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The Letter R.
Rules. I. The letter r, when it precedes a vowel, has a clear, firm, distinct, but brief and compacted sound, called, by Walker, the rough r. - Examples : Rap, rack, ray, rave, reed, rice, rod, run, rural, ruin, library, roaring, rearing, brace, dread, fresh, grand, drum, proud, tread.
Errors : (1.) [Softening, muffling, or obscuring the sound, by feebleness or slackness of articulation. It is impossible, by any combination of letters, to indicate this sound. Its effect on the ear, is, to give the impression of childish or morbid weakness of organ in the speaker.] (2.) [Rolling, or prolonging and unduly roughening, the sound of this element, in the style of foreign languages, or of theatrical utterance. Sometimes represented thus,] “ Rrap, rrack, rray, rrave, derread, derrum, terread.”
Rule. In unaccented syllables, the sounds of letters should neither be skipped, nor sunk into obscurity, nor protruded.
Note. Syllables which orthoëpists, in some instances, mention as being “obscure", are, properly, only shortened in duration, and diminished in force, but never slurred so as to change the character of the predominating letter, or substitute one for another.
Examples : Initial Syllables, - Abate, abide, adore, before, belate, compose, condemn, collect, correct, corrupt, perform, perfume, perforce, propel, produce, promote, secure, seclude.
Errors : “ Ubbate” and “aybate”, “ ubbide” and aybide”, “ buffore ” and “ beefore ”, “ cumpose
com-pose", "d’ny” and “deeny”, “ currect”
pel” and “
and “cor-rect", "pufform” and “per-form", "prŭ
pro-pel “s'cure ” and “seecure.' Examples: Middle and Penultimate Syllables, – Every, several, murderer, utterance, traveller, deliberate, desperate, history, rhetoric, memory, memorable, melancholy, desolate, articulate, accuracy, regular, masculine, melody, custody, eloquence, obsolete, obstinate, society, sobriety, anxiety, variety, alarming, disarming, returning, discerning, worldling, reverberate.
Errors: “ Ev'ry, sev'ral, murd'rer, trav'ller, desp'rate, histry, mem'ry, melanch’ly, regʻlar, melūdy, sociŭty, ala’ming, wo'ldling", etc.
Examples : Final Syllables, - Travel, gravel, vessel, level, novel, model, musical, comical, critical, capital, metal, ecclesiastical, fatal, fantastical, principal, certain, fountain, mountain, horizon, motion, notion, diapason, moment, dependent, confidence, government, equipment, providence, parliament, ascendant, perseverance, defiance, motto, fellow, window, meadow, billow, waking, morning, running, singing, walking, warrior, daystar, before, flower, reindeer, alarm, return, depart, departure, murmur, character, nature, feature, creature, measure, pleasure, invincible, incredible, perceptible, special, judicial, artificial, invasion, confusion, adhesion, division, dimension, profession, option, addition, Indian, tedious, odious, fastidious, chasm, schism, witticism, patriotism, phantasm.
Errors : “ Trav'l, grav'l, vess'l, music'l, comic'l, critic'l, princip'l, fat'l, cert'n, fount'n, mount'n, horiz'n, mosh'n, nosh'n, dependunt, confidunce, gover'munt, feller, winder, meader, mornin', runnin', singin', daysta', ala'm, depa't, depatsha, cha'ata, nacha, feacha, creddubble, speciúl, invazh'n, divizh'n, Injun, tejus, ojus, chasum, patriotisum.”
The word My. Rule. The y of the word my, in familiar and unemphatic plırases, is, properly, shortened into the sound of i and y, in the word city. This modification, however, should never extend so far as to make the sound of the letter y, in this word, identical with that of e, in the word me. The former style is appropriate, as contrasted with emphatic, full, formal, or solemn expression, in which the y is properly given with the long name sound of the vowel i, as in the word mile. The latter style is merely an accident of foreign usage, which has gained a local currency in some parts of our own country.
The word The. Rule. The letter e, in the definite article, changes its sound, in accommodation to easy utterance, according to the character of the sound which immediately follows it, in the body of any phrase. Before a word beginning with a vowel, it has, properly, a sound like that of e, in the word emit: before a consonant, its proper sound is that of e, in the word term. Examples : The arm, the elk, the isle, the oak, the upland, the offset, the effect, the arrow, the owl, the ape; — the boy, the man, the hand, the head, the hill, the house, the town, the soldier, the book, the place, the parent, the shepherd, the clouds, the way, the war, the west, the wish, the youth, the year, the yam.
Exceptions : (1.) When the definite article occurs before a word commencing with the letter e, sounding as in eve, or the letter i, sounding as in it, the e, of the word the, has, properly, the same sound as before word beginning with a consonant. - Examples : The ear, the eve, the east, the eel, the inn, the interior, the inn-keeper, the idiot, the interval.
(2.) When the occurs before a word commencing with a vowel sounding as u, in the word up, or with any one approaching to that sound, the e of the, reverts to the sound, of e in emit. Examples: The utterance, the utmost, the upper, the upshot, the unworthy, the unthankful; — the ermine, the cartlı, the earnings.
(3.) When the occurs before a word commencing with the sound of u, in the word use, the e of the, takes the same sound as before a consonant. Examiples: The universe, the union, the university, the unicorn, the eulogy, the European, the euphony, the unanimity.
Words the pronunciation of which is properly depend
ent on individual taste and preference. Kind, guide, guard, sky, etc.- A very delicate, brief, and slight sound, resembling that of the letter y, in the word yet, is sanctioned by the best authority, as following the letters k and s, in these words. American usage inclines, in some instances of this class of words, to the prevalent style of Scotland, which omits the slight sound referred to, and, in others, to an exaggerated protrusion of that sound.
Grandeur, odious, tedious, Indian, educate, gradual, verdure, etc. Nature, feature, creature, curvature, signature, fortune, fortunate, etc. - In these classes of words, a slight softening of the sounds of d and t, which makes them approach, although not quite reach, the articulation of the consonantal combinations dzh and tsh, is sanctioned by the best authority. In these, as in the instances mentioned above, the error of taste lies in carrying the modified sound to excess, which is a prominent trait in the enunciation of the public speakers of Ireland. American usage, wherever the standard of Walker is adopted, inclines to this style; and, where Walker is rejected, it adopts
the comparatively hard and literal mode of articulation prevalent in Scotland, which preserves the sounds of d and t unmodified.
Pronunciation, as modified by Rhyme. The word wind, and a few others, are sometimes, in poetic usage, properly, allowed, for the sake of rhyme, an older style of pronunciation than is now current. This poetic license is an accorded privilege of orthoëpy, with which the reader is not at liberty to dispense; as the infringement would rob the poet of his right. The courtesy due to poets, however, is not to be stretched to desperate extremes, as in the case of the words duly, truly, etc., when introduced by comparatively modern writers, in affected antique style, and apparently demanding, for the y in these words, the sound of i, in the word lie. On the other hand, the appropriate reading of poets of the earliest period of our literature, requires that the antique and obsolete style be preserved throughout, as essential alike to rhythm and to rhyme. A modern pronunciation would, in such reading, destroy the music of many of the most purely poetic passages of our literature.
THE PRONUNCIATION OF GREEK AND LATIN WORDS.
GENERAL RULES. (I.) Greek and Latin proper names, and Greek and Latin words generally, when occurring singly, in the reading of English sentences, may be pronounced with the characteristic sounds of letters given as in English words containing similar syllabic combinations. - Examples : Achāia, Asia, Mesopotāmia, Africānus, Coriolānus, Corioli, Veii dātum, strātum, via, bronchītis, etc.
Exception - Ch, in Greek and Latin words, have