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4. Take a full, deep breath, and, dropping the jaw to the width of an inch, exhale with a prolonged aspirate sound of ah. Let the expiration occupy from ten to twenty seconds.
5. Take a full breath as before and exhale through the nostrils with a similar sound, occupying the same time as before.
6. Inhale slowly, and exhale in an abrupt whispered cough of uh.
7. Give the sound uh vocally seven times, aspirately seven times, and alternately seven times, with a distinct stroke of the abdominal muscles in each impulse.
All the above exercises must be practised judiciously, and never to the extent of producing dizziness or exhaustion.
PRONUNCIATION. Pronunciation is the utterance in a single impulse of the elements that constitute a word. It is the process of tripping easily from one sound to another until the combination of letters becomes a complete whole.
It is as easy to pronounce properly as improperly, provided one . is used to hearing good pronunciation. Pronunciation must become a habit, a second nature, and so easy as to avoid the suspicion that one is paying any particular attention to it. People of the highest social and intellectual culture establish usage, which in turn establishes pronunciation; as the standard dictionary is but the record of that usage, the pronunciation of the masses should agree therewith.
The requisites of correct pronunciation are four: 1. Correct Articulation; 2. Correct Quality of Vowel Sound; 3. Correct Syllabication; 4. Proper Accent.
The number of distinct elements in the English language has been variously estimated at from forty to forty-seven. The more minutely they are analyzed, the more numerous they will appear, but for all practical purposes the number may be placed at fortythree. These elements, as to their sound, are divided into three classes : tonics, subtonics, and atonics.
1. Tonics are clear, open, unobstructed tones. The vowels and diphthongs belong to this class. Examples. — a, e, i, o, u, oi, ou.
2. Subtonics are undertones or modified tones. The voice, instead of being allowed to pass freely through an open mouth, as of the tonics, is modified by some one of the articulating organs. The consonants that have tone are subtonics. Examples. — b, d, g, l, m, n.
3. Atonics are sounds without tone, - breathings interrupted or modified by the articulating organs. All consonants that have no tone are atonics. Examples. — C, f, h, k, p, t, s.
The vocal cords are active in the production of tonics and subtonics, but are separated and passive in the production of atonics.
(a) English Sounds. It is believed that all purely English sounds are represented in the following table. No diacritical marks are employed, since lexicographers have not agreed upon a common system.
TABLE OF ENGLISH Sounds.
(b) Articulation. Articulation, as the word indicates, is the jointing or linking together of the elements of a word. As there is no strong contact of the organs of speech in vowel sounds, the term “articulation” is here used chiefly with reference to the execution of consonants. An accurate and distinct articulation must form the basis of good delivery.
When we examine consonants as to their position in the organs of articulation, we find three distinct classes : 1. Labials; 2. Linguals; and 3. Palatals. In the production of labials, the lips are the flexible parts; in the linguals, the tongue is the flexible part; and in the palatals, the palate. The term “dental” is not used in this connection, for the reason that in the opening and closing only, the teeth cannot be said to be flexible, although they have much to do in regulating the shape of tones.
zone. then. thin. church. shun.
Cognates. Cognates are consonants that have the same position but different sounds. As the word indicates, they are born or originate together; that is, in the same position of the organs. There are
three classes: 1. Labial Cognates ; 2. Lingual Cognates; and 3. Palatal Cognates.
TABLE OF COGNATES.
LABIAL COGNATES. I LINGUAL COGNATES. PALATAL COGNATES. SUBTONIC. ATONIC. SUBTONIC. ATONIC. SUBTONIC.
b(bob), m (mum); p (pipe). d (did), and n (no); t (tat). g (gig), ng(sing); k (kick).
th (then); and th (thin).
Much of the stilted reading that is common to the schools, and the disjointed utterance of certain speakers in their efforts to be exact or nice, comes of the bad management of cognates in conjunction. Barring rhetorical pauses of unusual length, and emphasis which must always be taken into account, this law should be observed:
When a word ends with a letter with which the next word begins, or if they be cognate letters, one placing of the organs will do for both.
ILLUSTRATIONS. 1. The rub begins. 2. He was a calm man. 3. Let them not revive vandalism. 4. He had his fife fixed. 5. He was kind and dear. 6. None knew a lovelier boy. 7. Tell him not to do so. 8. The judge joined us. 9. She stood in the church chancel. 10. The thermometer registers zero. 11. It was all for the truth's sake. 12. They are all with thee. 13. Return to thy dwelling, all lonely return.
In blending the two words “all lonely” in the last exercise, the sounds of the two l's may be represented thus: The stream of tone, instead of being broken, is continued, swelling out on the separate elements.
In the conjunction of cognates in the following sentences the position of the articulating organs remains the same in each case, but the sound is changed.
1. They sought to rob men. 2. They overstep modesty. 3. Why should he leap boundaries ? 4. Live for others. 5. We want none of it. 6. It was I that denied thee gold. 7. They had their judge chosen. 8. It was soon done. 9. What did they do with things ? 10. It was a long course. 11. The men worked at log-cutting.
Exercises in Articulation.
Exercises in articulation are to the organs of articulation what physical exercises are to the nuscles of the body. They give strength for use in case of need. The following exercises are designed to give strength and flexibility to the organs of articulation :
1. Sound b-d-g five times in succession slowly and with much vigor.
2. Sound the rest of the subtonics in sets of three after the same manner.
3. Sound the atonics in sets of two after the same manner, with special care that no breath be wasted in their production.
4. Spell by sound the following words: dead, march, vaunt, pulp, ring, hold, remorse, forget, character, nothing, prosper, typify, faculties, companion
This list may be supplemented with words from any reading exercise. It is desirable in this exercise to articulate each element distinctly, enunciate the several syllables, and pronounce the words.
Quality of Vowel Sounds.
By quality of vowel sound is meant the character or subtle distinction of tone which is the ground-work of elegant utterance. The tendency to utter vowel sounds improperly is the most fruitful source of mispronunciation. Our English dialects and provincialisms in pronunciation are chiefly the result of a wrong sounding of the tonic elements of the language. We do not think it necessary