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provement by his Rhetorical Dictionary ; in which the words are divided into syllables as they are pronounced, and figures placed over the vowels to indicate their different sounds.--To him succeeded Mr Sheridan, who not only divided the words into syllables, and placed figures over the vowels as Dr Kenrick had done, but, by spelling these syllables as they are pronounced, seemed to complete the idea of a Pronouncing Dictionary, and to leave but little expectation of future improvement. It must, indeed, be confessed, that Mr Sheridan's Dictionary is greatly superior to every other that preceded it; and his method of conveying the sound of words, by spelling them as they are pronounced, is highly rational and useful.— The last writer on this subject is Mr Nares, who, in his Elements of Orthoepy, has shewn a clearness of method, and an extent of observation, which deserve the highest encomiums.”
Mr Knight and I have great pleasure in acknowledging, that from the writings of these gentlemen, as well as those of Mr Walker, we derived much useful information. About thirty years ago, finding, that, in conducting the business of a very numerous school, our attention was often distracted, by the younger pupils asking information respecting words whose pronunciation had frequently been pointed out to tkem, and as often forgotten,-it occurred to us, that by a set of lessons, printed on one page agreeably to the common orthography, and on the opposite page agreeably to a simple notation, (which, after a few instructions, could hardly be misunderstood) the pupil might soon be able, with the assistance of this ready Monitor, not only to recall to memory words which he had forgotten, but even to acquire the pronunciation of those entirely new to him.-This expedient we adopted; which has proved so successful in the hands of every industrious teacher who fully comprehends its object, that some of them have told us, they are now able to teach a hundred pupils with more advantage to them, and less labour to themselves, than they formerly could do fifty. It is no uncommon thing for pupils, after six months' instructions, to be able to pronounce any word in our Spelling-book.
As an Introduction to this Treatise, the following remarks may not be unnecessary :
OF NOTATION. Different schemes of Notation have been adopted by different authors. That their comparative merit may be accurately ascertained, Sheridan's and Perry's are here exemplified in sentences :
He' left hur', i-Find him
Fi'nd him'. OGö not north',
Go' not' na'rth. u-Use jŭst rūles, Uʻze dzhust' ro'lz.
ze I have exemplified these schemes of notation in preference to Walker's, because I think they are much superior in point of precision.
Sheridan, Walker, and Scott, have adopted figures to point out the different sounds of the vowels. Sheridan and Scott, by an accentual mark, which, being affixed to a vowel, indicates long quantity, but, affixed to a consonant, indicates short quantity, have
accurately ascertained the quantity of every monosyllable and accented syllable which occurs in their dictionaries. And by them, as well as by every prosodian, a syllable not having a primary or secondary accent, is considered as short.-Walker, by calling those sounds long which Sheridan has called doubtful, and by using figures only, to indicate both the quality and the quantity of the vocal sounds, may greatly mislead foreigners, and even natives, with respect to this important article of pronunciation.*
* That Fulton and Knight were thus misled, appears from the first edition of their Spelling-book, published about thirty years ago; for they discovered, that by the notation they had adopted, they were teaching their pupils “ not to utter words, but syllables," as Sheridan expresses it. And it is more than probable that the venerable Mr Lindley Murray, and, what is less to be wondered at, A Committee of Established Schoolmasters of Scotland,” have been equally misled; for Mr Murray, in his Spelling-book, and this Committee, in their Dictionary, have marked such words as Baby, poetry, society, notoriety, &c., as consisting entirely of long syllables !-However unguardedly Mr Walker may have expressed himself respecting the quantity of vowels in unaccented syllables, his real senti. ments on this head are indisputably ascertained by what he says respecting quantity in the Latin language. “ The rule for placing the accent in that language,” he says, " is the simplest in the world ; if the penultimate syllable is long, the accent is on it; if short, the accent is on the antepenultimate.” Now, the Latin words—Elégans, vigilans, benevõlus, &c., are marked by him with the penultimate syllable short ; with the accentuation of which, he says, the English words—Elegant, vigilant, benevolent, &c., perfectly coincide ; and, therefore, their penultimate syllable must also be short. May not Mr Walker have been led to ascribe long quantity to the unaccented name-sounds of the vowels terminating a syllable, lest, by ascribing short quantity to them, he might have been understood to change their specific sounds into the shut sounds ? No reason can be given why o, in the first syllable of fo-ment, should be accounted long, and a, in the first syllable of la-ment accounted short, but because o retains its specific name-sound, and a assumes its shut sound. I will rather indulge this conjecture, than suppose that Mr Walker could mean, that both syllables of the word Ba-by, for example, are long: contrary to the opinion of every prosodian, the notation of every other orthoepist, and the deliberate judgment of every person capable of beating time to a bar of music.
Perry's notation, and Fulton and Knight's, are constructed very much on the same principle, namely, to indicate by a single mark, not liable to be misunderstood, the quality and quantity of any vocal sound; an object which could not be so well effected by figures. What Mr Perry calls the first sounds, and Fulton and Knight the name-sounds, are marked by both, when long, with a horizontal line ; when short, are by him left unmarked, and by them are marked with a dot. What Mr Perry calls the second sounds, and Fulton and Knight the shut sounds, are marked by him with a crescent, and by them are left unmarked ; and are considered as having only short quantity, except o, as in nõt', north'; to the former of which words Mr Perry affixes an acute aecent to denote short quantity, and to the latter a grave accent to denote long quantity; while Fulton and Knight have marked the long quantity with a cir. cumflex. To this expedient, of a double mark, Mr Perry has also had recourse in settling the quantity of the vowel in the word all', to distinguish it from the short quantity of the same sound in the word wâst'; Fulton and Knight distinguish the long and short quantities of this sound by capital Â, Ă, marked with a circumflex and a crescent; and by their notation no double mark is ever necessary.
OF ACCENT AND QUANTITY. Accent has various significations; but, with respect to Orthoepy, confining it to " a certain stress of the voice upon a particular letter of a syllable, as Sheridan does, the distinction which he makes respecting its seat, as being either on a vowel or a consonant, tends to convey more clear ideas both of Accent and Quantity than any preceding author had been fortunate enough to attain. He says, “ When the accent is on the vowel, the syllable is long ; because the Accent is made by dwelling on the vowel. When the Accent is on the consonant, the syllable is short ; because the Accent is made by passing rapidly over the vowel, and giving a smart stroke of the voice to the following consonant."*
Lord Kames, in his Elements of Criticism, descanting on English heroic verse, says, “ Every line consists of ten syllables, five short, and five long." Had he said “ five short, and five long or accented," his opinion and that of Mr Sheridan would perfectly coincide; as exemplified in the following line quoted by his Lordship :
Profu'se of bliss', and preg'nant with delight. For they both agree in making all unaccented syllables short ; they also agree in making the latter syllable of profuse and delight to be long. But Lord Kames, substituting Accent for Quantity, makes the syllable bliss, the former syllable of pregnant, and the syllable with to be also long; while Sheridan
* Sheridan says,
66 There are cases in which the sound of the con. sonant may be dwelt upon, and the syllable thus rendered long. None of the consonants are to be prolonged except when the accent is
Those which can be prolonged with pleasure to the ear, are only the semivowels, l, n, v, 2, ng ; and they are never to be prolonged except in monosyllables, or final syllables of other words.”