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Full text of "Principles of speech and dictionary of sounds, including directions and exercises for the cure of stammering and correction of all faults of articulation"

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(B. 1819-D. 1905) 


"Visible Speech and Universal Alphabetics, 

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World English : Universal Language 10 

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The Elements of Speech 13 

Classification of Elements 13 

Articulations, Definition of 14 

Vowels, Definition of 14 

Voiceless or Breath Articulations 14 

Voice Articulations ". 14 

Representation of Elements 14 

Absence of Articulation Characters 15 

Vocal Respiration 15 

Regulating the Breathing 15 

Breath is the Material of Speech 16 

Expansion of the Chest 16 

Exercise to Strengthen Respiration 16 

Respiration of Stammerers 17 

Voice 17 

The Organ of Voice 17 

Analogies Between Voice and Musical Instruments 17 

Illustrating Vocal Principles 17 

Describing the Glottal Action 18 

Analogy in Cases of Stammering 18 

Mastering the Glottal Action 18 

Exercise Coup de la Glotte 18 

Exercises to Strengthen the Lungs and Purify the Voice 18 

Exercise Prolonged Voice 18 

Exercise Soft Palate 19 

Guttural Tones 20 

Teeth Should Never be Closed in Speech 20 

Peculiarities of Tone 20 

Huskiness of Voice 20 

Vowels 20 

Vowel Variations 20 

Speaking Automatons : Kempelin and Faber 21 

Willis's Experiments 21 

Discovering Vowel Principles 21 

Three Organic Classes of Vowels 22 

Lingual, Labial, and Labio-Lingual Vowels 22 

Vowel Modifiers 22 

Eight Vowel Positions in Each Class 22 

Standard Scale of Vowels 22 

First Vowel Position 22 

Second Vowel Position 23 

Third Vowel Position 23 

Fourth Vowel Position 23 




Fifth Vowel Position 23 

Sixth Vowel Position 24 

Seventh Vowel Position 24 

Eighth Vowel Position 24 

General Vowel Scheme 25 

To Find the Place of Any Vowel 25 

Vowel Nomenclature 26 

Terms to be Discarded 26 

Numerical Notation of English Vowels 27 

Thirteen Different Vowel Sounds 27 

Exercise on the Numerical Vowel Notation 28 

The Aspiration H 28 

Breath, Voice, and Nasal Elements 28 

General Classification of the Elements of Speech 28 

French Semi-Nasal Sounds 29 

Articulations 30 

Their Percussive Quality Dependent on the Pharynx 30 

Want of Pharyngeal Power 31 

Breath and Voice Articulations 32 

Modes of Articulation 33 

First Mode Complete Contact 33 

Second Mode -Central Emission of Breath 35 

Third Mode Lateral Emission of Breath 37 

Fourth Mode Lax Vibration 38 

Clicks or Articulati ve Suctions 38 

General Scheme of Articulations 39 

Table of English Articulations 40 

Elementary Instruction in Speech 41 

Children Not Taught an Alphabet of Sounds 41 

Teach the Mouth to Speak 42 

Phonetic Method of Teaching Reading 43 

The Powers of the Letters and Orthographic Tables 43 

Sounds of the Vowel Marks 45 

Silent Vowel Marks 47 

Marks of the Vowel Sounds 48 

Sounds of the Articulation Marks 49 

Silent Articulation Marks 50 

Marks of the Articulations 51 

Phonetic Notation of Speech 52 

Phonotypes of Messrs. Pitman and Ellis 51 

Mr. Pitman's Phonography 51 

. Phonetic Notation of Speech Accomplished 52 

Quantity and Elementary Combinations 53 

Long Monophthongs 53 

Short Monophthongs 53 

What is a Syllable? 54 

Table of Initial Articulative Combinations 56 

Tables of Terminal Syllabic Combinations of Breath Articulations 56 

Tables of Terminal Syllabic Combinations of Voice Articulations 57 

Terminal Combinations of Mixed Articulations 57 

Combination of Syllables into Words 58 

Table of English Vowel Combinations 59 



Accent, Rhythm, Emphasis, and the Grouping of Words 61 

Accent 61 

Secondarily Accented Words 62 

Rhythm 63 

Emphasis 63 

The Grouping of Words 64 

Example of a Substantive Group 64 

Example of a Verbal Group 64 

Inflexion, Modulation, etc 64 

Simple Inflexions 66 

Compound Inflexions Circumflexes or Waves 66 

Applications of the Inflexions 67 

Modulation 68 


Section First Vowels 71 

English Monophthongs and Diphthongs 71 

First Vowel as in eel 72 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 73 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 73 

Second Vowel as in ill 73 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 74 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 74 

Third Vowel as in ale 74 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 75 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 75 

Fourth Vowel as in ell, ere 76 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 78 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 78 

Fifth Vowel as in an . 78 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 70, 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 79 

Sixth Vowel as in ask 79 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 80 

Seventh Vowel as in ah 80 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 81 

Diphthong 7-1 as in isle 81 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 81 

W^ords of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 81 

Diphthong 7-13 as in owl 82 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 82 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 82 

Eighth Vowel as in err 82 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 83 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 84 

Ninth Vowel as in up, urn 85 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 85 

Tenth Vowel as in on, all 85 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 86 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 86 



Diphthong 10-1 as in oil 86 

Eleventh Vowel as in ore 87 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 88 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 88 

Twelfth Vowel as in old 88 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 89 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 89 

Thirteenth Vowel as in pull, pool 89 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 90 

Words of the Same Pronunciation but Different Orthography 90 

The Aspirate H 90 

The Stammerer to Study Characteristics 92 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 92 

Second Section Articulations 93 

The Stammerer to Study Natural Principles of Speech 93 

Table of Articulations 93 

First Articulation P, as in pay 93 

Difficult to Stammerers 94 

Exercise Before a Mirror Facilitates Correction 94 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 96 

Second Articulation B, as in bay 96 

Stammering, Characteristics of 97 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 97 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 97 

Third Articulation M, as in may 97 

M Difficult for Stammerers 99 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 99 

Fourth Articulation Wh, as in whey 99 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 99 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 100 

Fifth Articulation W, as in way 100 

W and Wh Difficult to Stammerers 100 

Sixth Articulation F, as in feel 101 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 102 

Seventh Articulation V, as in veal 102 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 102 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 102 

Eighth Articulation Th, as in thin 103 

An Impediment to the Stammerer 104 

Tongue-training 104 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 105 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 105 

Ninth Articulation Th, as in then 105 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 105 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 105 

Tenth Articulation S, as in seal 105 

Lisping Hissing 106 

Stammerers Find S Difficult 108 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 108 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 108 

Eleventh Articulation Z, as in zeal 108 

Less Difficult to the Stammerer than S 109 



Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 109 

Twelfth Articulation R, as in rare 109 

Burring (Uvular Vibration) no 

Suggestions for the Stammerer in 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 112 

Thirteenth Articulation L, as in lie 112 

Suggestions for the Stammerer 114 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 114 

Fourteenth Articulation T, as in tie 114 

Suggestions for the Stammerer 1 16 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 1 16 

Fifteenth Articulation D, as in die 1 16 

Suggestions for the Stammerer 117 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 117 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 117 

Sixteenth Articulation N, as in nigh 117 

Mirror Practice for the Stammerer 118 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 120 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty : 120 

Seventeenth Articulation Sh, as in shy 120 

Exercise for Stammerers 121 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 122 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 122 

Eighteenth Articulation Zh, as in giraffe 122 

Words Containing the Sound of Zh between Vowels \ 123 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 123 

Nineteenth Articulation Yh, as in hue 123 

Twentieth Articulation Y, as in you 123 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 124 

Twenty-first Articulation K, as in come 124 

Suggestions for the Stammerer 125 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 125 

Twenty-second Articulation G, as in gum 125 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 126 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 126 

Twenty-third Articulation Ng, as in sing 127 

Words to be Distinguished in Pronunciation 128 

Words Containing Elements of Difficulty 128 


Cure of Stammering and Other Impediments of Speech 129 

Articulative Exercises 129 

Stuttering, Hesitation 129 

Stammering 130 

Practical Directions, Exercises 132 

The Lips 133 

- The Teeth 135 

The Tongue 135 

The Head 137 

The Thorax ... 138 



Articulati ve Exercises 140 

Literal Exercises 140 

Breath Articulations 140 

Voice Articulations 141 

Verbal Exercises 141 

Double Articulations 141 

Difficult Combinations 142 

Alliterations and Difficult Sequences 142 

Miscellaneous 143 


Voice Vowels 145 

Primary Vowels 145 

Wide Vowels 145 

Round Vowels 146 

Wide Round Vowels 146 

Tongue Consonants 146 

Consonant Curves 146 

Vocal Consonants 146 

High Vowels 147 

Mid-Vowels 148 

Low Vowels 148 

Wide Vowels 149 

Sounds of Round Vowels 152 

Sounds of Wide Round Vowels 152 

Glides 153 

Consonants ; 154 

Mixed Consonants 154 

Divided Consonants 155 

Shut Consonants 156 

Nasal Consonants 156 

Symbols of Vocal Physiology 157 

Supplementary Symbols 158 

Exemplification of English Visible Speech 160 

Uses of Visible Speech 160 



Including Directions and Exercises for the Cure of Stammering and Correc- 
tion of All Faults of Articulation. 


Copyright 1914 by the Volta Bureau. All rights reserved 



IN PREPARATION of this work the author has endeavored to write, not as 
for the use of pupils, to whom a defective description in the book might be 
orally supplemented, but for those to whom such additional instruction is not, 
and cannot be, available. He has studied to observe the utmost simplicity of 
arrangement and to avoid overloading principles by unnecessary rules. He has 
not followed in the steps of any preceding writer, either as to his theory or his 
plan of developing it; but he has observed nature for himself and recorded his 
observations after his own fashion. THE SCIENCE OF SPEECH SEEMED TO WANT 


With reference to defects and impediments of articulation, the author has 
unreservedly communicated the principles and exercises by means of which such 
faults may be eradicated ; and by the persevering application of which the stam- 
merer, to whom oral instruction is beyond convenience, may work out his own 

Early attention to imperfection of utterance would be in almost all cases 
successful in preventing the formation of impediments, if parents, teachers, gov- 
ernesses, and tutors were competent to direct the -articulation of children. The 
necessary knowledge of principles, with many assistant exercises, adapted for the 
youngest pupils, the following pages supply. 

Public speakers, whose pronunciation is indistinct, or who suffer from ex- 
haustion after vocal effort, will here learn the means of rendering their delivery 
mechanically faultless and the most protracted exercise of the voice perfectly easy 
and salutary. 

Students of language will find the elementary analyses of the vowels and 
articulations, the illustrative tables, observations, etc., and the articulative exer- 



cises, of great value in facilitating- the acquisition of foreign tongues, and the 
perfection of vernacular utterance ; while to foreigners the attainment of English 
characteristics of speech is, by the same means, rendered easy of accomplishment. 

The subject of visible speech, introduced for the first time in the fifth edition 
as a completing section of the book, cannot fail to be of important assistance to 
the student in mastering the "Principles of Speech" for teaching purposes. 

I rejoice that this book has been found worthy of so long a life. Through 
it I may hope to continue teaching as hitherto successions of students in Britain, 
America, and wherever English is vernacular. 




SPEECH consists of variously modified emissions of breath. The first modify- 
ing agent is the glottis, or aperture of the wind-pipe ; in passing through which, 
the breath acquires a rustling, vibratory, or sonorous quality, in proportion to the 
degree of tension and approximation of the vocal chords the edges of the glottis. 

When the glottis and the mouth are perfectly open, the breath may be expelled, 
even forcibly, without audibility. When the glottal aperture is somewhat con- 
tracted, the passage of the breath is rendered faintly audible ; this is the condition 
of the glottis in whispering a vowel, or in the softer utterance of the letter H. 
The glottis may be adjusted almost to the vocalizing position, and that husky voice 
is produced which is the natural expression of fear and of the dark passions; and 
when the edges of the glottis are braced to the clearly vocalizing point, the breath 
acquires that beautiful sonorous quality which is called VOICE;. 

The breath, glottally modified in either of these ways, may be farther modified 
in its passage through the mouth, by the shape and arrangement of the plastic 
organs of articulation the soft palate, the tongue, and the lips. 

The varying shape of the mouth, with an uninterrupted central channel for 
the issue of the breath, gives vowel quality to the breath, whispered or vocalized ; 
and the close approximation, partial or complete contact of the oral organs, gives 
articulative or "consonant" effect to the same voiceless or sonorous current of 

In the common analysis of Speech, its elements have been divided into two 
classes, called Vowels and Consonants. The former class is said to contain those 
elementary sounds which are capable of being uttered alone ; and the latter, those 
which are incapable of being pronounced without the aid of a vowel. This is 
incorrect; for, not only the vowels, but all the "consonants," may be perfectly 
sounded alone. The terms Vowel and Consonant, thus understood, do not draw 
a clear line of distinction between the two natural classes of elements, intended to 
be designated ; and either some other nomenclature must be adopted, or a definition 
of these terms received which may effect the object of the classification. The 
ordinary definition of the term Voivel would render that name equally applicable 
to all the elements of speech ; and the term Consonant, as generally defined, is 
inapplicable to any one of them. 

To remedy the inconvenience of inaccurate definitions, numerous subdivisions 
of the elements have been made, and categorical terms have been multiplied. As 
might be expected from such a fundamental error, writers are often not agreed 
as to the class to which certain letters should belong. Y and W have been by 
some authors declared to be consonants ; by others, vowels ; by others, semi-con- 
sonants ; by others, both vowels and consonants. It will be of importance if we 
can establish a classification which may be generally admitted. 

Dr. Rush, in his "Philosophy of the Human Voice," has proposed a mode 
of classification into "tonics" (vowels), "subtonics" (articulations with voice), 
and "atonies" (voiceless articulations). But this does not show the primary and 
most important division of the elements, intended to be expressed by the terms, 
Vowel and Consonant. It does not recognize the difference between a position 
and an action, which this acute author seems strangely to have overlooked. 



"Consonants" have been subdivided into mutes, semi-mutes, semi-vowels, 
demi-semi-vowels, liquids, sharp letters, Hat letters, soft, hard, etc.; but to most 
of the terms there has been no clear meaning attached, and in their application 
there has been no little inconsistency. The names flat and sharp, hard and soft, 
etc., have been applied by different persons to opposite classes of letters ; and, 
so little have these words been made to convey any definite idea, we have heard 
the two former terms explained by a public lecturer to be "just like sharps and 
flats in music/' to which, except in an absurd nomenclature, they have not a 
shadow of relation. 

The most obvious difference among the elements of speech obtains between 
those sounds which pass freely through the open mouth, and those which are 
forced through interstices, or stopped by organic conjunction. The former may 
as well be called vowels as by any other name; only let the term be correctly 
defined, and the mere name is of little consequence. Those utterances, then, 
which pass freely from the glottis through a certain open conformation of the 
vocal canal, and unaffected by any sound of breath, hissing, or compressed within 
the mouth, let us call VOWELS. All other elements of speech will be found to 
coincide in this, that their audible effect is either wholly or partly produced within 
the mouth; and that an appulsive action of some part of the lips or tongue is 
necessary to their formation. Let us call these by a term already in use, 
ARTICULATIONS.* A vowel, according to this definition, is the result of an open 
position of the oral organs ; an articulation is the result of an opening action of 
the organs. 

The Articulations are, on obvious principles, divisible into subordinate classes. 
Some of them owe their audibility solely to the mouth, to the action of the breath 
against the organs of articulation. As these are accompanied by no glottal vibra- 
tion, they may be appropriately called Voiceless or Breath articulations. All oth- 
ers will fall under the category of Voice articulations. 

The nature of the articulative actions gives reason for subdivisions of each 
of these classes. Those actions which altogether stop the flow of breath or voice 
may be called obstructive, or shut ; and those which do not, may be appropriately 
called continuous; the latter being further divided into close and open. 

Thus, the letters P, T, K are shut breath articulations ; and B, D, G, are shut 
voice articulations; F, Wh, Th, S, Sh are continuous breath articulations, and 
V, W, Th, Z, Zh, R, Y, L, M, N, NG are continuous voice articulations. Of 
these last, the first seven letters are close, and the remainder open. The reason 
for making a distinction among the continuous voice articulations is that L, M, 
N, NG are almost as purely vocal as any vowel the stream of voice having a 
free channel, and suffering but little compression in its passage. Indeed, but for 
the distinct organic action necessary to each of these letters, they might be ranked 
among the vowels. 

Our alphabet gives us 26 letters; 5 vowel, and 21 articulation marks. Our 
language contains 13 radically distinct vowel formations, and 24 varieties of 
articulation, besides the variable aspiration H. A perfect alphabet of English 
sounds would therefore contain not fewer than 38 distinguishable simple char- 
acters. But, on a principle which will be found explained in a subsequent chapter, 
this number might be obtained from little more than 12 distinct characters, the 
remainder being produced from these by uniform changes, to represent their uni- 
formity of difference. 

* The word "articulation" has been sometimes applied to vowels, as well as consonants, 
but its limitation to the latter class of elements is not only convenient, but correct. The 
vowels are the material of speech, and the articulations are the joints or hinges by whose 
motion the vowels are separated from each other, and are affected in their duration. 


Not only is the alphabet deficient in the number of its characters; it is also 
redundant, and is burdened with letters which do not represent simple elements, 
but combinations. The inadequacy of the vowel marks to represent the vowel 
sounds is most manifest. We have no regular and consistent way of writing any 
one vowel. Single letters represent diphthongs, and the utmost confusion of 
diphthongal characters prevails in our modes of writing simple vowel sounds. 
The alphabet furnishes no characters by which to represent six of our articula- 
tions namely, Sh, Th(in), Th(is), Zh (as in azure), Wh, NG; and we are thus 
forced to theanomaly of using digraphs to represent simple sounds, while there 
are simple characters in the alphabet which represent double sounds ; we have 
three letters for one articulation, namely, C, K, Q (besides which we compound 
a digraph, Ch : the letter C stands for both K and S ; and the letters J and X 
represent combinations of two actions ; the former letter being equivalent to d zh, 
and the latter, doing quadruple duty, representing k s, and also (their voice 
forms) g 2. 

The great inconvenience of this faulty alphabet has been long felt ; and how- 
ever easy it might be to propose a remedy, it would not be so easy to get the most 
advantageous plan adopted. We must content ourselves, in the meantime, with 
clearing away the difficulties that have arisen from the want of a correct and gen- 
erally recognized principiation of our speech, and leave the reformation of our 
orthography to be worked by a more thorough acquaintance with its defects. We 
shall have aided the work if we succeed in classifying the elementary sounds 
according to their natural order, and in describing popularly and practically the 
exact formation of the elements of speech. 


The importance of knowing how to regulate the breathing with ease and 
efficiency, in public speaking, cannot be over-estimated. Many a zealous speaker 
has cut short his career of usefulness by injurious action of the chest in respira- 
tion ; and complaints are frequent especially among clergymen of uneasiness in 
speaking, exhaustion after vocal effort, pain in the chest, expectoration of blood, 
and other symptoms of serious pulmonary affections, which manifest the preva- 
lence of fatal ignorance on this most important subject. 

Here is one momentous evil arising from the neglect of vocal training, as a 
part of the necessary education of clergymen. Proceeding to the performance 
of arduous public duties with the mere instinct of speech, many sink under the 
injuries inflicted by zealous but misdirected effort. For want of a principle of 
managing the respiration, which should have been acquired before the delivery 
of their first sermon, they accompany every accent by a motion of the trunk or 
the limbs ; and, with chests almost collapsed, work themselves into vehemence by 
dint of sheer bodily labor. To avoid feebleness and monotony, they must be 
constantly in action tossing and swaying the body rising and falling on the 
heels nodding the head swinging and jerking the arms kneading the cushion 
or hammering on the pulpit frame. Some, with little taste or tact, .fall into a 
regular rotation of actions, which they perform as uniformly as automata ; and 
others, gratifying their sense of the necessity for variety, yield to every impulse, 
and indulge in the most out-of-place extravagance ; under which they steam, and 
drip, and froth; while the strained, ranting sound which is squeezed or spouted 
forth exhausts the powers of nature, and the overwrought speaker, panting and 
breathless, sinks into a state of complete prostration. 


The amount of air ordinarily inspired for vital wants is quite insufficient for 
vocal purposes. The lungs must, before speech is commenced, and during speech, 
be made to contain a far greater than the ordinary supply. For breath, let it be 
remembered, is the material of speech. 

To make the speaker's respiration healthful, the act of inspiration must be 
full and deep. No effort of suction is required to effect this; the chest has but 
to be expanded, and the air will rush into the lungs, and distend them to the full 
extent of the cavity created within the thorax. The chest must then be held up, 
to prevent wasteful emission before speech is commenced ; and, during the longest 
flow of speech, the chest should fall but little. The upward pressure of the dia- 
phragm on the lungs will expel the breath without the laborious action of the 
bony structure of the chest. 

No straining or muscular effort is needed to elevate, or to keep raised, the 
framework of the chest ; the wave of breath inspired should, as it were, buoy it up, 
and frequent replenishings should keep it thus afloat on the body of air in the 

The breathing should always be conducted inaudibly; an inspiration, to ,be 
full, must be silent. Noisy inspirations are necessarily incomplete; their sound 
arises from constriction of the glottal aperture, and this, of course, lessens the 
volume of air that can enter. But even were such breathing as effectual as the 
noiseless flowing in of a wave of air, the hideous effect of it would be enough to 
keep every speaker of taste from so outraging the feelings of his auditors. This 
sort of strangulatory inspiration is most common on the stage, among the melo- 
dramatic heroes, whose element and forte are "colored fire" and "desperate 

The common Scotch bagpipe gives an excellent illustration of the comparative 
efficacy of a partial and of a complete inflation of the lungs. See the piper, when 
the bag is only half filled, tuning the long drones ; how his arm jerks on the wind- 
bag! and hear the harsh, uneven notes that come jolting out from the pressure. 
Then see him, when the sheep-skin is firmly swelled beneath his arm how gently 
his elbow works upon it ! while the clear notes ring out with ear-splitting emphasis. 
Let the public speaker learn from this an important lesson. He, too, plays upon 
an instrument one not unlike the bagpipe in construction. Let him learn to use 
it rationally ; in consciousness, at least, of the mechanical principles of the appa- 
ratus. For, as the instrument of speech is more perfect than anything the hand 
of man has fashioned, it surely must, when properly handled, be "easier to be 
played on than a pipe !" 

A very useful exercise for strengthening the respiration consists in reading 
in a strong, loud WHISPER. This will be found laborious at first, but practice will 
make it more easy. It should not, however, be long continued, on account of the 
giddiness which it is apt to produce. 

A full inspiration elevates and expands the chest, and, by descent of the 
diaphragm, slightly protrudes the abdomen ; and a correct vocal expiration mani- 
fests itself, first, in the flattening of the abdomen, and then in its very gradually 
falling inward, in prolonged expiration: the chest making little or no action 
downwards, even in the most forcible effort. 

In cases of pulmonary and vocal weakness, the very opposite of this mode of 
respiration is generally found to be habitual. The chest falls with -every expira- 
tion, and has to be again raised when breath is inhaled. The diaphragm is almost 
a fixture, and the speaker becomes exhausted by the continual muscular effort 
needed to work the massive framework of the chest. The chest should be fully 
expanded, once for all, before the first word is uttered, and then kept up by fre- 
quent imperceptible replenishments of air, to the close of the longest sentence or 


paragraph. In this way, speaking becomes, instead of an exhausting labor, one 
of the most salutary exercises. 

Comparatively few persons ever have the chest fully inflated except, perhaps, 
before a yawn or a sigh ; and many undoubtedly sink into consumption from the 
continual state of collapse in which the lungs are kept. Mechanical exercises in 
breathing to develop the chest would be of more avail in the cure of consumption 
than change of climate or all the drugs in the pharmacopoeia. 

Stammerers almost always have the clavicular and unhealthy respiration above 
described. The action of the chest is sometimes painfully laborious; and the 
natural emission of the breath in speech is checked by spasmodic closures of the 
mouth and glottis ; or reversed by attempts to speak with ingoing air. The regu- 
lation of the breathing is the most important, and, generally, the most difficult part 
of the process of cure. 


The organ of Voice is placed beyond the reach of observation in the living 
subject, and consequently has seldom been seen in operation. Circumstances have, 
however, enabled some qualified observers to see enough of its modes of action 
to ascertain analogies between it and certain musical instruments. The vocal 
organ combines the qualities of a wind and of a stringed instrument, sound being 
produced by means of a current of air as in the flute; and alterations of pitch 
being effected by elongation and contraction, with comparative slackness or tension 
of the vocal chords as in the violin. All other instruments of sound, however 
perfect in their kind, fall infinitely short of the compact perfection of this wonder- 
ful apparatus; which, within such a tiny space as mocks the art of man, unites 
the various registers, and the swell and thunder of the organ, with the flexibility 
and minute play of tone of the violin or Eolian harp. 

Some important vocal principles may be illustrated by means of a simple 
little instrument, whose sonorous vibrations are, in many respects, analogous to 
those of the human glottis. This is the reed of the bagpipe drone. An experi- 
mental sonifier of this kind may be constructed from a common quill, in the fol- 
lowing manner : 

Remove from a new quill the feathered end and the dry and tough matter 
within and at the other end of the quill, so as to leave only the brittle portion. 
Seal up one end of this tube with wax, and cut a tongue in the side of it, beginning 
the slit near to the wax. Insert the sealed end within the mouth. 

With this instrument, the following principles may be exemplified : 

If the slit, and, consequently, the vibrating tongue, be short, the sound will 
be shrill and strained ; and, if the tongue be gradually lengthened, the pitch of its 
note will become deeper and more mellow with every increase.* In an analogous 
manner the glottal aperture is contracted in length when producing high tones, 
and elongated in producing grave sounds. 

If the tongue of the reed or quill project so as to leave too open an aperture, 
the air will pass below the tongue without setting it in vibration ; and, consequently, 
no sound will be heard except that of the rushing of the air, more or less audibly, 
according to the degree of openness of the aperture, and the force of the breath. 
This state of the reed is analogous to that of the glottis in whispering. Every 

*The vibrating length of the tongue may be altered by means of a piece of thread. 


gradation of sound, from the softest breathing to the strongest sonorousness, may 
be produced either with the reed or by the glottis. 

If the tongue of the reed lie quite close, so as completely to cover the aperture, 
no sound or breath will issue ; and if, while the effort of expiration is continued, 
the tongue should suddenly take the vibrating position, the sound will burst out 
with abrupt energy, proportioned to the force of the preceding silent effort. This 
condition and action of the reed are analogous to those of the glottis in many 
cases of stammering. 

To keep the reed in a position for vibrating, an aperture must be maintained ; 
and, to produce voice, the edges of the glottis must be in close approximation, 
without being absolutely in contact. Too much openness of the aperture renders 
the tone husky; and too little openness gives a strained and inflexible character to 
the voice. It is important to all persons who labor under difficulties in the man- 
agement of the voice, to be perfectly familar with the process by which vocality 
is produced ; to make themselves so by experiment ; and to aim at the improve- 
ment of their vocal powers, by applying the same principles which they find to 
govern the mechanism of analogous sounds. 

It will be observed, on experimenting with the reed or quill, that the sound 
does not begin by a gradual process from the rustling effect of breath to pure 
sonorousness, but with a quick explosiveness ; as if the vibrating tongue shut up 
the aperture for a moment on first feeling the pressure of the air ; or, rather, as 
if its first vibration occluded the aperture for an instant. So, in the production 
of pure glottal sound, there is a sharp and instantaneous opening of the voice, as 
if from a momentary holding in of the breath before the vocal emission. This 
effect is a great beauty in vocalizing ; a source of ease, power, and distinctness as 
well as of grace. When the voice is otherwise commenced, much breath is wasted 
before vocality is obtained, and a clear resonant voice can hardly be produced by 
the loose expiration. 

M. Garcia, of Paris, and other scientific singing-masters, prescribe exercises 
on this coup de la glotte as the best means of purifying and strengthening the 
vocal tones. And to speakers the principle is not less important than to singers. 

The following modes of practice will enable any person readily to master thi.3 
glottal action. 

Inhale a full breath, and retain it for a second; then, with force and abrupt- 
ness, eject a vowel sound, with open mouth, directly from the throat; avoiding, 
in the most forcible effort, any bending, or other action of the head or body. 


A, E, I, O, U, Ah, Aw, Oi. 

When this has been sufficiently practiced on individual sounds, enounce, in 
the same way, but with abated force, as many repetitions of each vowel as can be 
effected with one expiration ; taking care that after each sound, the chest is held 
up, or the next vowel will probably lose the crisp initial quality. The speaker 
should apply this principle of vocal formation to all INITIAL VOWELS. 

Imperfectly sonorous voice requires a much greater expenditure of breath 
than clear tone. If the preceding theory has not made the reason of this obvious, 
the prolongation of vowels will prove the truth of the observation. The less clear 
the sound, the greater is the zvaste of breath ; the more sonorous the voice, the 
more easy is its production, and the less exhausting its continuous exercise. 

The following exercise will strengthen the lungs, and at the same time purify 
the quality of the voice. 



Expand the chest, so as fully to charge the lungs with air, and, after pausing 
for a moment without emission of breath, sound the monophthongal vowels. 

E, Eh, Ah, Aw, Oo, 

as long as the sound can be steadily maintained. When the voice wavers an, I 
becomes feeble, stop, and begin again. After practice, and acquirement of the 
art of maintaining a steady, equable pressure on the lungs, the vowels should be 
continued purely for the space of about thirty seconds. 

Another very useful exercise, and one by which the action of the glottis will 
be distinctly -felt, consists in again and again shutting off and recommencing the 
sound. We may be understood, when we say that this is merely the preceding 
exercise, with the vowels clipped up in little pieces, instead of running out in one 
unbroken length. Each breath should last, at least, as long in this as in the 
preceding exercise. This principle of finishing sound should be applied to all 

When the voice is feeble, or the lungs apparently weak, the above modes of 
practice will be of much benefit. To assist in the development of the chest and 
voice in children, the delighted urchins should be encouraged to such noisy bawl- 
ing, at convenient time and place. A strong middle tone is the best for ordinary 
practice, but, to strengthen particular tones, the voice may range from low to 
high, or from high to low. When the ordinary pitch of the voice is too high, the 
vowels may be practiced from high to low, beginning softly, and increasing in 
strength of sound as the voice descends. To strengthen the higher tones, which 
is seldom an object of necessity to a speaker, the voice may increase in energy as 
it ascends. In this way, the compass of the voice may be much extended, and a 
degree of mellowness and flexibility, seldom acquired without art, will be attained. 

The inflexions of the voice will be treated of in a subsequent chapter. 

We have hitherto considered only the formation of voice. There are pe- 
culiarities of tone, arising from the way in which the voice is directed, from the 
position of the soft palate, teeth, lips, etc. The soft palate is a curtain depending 
from the back of the mouth with a small tongue-like prolongation, called the 
uvula. The soft palate performs many important functions in vocal modulation 
and articulation. It acts as a valve to cover the inner nasal apertures, and so 
prevent the issue of breath or voice by the nostrils. The contact of the soft palate 
with the back of the tongue forms the English element NG, in which the voice 
passes entirely through the nostrils ; its approximation to the tongue divides the 
vocal current into an oral and a nasal stream, and thus gives the peculiar character 
to the French elements an, en, in, on, un, and causes the 

"nasal twang, 

Heard at conventicle, where worthy men, 
Misled by custom, strain celestial themes 
Through the pressed nostril, spectacle bestrid." 

The soft palate is in the same way approximated to the tongue for the English 
articulations M and N ; in forming which, the voice escapes by the nose only, but 
reverberates in the mouth ; where it is shut in, by the lips for M, and by the tongue 
and front of the palate for N. The action of the soft palate demands the atten- 
tion of all who would speak with purity of voice and propriety of articulation. 


Let the student place himself before a glass, his back to the light, and, 
opening his mouth, inhale breath deeply but noiselessly. If he does not, in this 


process, elevate the soft palate, and depress the tongue, so as to form a visible 
arch of considerable height and breadth, he will be the better of practice for that 
purpose. Let him retain the velum* at the elevation he obtains, as long as possi- 
ble, dwelling on the open vowels ah and aw, without allowing it to fall. He will 
distinctly see the position of this organ in sounding these vowels, and he may be 
able, by sensation and partial observation, to maintain it in the same position in 
sounding the closer vowels, e, eh, oh, oo, etc. In this way, a NASAL TONE will be 
purified, and that most disagreeable blemish of speech removed. 

A GUTTURAL tone of voice arises, in a great measure, from the too close 
approximation of the tongue and soft palate, by which the uvula is laid in the 
way of the vocal current.; frequently a guttural tone arises from enlarged glands 
(the tonsils) and from contraction of the arch of the fauces, from whatever cause 
arising. The nature of the peculiarity indicates the means of cure. The more 
the arch can be expanded, the less guttural vibration can there be. So far as 
faulty habit is the cause of the guttural tone, it will be susceptible of easy cor- 

The quality of the voice is also affected by the position of THE TEETH. All 
the vowels may be sounded with the teeth closed, and they may all be sounded 
with the teeth considerably separated ; but the tone of voice is very different in 
these cases. When the teeth are closed, the vocal current strikes against them, 
and becomes deadened and muffled. In the close vowels, ee and oo especially, 
the sound is frequently still farther deteriorated in quality by a degree of vibration 
in the teeth. 

The teeth should never be closed in speech, but, on the contrary, should be 
kept as open as possible, to allow the voice to come freely out from the seat of 
its formation. 

The LIPS, too, influence the tone of the voice. The best advice for any 
peculiarity arising from a faulty disposition of the lips, is never use these organs 
in speech where their action is not indispensable. The most common faults are 
projection, and pursing, or contact of the corners of the lips, or of one corner, 
contracting the aperture or making it incline to one side of the mouth. By these 
ungraceful habits, the quality of the voice is variously affected. The lips should 
take the form of the range of the teeth, but without constraint, and should 
move in a vertical direction only. Any great deviation from this rule is inelegant, 
and injurious to the tone. 

Huskiness of voice, we have thus seen, is owing to a faulty formation of 
voice to insufficient glottal vibration; and other peculiarities of tone arise gen- 
erally from modifications of the mouth the channel through which the vocal 
current flows. Exercise, conducted on natural principles, will be found the best 
specific for improving the voice, strengthening the lungs, and regulating all vocal 


The glottis produces voice ; the shape of the mouth gives VOWEL character to 
the voice. Variations of musical pitch, of acuteness and gravity in the sounds, 
are caused by variations in the larynx f and glottis ; but all voivel variations are 
produced by changes in the shape of the oral passage. The action of the hand 
enclosing the open end of a vibrating reed or quill modifies the sound sufficiently 

* Velum pendulum palati or soft palate. 

T The larynx is the box-like arrangement of cartilages at the top of the wind-pipe, in 
passing through the aperture of which (the glottis) voice is produced. 


to illustrate the effect of similar modification on the glottal sounds. Thus : close 
the hand around the quill, so as to leave a very contracted aperture for the pas- 
sage of the sound, and then expand the fingers, and the vowels oo and ah will be 
produced. Reiterate the actions rapidly, and the hand will give out no bad imita- 
tion of a cat's wawling w-ah-oo w-ah-oo w-ah-oo. The apparatus of the 
mouth is wonderfully calculated to effect the most minute and delicate changes 
with definiteness and precision. Nature must ever be infinitely superior to art; 
yet art has accomplished the mechanism of the vowel sounds in various ways, 
and has even effected intelligible imitations of all the elements of speech. De 
Kempelen constructed a speaking machine; and, recently, the highly ingenious 
speaking automaton of Herr Faber was exhibited in this country.* Mr. Willis, 
another philosophical inquirer into the mysteries of this subject, found that the 
vowel sounds might be imitated by drawing out a long, straight tube from a 
vibrating reed. "In this experiment he arrived at a curious result ; with a tube 
of a certain length the series of vowels 

i, e, a, o, u (=ee, a, ah, oh, oo), 

was obtained by gradually drawing it out; and if the length was increased to a 
certain point, a farther gradual increase produced the same sequence in an inverted 
order, u o a e i ; a still farther increase produced a return to the first scale, 
and so on." 

Our own experiments corroborate this sequence as the natural order of these 
five vowels ; but we have carried out the principle much further, and constructed 
a scheme which includes, in regular progression,, all the vowels in the English 
language, besides several others characteristic of dialects, and of the French and 
other languages. The arrangement, besides, admits of the addition of any other 
recognizable vowel formations, so as to form a complete scale of natural or oos- 
sible vowel sounds. 

If the second of Mr. Willis's series, e (=a), we reasoned, can be obtained 
by mere elongation of the sound conductor, beyond its dimensions for the pro- 
duction of the first i (=ee), the change from ee to a will probably be gradual; 
and, if so, the interval between the two sounds must yield some intermediate 
varieties of vowel quality. It should be possible, we thought, to pass from sound 
to sound by such delicate progression as to exhibit vowels in the same softly blend- 
ing relation that is seen in colors, where melting shades almost imperceptibly lead 
the eye from one to another of the prismatic series. And this is possible. 

The following simple but conclusive experiment was one of our early land- 
marks in the discovery of vowel principles ; and it may serve to give the student 
a clear idea of the nature of vowel formation, and of the vowel unity of the voice 
as emitted from the glottis. 

Prolong with open mouth the vowel ah, and, while doing so, gradually cover 
the mouth with the hand, by laying the fingers of the right hand on the left cheek, 
or vice versa. At every stage of this process, the ear will recognize a change of 
vowel quality ; the sound will become modified to 

U(rn), A(ll), O(re), O(we), Oo(ze), 

* This instrument illustrated perfectly the mechanism and mutual relations of the ele- 
ments of speech. It was operated on by a key-board like that of a piano, containing a key 
for every attitude of the mouth, with one additional key governing the sound-producing part 
of the apparatus, and an extra key for opening the nasal tubes. Thus : on pressing the key 
for P; an explosive emission of air came from the anterior part of the mouth ; on pressing 
the P key and the voice key simultaneously, the sound of B was produced ; and on pressing 
the P key, the voice key, and the nasal key, the sound of M was heard. A separate set of 
keys acted on the vocalizing apparatus so as to produce changes of musical pitch; and by 
using both ranges of keys the instrument sang as well as spoke. 


by the mere contraction of the external aperture, while the internal channel of 
the mouth remains uniformly extended. 

There are two great agents in vowel modification, the lips and the tongue. 
The lips, by their approximation, externally contract the oral aperture ; and the 
tongue, by its elevation towards the palate, internally diminishes the oral channel. 
The effect of the labial approximation is, what we have seen to result from cover- 
ing the mouth with the hand, viz., modification of the vowel quality from ah to oo. 
The effect of the lingual approximation is, similarly, to modify the sound from 
ah to ee. 

The arrangement of the lips, then, produces one set of vowels, and that of 
the tongue, another ; though, perhaps, few of the vowels owe their formation to 
either organ independently of the other. The labial vowels require an expanded 
internal channel ; to maintain which the tongue is slightly depressed at the root, 
as the labial aperture contracts ; and the lingual vowels require a clear and broad 
external aperture ; to maintain which the lips are gradually elongated as the tongue 
rises within the arch of the palate. This gives to the vowels from ah to oo a 
solemn and sombre character, associated as their mechanism is with a "long" face 
and gloomy contraction of the lips ; and to the vowels from ah to ee, a sprightly, 
mirthful character, associated as their mechanism is with a "broad" face and 
smiling elongation of the lips. 

From the mutual independence of the vowel modifiers the lips and the 
tongue it is obvious that their vowel positions may be assumed either separately 
or simultaneously, or variously combined. This is an important fact, to the dis- 
covery of which we were led in our experimental endeavors to find the exact 
formation of the vowel in sir, her, etc., and of a peculiar, close sound, which some 
Irish pupils gave for the vowel oo. When the principle of separate and simul- 
taneous labial and lingual vowel formation revealed itself, these and all other 
tested sounds found at once their proper place in the triple scale of lingual, labial, 
and labio-lingual vowels. In the labio-lingual class will be recognized those com- 
mon French and German vowels, which give such trouble to English learners of 
these languages, the u and en of French, or il and o of German. A knowledge 
of the mechanical formation of these sounds will remove all difficulty in pro- 
nouncing them. With the exception of the sound in sir, her, etc., the labio-lingual 
contains no genuine English vowel. 

We recognize altogether eight vowel positions on the lips, and the same num- 
ber on the tongue, with, of course, an equal number of combined or labio-lingual 
positions ; giving in all twenty- four varieties of vowel sound. But the plasticity 
of the organs is so great, that shades of vowel quality are endless, arising from 
infinitesimal differences in the relative positions of the lips and the tongue. The 
number of possible variations can as little be estimated as the number of possible 
shades of color. The eight vowel positions which we shall now describe form a 
well defined and standard scale, to which all differences in dialects and individual 
pronunciations may be referred, and by which irregularities may be corrected. 


The first and last of Mr. Willis's series are the close labial and the close 
lingual vowels ee and oo. The approximation of the organs in forming these 
vowels is so close, that any further contraction of the oral aperture creates a 
vibratory effect upon the tongue or the lips, and so converts ee into the articula- 
tion Y, and oo into the articulation W. 


The simultaneous formation of ee and oo produce the peculiar Irish sound 
before mentioned, which is also heard in some of the American dialects, instead 
of oo or it. 

EE, then, is the ist lingual vowel; oo, the ist labial vowel; and the compound 
formation of ee and oo, the ist labio-lingual vowel. 


The tongue a little depressed from its elevated position at ee gives a vowel 
intermediate in form and effect to ee and a. This is the sound of i as in ill, is, it, 
etc., which is therefore the 2nd lingual vowel. 

The lips lightly separated from their close position at oo produce a sound 
intermediate to oo and d, which is heard in some English dialects instead of o; as. 
in Lancashire, "Put some coal" (almost, but not quite, cool) "on the fire." This, 
then,' is the 2nd labial vowel. 

These two formations, combined, produce an appreciably different sound 
from the first labio-lingual vowel intermediate to it, and the next vowel u French 
or ii German. This is the 2nd labio-lingual vowel. 


A further slight enlargement of the oral apertures, by the depression of the 
tongue, or by the separation of the lips, produces a, the 3rd lingual, and o, the $rd 
labial vowel. 

The union of these formations gives the French sound of u, as in line, but, 
lu, etc., which is therefore the $rd labio-lingual vowel. 

It is to be remarked of the two correspondent sounds a and o, as a curious 
peculiarity, that in English usage they are both diphthongally terminated with the 
closest vowel of their respective classes, a with e, and o with oo. The omission 
of this final element of these beautiful vowels is a marked provincialism. 


A further slight opening of the vowel apertures from the 3rd lingual position 
produces a sound heard (short) in Scotland instead of the 2nd lingual, in such 
words as ill, in, sit, etc., and very generally heard (long) in London instead of the 
3rd lingual, as the radical part of the diphthongal a; as in day, pronounced nearly 
but not quite deh-y; and, from the labial position, a correspondent enlargement 
produces the monophthongal sound of o as heard in English before r, in such 
words as ore, four, soar, etc. ; and in French as the regular sound of an, can, etc. 

The labio-lingual vowel resulting from the combination of these positions 
occurs as a provincial peculiarity in England, instead of the more open vowel 
correctly heard in such words as sir, her, etc. 


An increased depression of the tongue gives the formation of the sound heard 
in ^(re), ell, end, etc., the $th lingual vowel; and a correspondent increase of the 
labial aperture from 0(re) gives the vowel heard in all, saw, on, etc., the ^th 
labial formation. 

From the combination of these positions results the vowel represented by en 
in French, and by oe in German. 



The next degree of openness produces, in the lingual series, the sound heard 
in an, at, etc. ; and in the labial series, the vowel heard in Scotland, in such words 
as up, urge, etc. 

The combinations of these positions gives the peculiar English sound which 
is associated with the letter r; as in sir, her, earn, paper, martyr, theatre, etc. 

As before observed, few of the vowels owe their formation, to labial or lingual 
position alone; there is for every vowel a necessary arrangement of the whole 
mouth: but the preceding sounds are formed by so evident a proportion of the 
one over the other, that their being called respectively labial or lingual vowels, 
will be perfectly intelligible. The sounds which follow, however, are dependent 
chiefly on the internal arrangement of the mouth, and do not so obviously fall 
under the same classification. The lips are well spread and open, and the tongue 
well depressed, so that the changes of organic arrangement are less manifest ; but 
the vowels are all in regular progression, from close labial and close lingual forms, 
and do, therefore, truly belong to one or other of these classes. Positions inter- 
mediate to any two, likewise, may still be formed, though, from the necessarily 
slight differences between their effects, ears untrained to very accurate observa- 
tion, may think them, in their separate utterance, "distinctions without difference." 
On such minute distinctions, however, often depends the very important difference 
between a cultivated speaker and an uneducated or a provincial one. 


The next more open vowels than a(n), the 6th lingual, and w(p) Scotch, the 
6th labial, are two sounds intermediate to these vowels and the most open sound 
ah. The former is heard in such words as ask, past, bath, etc. ; and the latter is 
the regular sound heard in the English utterance of such words as up, urge, etc. 
Let a Scotch and an English speaker pronounce any words of this latter class, and 
the difference will be readily recognized by any ear. 

The 7th labio-lingual position gives a shade of sound which occurs as one of 
the many modes of pronouncing the vowel in sir, h^r, fir, girl, ^arth, etc. These 
words, in district and individual peculiarities, exhibit every possible variety of 
labio-lingual sound, from the close seur of the rustic Yorkshireman, to the open 
sah of the untaught Cockney. 


In the open vowel ah, called the Italian a, both classes of vowels terminate. 
The lips are fully spread, the tongue lies flat, and the whole mouth is an even 
neutrality between the two modes of vowel formation. 

The subjoined diagram may help to make this altogether new subject more 
intelligible to the reader. Let those who feel interested in this department of 
knowledge test our classification by experiment, and we believe that its correctness 
will not be disputed. If this be so, what an assistance must it prove to the student 



in acquiring, and to the teacher in imparting, foreign pronunciations!* Even 
those common French sounds, w and eu, are so awkwardly attempted by our 
countrymen, in the absence of a knowledge of their formation, that they are often 
imperfectly acquired, even in a four or five years' course of instruction in French. 
Yet, with a knowledge of the mechanism of these sounds, who could be four hours, 
or even many minutes, in mastering them ? 



Irish Variety of 







UU 00 








\\j\) z 

a Q 


U/~e O 

tch Provl. E 

i f 1 1 ^ A. ft c in. 

u o- 



afin ^ 

sir o 


euu o 

eu aw 


3/(n) o er, 


ty of 

(ask) ( er, 


This table contains all the vowels that occur in modern European languages, 
besides several dialectic varieties. Any new sounds that may be met with in other 
languages may be added, so as to complete the scheme for any or for every lan- 
guage. In this way a system of notation might be constructed, by which all the 
sounds of any dialect might be represented intelligibly to readers of whatever 
country or tongue. A table of all recognized elements of speech on this natural 
principle of arrangement would be one step towards the realization of that indefi- 
nite philological speculation, a universal language. 

To find the place of any vowel not included ( in our scheme, put the mouth in 
the position for the closest vowels (e, oo, and the intermediate sound respectively), 
and from each of those starting points, very slowly enlarge the oral aperture till 
the most open position (ah) is reached, of course continuing the voice the whole 
time. In one or other of the three gradations of sound so produced, the ear should 
be able to recognize the vowel sought for, and so ascertain its exact formation. 
By this experiment, too, the accuracy of the three sequences in our scheme may 
be satisfactorily tested. 

We have given the formation of twenty-two vowels : of these, thirteen are 
genuine English sounds. The mechanism and application of the latter we shall 
later examine minutely. 

* Since this was written, the author has had the gratification of hearing from a former 
pupil (the Rev. Mr. Robb, Missionary in Africa) that he had found the Vowel Tables in 
this work, and the principle of numerically noting vowel sounds, a very great assistance in 
acquiring the native dialects of Africa. 



The terms, long, short, open, shut, slender, broad, etc., have been applied to 
vowels so unsystematically as to confuse very much the notions generally enter- 
tained with respect to vowel qualities. Long and short should be applied only to 
vowels which are essentially the same in formation, and which differ in nothing 
but duration. But we find these terms used with reference to sounds which are 
so different in their structure that no change of duration can assimilate them. 
Thus, e in them is called the "short" sound of the "long slender" a in tame; a in 
man the "short" sound of the "long open" a in father; i in him is called the 
"short" sound of the diphthong i in find; and o in not, and u in but, are called 
respectively the short sounds of o and u, the long sounds being heard in such 
words as owe and you. Of the sound of i, as in him, Mr. Walker has said, "This 
sound is the sound of e, the last letter of the diphthong that forms the long i; 
and it is not a little surprising that Dr. Johnson should say that the short i was a 
sound wholly different from the long one." 

The lexicographer had, however, in this case, discriminated better than the 
orthoepjst; for the "short i" is a distinctly different formation from either element 
of the "long one." Mr. Walker considers that the words bid, lid, rid, and bead, 
lead, read, differ only in the quantity of the vowel, for i, he says, is but the short 
sound of c; and this theory, taken up without examination, is still to be found 
published and republished, in violation of what the dishonored ear would, if con- 
sulted, at once show to be the truth. Consistently with this theory, Mr. Walker 
calls the Scotch pronunciation, vee-sion, decee-sion, etc., for vision, decision, etc., 
simply a lengthening of the English sound. Now, the tendency of all vowels is 
to open in prolongation ; but "short i" is more open than e, and would not there- 
fore naturally be lengthened into e. On the contrary, if any person, guided by 
his ear, and not by preconceived classifications, strive to lengthen the generally 
short vowel i, in vision, him, ill, etc., he will find that the tendency of the prolonged 
sound will be towards a rather than ee. This may be tested by singing the words 
to long notes. 

Long and short are qualities that cannot be predicated as essential character- 
istics of any simple vowel ; for every vowel may be indefinitely prolonged by those 
who have sufficient power over the vocal organs to retain them steadily in the 
vowel position. A person accustomed to the vowel in nun, short, as we generally 
have it in English, may essay in vain to prolong it with purity; but a Welshman, 
who is accustomed to the sound as a long vowel, will give it any degree of duration 
with ease. 

The terms long and short are, in this work, used only with reference to the 
same radical sound. 

It is to be observed, that the long forms of vowels have a more free and open 
aperture than the short ones. The modification of the mouth is the same, but on 
a larger scale. Thus the vowels in could and cooed, in pull and pool, in very and 
vary, in not and nought, are long and short degrees of the same vowels ; and the 
aperture of the mouth for the prolonged sounds is generally .more open than for 
the short, while it is of the same shape, and gives essentially the same character 
to the voice. 

Open and shut are terms, too, very faultily applied to vowels, as no vowels 
are ever shut; and all vowels must be open, if these words have any reference to 
the oral aperture. Vowels are said to be shut, by Mr. Walker, when they do not 
terminate syllables, and open, when they do, but the division of words into sylla- 
bles is too arbitrary for any such distinction. Long vowels are frequently "shut," 
and short ones "open" ; so there can be no utility in a classification so vague. Be- 



sides, the junction of an articulation does not affect the formation of the vowel ; 
whether alone or in articulate combinations, the vowels are finished where they 
are produced viz., in the glottis. Articulations subjoined affect the length of 
vowels ; but the term "shut," or any other, to signify this, would be useless, as all 
articulations do not affect the vowels alike. 

Broad and slender, also, are terms of no utility. They are applied to vowels 
utterly unlike in every characteristic of sound. A in fate is called the slender 
sound, and a in fall, the broad sound of the same letter. A classification founded, 
like this, on letters, must lead to confusion, while letters are so indiscriminately 
used in our orthography. We have the same letters representing half a dozen 
different sounds, and the same sounds represented in more than a dozen different 

Discarding all these names, then, we shall adopt a simple numerical notation 
and nomenclature for vowels. In this way we shall be the better able to fix the 
student's attention on sounds, irrespective of letters, and to direct with certainty 
to the practice and application of any vowel sound in connection with whatever 
vowel letter or combination of letters. 

The following is a table of the English vowels numbered from i to 13. 
Those which, when accented, are always long, are marked ( ~ ) ; those which are 
always short, ( v ) ; and those which are sometimes long and sometimes short, 


pull, pool 

("-) 13 


(-) 12 


(-) 11 

on, all 

("-) 10 

up, urn 

r-) 9 


(-) 8* 

The above thirteen sounds are all radically different. There are, besides, in 
English three diphthongal combinations: 7*1 isle; 7*13 owl; 10*1 oil. 

The alphabetic sound of u (7*13) is No. 13 preceded by the articulation 3-, u 
being the same in sound as you. 

This classification of English vowels may at first sight be thought too difficult 
for general adoption, but it is, in reality, greatly more simple than the ordinary 
arrangements. True, we require a separate notation for thirteen sounds in Eng- 
lish, and alphabetic learners, we may be told, have, on the old plan, but five 
characters to commit to memory. But have we only five sounds? While \ve 
possess thrice the number of vowel sounds that we have of letters, it is folly to 
think of teaching the sounds by the letters. Each letter has to be studied as rep- 
resenting many sounds ; and a tedious enumeration of diphthongs and triphthongs, 
arbitrarily compounded to the eye, though generally simple to the ear, have to be 
committed to memory, as symbolic of an immense plurality of sounds. By our 
plan, thirteen sounds must be associated with thirteen invariable marks, and there 
the difficulty ends. We may retain our irregular orthography as long as we like, 

* The precise formation of this vowel is given on page 24. All the other sounds fall 
exactly into their proper places in this arrangement. 


and trouble our youth little about it, if we only teach them to associate vowel 
sounds with a simple numerical notation. 

To show the minute accuracy with which Pronunciation may be noted and 
taught by means of this vowel scheme, the following marked passage is inserted.* 

7-1 28 2827-1985 619 10 10 1 10 2222 4 4 

By thef term Liberty, I understand a freedom from all responsibility except 

10 11 5 2 2 8 y.13 5 129 2 12 52 1 1J 2 2 8 2 2 2 

what morality, virtue, and religion impose. That is thef only liberty which is 

10 12 5 2 2 13 2 8 4 10 5 1 12 2 2 8 2 5 4 8 25 12 

consonant with the true interests of man the only liberty that renders his asso- 

139 2 2 4 12 8 64 5 52 1 12 2 2 8 2 5 34 2 

ciation with his fellows permanent and happy the only liberty that places him 

26 1 13 10 9 6 o 5 10 8 9 10 y.13 2 2 1122282 5 3 

in a peaceful, honorab/^| and prosperous community the only liberty that makes 

2 2 9 10 6 5 51 13 2 5 2 2 2 4 5 2 9 4 10 6 

him the son of a land that he would inhabit till his death, and the subject of a 

3 5 1 13 14 22 10 8 2 5 2 9 

state that he would defend with his property and his blood. 


All the vowels are, of course, vocal; but it must be evident from preceding 
explanations, that the vowel positions of the lips and tongue may equally modify 
a voiceless current of breath. In this way is produced a common element of 
language the aspiration H. H is simply an expulsive whisper of the vowels ; 
the organs are adjusted to the vowel position before the aspiration of H is emitted. 
Thus, h in he, hay, high, hoe, who has a very different effect just as different 
as that of the vowels themselves in these words. H is to the vowels, exactly 
what P is to B, F to V, S to Z, etc., a breath variety of the same formations. 
How then, it may be asked, can h be recognized in whispering? H differs from 
a whispered vowel in the greater openness of the glottis, and consequent looseness 
of the emitted breath. In whispering a vowel or a vocal articulation, a glottal 
effort and effect are distinctly felt and heard. H is a mere expulsion of breath 
through the perfectly open glottis. Let this be tested in the whispered utterance 
of such words as is and his, eel and heel, art and heart, old and hold, etc., and the 
difference between H and a whispered vowel will be manifest. 

All the elements of language then, vowel as well as articulate, may be classed 
under the three heads, BREATH, VOICE, and NASAL. H represents the breath 
forms of the vowels ; and their nasal varieties are the French elements an, en, in, 
on, un, thus : 



H All Vowels. French Semi- 

nasal Vowels. 

Voiceless Vocal Nasal 

Articulations. Articulations. Articulations. 

Before entering on the theory of articulation, we must notice more fully these 
peculiar French sounds to which we have hitherto merely adverted. 

* Exercises on the Numerical Vowel notation will be found in "Principles of Elocution," 
by A. M. Bell, Volta Bureau, Washington. $1.50. 

t The article the is pronounced th 2 before any articulation and before the 1st vowel ; and 
generally th 1 before any other vowel. 

$ The notation indicates a syllable without a vowel. 



This formation of vowel, common in French, finds no place in correct Eng- 
lish utterance. The only nasal sounds in English are M, N, and NG, in forming 
which the voice issues entirely by the nostrils. The soft palate is depressed suf- 
ficiently to uncover the inner nasal openings and divide the stream of voice into 
a nasal and an oral current. The former escapes freely, the latter is stopped, 
by the conjoined lips, for M ; by the forepart of the tongue applied to the palate, 
for N ; and by the root of the tongue and palate for NG. M and N are heard in 
French, but the beautifully expressive bell-sound NG does not occur in that lan- 
guage. Instead of this, however, there is a series of semi-nasal sounds, repre- 
sented by an, en, in, on, un, and by various other literal combinations. In forming 
these, the soft palate is depressed sufficiently to open the nasal passages, but not 
so much, as by contact with the tongue, to obstruct the passage into the mouth. 
This is the difference between the English ng and these French elements which 
give so much difficulty to English learners of French. The English ng brings the 
tongue and soft palate in contact, and consequently prevents the issue of breath 
by the mouth. NG has always, therefore, a uniform sound ; it is incapable of any 
change of vowel quality. The French sounds, having an oral as well as a nasal 
passage, are capable of being affected by changes in the position of the mouth. 
There are four recognized varieties of them. 

French grammarians evince a high antipathy to the imputation that their lan- 
guage contains a greater number of nasal sounds than the English. They grant 
the ungracefulness, generally, of such sounds, and exultingly point to the three 
marks of our nasal elements, while they have but two (m and n), as a proof that 
the English language has in reality the unenviable superabundance. But the 
French has unquestionably sLr nasal sounds, four of which are vowels, that is, 
they are formed by an open position, and not an appulsive action of the organs ; 
and two are articulations. There are, therefore, in French unquestionably double 
the number of the English nasal elements. Yet, in truth, the English three occur 
as frequently in speech as the French six ; but from their "liquid," or, as we should 
say, transparent nature, they are often little more than perceptible : they do not 
strike the ear with half the sense of nasality that the long French elements do. 
When the English nasals are before voiceless articulations, as in lamp, tent, prince, 
inch, ink, etc., they are so abrupt as to be scarcely vocal : and only when they are 
final, or before voice articulations, as in some, son, sung, anger, amber, wander, 
etc., are they correctly capable of prolongation. The numerous terminations in 
ion, ing, nt, nd, nk, nee, etc., produce a very frequent recurrence of them, but it is 
in unaccented syllables, where their natural abruptness is shortened to the utmost. 
The French nasals, on the contrary, are never short ; but, in most instances, they 
are the longest sounds in the language ; and they linger in the unhabituated ear 
with an effect which makes the language seem to be almost altogether nasal. And 
there can be no doubt that the habit of forming sounds of this mixed character 
must incline the Frenchman to give a partial nasality to many other vowels than 
those which are legitimately nasal. 

With reference to the formation of the semi-nasal vowels, it is amusing to 
see the way in which the French grammarians account for their nasal quality. 
In a well known grammar of French Rhetoric, we find the following description 
of the "organic formation of French nasal vowels" : "The formation of the nasal 
sound appears to be generated chiefly from the nostrils" (all vocal sounds are 
generated in the glottis) "not that the sound is exhaled from them, as is erro- 
neously supposed by many, but the air, ascending at first from the lungs to the 
nose, seems to acquire there a nasal power ; and descending afterwards into the 


mouth, it produces, coming in contact with the atmosphere, that nasal sound which, 
although not very gracious, is sometimes manly and powerful." In giving direc- 
tions for the formation of these sounds, the author adds, "Let the air, by an in- 
ternal motion, be sent immediately from the throat into the nostrils," * * * 
"it will then descend into the mouth, and come out with a nasal power." 

What a most extraordinary power of direction the French must possess, if 
they thus manage to make the obedient vocal stream flow into the open nostrils 
without passing through them ! But the thing is absurd. All the air in the nostrils 
will "come in contact with the atmosphere" -from the nose ; it must pass through, 
unless the nostrils be plugged up by snuff or polypus, pinched with the fingers, or 
otherwise obstructed. And though the nostrils are obstructed, the voice may still 
gets its "nasal power" in them ; for, as these elements have a partial channel in the 
mouth, they are not liable to be more affected by nasal obstruction than to have 
their sound slightly muffled. In this respect they are unlike the English elements 
M, N, and NG, which, having no oral opening, must have a free nasal passage, 
or the obstructed breath will collect in the pharynx, and become percussive ; so that 
M, N, and NG will be converted into B, D, and G, with that muffled nasal mur- 
mur with which every sufferer from "cold in the head" is quite familiar. The 
French grammarians indeed seem ashamed to confess their obligations to the 
nose, though they are clearly indebted to that organ for the modification of a 
large proportion of their sounds. 

To show the difference in quantity between the English and French nasals, 
take any words in the two languages, having an equal number of them, and con- 
trast their pronunciation. The English word transcendent contains as many nasal 
elements as the French transcendant, but they do not produce one-fourth of the 
quantity of nasal sound; and many French phrases may be found which do not 
contain a single oral vowel, as, for example, "pendant long temps;" "V enfant 
mangeant son pain," etc. 

A partial nasality of vowels is one of the most prevailing features of the 
American dialects. Very few transatlantic speakers are perfectly free from this 
habit, especially when vowels precede or follow M, N. or NG. The influence of 
imitation, and the almost universality of the custom, render the correction of this 
vice, and even its recognition as a characteristic, peculiarly difficult to those who 
are "to the manner born." 

In English, the slightest nasal quality in a vowel is an impurity and a bar- 


All actions of the vocal organs which partially or wholly obstruct, or which 
compress the breath or voice in the mouth, are called ARTICULATIONS. The neces- 
sary effect of such obstruction or compression is a degree of percussiveness in the 
breath, when the conjoined or approximated organs are separated. Hence arises 
an element of audibility, produced by or within the mouth, which we have stated 
to be the distinguishing characteristic of this class of the elements of speech. 

When the current of breath (unvocalized) is altogether stopped by organic 
contact, as in P, T, K, the only audibility that the letter so formed can have is the 
slight puff or explosion which follows the separation of the organs. This must, 
therefore, be clearly heard, or the letter is practically lost. In the mode of produc- 
ing this little effect, is involved one of the most important principles of speech, 
a principle on the right application of which depends much of a speaker's distinct- 
ness, and all his ease. 

Pronounce a word ending with P, T, or K, as lip, lit, lick, and endeavor to 
make the final letter as long as possible : The effort only prolongs silence ; for, 


until the articulating organs are separated, there is no sound of voice or breath. 
The separation of the organs, after contact, is thus necessary for these letters ; 
and on this disjunction the compressed air within the mouth makes its escape. 
Now, here lies the point of importance. If only the breath in the mouth, and not 
that in the lungs, be ejected, a distinct, sharp, quick percussion will be heard, 
which gives to these shut breath articulations all the audibility of which they are 
susceptible. The issue of breath from the glottis must be checked at the instant 
of separation of the articulating organs. The explosive effect of the letters is thus 
produced with almost no expenditure of breath. 

The common error opposed to this may serve to make the principle more 
intelligible. It consists in allowing the chest to fall, and continuing the flow of 
breath after the separation of the organs, as in making a prolonged H, thus : 
lip-h-, lit-h-, lick-h-, etc. The letters are by this fault deprived of their essential 
percussive quality, and the resources of the strongest lungs are drained most ex- 
haustingly, and, in public speaking, to the great injury of health. 

This very faulty mechanism of these letters is almost always found in cases 
of stammering; and, in a certain degree, it prevails among all speakers who com- 
plain of weak voices, or of exhaustion from vocal effort. 

Such speakers are sufferers only from ignorance. An organ of power lies 
dormant within them, the want of whose natural action is painfully and ineffect- 
ively supplied by unnatural and debilitating efforts of the organs of respiration. 
This explosive apparatus is the Pharynx. The Pharynx is a distensible cavity 
situated at the back of the mouth ; below it is the glottis, in front of it the mouth, 
and, opening from it above, are the nares or nostrils. When the soft palate covers 
the upper pharyngeal openings the nares, the effort of expiration sends the 
breath into the month, where, if obstructed in its passage, it will collect, and dis- 
tend the pharynx to a greater or less extent, according to the degree of oral con- 
traction or obstruction, and the force of expiratory pressure. When the oral 
obstruction is complete, as in forming P, T, K, B, D, G, the pharynx should so 
dilate with the momentary pressure of breath that, on separation of the articulat- 
ing organs, the natural contraction of the pharyngeal muscles effects the percussive 
audibility of the letters. 

When the lips are in firm contact, as for P, a sufficient pressure of breath 
must cause distension either of the cheeks, the lips, or the pharynx. Here, then, 
is an outward index by which any person may direct his own practice for the 
acquirement of pharyngeal power. Give all possible stress to the effort of expira- 
tion while the lips are steadily closed, and if the cheeks and lips be not allowed to 
inflate, the pharynx must distend, and may be felt distending by grasping the neck 
close to the chin. On separating the lips, the breath within the mouth and 
pharynx will escape, but it should do so without further emission from the glottis. 
The same mode of practice may be adopted with the actions T and K, and with 
the correspondent vocal forms of these articulations, as explained farther on. 

The want of pharyngeal power manifests itself in various ways : by distension 
of the lips and cheeks for P, B, as above noticed ; by protrusion of the tongue, 
with incontinency of breath, for T, D, K, G ; by laborious actions of the chest to 
create the explosive audibility of these letters ; by their frequent inaudibleness 
from feeble action ; by scattering the saliva for S, F, and other Continuous ele- 
ments; and by general indistinctness of articulation, and laxity of the lips and 
tongue, giving a lumpish, cumbrous, and lazy appearance to the mouth. 

The continuous use of the chest instead of the pharynx is painfully fatiguing 
in speech ; and its inordinate employment in forcible utterance is directly produc- 
tive of serious injury to the lungs. 

The practical effect of proper pharyngeal action and buoyancy of the chest in 
oratory is to enable the speaker to deliver the longest address with sustained 


energy, in perfect ease, and without after exhaustion. The rich orotund voice of 
the practiced orator is due to the elasticity of the pharynx ; the finest effects of 
crescendo and diminuendo in singing are owing to the same cause ; and the weak- 
est voice may be greatly increased in volume by the cultivation of this important 

Every possible action of the mouth may modify either whispered breath or 
voice, and thus, from each action, two distinct elements of speech are produced. 
The classification into BREATH and VOICE ARTICULATION thus reduces the number 
of elementary actions of speech to half its apparent amount. 

The distinction-between the vocal and voiceless articulations should be clearly 
understood. The compilers of many well known books of reference seem to have 
had no knowledge of it. For instance, we find the letters P, T, K classed as 
"mutes," and B, D, G, as "semi-mutes." The extraordinary name of "demi-semi- 
vowels" has been by one author invented for the last three elements.* Sometimes 
the terms "sharp" and "flat," "hard" and "soft," are used; but such names are 
unphilosophical and worthless, as they convey no just idea of the real difference 
between the elements. From the existence of such a nomenclature, it would seem 
as if a veil of most impenetrable mystery shrouded the vocal principles from 
observation or else, as if those who had invented and applied the names had 
never troubled themselves to become observers at all. Counterparts of the follow- 
ing descriptions may be found under many authorships. 

"5 is pronounced by pressing the whole length of the lips together, and forc- 
ing them open with a strong breath." 

"P is formed by a slight contraction of the anterior part of the lips." 

"D is a dental articulation, having a kind of middle sound between the t and 
th; its sound being formed by a stronger impulse of the tongue to the upper part 
of the mouth than is necessary in the pronunciation of t." 

"T is numbered among the mutes or close articulations ; and it differs from D 
chiefly in its closeness, the strength with which the breath is emitted in pronounc- 
ing t being all that distinguishes them." 

"K is usually denominated a guttural, but is more properly a palatal, being 
formed by pressing the root of the tongue against the upper part of the mouth, 
with a depression of the lower jaw, and opening of the teeth." 

"G" has two sounds; one called that of the hard G, because it is formed by a 
pressure, somewhat hard, of the fore part of the tongue against the upper gum. 
The other sound, called that of the soft G, resembles that of J." Then, if we turn 
to J, to be informed what this indefinable sound of soft G = J is, we are told, 
"J has invariably the same sound with that of g in giant." 

B and P are thus made to differ only in the quantity of lip compressed : D is 
said to have a stronger impulse of the tongue than t, and to be a middle sound 
between t and th; while, we are told, t is distinguished from d by nothing else than 
the strength with which the breath is emitted. No analogous connection is hinted 
at with reference to k and g; but, on the contrary, k is to be formed by the root 
of the tongue acting upwards, and g by the fore part of the tongue acting for- 
wards. In the latter case, the writer has evidently been thinking of the name of 
the letter (jee) while he is speaking of the "hard G," though', strangely enough, 
the name of the letter illustrates its soft sound. "Hard G" does not employ the 
fore part of the tongue, or the upper gum at all. 

To those who really want the information, such careless misdirection must be 
most perplexing. No variation. of the mode or degree of labial contact would ever 
convert Billow into Mllow, or blunder into plunder; nor could any alteration of 

* See "Chambers's Elocution." 


lingual pressure or strength of expiration ever make fame become dame, or 
drudge drudge. P and B, T and D, K and G are pairs of articulations formed by 
exactly the same organic motions, the only difference being in the material which 
the actions modify; whispered breath in the one case, vocalized breath in the 


There are four modes of Articulation, performed at different parts of the 
mouth : I. Complete stoppage of the breath by contact of the organs. II. Lat- 
eral Obstruction and Central Emission of the breath. III. Central Obstruction 
and Lateral Emission of the breath. IV. Lax Vibration of the approximated 
organs, in a strong current of breath. 

Besides these modes of articulation, in which the pharynx is more or less 
distended by the outward pressure of breath, there is a Converse Series, in which 
the pharynx is collapsed by inward suction. The Hottentot Clicks and certain 
Inter jectional sounds in civilized languages are of this class. 

All articulation consists of downward action of the articulating organ. In 
most cases of stammering this action is reversed, and the force of articulation is 
thrown upward, and made conjunctive instead of disjunctive. 

The organs employed in articulation are : I. The lips, in forming P. B, M, 
Wh, W, in which the principal action is performed by the lower lip acting down- 
wards from the upper lip, the latter being either retracted slightly upwards, or 
remaining passive. II. The lower lip and upper teeth in forming F, V, in which 
the lip acts downwards, the teeth being necessarily and entirely passive. III. 
The tip of the tongue and upper teeth in forming Th, in which the tongue neces- 
sarily performs the whole action, being drawn downwards and backwards. IV. 
The tongue and various parts of the hard palate in forming S, Z, R, L, T, D, N, 
Sh, Y, in which the palate is entirely passive, and the whole action is performed 
by the tongue. V. The root of the tongue and the soft palate, in forming K, G, 
NG, in which the action of the organs is mutual, the tongue acting downwards, 
and the palatal curtain acting upwards and backwards. 


This mode of articulation is performed at three parts of the mouth : I, by 
the lips, forming P, B, M ; II, by the fore-part of the tongue and the palate, 
forming T, D, N ; III, by the back-part of the tongue and the palate, forming K, 
G, NG. 

The letters P, T, K have no other sound than the slight percussion which 
accompanies the act of separating the conjoined organs. The vocal cords are 
relaxed, and the glottis open as in ordinary breathing. 

A common defect in the formation of P, T, K consists in making these letters 
merely stops of the voice without any audible effect in themselves. This arises 
generally from feebleness of action. If the fault were confined to conversational 
carelessness, it would be less worthy of notice ; but it is too common even in 
public speaking, and it is then very manifestly a defect. Pronounce the syllables 
ap, at, ak, without the percussive finish which we have stated to be essential to 
the correct formation of these letters, and none but a very attentive ear will 
recognize a difference between them. The public speaker must not trust to such 
a degree of eager watchfulness in his hearers to unriddle his ambiguities. His 
mouth must be so trained as to utter no "uncertain sounds." 


The percussive effect of T is emitted over the sides, instead of the point of 
the tongue, before L, as in outlet, battle, settle, etc.; and through the nostrils 
before N, as in outnumber, kitten, mutton, etc. When T is final in a word, the 
tongue is completely disengaged from the palate in finishing the articulation. 

In some districts of Scotland, a very peculiar substitute for the sound of T, 
medial or final, is common. This consists in an abrupt, and audible closure of the 
glottis without any articulative action. This glottal catch is heard in such words 
as let, catch, better, etc., pronounced le', each, be'er, etc. 

The letters B, D, G have precisely the same oral actions as P, T, K; but 
while the organs are in contact, the glottis is brought into sonorous position, and 
an instantaneous effort of voice is heard before the separation of the organs. It 
is important to have the power of producing this shut voice with precision. The 
sound cannot be prolonged, as there is no outlet for the breath. The murmur of 
voice can last only until the pharynx is fully distended. 

Many persons are unable to vocalize these shut articulations, and conse- 
quently, words containing B, D, G are liable to be confounded with such as have 
the correspondent voiceless letters in the same combinations; as dart and tart, 
dread and tread, bill and pill, bride and pride, gold and cold, glass and class, etc. 
The Welsh always thus mispronounce English, but a little elementary practice 
will supply the deficient power in any case. Care must be taken that the voice 
does not find vent through the nostrils.* The percussive finish of B, D, G should 
be the same as of P, T, K. 

The above six letters (three formations) are all the articulations that com- 
pletely obstruct the breath. The letters M, N, NG have the same oral positions, 
but the inner end of the nasal passages is uncovered by the soft palate, and, while 
the breath is shut in by the mouth, it escapes freely through the nostrils. 

The actions of the mouth for M, N, and NG are precisely the same as for 
B, D, and G; and though the nasal articulations gain but little percussive audi- 
bility by the cessation of contact, yet they cannot, any more than the perfectly 
obstructive articulations, be considered finished until the oral organs are sepa- 
rated. There is breath within the mouth, pressing against the conjoined organs, 
and slightly distending the pharynx, as well as a free current in the nostrils ; and 
though the voice may be perfectly finished by merely closing the glottis, the 
Articulation would be imperfect, if the breath within the mouth were not allowed 
to escape. There is thus a slight but very slight effect of percussion heard on 
the organic separation, as in come, sun, tongue, etc. ; and when a vowel follows 
the articulation, this slight pharyngeal expression gives a sharpness and closeness 
of connection to the combination which would be wanting if the voice were 
stopped in the glottis before the organic disjunction. This principle is important 
to distinctness, and it is especially so in cases of imperfect or difficult articulation. 

In finishing these nasal elements, the soft palate must not be allowed to cover 
the nares before the articulating organs are separated ; for a momentary closure 
will convert M, N, and NG, into B, D, and G. A tendency to compress the breath 
in this way is especially felt in finishing ng, in the formation of which the tongue 
and soft palate are already in contact, and so in the position for G; to which ng 
is consequently more easily convertible than the other nasals are to their corre- 
sponding shut letters. 

Many English speakers, particularly Londoners, are so much in the habit of 
finishing ng with a g, that, even after many attempts, they are utterly unable to 

* In Chambers's Elocution, the student is actually directed to commit this barbarism. 
We read as follows: "The same disposition of the organs (as for P, T, K), with the sound 
directed to go forth partly through the nose, and partly through the mouth, form B, D, and 
the sound of G in game." 


make the nasal element singly. Singer, hanger, etc., they pronounce as perfect 
rhymes to finger, anger, etc. The opposite fault prevails in Scotland, where the 
latter words are pronounced so as to rhyme with the former. 

The three articulations, M, N, and NG, are the only elements which employ 
the nose in English. We have correctly no semi-nasal sounds as in French ; and 
as there can be no other obstructive articulation formed by the mouth than those 
we have enumerated, there cannot be any other purely nasal element in any lan- 
guage ; for the breath must be in some way orally shut in before it can be directed 
entirely into the nostrils. 

The English nasals are all voice articulations. It is, of course, possible to 
form them with unvocalized breath, and bad speakers often do so ; but our lan- 
guage does not recognize such sniffling among its sounds. In Gaelic there seems 
to be, or to have been, an aspirate form of the nasal letters ; mh is a common 
digraph in that language, but it is now generally sounded v, with this peculiarity, 
that it nasalizes the adjoining vowel. In a peculiar Scotch affirmative, of very 
frequent occurrence, which may be intelligibly represented by "mh'm," the voice- 
less m is heard between two vocal m-s. 

We have now seen, from three articulations of the mouth, no fewer than 
nine distinct elements of speech produced. There are in English fifteen other 
articulate elements; these are the result of nine actions, six of which are used to 
modify both voice and breath, and three to modify voice only. 

The remaining articulations are all Continuous; they have central or lateral 
oral apertures more or less free for the emission of the breath or voice. 


The nine articulations already described ; viz., P, B, M ; T, D, N ; K. G, NG ; 
are formed, as we have shown, by organic contact. Similar dispositions of the 
mouth, but with the organs in contact only at the sides, so as to leave a central 
aperture for the emission of the breath, furnish a series of elements of the Con- 
tinuous class. 

This second mode of articulation is performed by the lips in making Wh, W ; 
by the fore-part of the tongue and palate in forming S, Z, R; by the middle of 
the tongue and palate in forming Sh, Zh, Y ; and by the root of the tongue and 
soft palate in making the German or Scotch gutteral Ch. 

When the breath passes between the anterior edges of the lips in close ap- 
proximation, the effect of the breathing resembles the sound of F. The Spanish 
B is articulated in this way, but with vocalized breath, its sound consequently 
resembling V.* When the aperture of the lips is slightly enlarged by the separa- 
tion of their anterior edges, and the breath passes between the inner edges of the 
lips, the effect is that of the English Wh, W ; the former being the voiceless, the 
latter the vocal form of the same articulation. The lips must be in sufficiently 
close approximation to present a degree of resistance to the breath, or the W will 
lack that faint percussive -quality which alone distinguishes it from the vowel oo 
(No. 13). The close resemblance of W and oo has baffled the observation of 
grammarians and orthoepists, and led them into confused definitions of these 
sounds, and of their respective classes, "Vowels" and "Consonants." W is an 
articulation or "Consonant," in virtue of its necessary pharyngeal or percussive 
effect, and oo is a vowel, in the absence of this articulative quality. 

The letter W is, however, often written in English when there is no sound 
of the articulation, as in owe,^ saw, few, etc. W is pronounced only at the begin- 
ning of a syllable. When initial W is followed by oo, as in woo, wood, wound, 


etc., the combination, which is somewhat difficult to unaccustomed organs, exem- 
plifies the difference between the articulation and the vowel of similar formation. 

The effect of the articulation W may be produced with lateral apertures 
instead of a central opening, and the difference to the ear is scarcely perceptible. 
W with this formation, however, gives a constrained and severe appearance to 
the mouth. 

The plasticity and mobility of the tongue enable that organ to take a variety 
of palatal approximations, and to give origin to the greater number of the articu- 
late elements of speech. When the tip of the tongue is expanded and presented 
to the upper gum, so as to leave a small central aperture for the emission of the 
breath, the hissing sound of S is produced. 

The nearly horizontal position of the tongue for this element requires the 
teeth to be very closely approximated, but without touching; if the jaws are too 
much apart, the tongue cannot sufficiently contract the sibilant aperture, and too 
much breath escapes; while, if the teeth are perfectly closed, the breath strikes 
against the teeth, or is forced to pass through their interstices, and thus acquires 
a lisping modification. 

The articulative position of S, giving sibilation to vocalized breath, produces 
Z, which differs in no wise from the oral action of S. 

If the point of the tongue be depressed behind the lower teeth, and its upper 
surface be presented to the gum or front part of the palate, a hissing sound closely 
resembling S is produced, which is one of the many modes in which this element 
is faultily articulated. 

If the point of the tongue be laid in contact with the teeth, gum, or palate, 
and the breath escape through lateral apertures, various forms of the defect 
called Lisping will be the result. In the most common lisp the breath is forced 
over the sides of the tip of the tongue, between the tongue and the teeth. In a 
less frequent form of this defect the breath passes over the sides of the middle of 
the tongue, between the tongue and the back teeth. 

When the tip of the tongue is narrowed and presented without contact to the 
upper gum or front part of the palate, the passage of the breath causes the tongue 
to quiver or vibrate more or less strongly, and the sound of R is produced. R, as 
pronounced in England, differs from Z merely in the narrowing and retraction of 
the point of the tongue. In Scotland, in Spain, and on the Continent generally, 
R receives a stronger vibration of the whole fore-part of the tongue. 

R in English is always a vocal element, but it may, of course, be pronounced 
without voice. The existence of Rh in our orthography would seem to indicate 
that this voiceless R has been at one time an element in our speech. In Gaelic, 
Welsh, and many other languages it is still heard. R is so pronounced in French, 
when final after a Voiceless articulation; as after t in theatre, c in. fiacre, etc. 

R is liable to many faults of articulation, the principal of which are a labial 
seat, instead of, or in connection with, the lingual formation, giving the effect of 
w or of w combined with R; and a guttural seat, producing the common defect 
called Burring. 

If, from the position R, the point of the tongue be depressed and drawn in- 
wards, so as to remove the seat of articulation further back on the tongue and 
palate, the sound of Sh will be produced. This articulation modifying voice pro- 
duces the sound of the letter Z in azure, or S in pleasure, which, as the vocal 
form of Sh, may be conveniently represented by Zh. This is the sound of the 
letter J in French. The English J has the sound of Dzh, as in Jew ; the voiceless 
correspondent of this compound (Tsh) is written Ch, as in chew. 

The change of lingual position from S to Sh is analogous to that from the 
anterior position of the lips in which the breathing resembles F to the inner and 
larger aperture of Wh. The breath in Sh and \Vh has a semi-whistling sound. 


A further enlargement of the aperture of either element produces a lingual or 
labial sonorous whistle. 

If the back part of the tongue be now raised to the back of the palatal arch, 
leaving a small central aperture for the breath, the tongue will be in the position 
for the articulation of Y, as heard without voice in hue, hew, (=Yhyoo), etc., 
and, with voice, in you, use, cue, pew, tune, duke, etc. This is almost the position 
for the vowel ee (No. I). The difference between ee and the articulation Y is 
exactly the same as that between oo and W, already noticed. The compression of 
the vocal current through a contracted aperture, and the faint percussive effect on 
the separation of the organs constitute the articulative quality of Y, while the 
absence of this pharyngeal effect constitutes the vowel quality of ee. 

Y, like W, has its articulative pronunciation only at the beginning of a syllable 
in English. In other positions, the letter Y is a vowel sign, equivalent to I. 

When initial Y is followed by ee, as in ye, year, yield, etc., the combination, 
which is difficult to unpractised organs, illustrates the difference between the 
articulation and the vowel of similar formation. 

The approximation of the root of the tongue to the soft palate at the back 
of the mouth, gives the last variety of the Second Mode of Articulation. This 
guttural breathing is not heard in English. It is common in the Scottish dialects, 
as the sound of ch in loch, etc. ; and in the German, Spanish, and many other 

This articulative position, with vocalized breath, produces an element heard 
in the Russian, Arabic, and other strongly aspirated languages, and not uncom- 
mon in England as the smooth Burr, a cacophonic substitute for R, which bears 
the same relation to the rough Northumbrian uvular rattle that the smooth Eng- 
lish R does to the strongly trilled Continental or Scottish R. The smooth Burr is 
very common in some parts of France and Germany as the favorite vulgar pro- 
nunciation of R. 


This mode of articulation is performed by the lower lip in making F, V ; by 
the point of the tongue in forming Th and L ; by the middle of the tongue in the 
sound of L before u, as in lute; and by the root of the tongue and soft palate in 
making a peculiar sound of L heard in Gaelic. 

The characteristic effect of F is very closely imitated by the sound of the 
breath passing between both lips, either through a central aperture, or through 
contracted lateral apertures. F is correctly formed by applying the middle of the 
lower lip to the edge of the upper front teeth, leaving merely interstitial apertures 
for the breath between the sides of the lip and teeth. The same articulative posi- 
tion modifying vocalized breath produces V. 

The works already quoted from, which state P to be formed by a "slight 
compression of the anterior part of the lips," make the formation of F to consist 
in "compression of the whole lips, and a forcible breath." Certainly the writer 
never could have pronounced his own Ps, or fashioned his own Fs, consistently 
with this theory. Strange that people will not appeal to their own mouths, to test 
the correctness of descriptions, before copying, thus, the careless and conflicting 
testimony of books ! 

The tip of the tongue applied to the edge or the inner surface of the upper 
teeth, ,with contracted lateral apertures for the passage of the breath between the 
tongue and teeth, gives the formation of th, as heard (without voice) in thin, and 
(with voice) in then. 

The fore-part of the tongue applied to the palate, with very open apertures 
over the sides of the tongue, produces L. This articulation is always vocal in 


English, but, in Welsh, the voiceless form of L is a very common element repre- 
sented by //. The voice channels of the English L are so open that there is no 
vibratory effect created by the passage of the breath. The sound is as pure as 
that of any vowel, f and, but for the action necessary to complete the element, it 
would be classed among the vowels. The fluency with which L combines with 
other articulations has given it (with n, m, ng) the name of liquid. 

A form of L with contracted apertures, and consequently, with a rustling 
sound produced by the passage of the breath between the sides of the tongue and 
the teeth, is often met with among individual peculiarities, as a substitute for S 
and Z, to which it bears a very rude resemblance. A similar formation, but with 
the apertures at the back of the mouth, between the sides of the root of the tongue 
and the soft palate, occurs in Gaelic. This is a peculiarly difficult articulation to 
unaccustomed organs. 


Another set of articulations, if they are worthy of the name, is produced 
by so loosely approximating the organs that a sufficiently strong current of air 
causes them to vibrate and flap against each other. 

When the back of the tongue and soft palate are thus loosely approximated, 
the relaxed edges of the latter, and especially its narrow prolongation, the uvula, 
are easily thrown into vibration against the tongue, and the Northumbrian burr 
is produced. When the fore-part of the tongue, similarly relaxed, is laid along 
the edge of the palatal arch, a smart stroke of the breath will set it in vibration, 
and the rough R, as heard in Scotland and in most of the continental languages, 
will result. This sort of articulation may be performed, too, by the lips. If they 
lie loosely together, a strong breath will produce upon them the barbarous effect 
of a vibration, or flapping, precisely analogous to that of the burr and the rough 
R. This sound is heard in Scotland in the herd-boy's call to a cow (pwray, 
leddie;) and it is sometimes used as a rude inter jectional utterance of impa- 
tience a form of pooh-poohing probably by all people. 

The absence of this sound from general language, while the two kindred 
sounds the trilled R and the uvular Burr are common, results, no doubt, from 
the greater difficulty of producing the labial vibration ; as the force of the breath 
is dissipated in the mouth before it reaches the lips. 

R is called the canine, or dog's letter ; but the name is strictly applicable only 
to the burr, which is precisely the same in mechanism as the snarl of a cur. There 
is not much dignity in this mode of articulation by any organism, though the 
lengthened R (not the burr) may be expressive enough in some words, as in the 
"rude rolling of a rebel drum." 

The polishers of continental language might do well to imitate the English in 
their treatment of this cur-related sound, and, as Macbeth did physic, "throw it 
to the dogs." 


These sounds have been described ( p. 33) as forming a converse series to the 
ordinary obstructive elements. In the latter, as in all the articulations of civilized 
languages, the pharynx is distended. In the clicks which are actual elements of 
speech in some African dialects the pharynx is collapsed, and the separation of 
the oral organs produces an inward percussion of air. These sounds are fre- 

t All the vowel sounds may. be produced with the tongue on the palate, as in L. The 
lateral apertures can be sufficiently modified to form every shade of sound, from e to ah; 
and, with the aid of the lips, from ah to oo; and the intermediate varieties of vowel sound 
can also be very correctly imitated without removing the point of the tongue from the palate. 
There is, even, very little peculiarity in the vowels singly produced by this mechanism. 



quently made by stammerers in their untutored efforts to articulate; and they 
are also in common interjectional use among all people. 

The first of the Clicks is formed on the lips : it is a P with reversed pharyn- 
geal action. This sound is heard with a slightly prolonged effect in the common 
call to a dog; and it is familiar to everybody as the audible part of the act of 

The second Click is formed on the point of the tongue: it is a T with re- 
versed percussion. This sound, reiterated, is universally known as an interjection 
of vexation. 

The third of the Clicks is formed from the position T, by disengagement of 
the sides of the tongue, with reversed action of the pharynx : it is the reverse of a 
T as that letter is articulated before L. This sound is in continual use by drivers 
as an encouragement to the motion of a horse. 

The fourth and last of the Clicks is formed from contact of the whole upper 
surface of the tongue with the roof of the mouth. The tongue is disengaged by 
drawing down the root first, the tip last; and, as the point of the tongue leaves 
the palate, a peculiar flap is heard, such as ventriloquists use in their imitation of 
the pouring out of liquid from a narrow necked bottle. 

The following Table exhibits all the varieties of Articulations in the order in 
which they have been described : 


> f P B M.. 

~- T D N. . 

fjj I K G . . Ng . ' * 


" (Ph) (Bh) (Spanish B) .... 

c Wh . . W . 


2 I s z 

H g 

W ^ (Rh) R (smooth English) . . 

8 Sh Zh . 


U Yh Y 

. Ch (German) . . Gh (smooth burr).. . . 

"F V , 


Th(in) Th(en) 

o JH IvK Welsh). . L. . 

*3 % 

% = I/ (before ii) 

^ I guttural. . . . Iy (Gaelic) 

o f (KRh) (snarl) . . GR (rough burr) . . 

I * 
-{ R(h) R (rough trill) . . . . 

> \ a 

X I :=hp vibration 




The nasals are placed on the same line with their relative obstructives, to 
show that their oral mechanism is the same ; but M, N, and Ng are in effect Con- 
tinuous elements. 

Of these various articulations, twenty-four (twelve actions) are elements of 
English speech. One, however, the rough R, is used only for purposes of 
effect and imitative expression. 

The following Table exhibits the English articulations in the order of their 
formation ; beginning with those that are formed furthest within the mouth, and 
proceeding outwards to the labial articulations. 





P . 


. G 


Yh(liew) . . Y . 

R (rough) ... = 

R (smooth) 

Th(in) .... Th(en) 



. V . 

. w . 



We have elsewhere shown (page 15) the defective way in which these twenty- 
four articulations are represented by our alphabet. The alphabet contains almost 
a sufficient number of characters; for it has 21 letters to represent this class of 
elements; but two of these, namely, C and Q are altogether redundant; and 
two more namely, J and X are marks of combinations, and not simple ele- 
ments ; and so we have, in reality, only seventeen appropriate characters by which 
to write all our articulations. With what irregularity these letters are used in the 
notation of our language will be seen in a subsequent chapter. 



It really seems strange that speech a power so common and so invaluable, 
a thing "in everybody's mouth," should not have been taught to us elementarily; 
and in looking back over the preceding pages, very strange it certainly appears, 
that there should be such a phenomenon in cultivated society as a person incapable 
of sounding an S, an L, an R, or any of the simple elements correctly; yet we 
have even public teachers in almost every department of knowledge exhibiting 
in their utterance such shameful incapacities, in great variety, and vitiating by 
their high example the taste and habits of extensive circles; so that it is really 
thought no disgrace to be a burrer, a lisper, a mumbler, a drawler to twang words 
in the nose, to scream, and roar, to foam, to squeak, to whine, to mouth, and 
otherwise so to abuse the glorious faculty of speech, that with Shakspere, we 
may say, it seems as if "some of Nature's journeymen had made men, and not 
made them well they imitate humanity so abominably." 

The reason of the general ignorance of speech, from which such a state of 
things results, is, we are told, just the very commonness of the faculty, which 
seems to render the subject below scientific inquiry. But is it therefore unworthy 
of being understood? Why, then, were not scientific men satisfied with seeing 
and hearing on the same ground? Why did they seek to know how we see and 
hear? They have elaborated theories of optics and look at the result? Won- 
derful mechanical adaptations of optical principles, before undreamt of, and which, 
otherwise, would never have been discovered. Might not an analogous result 
attend the philosophical investigation of the faculty of speech ; and acoustic and 
articulative principles be developed, which would lead to mechanical inventions 
no less wonderful and useful than those in optics? A subject so little explored, 
and so open to operations, is, at least, full of promise to science. 

In the ordinary mode of teaching children to read, the difficulties, necessarily 
attending our defective orthography, are fully laid in the learner's way, so as to 
make his task one of as much drudgery as possible. What is called elementary 
instruction is not such, our children have no really elementary instruction in 
speech. They are taught the alphabet, such as it is ; but they are not taught an 
alphabet of sounds. They are taught to name the letters ; that is to say, they are 
taught to associate with the characters a set of words, by which they may in time 
become qualified to speak of the letters ; but they are not taught those simple ele- 
mentary sounds by which they might at once be enabled to speak the letters; so 
that the child has not the most distant idea of the real object ol the characters he 
becomes familiar with. It never can enter into his mind that they stand for no 
more in speech than those puffs, and blows, and hisses, and other funny noises, 
which the youngest in the school could make perfectly, and would make with most 
delightful interest ; this is all darkness to him : and if, by some accidental coinci- 
dence between the name and power of a letter, a ray of light flash upon him, and 
he seek to trace it to the truth which shot it forth, he soon gives up the search in 
despair; the light disappears at the first step from the chink which let it in and 
he can see no way out of the double-you, eye, ell, de, e, are, en, e, double-ess 
(wilderness) by which he finds himself surrounded. 

The first sad period of his education at last over he "knows his letters." 
Unfortunately, however, he discovers that he is then hardly in the least advanced 
in the art of reading, but has a new task to learn, and a new vexation, in every 
new combination of letters. One thing, however, is done, beyond the mastery 
of the alphabetic names ; he has learned to learn without understanding, to know 
without knowing what; and he is therefore prepared to apply what he knows in 


any way he may be told, without inquiring or caring to learn the hoiv and why. 
A foundation is laid for a mindless after-course. The school he either dislikes, 
or loves only for its opportunities of social mischief ; till in due course he "finishes 
his education," and leaves the school with a certain amount of knowledge ac- 
quired by dint of preceptorial authority, but without having learned the preemi- 
nently important lesson to teach himself to love knowledge for its own sake 
to have a "constant care to increase his store" and to go on a scholar to the end 
of his days. 

Fraught with consequences momentous as these, is, we believe, the false 
initiatory training of the alphabetic class. 

An improved orthography would, no doubt, be a ready means of amending 
this state of matters, and a very excellent system of phonetic orthography, that 
needed but little to make it perfect, was introduced some years ago as an experi- 
ment; but it is to be feared that existing prejudices will be found too strong to 
admit of sufficient reformation in this way. Nor is such a mode of improvement 
indispensable. A better use may be made of present materials. 

The rational mode of teaching to read would surely be to begin with the 
mouth, and teach it to speak; to present, first, to the initiative aptitude of children 
the simple elementary sounds of language, and get these practically mastered, 
before endeavouring to teach the eye to recognize their arbitrary symbols. The 
sounds should be the first object of the teacher; and their practice will be an 
amusement not a task to the child ; while, in learning them, he may be led on, 
almost insensibly, to a knowledge of the alphabetic symbols, and so by a most 
agreeable method, and in a very short time, gain all, and much more than all, 
that is now gained after laborious and protracted effort on the part both of teacher 
and pupil. 

Distinct and graceful habits of speech, too, would thus be formed; the mouth 
would be in advance of the eye: and there would be an end to those abortive 
mouthings, and to that hesitancy and stammering which, in a greater or less 
degree, are common to all educational tyros now, and which sometimes strike 
root into the muscular and nervous systems, and produce most pitiable objects 
in society. 

A glance at the pages of English writers of past and present times will show 
that innovations in orthography are not to be dreaded as novelties without prece- 
dent, and of doubtful consequence. Our language has been, in this respect, in a 
state of constant change ; modes of spelling, and modes of pronunciation, have 
had their seasons of fashion and of desuetude; and people have got on without 
perplexity amid these fluctuations, and have as readily adopted the novelties, and 
antiquated their antecedents, as they have changed the fashion of their garments. 
Noiv, there is less liability to change, and it is more difficult to effect alterations, 
on account of the numerous dictionaries which have given something like a stand- 
ard to orthography. But even in .these there have been changes, and every new 
lexicon registers some alterations. There is, therefore, no ground for a spirit of 
etymological conservatism, opposing improvements as destructive to long-instituted 
and time-honoured modes of spelling. Changes will take place, and the more the 
subject of speech is studied, the more rapid and easy will transitions become, till 
letters present, as they might and should, a picture of sounds almost as simple as 
the sounds themselves. 

An orthographic reformation is commonly deprecated by the educated, though 
none can deny that it would afford the readiest means of giving the blessings of 
education to the illiterate. The various objections urged against a change are all 
of them selfish considerations. They possess no weight in comparison with the 


great advantages which would result from the adoption of a mode of spelling 
correspondent to our actual utterance.* 

An ill-represented language is a hindrance to foreign communication; and 
this must lead to reformations, as international intercourse increases. The incon- 
veniences of English orthography are peculiarly great. The language itself is 
difficult enough to foreigners ; but its irregular orthography renders its correct use 
almost unattainable to those who are not 

"Native here, and to the manner born." 

The object of the present work is not, however, to attempt a change in ortho- 
graphic practice. We believe that a better acquaintance with the elementary 
simplicity of speech will in time work all necessary changes; and we therefore 
leave speculative reformations, and confine ourselves to practical improvements 
in the use of present materials. We have endeavored to frame from actual obser- 
vation a complete scheme of the elements of speech to show the true powers of 
our letters, and so to remedy in some degree those inconveniences which result 
from ignorance superadded to the systematic absurdities which confessedly char- 
acterize our language, as it vainly struggles to preserve an etymological shadow 
in the Writing, when the substance has no longer an existence in the Speech. 

In a little Nursery Book of "Letters and Sounds," f the "better use that may 
be made of present materials" is practically exhibited. A strictly phonetic method 
of teaching reading is shown to be possible, without any interference with orthog- 
raphy. The eye of the learner is gradually familiarized with anomalous modes 
of spelling, while these have no retarding influence on his progress ; and the 
confusion attendant on a change from phonetic to literary orthography is alto- 
gether obviated. Experiments have proved that the system of teaching Letters 
through the medium of Sounds reduces by one-half the time and labour of teach- 
ing and of learning to read ; while it may safely be affirmed that, under such a 
system of elementary instruction in Articulation, defects and impediments of 
speech would be almost unknown. J 


The orderless condition of English orthography is susceptible of many curious 
illustrations. The test of a correct representation of sounds would be that all 
letters, in whatever arrangement, and however transposed, should retain their 
fixed individual sounds ; as in the case of the word end, the letters of which may 
be transposed into ned or den, while each retains its power unaltered. 

As a man's character is best known by the company he keeps, so our alpha- 

*Any change that may be attempted, however, should be accurately phonetic. Some 
orthographic reformers need to be reminded of this. With the view of discarding "re- 
dundant" letters, Mr. Webster has introduced in his Dictionary such spellings as honor, 
labor, etc., instead of honour, labour, etc. This is a change in the wrong direction, for the 
discarded letter happens to be the one that is pronounced, and the redundant letter the one 
that is retained. Besides the termination or in English indicates a person, as in sailor, orator, 
minor, etc., and our, a quality. This distinction, which is certainly encumbered with nu- 
merous exceptions, would be altogether lost, were the proposed change admitted. 

t Bell's "Letters and Sounds." Price is., London : Hamilton, Adams & Co. ; Edinburgh : 
W. P. Kennedy. [This Work is out of print.] 


I. One letter is taught at a time, and the Sounds of the letters are illustrated to the eye 
by suggestive pictures, a single glance at which elicits the sound from the child and recalls 
it to his mind without any effort of memory. Thus, the picture of a man smoking a pipe 


betic "characters" are only to be sounded with certainty when we know the literal 
society in which they are found. 

Thus, transpose the vowels in chase, and, not unnaturally, the chase results 
in aches. The largest moat may be literally proved to be but an atom. By mere 
disjunction of letters that which was nowhere is now here. Wo to him who shall 
take a / from two, even as to him who shall dare to separate man from woman. 
Though you remove the t from there, yet here it remains. Put c before hanged 
and lo! how it is changed! Of all the letters in the alphabet e is of the most use 
to us; though b and y certainly make us busy. You cannot join / to of, but it 
will instantly be off. S may well be called a "sharp" letter, when it can convert 
a word into a sword. Though you take the first and last letters from know yet it 
is now, no, "Dust we are," and even the heart resolves itself into earth. We 
can take c from cease with ease; but w cannot be removed from wart without art; 
and he who would take v from vague will have an ague. Take g from gown 
it loses nothing of its own; add g to one, and lo! it is gone. Prefix e to we, it 
becomes ewe; unite thy and me, they produce thyme. Add one / to our the 
product is four. Take off the w from won it remains on; put it before hat 
it is what? try it before here it is where? The three letters in own may be 
arranged into won; repeat the transposition, and own them now, not won. R 
transforms a cow into a crow, and lengthens eve into ever. E changes the pro- 
noun ye into an eye, and the preposition to into a toe, and makes on also become 

stands side by side with the letter p, and the imitation of the puff in smoking produces the 
sound of the letter. In this way the elements of language are taught one by one, and the 
complete alphabet occurs nearer the end than the beginning of the book. 

II. Words containing all the letters learned are collected in each section separately, 
and combined in little sentences, as Reading Exercises, so that the child READS FROM THE 
VERY FIRST LESSON. Thus, when the primary sounds of the letters A, O, and S are learned 
which is after a mere glance at the illustrative pictures the child immediately reads their 
combinations in the words "say, so," etc. ; and thereby feels the delight which only a child 
can feel, at being able to read in a single lesson ! The first steps thus made easy, the learner 
is encouraged to proceed with interest. 

III. In two sections (which will be mastered in as many lessons) the sounds of six 
letters are acquired, and such words as "aim, same, may, mow, maim, pope, soap, pipe, sigh," 
etc., are added to the vocabulary of legible words. In three sections, eight letters and sounds 
have been learned, and such words as "shame, shape, home, hope," etc., occur in the reading 
exercises. Another section adds two new elements to the stock of knowledge, and gives the 
power of reading such words as "sight, might, state, haste, potato, kite, oak," etc. 

IV. This could not possibly be done if the names of the letters were taught as the 
elements of a word, or if silent letters were taught at all either by names or sounds; but 
it is done without the slightest difficulty; and ivithout any alteration of spelling, by printing 
silent letters subordinately, and presenting to the eye in LARGE TYPE THE LETTERS WHICH ARE 


sa y , si gh , so a p, mo w , ma'm, etc. 

To the large letters alone attention is directed, while the servile or silent letters are all 
printed in their proper places, but in a smaller character, which does not interfere with the 
reading of the letters that are pronounced. 

V. The presence of silent letters thus gives no trouble to the learner in reading, while, 
at the same time, his eye is accustomed to see them in familiar words. The memory for 
spelling lies altogether in the eye; and this distinctive printing of silent letters gives promi- 
nence to the peculiarities of orthography, and impresses them on the memory without any 
direct effort of learning. 

VI. All irregularities are kept out of sight until facility in vocalizing known letters, and 
in reading their regular combinations, is acquired. The principles of reading are, by the 
method employed, so comprehensive that the number of irregularities is extremely small. 
By the association of LETTERS with SOUNDS they are reduced to limits, the narrowness of 
which will astonish those who have long lamented over their apparently hopeless complexity, 
when Sounds have been taught through the medium of Letters. 



one. Take s from shoes they become hoes; if you ask how, s will promptly show 
it. Y makes what is ours become yours. Write an / and you will have -fever 
for ever! 

Such examples might be increased to any extent, but these are sufficient to 
show how little of rule there can be, founded on letters, to guide the foreigner or 
the youthful learner to the correct utterance of our written words. The follow- 
ing Tables show, in separate arrangements, the sounds of our Vocal and Articula- 
tion marks, and the marks of our vowel and articulate Sounds. 



The figures refer to the English Vowel Scheme, page 129. 


Y and W among the figures are 

2 as in orange 

A sounds 

O " 





care, any 







1 10 

all, swan 

1 as in 





ere, ever 







11 as in 
2 " 




8 " 


y " 


f 2 as 

in women 




word, son 


orb, on 


' ore 


' ode 

. 13 

do, wolf 

12 as 

in busy 




burn, bud 


rule, bull 




4 persuade 

Y sounds^ 






2 as in hymn 
7.1 4< by 
8 ' ' myrrh 

y " ye 

4 as in Aaron 

5 " Isaac 

1 as in Csesar 

1 as in aerie 
3.1 ' 4 aerial 
3.4 Israel 

4 4< aer, Michael- 








in captain 

air, said 

3 as in gaol 
3.10 " chaos 
3.12 " aonian 





3 as in gauge 

7 " aunt 
10 " aught, laurel 
12 4< hauteur 




10 as in awful 
6w " away 


f 2 as in Monday 
J 3 " lay 

prayer, says 


I 3 " 
j 4 " 
I 7.1" 

AOU ' { 7.13 as in caoutchouc 
AWE" 4 10 as in awe 

I 3 as in aye 
AYE " j 3.2" gayety 

I 3.4 " 


1 as in each 

1.3 " 


1.5 " 


1.6 " 


EA " J 2 " 


3 " 


4 " 

wear, health 

7 " 


. 8 " 


f 1 as in bee 
EE j 1.4 " re-enter 
I 2 breeches 

E'E " / l asin 


I 4 


f 1 as ir 

1 i - 2 ;; 


KI " X ? 


1 3 " 


4 " 

heir, heifer 

I 7.1 " 


1 as in 
1.10 " 
1.12 " 
EO " J 4 

10 " 


feod (fyood) 




4 L.I as in amateur 
13 " rheum 

yl3 feud 

12 as in shew 
13 grew 

y!3 " dew 

1 as in key 

. 71" eying 

f 12 as in beau 
1 y!3 " beauty 

\ 10.1 as in burgeois 


f 12 as in sewed 
_ 1 13 " brewed 

sound (. y!3 " 


EYE " 

fl as in keyed 
3 surveyed 
7.1" eyed 

[2 as in parliament 



T . (( 


{ 1.5 " 





L 7.1.5 " 


1 as in field 

1.1 ' 


1.4 ' 


IE " 

j 1.8 ' 


] 2 


4 ' 




I 7.1.4 ' 


f 9 as in motion 

10 " 

< 1.12 " 




I 7.1.12" 


" 9 as in 


10 ' 

broad, groat 

11 ' 


OA " v 

12 ' 




12.7 ' coarct 

f 10.1 as in oboe 



OE " 4 

12.1 " 


12.2 " 





3 as in connoisseur 

^9 ^ avoirdupoise 

lu.l c 


OI " < 

12.2" stoic 

13.2" doing 

w7.1" choir 

. wlO " memoir 


9 as in blood 
11 " door 

OO " -1 

12 " brooch 

12.10^' . zo-ology 
12.12" zo-o-logical 
13. bloom, book 

OU " J 

9 as in journal, young 
10 bought, cough 
11 " four 

12 " soul 

L 13 through, would 



7.13 as in now 

WO sound 

!9 as in twopence 
11 " sword 

OWsoundS JQ knowledge 

13 two 

L 12 " know 

(7.1 as in dye 

OY " -{ 10.1 as in boy 

YE " 

7.1.1 " hyena 

(w3 as in persuade 

7.1.8 ' dyer 

5 piquant 
w5 quack 

UB, " 

\ y.l as in minutiae 

7 ' guard 
13.7 guano 

IEU " 

f 4v " lieutenant 
\ y!3 " adieu 

wlO ' squall, squat 

IEW " 

\ y!3 view 

wl as in query 

4 ' ' guess 

IOU " 

\ 9 " cautious 

w4 quell 
8 guerdon 

CEU " 

-{13 " manoeuvre 

UE " 4 w8 cuerpo 
13 " rue 

OOE " 

-{13 " wooed 

13.4" cruel 

f 7.13.4 " vowel 

yl3 ' ' cue 
fc y!3.4 " duel 


I 12 " owed 
( 12.4 " lowest 

1 as in mosquito 
w 1 " suite 


-{11 " towards 

2 " build 
w2 quill 

UAY sound \ 1 as in quay 

7.1" guide 


' \ wl " squeak 

UI < w7.1 " quire 

w8 " squirt 


\ wl queen 

13 " fruit 

13.2" fruition 


1 \ 4 LI " liqueur 

y!3 ' ' suit 

y!3.2 " aguish 
110 as in liquor 


, / 1 torquoise 
\ wlO.l " quoit 

wlO ' ' quondam 

UOY " { wlO.l " buoy 

wll " quorum 

wl2 " quote 

IE WE ' 

' ^ y!3 viewed 

y!3.12" duo 

!2 as in plaguy 


' \ 1 " quayed 

w2 " colloquy 
7.1 " buy 


\ y!3 " queue 

WE " -{ 8 as in answer 


\ wlO.l " buoyed 


E is silent in hidden, fasten, soften, etc., and generally when final. 

I devil, etc. 

O mutton, prison, etc. 

AI Britain. 

UA victuals. 

UE plague, barque, harangue, etc. 





r e as in eve 


r e(r) as in her 


i ' fatigue 


i(r) firmness 


se ' minutiae 


-H J 

y(r) hyrst 


ae aerie 


ea(r) " earnest 


ee ' bee 

ue(r) " guerdon 

e'e e'en 


^ we(r) " answer 


ea eat 


ei conceive 

o as in world, done 


eo people 
ey key 
eye ' keyed 
ie ' field 


u furnace, ugly 
eo dungeon 
io motion 
oa cupboard 


^ uoi ' turquoise 


oi avoirdupoise 
oo blood 

a as in cabbage 


ou journey, young 

e ' ' pretty 


ow bellows 

i "ill 

wo twopence 


o ' ' women 

iou cautious 


u ' ' busy 

. olo colonel 


y ' ' hymn 


ai ' ' mountain 

r a as in fall, \\ant 


ay ' Monday 

o order, often 


ea ' guineas 

ao extraordinary 


ee ' breeches 


au taught, laudanum 


ei ' forfeit 


aw ' awful 


ey ' monkey 


awe " awe 


ia ' ' parliament 


eo George 


ie ' ' sieve 


oa ' abroad, groat 

ui build 

ou thought, hough 

t uy plaguy 

^ ow ' ' knowledge 

r a as in age 

o as in ore 


ai aim 

ew sewer 

ao gaol 


oa oar 


au gauge 

*"* \ 

oo door 


ay pay 


ou four 

T- < 

aye " aye 

wo sword 


ea steak 


owa " towards 


ei ' ' vein 
ey obey 

^ orps ' ' corps 


eye ' preyed 

o as in old 

oi ' ' connoisseur 

ao ' ' Pharaoh 

a as in fare, many 


au hauteur 


e ere, ever 


ew shew 

u bury 


eau ' beau 

aa Aaron 


ewe ' sewed 



ae aer, Michaelmas 


oa oak 



ai air, said 


oe foe 


ay prayer, says 
ea wear, health 



oo brooch 
ou soul 


e'e ' ne'er 


ow ' ' crow 


ei heir, heifer 

owe ' ' crowed 


eo leopard 
ey eyre 
ie friend 
ue ' guess 

'o as in do, wolf 
u rule, pull 
eu rheumatism 

ew grew 

5 by 

{a as in amber 
aa Canaan 
ai raillery 




ewe ' ' brewed 
oe shoe 
ceu ' ' manoeuvre 

6 by 

\ a as in ask 


oo " bloom, book 
ooe ' wooed 

1 a as in ardour 


ou ' through, would 

e clerk 


ue ' rue 

^ _o 

< au haunt 


ui ' fruit 


ea hearty 

. wo two 

t ua " guardian 





i as in isle 
y by 
ai ' ' naivete" 

II? I 

o as in accomptant 
ou " thou 
ow ' ' bow 

ay ' ay 


ei height 


ey ; eying 


eye * eye 


ie lie 

i >> f 

oe as in oboe 


ui ' guide 
uy buy 


oi ' ' c6in 
oy ' ' boy 

ye ' ' dye 


eoi ' ' burgeois 


B sounds as in babe 

s k tsh 

tsh k sh 

ch sounds as in chapter, character, chaise 

C " 

cell, cake, vermicelli, 






m km 

" " drachm, drachma 


sh ks 

sacrifice, (verb) 


" " fuchsia, stomachs 

t dzh 


D " " 

deed, stopped, soldier 


" yacht 

1? < < 


feoff, of 


" back 

G " 

dzh zh 

gig, gem, rouge 


' '* Cockburn, cock-boat 


H " 

he, hay, high, hoe, hue, 
etc. (the vowel for- 


" " blackguard 

mation modifying un- 


4 ' " acquire 

t ksh kt 

vocalized breath ) 



" " indict, diction, active 



" Czar 

dzh y 

d dd 

T ( 

jay, hallelujah, jambeaux 


11 " haddock, head-dress 

K " 



" Buddhist 


dzh dg 

I, " 

lull, colonel 


" " judgment, Edgar 

M " 


ng m 


11 dn 

" " Wednesday, madness 

N " 

noon, an-ger, Banff 


z dz 

" " Windsor, winds 


S P 


f ff 
" " ruffle, half -fee 



f ft 

R " 



" " soften, softer 


z sh zh 

this, as, sugar, lesion 


" " hiccough, hough, ghost 


T " 

sh zh 

tight, action, transition 



V " 



" " bought 

W " 

wag (this letter is also a 
vowel mark) 

ks gz z 


" " seraglio, ugly 

m gm 

" " phlegm, phlegmatic 

X " 

expect, exists, xystus 
yard (this letter is also a 


n gn 

" " gnomon, signet 


vowel mark) 


" John 

Z " " 


zeal, azure 



' ' ' ' know 

d 1 Id 

bb " 

b bb 

clubbist, club-book 


11 " would, Guildford, builder 

f if 

d bd 


" half, self 

bd " 

bdellium, obdurate 


" " halfpenny 

bt " , " 

t bt 

debt, subtend 



k ik 
" walk, elk 

k ks 

i n 

cc " 

tobacco, accede 


" falling, soulless 


m Ira 

cch " 

Bacchus 1m 

" " psalm, elm 




In sonnd as in kiln, fulness 


sh 8k 

sound as in conscience, sceptic 

1 III 

s sh 

Ix " " calx 


" schism, schedule, 

m mb 

stsh sk 

mb " " dumb, rhumb 

mischief, school 


sh z 

mm " " hammer 


" shape, dishonour, 

m n 


mn " " hymn, mnemonics, 



1 si 



" isle, asleep 

m n mp 

n sn 

mp " *' Campbell, comptcr, lamp 


" puisne (Pr. puny), snare 

ng nrt 

S S-S 7. 

nd handkerchief, hand 


loss, mis-sent, scissors, 

ngg n-g 

sh zh 

ng ; sing, single, ingraft 

mission, abscission 


s st 



" castle, history 

n un 


nn " " minnow, meanness 


mistress (colloquial), 

b pb 

pb " cupboard, cupbearer 



v r p 

ph nephew, philter, diph- 


" " Grosvenor 


thong, loophole 


a aw zw 

" " sword, sward, Boswell, 

t th 

phth " phthisical, apophthegm, 



b tb 



" " hautboy, potboy 

n pn 


pn pneumatics, cheapne s s 


" " thigh, thy, pothouse, 

p P P 

t tth 

pp '* supple, soup-pan 

thyme, eighth 
i ti 

pph " " sapphire 


" bristly, ghastly 

s ps 

t 1 1 

ps psalm, perhaps 


" *' hatter, boot-tree 

sh psh 


psh " pshaw, upshot 


" Matthew 

t pt 

t tw 

pt " receipt, apt 


" two, twain 

kw k 


qu " " quake, quay 


" britzska 

r rh 


rh " rhetoric, perhaps 


" " what, who 

r T r 


rr : error, poor-rates 


" knowledge 



rrh " " catarrh 


" ' ' write 

rs rsh rz 

s z 

rs " u person, Persian, bars 


" " bellows, bellows (verb) 

r rt 


rt " " mortgage, heart 


" " rendezvous 

k %* a z 

z tz 

sc viscount, science, discern zz 

" " buzzing, mezzotint 



DOUBLE LETTERS are generally sounded as one ; as in cannon, better, missile, pepper, hammer, 

beckon, acquire, etc. One, therefore, in such pairs is silent. 

B is silent in bdellium, dumb, debt, etc. 

C ' science, Czar, muscle, black, acquiesce, indict, schedule, etc. 

D " " Wednesday, handkerchief, etc. 

F " " halfpenny. 

' bagnio, seraglio, phlegm, etc. 

" 'heir, thyme, rheum, khan, John, ghastly, 

diphthong, character, etc. 

K ' know, wreck, etc. 

L " alms, salmon, would, half, etc. 

M " mnemonics, etc. 

N " hymn, kiln, etc. 

" cupboard, ptarmigan, pneumatics, psalm, 

bumpkin, assumption, pshaw, etc. 

' demesne, isle, viscount, chamois, etc. 

T ' fasten, soften, trait, mortgage, hautboy, 

Matthew, etc. 


W is silent in whole, who, sword, two, write, knowledge ; and when final. 

Y " " when final after a vowel. 

Z ' " rendezvous. 

Ch ' " drachm, yacht, bacchanal, schism, etc. 

Ck ' " blackguard. 

Dh ' " Buddhist. 

Gh " thought, etc. 

Ph " phthisical, apophthegm, etc. 

Rh " catarrh, etc. 

Tr " mistress (colloquial). 

Tz " britzska. 

The figures refer to the Scheme of English Articulations (page 142, March). 


1 is represented by c, k, q, cc, ch, ck, gh, ke, kh, cqu, que, cch, qu, cq, Ik; as in can, kill, 

quit, account, character, neck, hough, lake, khan, lacquer, pique, Bac- 
chic, quay, acquire, walk. 

2 " " " g, gg, gh, gue, ckg; as in leg, egg, ghost, plague, blackguard. 

3 " " n, nd, ng, ngue; as in ink, handkerchief, song, tongue. 

4 " " " h ; as in hue. 

. / few, / osier, hallelujah, use, you. 

5 ^''J' 11 '^* 5111 1 duteous, i million. 

6 " " " c, s, t, ch, chs, sc, sh, ss, sch, psh; as in ocean, tension, nation, chaise, 

fuchsia, conscience, shape, omission, schedule, pshaw. 

7 " " " g, ge, s, ss, t, z, j ; as in giraffe, rouge, leisure, abscission, transition, 

azure, jambeaux. 

8 " " rr, as in "horrible, most horrible!" 

9 " " " r, rh, rr, rh; as in race, rhubarb, mirror, myrrhine. 

10 " " " 1, le, 11, In, si, sle, tie, gl; as in late, tale, all, kiln, island, isle, thistle, 


1 1 " " t, te, th, tt, bt, ct, cht, pt, ght, phth, ed ; as in at, late, thyme, cottage, 

debtor, indictment, yacht, ptarmigan, sight, phthisis, stopped. 

12 " " d, de, dd, bd, ddh, Id ; as in bad, bade, add, bdellium, Buddhism, would. 

13 " " " n, ne, nn, dn, gn, hn, kn, mn, sn, sne, mp; as in dun, done, inn, Wednes- 

day, sign, John, know, mnemonics, puisne, demesne, compter. 

14 " " c, ce, s, sc, se, ss, ps, tzs; as in cell, ace, gas, scent, base, loss, psalm, 


15 " " ce, cz, s, se, sc, sh, ss, z, ze, zz, ds, x; as in sacrifice (v.), Czarina, 

as, ease, discern, dishonour, scissors, zeal, baize, buzz, Windsor, 

16 " " h. th, tth, phth ; as in eighth, thing, Matthew, apophthegm. 

17 " " " th, the; as in this, breathe. 

18 " f, fe, ff, gh, ph, pph, ft, If; as in leaf, safe, stiff, laugh, physic, sapphire, 

soften, half. 

19 " v, ve, f, ph, zv; as in vain, save, of, nephew, rendezvous. 

20 " wh ; as in what. 

21 " w, o, u; as in way, one, quick persuade. 

22 " " p, pe, pp, ph, gh, Ifp; as in pay, tape, tippet, ophthalmia, hiccough, 


23 " b, be, bb, pb; as in crab, glebe, ebb, cupboard. 

24 " " m, mb, me, mm, mn, chm, gm, 1m, sme; as in aim, lamb, same, common, 

condemn, drachm, paradigm, palm, disme. 

To these may be added the common combinations ks-gz, alphabetically represented by x; 
and tsh-dzh, the latter alphabetically represented by /; the former being commonly denoted 
by ch. 

1-14 are represented by x, xc, xe, cc, chs, ks, cks, ques ; as in ox, except, axe, accept, stom- 
achs, works, wrecks, barques. 

2-15 ' x, gs, ggs ; as in exalt, legs, eggs. 

1 1-6 ' : c, ch, tch; as in vermicelli, chair, watch. 

12-7 ' ; d, dg, dge, g, ge, gg, j, ch; as in soldier, judgment, judge, gem, 

range, exaggerate, jay, sandwich. 



It would really be a matter of but little difficulty to reconstruct our alphabet, 
and furnish it with invariable marks for every appreciable variety of vocal and 
articulate sound. So few as 12 radical letters might be made to represent all the 
English articulations. Thus: we have 12 forms of articulative action, most of 
which do, and all of which may, modify both voice and breath; so producing. 24 
elements of speech. Let some uniform change to represent breath and voice be 
made on each of the 12 characters, and these 24 varieties of articulate sound may 
be not only fully represented, but with a natural analogy and consistency, which 
would explain to the eye their organic relations. 

A further uniform change made on those letters which have a nasal corre- 
spondent would complete the scheme, and, with perfect analogy between marks 
and sounds, exhibit, by 12 radical letters, every articulation in our language. 

Some equally simple and analogical notation might be arranged for the vowels, 
on the principle of their sequence, so that a really Scientific Alphabet could be 
easily constructed. 

The system of Phonotypes or letters representing sounds introduced by 
Messrs. Pitman and Ellis, though a great improvement on the ordinary alphabet, 
does not carry improvement beyond supplying deficient letters, and discarding 
redundant ones. If ever a change in our orthography should be authoritatively 
made, it should be based on an alphabet as perfect a picture of our sounds as 
science and ingenuity could produce. We have shown a principle by means of 
which the formation of such an alphabet would be an easy matter. 

Mr. Pitman's phonographic scheme of marks is much more scientific than 
the alphabet of phonotypes; but even the former is, for the purpose of accurate 
notation, far short of what a more intimate knowledge of the vocal mechanisms 
should have made it. In a system of writing by sound, there must be a very 
accurate appreciation of sound, and a faultless principiation of language. In both 
these respects, this phonographic system is somewhat defective. 

FIRST. The vowel notation, for instance, represents the sounds in the fol- 
lowing pairs of words as the same in quality, and different only in quantity; the 
vowels in the first line being called "long," and those in the second "short." 

"seek, pate, psalm, stalk, cote, fool, 
sick, pet, Sam, stock, cut, pull." 

True />7z0w<?graphy cannot recognize such "longs" and "shorts." 

SECOND. A phonographic writer should be able to delineate on his page the 
very peculiarities of a speaker's pronunciation; but in this system no means are 
furnished for the writing of four of the most distinctive of all the vowel sounds 
in English : those heard in the words 

ere, err, ask, ore. 

THIRD. The articulations, also, are arranged on false principles. They are 
classed as "mutes," which include such letters as B and J ; "semi-vowels" which 
include such as F and S ; "liquids," which include only R and L : and the letters 

M, N, and NG, which are also liquids, are classed as simply "nasals." 

. _ 

* This chapter foreshadows the idea which was subsequently materialized in "Visible 


FOURTH. Voice Articulations are called "Hats," and Breath Articulations 
"sharps;" but of the "liquids" and "nasals," which are all voice letters, four are 
represented as "sharps," while the fifth, NG, is represented as bearing the same 
relation to N that V does to F, B to P, etc. 

FIFTH. The articulative function of the letters Y and W is not recognized. 
These elements are considered to be always vowels vowels only. The result is, 
that this lack of characters to represent two articulations has to be supplied, and 
is supplied by no less than 40 symbols, to denote their combinations with different 
vowels. The cumbersome result of such a theory, one would have expected to 
operate to its rejection, even were it strictly correct; but it is clearly erroneous. 

SIXTH. As there is no articulation w in this system, there is of course no 
wh; and this Breath Articulation is considered to be identical in sound with the 
word who (=wh =hoo). Thus, the sentence, "/ saw the man WHET the knife" 
is phono graphic ally (?) perverted into the rather startling assertion, "I saw the 
man WHO ATE the knife" Let the most glib upholder of this theory pronounce 
the latter sentence as rapidly as he can, and see if he will ever make it express 
the former. Yet it should do so by the mere accident of abruptness, if the theory 
were correct. 

The phonetic notation of speech being now perfectly accomplished in the 
three forms 

(1) Line Writing, 

(2) World-English, 

(3) Visible Speech, 

the employment of a stenographic alphabet for phonetic illustration is discon- 
tinued, as unnecessary (see page 128). 


Different degrees of quantity may be recognized in the simple elements of 
speech, vowel and articulate, as well as in their syllabic and verbal combinations. 
Among the English VOWELS, singly uttered, we distinguish three degrees of quan- 
tity. The longest are those vowels which consist of two qualities of sound, viz. : 
DIPHTHONGS. A diphthong may be composed of either an open vowel tapering 
into a closer, as a-e (=3 i), ah-e (=7 i), ah-oo (=7 13), aw-e (= 10 i), 
o-oo (=12 13), heard in ail, isle, owl, oil, old; or of any monophthong-vowel 
flowing into the open and peculiar sound er (=8), as e-er (= i 8), eh-er 
(=4 8), ah-er (=7 8), uh-er (=g 8), aw-er (= 10 8), o-er (=11 8), oo-er 
(=13 8), = heard in ear, air, arc, urn, drawer, ore, poor. These are all diph- 
thongs; though only the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of the first set are generally enumerated 
as such.* The initial elements of all these diphthongs give LONG MONOPHTHONGS, 
which are the next in quantity to the diphthongs. The first sounds of a-e (3), 
o-oo (12), eh-er (4), uh-er (9), o-er (n), do not occur separately as long sounds 
in English : the first two do not occur separately at all. 

The next and shortest class of vowels are those abrupt utterances of voice 
heard in ill, ell, an, us, on, book, etc., which are SHORT MONOPHTHONGS. There 
is not, as seems to be generally supposed, any degree of duration essential to any 
of the monophthong vowels. The longest may be pronounced as shortly as the 
regularly short sounds ; and any of the latter may be prolonged to the full quan- 
tity of the longest of the former class. Thus, if we endeavour to prolong the 

* In Smart's Dictionary, the last class of sounds is noticed in the scheme of vowels, 


short monophthongs, or to stop abruptly the long ones, we shall discover that the 
vowels in ere (4), all (10), ooze (13), are essentially the same vowel formations 
as tf(ll), 0(n), (b)oo(k) ; and also that w(s) is precisely the same sound as the 
initial element of the diphthong ur. 

The monophthongs e (i) and ah (7) are never short in accented syllables in 
English ; but that they can be shortened as readily as those which are sometimes 
long and sometimes short, will be evident from experiment. In Scotland their 
short sounds are often heard; they constitute, indeed, a main feature in the 
Scottish dialect. The vowel in an (5), though short in English, is often heard 
long in Scotland ; and it is pronounced long in Ireland instead of 6 or 7, in such 
words as aunt, pass, papa, etc. 

Among the ARTICULATIONS there are various degrees of quantity. The vocal 
articulations are essentially longer than the non-vocal, but in each class there are 
varieties : 

Thus : The Breath Obstructives, P, T, K, are the shortest. 

The Breath Continuous Elements, F, Th, S, Sh, are the next longer. 

The Shut Voice Articulations, B, D, G, are the next in length. 

The Close Continuous Voice Articulations, V, Th, Z, Zh, are longer still. 

The Open Continuous Voice Articulations (or Liquids) L, M, N, NG, are 
the longest simple articulations. 

Wh, W, Y, and R are not included, because these articulations do not occur 
after vowels, but only as initials in English ; and all initial letters, whether voice 
or breath, are alike in quantity. 

These differences of articulative quantity will be best observed by prefixing 
to each articulation the three classes of vowels. The short vowels will be found 
to have degrees of shortness, according to the kind of articulation they precede, 
and the long monophthongs and diphthongs will also be found to be considerably 
affected in quantity by the succeeding articulation. Thus : 

Short Monophthongs: ip, if, ib, iv, il. 
Long Monophthongs: eep, eef, eeb, eev, eel. 
Diphthongs: ipe, ife, ibe, ive, ile. 

There are other differences of quantity which arise from the COMBINATION 
of LETTERS into SYLLABLES, and SYLLABLES into WORDS. And first What is a 
syllable ? We have no non-vocal syllables ; voice, therefore, is the first requisite ; 
and the syllabic voice may be either confined to one letter, or distributed among 
several letters. The vowel part of a syllable may consist of two elements, form- 
ing either a closing diphthong, as aye, owe, eye, hoy, how, etc., or an opening 
diphthong, as ear, air, ore, your, etc. If such words as fire, our, etc., which con- 
tain three vowel elements, = a closing diphthong followed by the open sound 
er(S) be considered monosyllables, then the vowel part of a syllable might be 
said to contain a triphthong; but when these words are fully pronounced, they 
are undoubtedly dissyllables, and perfect rhymes to higher, power, etc., which are 
never reckoned monosyllabic words. 

In colloquial speech, fire, higher, our, power, and all words of this formation, 
are frequently contracted into one syllabic impulse, by a slurring of the vowels, 
the close elements I and 13 being converted into 4 or 5 and 10 or n ; ire being 
thus pronounced nearly ah-air (7-4-8) and our nearly ah-orc (7-11-8). The 
mouth undergoes but little increase or diminution of vowel aperture in these latter 
combinations, and consequently they blend with smooth indefiniteness into one 
concrete utterance. Indeed, the whole of the possible shadings of vowel-sound 
between ah and e, or ah and oo, or conversely, might be blended monosyllabically ; 


but no return from the closing progression to an opening one, or conversely, 
could take place without creating a new syllable.* 

We have said that the syllabic voice may be either confined to one letter, or 
distributed among several letters. Thus: Before and after the vowel may be 
placed an open vocal articulation or "liquid." Take for an example, the vowel ai 
(3), to which let us add an initial and final articulation of the open class; thus, 
/ ai n. This is still one syllable, and we may prefix and affix to it an Obstructive; 
thus, bl ai nd. A Continuous Voice Articulation might still be added before and 
after though we have not in English any initial continuous voice articulation 
followed by an obstructive: this would give us the monosyllable zbl ai ndzh. 
An Obstructive might yet be added before and after this combination, without 
destroying the unity of the syllable; thus, dzblaindzhd. This barbarous-looking 
word is not so foreign to our language as at first sight it may appear. With the 
exception of the initial dz, the combination is a perfectly English one, occurring 
in such words as cringed, changed, bulged, etc. 

The organs slide from point to point in these clustered articulations, and there 
is no openness in the sounds. The open continuous elements (liquids), it will be 
observed, are immediately before and after the vowel. They could not be else- 
where without creating other syllables because for them the voice has a vowel- 
openness and purity. Thus, / and n, as elsewhere shown, often of themselves 
make syllables in English utterance, though not in orthography, for we write a 
silent e, as in middle, bidden, bible, even, -fasten, thistle, etc.\ 

The liquid / may be prefixed to either of the other liquids in the same syllable. 
Thus, we still write In and Im, though we no longer pronounce the former, and 
only in a few words the latter; but neither of the other liquids (which are nasals 
and orally obstructive) can be uttered before / in one syllable, because the nasals 
shut the mouth and are, therefore, before I, which opens a free oral passage, the 
same as the obstructives B, D, G. We might then insert / before the n in the 
illustrative word before given, and so present, as a monosyllabic combination, no 
fewer than five articulations after a vowel dzblailndzhd. 

No voiceless articulations could be introduced among these vocal letters with- 
out cutting up the combination into as many syllables ; nor could any voice-letter 
be inserted in a combination of breath-articulations without creating for every 
voice articulation so added, a new syllable. Thus, the letters spsftinktsths, in this 
arrangement, constitute a monosyllable; but separate the vocal articulations from 
the vowel, and insert them among the articulations, and the same letters will 
constitute a trisyllable; thus, splsfiknsths. Both these words are capable of dis- 

* Dr. Rush, in his excellent work, "The Philosophy of the Voice," says, "It is the con- 
crete function of the voice which alone constitutes a syllable." By the concrete function, 
however, is meant that tapering quality of all spoken sounds, as distinguished from the even 
tenor of the sounds of song. These tapering and even qualities have reference, not to vowel 
formation, but to musical pitch. All speaking sounds thus taper, acutely or gravely, while, 
in song, the sounds maintain, for a definite time, one musical note. The "unbroken concrete" 
may, however, be continued through more than one syllable: for instance, in to^-tng, 
jo^-ous, pray-tfst, high-est, show-y, etc. What, then, is it that syllables these words? Is it 
not the necessary opening of the sound for the last vowel, after the closing diphthong which 
precedes it? 

t Our orthographic process refuses to acknowledge any syllable that has not a vowel 
letter; so when we write a vowel with the liquid, the syllabic effect of the liquid is not 
disputed; but if, as in spasm, rhythm, etc., we write no vowel, then, though the syllabic 
sound is the very same, the syllable is not acknowledged. While listen (= lis-n) is reckoned 
a dissyllable; rhyth-m is inconsistently excluded from the same class, and called a monosyl- 
lable. Either these words are both monosyllables or both dissyllables, for their elements 
' of sound are letter for letter of the same class. 



tinct articulation; but it may cost the reader a little practice before he is able to 
enounce them with fluency. 

The following are all the articulative combinations which occur at the begin- 
ning of English syllables. 


bw as in buoy 




























gl as 

in glass 



kw ' 


ky ' 


kl ' 







' neuter 


1 few 
' flight 















si as 

n slave 































In the following quantitative Series of Vowels we have shown the effect 
of single articulations on the vowel quantities. We shall now show the numerous 
degrees of syllabic quantity which arise entirely from articulative combinations. 

Quantity is generally considered to have reference to Vowels only ; but if it 
is intended to mean the duration of the enunciative process, it must include Articu- 
lations also. 

The Liquids, or as their functions in syllables would rather require them 
to be called, transparent letters, before a single final articulation, give the next 
degree of quantity greater than that of the single articulation ; double articulations 
are the next longer ; then liquids before double articulations; then treble articula- 
tions; next liquids before treble articulations, and so on. But as the articulations 
are not all of the same duration, their combinations present a great many slighter 
differences of quantity. The liquids are so thin a veil before Breath Articulations 
that they hardly for an instant intercept our view of the adjoining letter; before 
Voice Articulations they become more massive, and two liquids are the longest 
liquid articulations in the language. 

Let the student read the following combinations in the order in which they 
are arranged, and he will be able to trace the nice gradations, which connect by 
no fewer than nineteen steps, the quantitative extremes of voiceless combinations; 
and by fifteen, those of the vocal combinations. 

The practice of the following words will be found extremely useful in giving 
distinctness and fluency of articulation. The test of correctness is, HEAR 



1. Help, felt, milk, tent, lamp, dreamt, ink, etc. 

2. Self, health, else, Welsh, ninth, dance, nymph, strength, etc. 


3. Apt, act, etc. 

4. Steps, depth, nets, eighth, watch, ox, etc. 

5. Left, wasp, fast, ask, etc. 

6. Safes, fifth, broths, etc. 



7. Gulped, milked, stamped, succinct, etc. 

8. Alps, bolts, belch, silks, prints, French, imps, tempts, thanks, etc. 

9. Ingulfed, fail'st, against, com'st, sing'st, etc. 

10. Gulfs, healths, tenths, nymphs, lengths, etc. 


11. Adepts, expects, etc. 

12. Sharp'st, sat'st, patched, look'st, etc. 

13. Eighths. 

14. Thefts, asps, costs, desks, etc. 

15. Fifths. 


16. Help'st, halt'st, filched, milk'st, hint'st, flinched, limp'st, attempt'st, think'st, etc. 

17. Twelfths. 


18. Texts. 

19. Sixths. 



1. Bulb, old, rhomb, hemmed, finned, hanged, etc. 

2. Delve, ells, aims, bronze, pangs, etc. 


3. Stabbed, begged, etc. 

4. Cabs, adze, edge, eggs, etc. 

5. Saved, seethed, grazed, rouged, etc. 

6. Graves, bathes, etc. 

7. Helm, etc. 


8. Bulbed. 

9. Bulbs, folds, bilge, rhumbs, lands, change, etc. 

10. Involved, bronzed, etc. 

11. Wolves, etc. 

12. Overwhelmed, etc. 

13. Elms, etc. 


14. Besieged. 


15. Bulged, changed, etc. 


From what has been said on the component elements of syllables, it will be 
evident that voice articulations cannot follow breath ones in the same syllable, 
but that breath articulations may follow vocal ones. The following mixed combi- 
nations (besides the Liquids already given in the first of these Tables) are all 
that occur in English. 

1. Width, etc. 

2. Brib'st, midst, hugg'st, etc. 

3. Striv'st, sooth'st, etc. 

4. Hold'st, etc. 

5. Delv'st, etc. 


A further variety of syllabic quantities arises from the COMBINATION OF 

An accented syllable whatever its constituent elements followed by one 
unaccented, is shorter than a monosyllable containing the same elements ; followed 
by two unaccented syllables, it is still shorter; by three, shorter still; and so on, 
it decreases in quantity as its terminal unaccented syllables increase in number. 
Thus, lit, litter, literal, literally. 

It is further to be observed, that the accented syllable is longer when the 
syllable next to it begins with an articulation than when it begins with a vowel. 
A comparison of love, lovely, loveliness, with love, loving, lovingly, will manifest 
this distinction. 

We have now shown the differences of quantity essential in the separate 
elements of speech; and the quantitative influence of Articulations on Vowels, 
and of Unaccented on Accented Syllables. The influence of another vowel imme- 
diately succeeding the accented one, as in theatre, drawing, etc., remains to be 
noticed. If we compare any words of this class with others which have the 
shortest articulation interposed between the vowels as, 

seeing, fluid, * sawest, 

seated, fluted, soughtest, 

we shall find that (in their ordinary pronunciation) the vowels are shorter in the 
first than in the second class of words. The judge of this is, of course, the ear. 
For an accurate test, however, it will be necessary to compare the words 
not separately, but in a sentence, that they may have their ordinary colloquial 
quantity ; for as the words of the first class more easily bear an increased quantity 
than those of the second, they would be very liable to receive an unconscious 
addition in separate comparison. Test them in the following sentences : 

Seeing you seated here, I came to you. 

Lucky fellow ! thou sawest that for which thou soughtest not. 

That fluted glass looks very like a streaming fluid. 

As a general principle, then, accented monophthong vowels preceding another 
vowel are shorter than when they are before any articulation. 

In the preceding Quantitative Tables, the nature and extent of our Articu- 
lative Combinations have been shown. To complete the view of English Ele- 
mentary Compounds, we shall now exhibit a corresponding arrangement of Vowel 

The English language is usually supposed to be more deficient of vowel com- 
binations than it really is. It certainly has a great proportion of articulations, 
and long because final clusters of these elements ; but they give a strength and 
dignity to utterance, for which euphonious vowel-smoothness would but ill com- 

The apparent scarcity of vowels, however, arises in great part from the rude 
way in which these soft elements are slurred, and curtailed of their "fair pro- 
portion" by our speakers. Let the sounds be fully given, with all their tapering 
qualities, and softly blending in their combinations, without careless elisions and 
clippings, and the English Tongue will be found to possess as much of vowel- 
euphony as is consistent with the masculine character of its utterance. 

The following instances of Vowel-Combinations, accented and unaccented, 
are commended to the student's tasteful practice. The perfect enunciation of 
these combinations, without either of the sounds being impaired in quality, is one 
of the neatest acts of speech, and a sure criterion of the cultivation of the reader. 



Vowels i-i Caries, congeries, minutiae, periaeci, pre-elect, sanies, series. 

1-2 Being, seeing, zeine, deity, theism, deism, cuneiform, deicide, corporeity, 

nereid, howbeit, seity, spontaneity, velleity, reiterate, atheist. 

1-3 Create, creator, re-agent, enunciation, verbiage, ideate, permeate, affiliation, 
lineage, depreciate, initiate, excoriate, foliage, malleate, muriate, obviate, 
recreate, satiate. 
1-4 Re-echo, arietta, Vienna, acquiesce, oriental, pre-eminent, siesta, ambient, 

requiem, inscience, orient, lenient. 

1-5 Ideal, paean, Sabean, pharisean, react, zodiac, myriad, pancreas, lineal, deal- 
bate, meander, genealogy, adamantean, alias, encomiast, bronchial, burial, 
cardialgy, caveat, anteact. 
1-6 Agreeable, screable, cochleary, area, zea, diarrhoea, dulia, mania, dyspnoea, 

malleable, nausea, scoria, trachea. 
1-7 Dearticulate, pianist, linear. 
1-8 Near, bier, deer, appear, cheerful, afeard, veneer, barrier, moneyer, courier, 


1-9 Theurgy, lyceum, mausoleum, museum, idiot, idiom, curious, permeous, 
cupreous, axiom, amphibious, calcareous, carneous, furious, geranium, 

I- 10 Deaurate, geology, oeolipile, areotic, areometer, ebriosity, curiosity, georgic, 
geotic, heliolatry, meteoric, periodical, teleology, deobstruct, junior, senior, 
1-12 Leo, peony, zeolite, pleonasm, graveolent, deodand, geode, embryo, neoteric, 

helioscope, aposiopesis, ratio, urceolate. 
1-7- 1 Radii, Agnus-Dei. 
i-io-i Helioid, cardioid. 
i-12-i Vitreo-electric. 

The third vowel, it will be remembered, is a diphthongal sound. Its finishing 
quality of e ( 1 ) or before very open vowels of i ( 2 ) must in all cases be heard, 
often with extreme delicacy of shading ; but the total omission of it is un-English. 

Vowels 3-1 Aerial, phaeton. 

3-2 Playing, grayish, laity, mosaic, trochaic, hebraic, clayey, judaical, hebraist, 

archaism, Judaism. 

3-4 Obeyest, weigheth, prayest. 

3-5 Naiad, abeyance, conveyance. 

3-6 Affraiable, weighable. 

3-8 Weigher, player, gayer, delayer. 

3-10 Aorta, archaiology, chaos, chaotic. 

3-1 1 Aorist. 

3-12 Aonian, kaolin. 

3-7-1 Grey-eyed, hebraize, judaize. 

The 4th vowel occurs initial in but one combination 4-8, as in air, heir, ere, 
prayer, care, etc. In Scotland, a diphthong compounded of 4-1 or 4-2, is com- 
monly heard instead of 7-1, in my, buy, sigh, etc. 

The 5th vowel (an), with the I2th or I3th, is often heard among English 
speakers, instead of the more open vowel which correctly forms the first sound 
of the diphthong ou. Thus, bough, thou, how, etc., are pronounced with 5-13, 
ba-oo, tha-oo, etc. There is a mincing effect of affectation in this peculiarity. 

Vowels 7-1 Buy, try, sigh, I, fye, lie. 

7-13 How, noun, drought, thousand. 

7-1-1 Hyena, hyemal, empyema, trieterical, syenite, dietetic, diesis, quietus, striae. 
7-1-2 Buying, sighing, dying, trying, thyine, skyey, shyish. 

7-1-4 Buyest, dieth, science, quiescent, dioeresis, scientific, lien, client (variety, 
quiet, notoriety, piet)% propriety, ubiety). 



The words within brackets are often if not generally pronounced 7-1-2. 
In Scotland they are contracted into 7-1, and pronounced pah-eety, varah-eety, etc. 

Vowels 7-1-5 Diameter, iambus, dialogist, eyas, sciatica, biangulous bias, sialogogue, al- 
liance, phial, elegiac, sciagraphy, trial. 

7-1-6 Via, viaduct, diapason, pianet, friable, striature, siriasis. 

7-1-8 Fire, crier, .dyer, trierarch, dire, briery, fiery. 

7-1-9 Orion, lion, pious, triumph, scion, triumphal, iron, diurnal. 

7-1-10 Ionic, triobolar, myology, scioptic, dioptrics, diorthosis, prior. 

7-1-12 Iodine, violent, sciolist, pioneer, myopy, bryony, inviolable, diocese, violin, 

meionite, meiosis. 

7-13-1 Advowee. 

7-13-2 Ploughing, allowing, vowing. 

7-13-4 Allowest, voweth, vowel, bowel, rowel, towel. 

7-13-5 Allowance, avowal. 

7-13-8 Our, power, shower, dowery, hour-glass, towering. 

7-1-7-1 Dry-eyed. 

10-1 Boy, oil, noise, adroit, conoidic, avoid, soil, alloyed, join, point. 

10-2 Sawing, pawing, drawing, flawy, gnawing, rawish, thawing. 

10-4 Drawest, gnaweth, sawest. 

io-5 Withdrawal. 

10-8 Drawer, rawer, war. 

10- 1 -2 Boyish, enjoying, annoying, toying, coyish, cloying. 

10-1-4 Destroyest, joyeth, employest, annoyeth. 

10-1-5 Buoyance, annoyance, royal, royalty. 

10-1-8 Employer, alloyer, coyer. 

The 1 2th vowel, like the 3rd, is diphthongal. With less or more distinctness, 
its compound quality should be heard in every combination in careful reading. 
Colloquially, however, and especially before very open vowels the more open and 
simple o (n) is used instead of o-oo (12). Care must be taken that the lips do 
not too much modify the I2th vowel, or there will be a tendency to produce the 
articulation w, instead of the vowel oo, before another vowel. 

Vowels 12- 1 Coeval, proemial. 

12-2 Stoic, owing, doughy, coincidence, poet, poetry, heroine. 

12-3 Boation, acroamatical. 

12-4 Owest, knowest, proem, poetical, aloetics, coheir, coefficacy, soever. 

12-5 Coagulate, coadjutor, coagment, coadunition, salsoacid, retroaction. 

12-6 Oasis, zedoary, proa, boa, coacervate. 

12-7 Coarct, coarctation. 

12-8 Coerce, lower, mower, borrower. 

12-10 Co-operate, zoology, zoography, co-ordinate, co-optation. 

12-12 Zoolite, zoophyte. 

12-7-1 Polychroite. 

13-2 Bruit, wooing, truism, druid, fluid, dewy, ruin, fortuitous, impuissance, puis- 
sant, assiduity, pituitary, comminuible, Jesuit, Jesuitical. 

13-3 Sinuate. 

13-4 Cruel, fluent, duel, incruental, inuendo, circumfluence, affluent, minuet. 

13-5 Pursuant, renewal, truant, accentual, casual, manual, mutual. 

13-6 Suable, pursuable, estuary, mantua, mulctuary. 

13-8 Brewer, tour, your, cure, poor-house, moorish, reviewer, durable, mure, lure, 


13-9 Sinuous, innocuous, assiduous, vacuum, fatuous. 

13-10 Fluor, sinuosity, impetuosity. 

13-12 Actuose. 

" 13-7-1 Pituite. 




Every word of more than one syllable has what is called an accent, that is, 
a superior decree of prominence, by stress or inflexion, on one of its syllables. 
Without accent, speech would be drawling, monotonous, and unemphatic. Accent 
ties syllables into words, and enables the ear to comprehend at once the boundaries 
of each verbal utterance. Accent, besides being thus a source of much variety, 
provides a simple means of increasing our stock of words, and enhancing their 
utility. By accent, for instance, we can make two syllables serve for four pur- 
poses ; three syllables might serve for six, four for eight, etc. Thus, the syllables 
man and kind, separately uttered, are two words ; united by the accentual tie, they 
form the words mankind, as distinguished from womankind, and mankind, the 
whole human race. In this way, by placing the accent alternately on the first, 
second, third, or fourth syllable, the same set of sounds might be varied in their 
application to the expression of many of the nicer distinctions of meaning, which 
are at present confounded under one invariable term. This is a means of ex- 
pressiveness but little employed, yet it might be made use of to a considerable 
extent, especially in scientific and philosophical terminology, with much advantage 
to accuracy.* Such accentual change is common on dissyllables in English as a 
distinction between nouns or adjectives, and verbs of the same orthography. The 
nouns, etc., have the higher accent, the verbs the lower; as in ac'cent accent', 
con'cert concert', des'cant descant', ire'quent frequent', pres'ent, present', rec'ord 
record', sub'ject subject', trans'port transport', etc. 

In words of three or more syllables, when the accent falls on the third, there 
is also an accent, but of secondary force, on the first syllable. If the primary 
accent is on the fourth syllable, the secondary accent may be either on the first or 
second ; if there are four syllables before the primary accent, there will be either 
a secondary accent on the second syllable, or two secondaries namely, on the 
first and third; and if there are five syllables before the primarily accented one, 
there must be two secondary accents, but they may fall either on the first and 
third or first and fourth syllables. 

The following are single examples of each of these classes of Secondarily 
Accented Words : 

Primary accent on the third syllable, and secondary on the first: En'tertain", 
fun'damen"tal, em'blemat"ical, su'pernu"merary. 

Primary accent on the fourth syllable and secondary on 
t ^ j first, ma'themati"cian. 

( second, ency'clope"dia. 

Primary accent on the fifth syllable, secondary on 
the I second, exem'plifica"tion. 

| first and third, cir'cumna'viga"tion. 
Primary accent on the sixth syllable, secondary on 
t ^ e j first and third, in'commu'nicabil"ity. 

( first and fourth, in'comprehen'sibil"ity. 

*In Smart's Dictionary, we find the word "perfunctory" marked with the primary accent 
on the first syllable, and the secondary on the third per"functo'ry ; its meaning being "done 
with the sole view of getting through, regardless how done; slight, careless, negligent;" and 
in a note the author remarks, "The original of this word is a Latin adverb, of which the 
verb is the participle, and the other related words have just the contrary meaning; so that 
if it had been derived from them instead of the adverb, it would have signified completely 
TORY; but, formed as it is from per'functo"ri-e, its proper accentuation is deemed to be that 
assigned to it above." 


When three or more syllables follow the accent, there sometimes is, but more 
frequently is not, a secondary accent on one of them. When there is, it generally 
falls on the second, but sometimes on the third syllable after the primary accent. 
The following are instances : 

Secondary accent on the second syllable after the primary: ab"dica'tive. 

Secondary accent on the third syllable after the primary: al"dermanlike'. 

The secondary accent is, in all the preceding instances, separated from the 
primary, by unaccented syllables ; but there may be a secondary force on a syllable 
which is not separated from the primary. 

Any prefix may receive emphatical importance in this way, as coV'qual, 
con'join", de'hort", e'duce", ilVgal, im'mense" ! in'deed"! pan'soph"ical, pre' 
mer"it, re'ech"o, un'told", etc. The same accentuation occurs in the common 
words, so'so", tee'to"tal, etc. ; and the word amen, which is universally acknowl- 
edged as a doubly accented word, has not two equal accents, but a secondary and 
a primary, thus, a'men". The word farewell, also, has two accents, the primary 
accent sometimes on the first and sometimes on the second syllable. 

When words differing only, or chiefly, in one of their syllables are used 
antithetically, the opposition is expressed by transposition of the accent to the 
syllable of difference. Thus, instead of forgiv'ing, injustice, undone', etc., we 
say /or'giving, when opposed to giving in' justice, when opposed to justice, uri- 
done, when opposed to done, etc. 

When the opposition is between two prefixes otherwise unaccented, they take 
the primary force, and the ordinarily accented syllable retains the secondary 
accent, as in in"crease', when opposed to de"crease'. 

And so with antithetic terminations; we might give them the primary accent, 
and mark the ordinarily accented syllable by secondary force, as in sym'bol" 
when opposed to cym'bal". 

When the syllable of difference happens to be under the secondary accent, 
we mark antithesis by transposing the primary to the place of the secondary, and 
the secondary to the place of the primary accent ; as in prop"osi'tion when opposed 
to prep"osi'tion. 


The succession of the accents in sentences constitutes RHYTHM; a subject 
which has been involved in much obscurity by the way in which writers have 
treated of it, but which is sufficiently simple to be reduced to practice, long before 
the complex theories of rhythmical writers could be fairly studied. To express 
the pulsation and remission, time and rest, which constitute the elements of 
rhythm, sets of symbols have been invented, which are as unnecessary to the full 
understanding of the subject as they are clumsy and deforming to the didactic 

Rhythm, good or bad, is an element of all speech. In every sentence, how- 
ever uttered, there is a rhythm; it may be stiff like the action of a person on 
stilts ; regular and firm like the march of a soldier ; irregular and weak like 
the sliding progression of a simpleton ; undecided like much .ordinary walking ; 
limping like the motion of a cripple; hurried or slow; leaping or creeping; 
staggering or steady ; jolting or smooth ; graceful or vulgar : in short, it may have 
every characteristic of action. As various as are the modes of walking, between 
the courtier's gait and the hobble of a clown, or the styles of gesticulation between 
the expressive elegance of an accomplished actor, and the thumping of a ranting 
preacher, so numerous and so characteristic are the kinds of rhythm heard in the 
different departments of oratory, and in colloquial speech. 

The succession of the accents in poetry is marked by a uniformity of thesis 


and arsis of heavy and light syllables which is varied within very narrow 
limits ; one, two, or three unaccented syllables preceding or following the accent 
with a musical regularity. This metrical accentuation, in skillful writing, coin- 
cides with the accentuation of sense; but the latter does not require nearly the 
number of accents that the former demands. Consequently, the judgment and 
skill of the reader are peculiarly tested in clearly discriminating and in vocally 
distinguishing the accents of sense, without losing or concealing the accents of 
the metre or rhythm of the poetry. The succession of the accents in prose is 
irregular and fluctuating ; susceptible of variety from every impulse of the writer, 
and no less susceptible of variety from the intelligence, the taste, and the vocal 
ability of the reader. 

The regulation of the accents so as perfectly to bring out the sense and 
expressiveness of a passage is often a very nice point, requiring much judgment 
and skill; it affords, therefore, ample scope for the display of these admirable 
qualities in a public reader or speaker; and no more useful exercise can occupy 
the attention of the elocutionary student. 

