable monument of his herculean labors, of his untiring industry, and of his extensive learning.

Mr. Webster's Dictionary is unquestionably the best in the English language, but like that of Doctor Samuel Johnson, it is not an authority for pronunciation.

Observations on the Pronunciation of certain words, fre

quently mistaken in Reading and Speaking. The particular termination ed, should never be pronounced as a distinct syllable, unless preceded by d ort, except in the language of scripture. One distinction seems to be admitted between some adjectives and

· participles, which is pronouncing the ed in an ad. ditional syllable in the former, and sinking it in the lat

ter. Thus when learned, cursed, blessed, and winged, · are adjectives, the ed is invariably pronounced as a dis

tinct syllable, but when participles, as learn'd, curs’d, bless'd, and wing'd, the ed does not form a distinct syllable. Poetry assumes the privilege of using these adjectives either way, but correct prose rigidly exacts the pronunciation of ed in these words, when adjectives, as a distinct syllable. The ed in aged always forms a distinct syllable, as." an aged man," but when this word is compounded with another, the ed does not form a distinct syllable, as “a full ag'd horse."

When adjectives are changed into adverbs, by the addition of the termination ly, we often find the participle ed preserved long and distinct; even in those very words where it was contracted, when used adjectively. Thus though we always hear confesa'd, profess'd, design'd, &c., &c., we as constantly hear confessedly, professedly, designedly. The same may be observed of the only words in the language, in which the ed is pronounced as a distinct syllable in the adverb, where it is contracted in the participial adjective. Forcedly, enforcedly, unveiledly, deformedly, feignedly, unfeignedly, designedly, resignedly, restrainedly, refinedly, unconcernedly, undiscernedly, preparedly, assuredly, advisedly, composedly, dispersedly, diffusędly, confusedly, unperceivedly, resolved. ly, deservedly, undeservedly, reservedly, unreservedly, avowedly, perplexedly, fixedly, amazedly, forkedly.

When you is to be pronounced like ye, and my like me

You and my, when they are contradistinguished from other pronouns, consequently emphatical, are always pronounced with their full open sound, you, my. When they are subordinate words in a sentence, and are not emphatic, they are pronounced ye and me. Example “ You told him all the truth," Here the word you is a nominative case, and consequently must be pronounced full, so as to rhyme with new. Again, “He told you

before he told anybody else.The word you is in the oblique case, or comes after the word denoting action, but as it is emphatical by being contradistinguished from any body else, it preserves its full open sound as before. But in this sentence, “though he told you he had no right to tell you,” here the pronoun you is in the oblique case, or follows the word denoting action, and, having no distinctive emphasis, invariably falls into the sound of ye, as if written, “ though he told ye, he had no right to tell ye.

The same observations hold good with respect to the pronoun my. If I were to say, “my pen is as bad as my paper,” I should necessarily pronounce my like me, as pen and paper are the emphatic words, but if I were to say my pen is worse than yours, here my is in antithesis with vours, consequently must be pronounced full, so as to rhyme with high, nigh, &c.

The word your, when emphatic, is always pronounced full and open, as ewer; for example, " the moment I had read your letter, I sat down to write mine,” but when not emphatical, it sinks into yur, as the last syllable of lawyer. Examplem“ I had just answered your first let. ter as your last arrived ;" on the contrary, if I were to say, I had just answered your first letter as your last arrived, with your sounded like ewer, every correct ear would be offended. Your must always be pronounced yur, when it is used to signify any particular species of persons or things. Examplem"Your merchant, your tradesman, your mechanic, and your farmer, are valuable citizens and useful members of society ; but your dandy is an animal of the nondescript genus, a mere excrescence upon the face of nature, and useless to all.”

When of, for, from and by are to have a long, and when

a short sound. A distinction seems to have taken place in the pronunciation of the preposition of. The consonant of this word is almost invariably pronounced like the consonant V, and when the word does not come before some of the

pronouns at the end of a sentence, or member of a sentence, we sometimes permit the vowel o to slide into the sound of the vowel u; and the word may be said to rhyme with love, dove, &c. &c. Thus in the couplet in the tragedy of the Fair Penitent,

“Of all the various wretches love has made,

How few we find by men of sense betray'd.” The two ofs in this couplet we see, may, without departure from propriety, be pronounced as if written uv, rhyming with dove, &c. &c.; but when it, him, her or them, or any other personal pronoun follows of, either in the middle or at the end of a sentence, it must be pronounced as when rhyming with the first syllable of nov-el, hov-el.

[ocr errors]

1 st.

How to pronounce the possessive pronounthy. If the language be elevated, the word thy, should have its full sound, rhyming, with high, as in Milton's Paradise Lost, Book 1st.

"Say first, for heav'n hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of hell-- > Here pronouncing the pronoun thy, like the word thee, would familiarize the language and destroy the dignity of the subject. On the contrary, if the subject be familiar and void of dignity, the personal pronoun should be pronounced like thee. Example—as if ada dressing a friend :

"Give me thee hand.”

How to pronounce the adjective passessive pronoun-mine.

This word may be called an adjective, possessive when used before a substantive, as it constantly is in Scripture when the substantive begins with a vowel, as, " Mine eyes have seen thy salvation," and a substantive possessive, when it stands alone, as “ This book is mine." In Scripture, the i in this word should have its long sound as in the substantive. In authors where dignity and sublimity do not occur, the full sound

would appear stiff and pedantic. Example—“Me thought close at mine ear one called me forth to walk." Here mine should be pronounced min. Again, in the Tragedy of Hamlet:

“Sleeping within mine orchard,
My custom always in the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a phial,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour tho leprous distil

ment.” Here also the word mine, should be pronounced min. The pronunciation of the English language has under. gone great changes, and much for the better, since the days of Shakspeare and of Milton. Therefore, mod. ern language should substitute the word my, pronounced me, instead of the mincing word, min.

The indistinct sound of the word-not. This word ought never be pronounced in the slight and slovenly manner, as if we said nut, instead of not. Although the word not should never be emphasized, but when antithetical, yet it should always have the distinct sound of not-as, “ I am not well.”

The contraction of negative phrases, “can't, shan't, don't, should never appear in print, or even in correct conversation.

How to pronounce the participial terminationing.

The termination ing, should never be sounded with the omission of the g, but always fully; for instance, singing, bringing and swinging, ought never to be pronounced singin, bringin, and swingin; nor writing, reading, and speaking, as, wri. tin, readin, and speakin. None but imperfect speak. ers neglect the observance of the above termination indeed, the neglect of it is a mark of vulgarity.

On the pronunciation of the wordto.
The word to, in loose and trirolous conversation is

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »