We are judged by our speech. If we clip syllables, run words together, or pronounce them incorrectly, we shall merit the criticism of being careless or even ignorant.
Yet clear enunciation and correct pronunciation are sometimes difficult. We learn most words by hearing others say them, and, if we do not hear the true values given to the different syllables, we shall find it hard to distinguish the correct from the incorrect forms.
Children whose parents speak a foreign language usually have to watch their speech with especial care; Germans, for example, find difficulty in saying th and Irish people in saying oi as in oil.
The exercises in this chapter are given for the purpose of correcting such habits. The words in the exercises should be pronounced repeatedly until the correct forms are instinctive.
Train the ear to hear the difference between sounds, as in just and in jest. Don't slide over the final consonant in such words as going and reading. Watchwords containing wh. The dictionary tells us that where was originally written hwar, the h coming before the w; and we still pronounce it so, although we write the w before the h.
The word whether is of the same kind. The dictionary tells us that it was first spelled hweder. Such words should be carefully noted and their pronunciation practiced.
Then there is the habit of slurring syllables. We may understand what is meant by the expression "C'm' on" or "Waja say?", but most of us would prefer not to be included in the class of people who use either. Correct speech cannot be mastered without an effort.
Although an a is always written a, it is not always given the same quality or length of sound. When we discover a new word, it is important that we know exactly the quality to give each of the vowels in it. For this purpose, diacritical marks have been invented. They are illustrated in the following list from Webster's International Dictionary.
|ā||as||in||āte, fāte, lāb´or|
|[+a]||"||"||sen´[+a]te, del´ic[+a]te, [+a]e´rial|
|â||"||"||câre, shâre, pâr´ent|
|ă||"||"||ăm, ădd, răn´dom|
|ä||"||"||ärm, fär, fä´ther|
|ȧ||"||"||ȧsk, grȧss, pȧss, dȧnce|
|a̠||"||"||fi´na̠l, in´fa̠nt, guid´ānce|
|a̤||"||"||a̤ll, a̤we, swa̤rm, ta̤lk|
|ē||"||"||ēve, mēte, serēne´|
|[+e]||"||"||[+e]vent´, d[+e]pend´, soci´[+e]ty|
|ĕ||"||"||ĕnd, mĕt, ĕxcuse´, ĕfface´|
|ẽ||"||"||fẽrn, hẽr, ẽr´mine, ev´ẽr|
|e||"||"||re´cent, de´cency, pru´dence|
|ī||"||"||īce, tīme, sīght, inspīre´|
|[+i]||"||"||[+i]dea´, tr[+i]bu´nal, b[+i]ol´ogy|
|ĭ||"||"||ĭll, pĭn, pĭt´y, admĭt´|
|ō||"||"||ōld, nōte, ō´ver, prōpose´|
|[+o]||"||"||[+o]bey´, t[+o]bac´co, sor´r[+o]w|
|ô||"||"||ôrb, lôrd, ôr´der, abhôr´|
|ŏ||"||"||ŏdd, nŏt, tŏr´rid, ŏccur´|
|ū||"||"||ūse, pūre, dū´ty, assūme´|
|[+u]||"||"||[+u]nite´, ac´t[+u]ate, ed[+u]ca´tion|
|ṳ||"||"||rṳde, rṳ´mor, intrṳde´|
|ụ||"||"||fụll, pụt, fụlfill´|
|ŭ||"||"||ŭp, tŭb, stŭd´y|
|û||"||"||ûrn, fûr, concûr´|
|y̆||"||"||pit´y̆, in´jury̆, divin´ity̆|
|o͞o||"||"||fo͞ol, fo͞od, mo͞on|
|o͝o||"||"||fo͝ot, wo͝ol, bo͝ok|
|ou||"||"||out, thou, devour´|
|oi||"||"||oil, noi´sy, avoid´|
|ā is called long a, and is marked with the macron|
|ă is called short a, and is marked with the breve|
|â is called caret a, and is marked with the caret|
|ä is called Italian a, and is marked with the diaeresis|
|ȧ is called short Italian a, and is marked with the dot|
|ẽ is called tilde e, and is marked with the tilde or wave|
Of the twenty-six letters in the alphabet, how many are vowels? Name them. What are the other letters called?
Compare the ă in hat and the ā in hate. Which has more nearly the sound of a in the alphabet? This is called the natural or long sound of the vowel. The other is called the short sound.
Drop the e from hate. Explain the result.
Name other monosyllables ending in e and containing the long a sound.
Explain the difference in pronunciation between Pete, pet, ripe, rip, hope, hop, cube, cub.
Find other monosyllables ending in e and containing a long vowel that becomes short if the e is dropped.
Monosyllables ending in silent e usually contain a long vowel sound, which becomes short when the final e is dropped.
Pronounce carefully the following words containing the short Italian a:
Pronounce the vowel o in the following very carefully. Don't give the sound feller or fella when you mean fellow.
The vowel u needs particular attention. When it is long, it is sounded naturally, as it is in the alphabet. Do not say redooce for reduce.
Using diacritical marks indicate the value of the vowels in the following. Try marking them without first consulting a dictionary. After you have marked them, compare your markings with those used in a dictionary.
Pronounce carefully, noting that in each word at least one consonant is silent, and sometimes a vowel as well. Draw an oblique line through the silent letter or letters in each.
Pronounce the following, paying particular attention to the vowels. Distinguish between the meanings of the words in each group.
Enunciate the consonant sounds carefully in the following. Distinguish between the meanings of the words in each group.
Pronounce the following, making sure that each syllable is correct. Guard against slurring the words in the last column.
|says||donkey||spirit||What did you say?|
|rid||again||semi||Where are you going?|
|since||against||scared||Where have you been?|
|sleek||honest||saucy||I want to go.|
|creek||savage||turnip||I'm going to go.|
Be especially careful of the sounds th and wh. Add no syllable to a word and omit none. Consult a dictionary for any word below about which you are not certain:
Exercise 12 - Homonyms
A homonym is a word having the same sound as another but differing from it in meaning. Use each of the following in a sentence to show its meaning.
Do the same with the following:
Exercise 14 - Syllabication
What is a syllable?
Choose a word and notice that every vowel sound in it makes a syllable. Therefore, you never have two vowels in one syllable unless the two are pronounced as one sound.
In pronouncing notice carefully to which syllable a consonant belongs; as in dif-fer-ent, beau-ti-fy, dai-sy.
Divide the following words into syllables. If you cannot decide with which syllable a consonant belongs, consult a dictionary.
If a syllable, especially an accented syllable, ends in a vowel, what is usually the length of the vowel?
If the syllable ends in a consonant, what is usually the length of the vowel of the syllable?
When a consonant is doubled, the division is usually made between the two letters; as,
As a rule, a prefix constitutes one syllable; as,
As a rule, a suffix constitutes one syllable; as,
When two or more letters together give one sound, they must not be divided; as,
Can a word of one syllable be divided?
Do not divide a syllable of one letter from the rest of the word. The division ever-y is wrong.
Divide the following words into syllables, using the suggestions given in the preceding exercise:
Exercise 16 - Accent
What is accent?
Divide into syllables, indicate the accent, and pronounce the following:
In the following words the meaning changes with the accent. Use each word in a sentence to show its meaning.
|minute (notice the vowel change)|
|refuse (notice the consonant change)|
Bring to class a list of words that you have heard mispronounced in your classes. Be sure that you can pronounce them correctly.
The following words are frequently mispronounced. Divide them into syllables, mark the accent, and pronounce carefully.