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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 soạnds; 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, oz-1. The vocal sounds are all called tonic elements.
2. Other sounds are produced by shutting, more or less closely, and then opening, certain parts of the mouth, while the voice is forced out; as, b, g, z. These are called subtonic elements, because they have only an obstructed vocality.
3. Others are produced by such an action of the mouth, while breath only, not voice, is forced out; as, f, k, s. Such are called atonic elements, because they have no vocality.
4. The subtonics and atonics may be classed together as articulates, because the articulation, that is, the actual or approximate contact, of the organs by which they are formed, respectively, is a common characteristic distinguishing them from the tonics.
5. Some articulates are of indefinite length, their sound being obstructed uniformly; that is, alike from beginning to end; e. g., v, f, z. Others are slightly extendible, their sound being nearly closed at a certain moment of its duration ; e. go, y, w, r, (initial.) Others still — the abrupt elements are marked by an entire occlusion and explosion of their sound ; that is, an actual contact and compression, followed by a sudden separation, of the articulating organs; e. g., b, p, t.
* 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.
The indefinite and extendible elements are sometimes called continuants ; and the abrupt, explodents.
6. The articulates are further classed according to the organs which are chiefly concerned in their articulation; as, palatals, linguals, &c.
1. The form of an element is that individual peculiarity of the sound which is determined by the form of the mouth while the element is produced ; that is, by the position of all the organs concerned in producing it.
2. Elements may be of the same form, but different powers ; as, b and p.
3. Elements are similar in form, whether of the same or different powers, when they are produced by nearly the same forms of the mouth; as, e-ve and i-n, or t and n.
4. An intermediate form is one through which the mouth most easily passes in changing from one form to another: e. g., a-t is intermediate with respect to a-le and a-h. Between z and y, zh is intermediate.
5. A compound form is one which is produced when any two, with the intermediate forms, are united in one sound; e. g., i-ce, compound of a-h and e-ve, as extremes, with the intermediate forms. U-p, e-rr, e-nd, 2-n; j, compound of d and y as extremes with zh intermediate.
Note 1. The term diphthong should be discarded in English orthoepy, because there is no tonic compounded of two sounds only. This may be proved as a fact by experiment. Take a-le, or o-ld, for example, which have less change of form than any other compounds. It will be found impossible to change the mouth directly from the initial form of a-le (e-nd nearly, but more open) to its final one (e-ve), without passing through the form i-n. It is equally impossible to avoid the form 1-00-k between the initial and final forms in o-ld. In both cases, then, either the sound must be interrupted, while the mouth is passing through the intermediate form, in which case no compound would result, but two elements, in two separate syllables; or, if the sound be continuous, it inevitably receives the intermediate form.
NOTE 2. The components of a compound element are not always 3. The extendible and indefinite elements sometimes have a very slight vocule.
equal, nor equally perceptible. Each has its due proportion, in correct speaking; and there are no faults of articulation more common or difficult to correct than those which arise from a neglect of this proportion. The time of a compound element is occupied chiefly on the intermediate forms, although its extreme forms are commonly more distinctly heard. This is owing to the fact that, while the ear readily observes the precise moment of the beginning and ending of the sound, it cannot detect any precise moment when the sound changes from one of its component forms to another. To call these elements compound is, therefore, hardly a correct, certainly not an adequate, description ; for in producing them the mouth does not pass through the successive forms by so many (discrete) steps, but by a certain (concrete) course of change; passing through, but not pausing in, the forms which can be recognized as similar to certain simple elements.
Note 3. The compound tonic elements are the source of the more common faults in the articulation of singers. The dialect of song now in fashion in this country and England appears to be of foreign origin, and was adopted at the first, without doubt, by mere imitation, not for any considerations of propriety or grace. Of course it is easier to follow this dialect than to master all the true English elements with the requisite power of sustaining them in tune. But it would be easier still, if that is a ground of choice, to sing only the four simple tonics used in solfeggi. This is not the place to inquire whether proper musical expression may not dispense with words altogether. It is only suggested, that, while words are used in song, not for their sound only, but for their meaning also, it seems desirable that their natural sounds should be distinctly preserved, that the orthoepy of song should be, as it certainly may be, an improvement, not a caricature, of that of speech — as much more accurate and graceful as its intonation is more melodious and its rhythm more marked and impressive.
1. The abrupt subtonics, when fully articulated separately, have, at the precise moment after the occlusion is suddenly broken, a short and obscure vocal sound, which is called a vocule.
2. The abrupt atonics have the same peculiarity, though with them it is only an explosive jet of breath.
NOTE. In compounds the last component only has its vocule. In fortuitous combinations the same rule holds, except that when great distinctness is necessary, as in a very large or noisy assembly, the vocules are generally to be given. The one which ends a word must then be given with great force, since the opening which makes the vocule is part of the element, and necessary to its complete distinctness.
1. In the easy utterance of any tonic, the muscles of the mouth are slightly relaxed before the voice ceases, or before they are determinately fixed for the production of another element. This causes a slight change in the form of the element at its close, which is called its vanish, the former part being its radical. In the short tonics the vanish is hardly ever perceptible to the ear. Note. In compounds the last component only has its vanish.
2. A tonic is not infrequently modified at its close by the element following in the same syllable losing a part of its own proper form in approaching the form next succeeding. The effect of -r,* the subtonic of most open vocality, in changing the form of the preceding tonic, is very striking. It is chiefly by this change that the English word deer, for example, differs in pronunciation from the French dire. Several tonics change their vanish before -r in this manner so uniformly as to be practically different elements when so situated ; e. g., e-ar, e-rr, a-ir, U-rn, i-re, o-r, w-a-r, P-00-r, o-re, ou-r, p-u-re. With two of these, e-rr and a-ir, the change affects the radical also.
The element a-sk seems to have arisen in the same way, from a-t in some words, and from a-h in others. For the sound in those words where this element is now used has fluctuated through the whole range from a-t to a-h, and both these sounds are given by different persons still in those words. Moreover, this element is always followed by one of a peculiar class — the indefinites.
* The -y represents the sound of letter r after a vowel.
3. An articulate is sometimes modified before an element of very dissimilar form in the same syllable, producing a slight sound of the intermediate form ; e. g., ch, sh, zh, are heard before
y, after t, s, d, respectively; y is heard before a-h, after g and k. To avoid these changes altogether is an affectation, but to overdo them is a less pardonable one.
Note. The y here cited for the examples is the initial sound, as in the words you, use.
The natural vowel is the vocal sound produced with the mouth opened in the most natural or unconstrained form. It is not distinctly a-h, nor e-rr, nor u-p; but not very unlike either of them. It is commonly the first tonic a child makes in his uncalculating attempt to talk, his second, premeditated effort resulting commonly in a-h. It is identical in form with the most common vocule. It is the vanish of every tonic element when followed in the same syllable by the articulate r.
Other uses of it will be illustrated in the practice of pronunciation, since every tonic approaches it in that form of unaccented utterance called, in our dictionaries, obscure.
Some of its abuses are mentioned here. It is the key-note of all pious ranting; the after-note in affected drawling, generally; and, as such, it is variously represented in writing by 6-ah,'"-a,'-er,' '-0,' &c. It indicates some indistinctness of thought, or indecision of purpose; hence it makes most of the language of the idiot, and of any person when, from some temporary cause, “the wit is out.” Hence it haunts the stammerer's speech, a miserable ghost of his murdered subtonics. Hence, too, a guttural form of it makes that disgusting iteration by which ingenious idlers dissemble a halting memory and fill the
in a bad recitation. The two abuses last named might certainly be corrected by early discipline. They are all avoided by every good speaker, as they are the detestation of every cultivated ear.