The various readings of disputed passages in the poets, especially in Shaks- 
pere, which occupy the pages of critics, and afford such exercise and opportunity 
for mental and vocal discrimination, are just so many varieties of rhythm. The 
pulsation of accent on this syllable, and the remission on that, are the topics of 
the most voluminous and learned disquisition. 


Emphasis is among accents what accent is among syllables; a prominence 
given to one accent at the expense of the subordination of other associated 
accents. Emphasis depends on contrast or antithesis, expressed or implied. All 
antithetic words are not necessarily under emphasis. The first of any contrasted 
pair will be accented feebly or strongly with reference only to the preceding con- 
text ; the second of the contrasted words will be necessarily emphatic, to mark its 
relation to the first. 

Those words in a sentence which express ideas new to the context are pro- 
nounced with the first degree of emphasis, while, conversely, all words involved 
in preceding terms are unemphatic; words contrasted with preceding terms are 
more strongly emphasized; and words suggestive of unexpressed antithesis are 
emphatic in the highest degree. 

Any quality of utterance may render a word emphatic to the ear, tone, 
time, force, pitch, pause, etc. The expressive distinction of emphasis depends 
more on the relative subordination of associated words than on any absolute 
quality imparted to the utterance of the emphatic word. 


Every single word is not the sign of a distinct idea. Grammatical words are 
rather, merely, syllables of what has been called the "oratorical word," which 
fully expresses the idea, or completes some part of it. Words, therefore, in 
correct utterance, fall into expressive groups, which are separated from each 
other, not always by a pause, but by some break, some change of modulation, 
inflexion, or other appreciable variety of style, which clearly marks to the ear 
and mind, the boundaries of each group or oratorical word. 

The principal grammatical words in every sentence are the Noun and the 
Verb; and these, when the ideas they express are both new to the context, are 
kept accentually separate. With either of these primary words may be associated 
qualifying words adjectives with nouns, or adverbs with verbs, or clauses equiva- 


lent to adjectives or adverbs ; and such qualifying words or clauses are, by accent, 
compacted with the noun or the verb into one substantive or verbal group, or 
"oratorical word." The adjective, adverb, or equivalent clause may itself be 
qualified by another word or clause, called also adverbial and this' secondary 
qualifying expression will be united with the substantive or verbal group. A 
conjunction, a preposition, or an article, or all of them, may further be associated 
with the substantive group; and a conjunction, a pronoun, or an auxiliary verb, 
or all of them, may be associated with the verbal group. Thus : 


conj. prep. pro. (art.) adv. adv. adj. noun. 

and to his (the) very greatly increased displeasure 


conj. pro. aux. adv. aux. aux. adv. phr. verb. 

and it will not have been almost at all impaired 

Words which are thus grammatically related are accentually joined, as it 
were, into one compound word ; but proximate words between which there is not 
a mutual relationship or grammatical government, are kept accentually separate; 
as, for instance, two or more adjectives, nouns, or verbs, in apposition. It is to 
be noted also, that grammatical sequences of words are often interrupted by a 
pause, as an important means of expressing emphasis. 

The relation of primary and secondary accents among the words which con- 
stitute a grammatical group, depends on the sense intended to be conveyed. The 
primary accent may be placed even on the least important grammatical word an 
article, preposition, or a pronoun if the ideas conveyed by the other words have 
been already expressed in the context, or if such ideas are necessarily involved 
in preceding terms. Wherever the point of the sentence lies and the apprehen- 
sion of this depends on the reader's discrimination there the primary accent will 
fall. The oratorical group may be compared to a diamond cut with facets corre- 
sponding to the grammatical words or syllables in the group; and the skillful 
reader turns now this facet and now that to the mental eye of the hearer, and so 
reflects a flash of meaning from one particular surface of the many-angled thought. 


All spoken sounds, however abrupt, have, correctly, an inflected formation; 
though ears unaccustomed to very accurate observation may not readily detect it 
in the little tittles of sound heard in many of our syllables, it, at, ate, up. etc. 
But sufficiently close attention will discover inflexion in the shortest as well as in 
the longest of our sounds. Those prolonged monotones which are heard in what 
is called a sing-song delivery, are, therefore barbarisms; they belong neither to 
speech nor song : they are a sort of recitative, passionless, senseless, and unnatural, 
to which, nevertheless, good sentiments are often chanted and drawled by worthy 

* For a more complete and practical treatment .of these subjects, and of the various 
departments of Rhetorical Delivery, the reader is referred to the Author's "Elocutionary 
Manual" of Principles and Exercises, and to the "Standard Elocutionist" (Readings and 


Animated conversation is the most inflected kind of speech, and the language 
of solemn warning or of prayer the least inflected. Reading, and speaking from 
memory, are generally much less inflected, and therefore less natural, agreeable, 
and impressive, than conversation and extemporaneous delivery ; and that reading 
must be considered the best which approaches most nearly in its tones to conver- 
sational and extemporal variety. 

The subject of Inflexion has been more fully treated of by most authors than 
any other department of Elocution; and the mass of Rules, Observations, and 
Examples which they have accumulated have so overloaded the simple natural 
principles that lie at the bottom of all genuine rules, that not one student in fifty 
can discover them. The consequence too often is, that Elocutionary students 
either throw up the study in disgust ; or else, judging "Elocution" to be regulated 
by no fixed principles, but only by taste or caprice, form styles of their own, 
founded on some favorite model, or combination of incongruous models ; and thus 
gradually swell the ranks of tuneful ranters, or level drawlers. 

Elocution, according to the great majority of modern writers on the subject, 
appears to consist in nothing else than the management of Inflexion. Ask them 
"what is the chief point to be studied?" repeat, and reiterate the question; the 
answer is still the same, "Inflexion ! Inflexion !" 

Demosthenes declared the most important part of a speaker's study to lie 
in "Action" that is, in Pronunciation, Modulation, Gesture, and all the essentials 
of manner in other words, in Delivery generally ; and what part of Delivery he 
considered of the first importance, his own procedure showed, Articulation, dis- 
tinctness, fluency, energy of utterance. How very small a part of oratory Inflexion 
is, and how small a part of a speaker's study it is worthy to be, cannot fail to be 
felt by every practical orator at the present time, as it undoubtedly must have been 
by the matchless "thunderer" of ancient Greece. 

Oratory was of old a very comprehensive subject, and its study was the 
labour of a life. It included the arts of Logic, Rhetoric, and almost every depart- 
ment of general knowledge, and mental or moral discipline, as well as Pronuncia- 
tion, or what we now call Elocution or Delivery. Hoary hairs were considered 
indispensable to the consummate orator, whose laborious preparations were sup- 
posed to require the length and vigour of the youth and prime of life. Consistently 
with this, Oratory was emblematized under the figure of an Old Man: threads 
of amber issuing from his lips, and. winding into the ears of gaping auditors. 
Our orators expect to jump into the rostrum, and oratorical ability, at once ; and 
without preparation even for the first and most indispensable requisite of public 
speaking, Articulation. Our learned men affect to despise the very name of 
oratory. May not the reason be, they are not orators? They neither feel nor 
know the power of Eloquence. They can prepare the beautiful anatomy of a 
discourse or declamation, but to animate it with the voice, the look, the action of 
natural utterance, is beyond their skill ; it falls lifeless from their hands. 

The leading error of Elocutionists consists in this, that, overlooking the 
paramount importance of general principles, they enter at once on a series of 
rules, which a proper rationale of the vocal movements would enable students to 
deduce for themselves. Thus, without any explanation of the mechanism, extent, 
or general functions of the inflexions, they begin at once to teach their application 
to sentences of various construction : and in laying down precepts, they seem more 
desirous to teach their pupils to Meet than to reflect. The principles which regu- 
late the application of the inflexions are so simple, so natural and consistent, that 
no reflecting pupil can fail to apprehend and apply them, almost immediately, 
when intelligibly explained. On the proper mechanism of the inflexions depends 
much of the melody and variety, as well as the appropriate expressiveness to 
sense and sentiment, of the voice. 


It has been well remarked of the system of Mr. Walker, the founder of 
the Inflexion School of Elocutionists that "no system could have been invented 
better adapted to please all parties ; as every one is at liberty to make use of those 
'intervals' which habit has rendered easy to him in his common accent. Thus, 
the teacher residing in Cork, or Dublin, or Belfast, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, or 
Inverness, in the East or in the West, the North or the South of England, can 
use the system of Walker, read according to his rules, though not one of them 
may agree with another in regard to the interval or the extent of the inflexion ; 
and while, in fact, they are merely teaching their own manner to the pupil." 


There are but two modes of vocal progression, namely, upwards and down- 
wards, in the musical scale, and, consequently, there are but two simple inflexions. 
Each inflexion has an opening force and fulness, from which it tapers softly to 
its acute or grave termination. The beginning of the inflexion is therefore the 
emphatic part ; and, as the inflexions are named "rising" or "falling," from their 
progression upwards or downwards, without reference to the pitch of their com- 
mencing note, some confusion is apt to arise at first between the name and the 
sound, from their apparent opposition, in abrupt and emphatic tones. For, the 
more emphatic an inflexion is, the lower it begins when it is called rising, and the 
higher it begins when it is named falling. 

This principle is of much importance to public speakers, whose general igno- 
rance of it, as evidenced by their strained or monotonous voices, is, doubtless in 
great part, owing to the almost universal silence of Elocutionary books upon the 


The two modes of vocal progression, united on one syllabic utterance, form 
those expressive compound inflexions called circumflexes, or more accurately, as 
Dr. Rush has named them, waves. These vocal waves are very common in all 
natural speaking. They are capable of much variety by the different proportion 
of their parts. A strong rise may be united to a fall of a semitone or an octave, 
or of any extent; and a full downward sweep may be blended with an equal 
variety of rising intervals. 

The circumflexed or waved inflexions generally give to language an illusive 
or referential expressiveness, or add to it a meaning which the words do not 
literally convey. Thus, the Rising Wave is used for Suggestive Emphasis it is 
the appropriate intonation of inuendo ; and the Falling wave for Positive Em- 
phasis with an allusive or referential effect. This vocal progression is the in- 
tonation of derision and irony. The Rising Wave is used suggestively, when 
Brutus says to Cassius 

"For / can raise no money by vile means :" 

it insinuates and hints at, rather than openly expresses, an accusation. The 
Falling Wave directly and unmistakably points an accusation, as when 

"Nathan said unto David, 'Thou art the man !' ' 


As a general principle, it may be affirmed that words intended to be under- 
stood literally should be inflected with simple turns which are, invariably, the 


intonations of candour, sincerity, and artlessness : while words to be accepted in 
some peculiar, figurative, or with some added sense, require the compound turns, 
which are the natural intonations of artifice. Figurative language of every kind 
abounds with circumflexes. 


The application of the vocal inflexions to sentences is governed by principles 
equally simple with those which regulate their mechanism. As all inflexions may 
be resolved into two kinds, upward and downward, so all rules for their appli- 
cation may be resolved into two corresponding Fundamental Principles. 

The rising progression connects what has been said with what is to be 
uttered, or with what the speaker wishes to be implied or supplied by the hearer ; 
and this, with more or less closeness, querulousness, and passion, in proportion to 
the force and extent of the rise. The falling progression disconnects what has 
been said from whatever may follow ; and this with more or less completeness, 
exclusiveness, and passion, in proportion to the force and extent of the fall. 

The melody of speech requires that every emphatic inflexion should be pre- 
ceded by a minor inflexion, of opposite pitch, high before a low accent, low 
before a high accent. According to the emphasis of the utterance, this prepara- 
tory inflexion is turned towards or from the pitch of the accent: the former 
being the less, the latter the more, emphatic arrangement. 

Rules for the application of the Inflexion have generally been founded on 
the grammatical forms of sentences and clauses; as if all members of like con- 
struction must needs be uniformly inflected! The principle of Nature is rather 
that Rules for the Inflexion of sentences must be founded on the inherent ex- 
pressiveness of the Voice. The vocal turns communicate to language a meaning 
and force which are altogether independent of constructive forms; which are 
inherent in the tones, and which may apply with equal justice to all possible 
arrangements of words, according as the intent of the speaker requires the vocal 
effects. A grammatical assertion may be pronounced interrogatively, and a con- 
structive enquiry may have the tones of dogmatism or imperativeness. 

The habit of reading with other than natural tones, with limited inflexions, 
or with monotonous repetitions of the same radical or pitch-notes, will be most 
readily broken by the practice of strong and varied inflexions on single words, 
either as they occur in a vocabulary or in ordinary composition. The latter will 
at first afford the easier and the safer exercise ; for, in reading tables of uncon- 
nected words, the voice most naturally inclines to a sameness of tone, which it 
requires a constant effort to counteract. Nevertheless, the reader who cannot, at 
will, pronounce unconnected words in any manner, or with any degree of in- 
flexion, has not acquired sufficient control over the fundamental movements of 
the voice. 

The custom of inflectively anticipating the next word, phrase, or sentence, 
because it is before the eye, is one of the most common causes of ineffective 
reading, especially of that kind which consists in too frequent elevations of the 
voice. Few readers err in the opposite way by the misplacement of conclusive 
turns ; this constant linking-on of sentences may be said to be the most prevailing 
form of defective expression in reading. The worst reader generally lets slip 
a natural note, when he has to turn over a page to conclude a sentence. If the 
utterance is querulous, doubtful, or progressive, or if the sense is undeveloped, 
his voice will rise into naturally suspensive elevation ; and if the utterance is 
positive, or if the sense is formed, however incomplete the sentence may be, his 


voice will fall here: and this because he does not see in advance of his utterance* 
Let the reader reflect that his hearers are in precisely the same predicament at 
every word they do not see the next; and their ears as naturally expect, as his 
voice naturally makes, a suspensive or conclusive turn, correspondent to the 
mental effect of the utterance. If he concludes a clause or sentence with a rising 
turn, because he sees another after it, they are led to consider what has been said 
as incomplete, and dependent on, or importantly qualified by, what is to follow ; 
and they feel disappointed and annoyed when the expected utterance comes out, 
and contains no reference to what preceded. Not only so, but that which in 
composition was meant to be conclusive and convincing, leaves on the minds of 
the hearers an unsatisfactory and indecisive impression the natural effect of the 
reader's inappropriate intonation. 

The way in which school exercises are generally allowed to be rattled and 
gabbled over, is productive of much mischief, both to articulation and vocal ex- 
pression. Habits of speech are formed at public schools which cannot be thrown 
off in after-life without more labour and watchfulness than nine out of ten persons 
could either encounter or afford to bestow. Stammering, even, is often traced to 
the uncontrolled emulation of a class ; and all impediments and defects of speech 
are, from the same cause, almost invariably aggravated at public schools. Quick- 
ness of utterance being the quality most prized by mistaken schoolmasters, the 
thoughtful boy, who is often shy, and who is generally of better parts than the 
pert, guessing lads, that are always first with their answers, has no chance ; and 
in his efforts to expedite his thoughts, he confuses them, or they come faster than 
his tongue can utter them, so that jumbling rapidity, inarticulate hurry, stuttering, 
or convulsive impediment, is very naturally created. 

Expressive inflexion prevents hurry, and favours distinctness of articulation ; 
it may, besides, be made an index of mental advancement, and used with much 
advantage to taste, as an instrument of mental cultivation. If words are enunci- 
ated without inflexion, they must be in monotone and SUNG. 

Let, then, every teacher of youth take this fundamental axiom of speaking 
tones into ordinary class application : All words, whether pronounced in a high 
or low, loud or soft tone ; whether uttered swiftly or slowly, forcibly or feebly, 
with passion or without it, must necessarily be pronounced with inflexion, that is, 
with the voice sliding either upwards or downwards. 

Let this one principle be systematically enforced in every school, and the 
monotony, drawling, screaming, and sing-song that are now so common, will be 
at once banished from the class-room, and, through it, from the pulpits, the 
courts, and from every arena of oratory ; from all but, perhaps, the mimic stage ; 
which might shake the sides of the next-risen generation by imitating the grave 
chanting of a bygone age. 


Modulation has reference to the prevailing pitch of the inflexions in a sen- 
tence, and the key-notes, as it were, of periods or clauses. -Thus, a passage may 
be modulated in a high or low key, without at all affecting the direction or the 
extent of its inflexions. 

* It is not to be inferred that good readers do not look in advance of their utterance ; 
on the contrary, the best readers exercise the longest prevision. But they look onward in 
order to catch the relations of clauses and sentences, and to regulate their utterance accord- 
ingly. The anticipatory effect which we condemn has no connexion with regulated express- 
iveness : it is indiscriminating, and is governed not by ideas, but by words. 


A change of modulation is always necessary at any change in the style of 
composition as from Narration to Description, or from Literal to Figurative 
Language, and vice versa; to express feeling and changes of sentiment; to dis- 
tinguish what has been previously expressed or implied, or what is merely ex- 
pletive, from what is new and emphatic to the sense ; to detach from the main 
body of the sentence words or clauses which are explanatory or parenthetic; and 
to distinguish generally those parts of a sentence which are necessary to its con- 
struction from those that are subordinate and dispensable. 

The degree in which the Modulation is changed, and even the direction of 
the change, whether to a higher or lower key, must depend on the reader's 
judgement, taste, temperament, etc. 

No exercise will be found more improving to the style of reading than the 
distinguishing, by changes of Modulation, the principal from the subordinate 
words in a sentence; the subjective and the predicative clauses from the mass of 
inferior clauses, and of relative, adverbial, or parenthetic sentences in which they 
are often found embedded. These necessary component members of every sen- 
tence should be so delivered as to strike upon the hearer's mind with unencum- 
bered distinctness among the most multitudinous assemblage of particulars. The 
Subject and Predicate are generally the most emphatic parts of a sentence: they 
are so always, indeed, except when either of them has been previously expressed 
or implied; or when some opposition or contrast of particulars or subordinate 
clauses requires the elevation of such inferior words. 

The same principle which dictates variety of Modulation, requires also a 
corresponding variety in the Force, Time, and general Expressive Manner of 
Utterance. The modification of the various qualities of style is greatly dependent 
on the reader's sympathetic appreciation of sentiment, situation, etc. No unvary- 
ing uniformity in any particular of delivery can be effective ; for it is unnatural. 

[For Tables of Inflexion, Modulation, Force, Time, and Expression, with 
Practical Exercises, see the "Elocutionary Manual" : The Principles of Elocution, 
with Exercises and Notations. By Alexander Melville Bell. Seventh edition. 
240 pages. Volta Bureau, Washington, D. C. $1.50.] 

[In the preceding portion of this Work, the Theory of Vowel and Articulate 
Formations has been developed. In the Practical Observations that follow, 
minute directions will be found for the attainment of Distinctness and Accuracy 
of Pronunciation, the Correction of Provincialisms, and the Removal of Stam- 
mering and other Individual Peculiarities, Faults, and Impediments of Utterance.] 




THE following Table shows the order in which the Vowels are treated of in 
the succeeding Dictionary of Sounds. Under each element instances are 
collected of words that, to avoid ambiguity, depend on exactitude in the pronun- 
ciation of their unaccented syllables. The perfect preservation of all vowel differ- 
ences in unaccented syllables furnishes the best criterion of a cultivated pronun- 


in tfduce, expedient, bee. 
impose, differ, verily, 
mediate, ague, gay. 
embrace, ambers, end. 
^rewhile, vary, fair, 
admire, admiral, act. 
arouse, sofa, bath, 
partake, pardon, papa, 
t'dea, mmdful, sky. 
however, doubtful, how. 
herbaceous, martyr, sir. 
supply, cudgel, cut. 
curtail, curtain, hurt, 
obtain, dogma, on. 
awstere, auction, all. 
envo;y, bot'l, boy. 
portray, afford, pour. 
omit, motion, slow, 
together, footman, should. 
issue, ruthless, ooze. 

The English Vowel Letters, A, E, I, O, U, have each two regular sounds ; the 
first sound corresponding with the alphabetic name of the letter, heard when the 
vowel is final in a syllable, as in ma, me, mi, mo, mu; the second heard when 
the syllable ends in an articulation, as in am, em, im, om, um. 

These ten sounds correspond respectively with the following in our numerical 
arrangement (page 27) : 

a in ma = No. 3 (ale), 
e " me = " i (eel). 

I " mi = " 7-1 (isle). 
6 " mo= 12 (old), 
u " mu " y.i3 (use). 

a in am = No. 5 (an). 

e " em = " 4 short (ell). 

i " im = " 2 (ill). 

6 " om =r " 10 short (on). 

u " um = " 9 " (up). 

Of the remaining vowel sounds in the Numerical Table, 

No. 6 is generally represented by a before ss, st, th, etc. 
7 a before r final. 

J 3 " oo ; or by u after /, /, or r. 

10 (long)^ a after w, or by aw. 
7-13 ou or ow. 

lo-i oi or oy. 

^ i, or y before r final; or by r after any long 

11 is the English form of 6 before R. 
4 (long) a before R. 

9 (long) u before R final, or followed by any articulation. 



Of the vowels in the English Numerical Scheme (p. 27), 

Nos. i, 3, 6, 7, 8, n, 12, y.i3 are always long. 

2,5, short. 

10, 13, variable. 

4, 9, are long only before R. 

FIRST VOWEL as in eel. 

This is the alphabetic sound of E in English, and of I in the French and other 
continental tongues. It is the closest of the Lingual Vowels. In its formation, 
the tongue rises convexly within the arch of the palate, and presses laterally 
against the palate and back teeth, leaving only a very narrow aperture for the 
voice, between the middle of the tongue and the palate. 

A very common fault in the formation of this vowel consists in the depres- 
sion of the point of the tongue to the lower teeth a position which, besides being 
injurious to the quality of the vowel, is unfavourable to the action of the tongue 
for many of the Articulations. The tongue must be kept back, and its point 
directed horizontally, to guide the sound out of the mouth without striking the 
teeth. The teeth must, of course, be sufficiently apart : they should, for no vowel, 
have a less opening than a quarter or a third of an inch. 

Many persons fail to pronounce this vowel with purity, when it is under em- 
phasis, especially when final ; as in "to be or not to be," "me miserable," "they 
shall be free," "to sleep, perchance to dream." The breath is heard rustling in 
the mouth, from too close organic approximation. To correct this, x pronounce 
words ending with e (i), as agree, trustee, glee, etc., and dwell on the vowel for 
some time, observing that the tongue is kept perfectly still until the sound is 
finished m the glottis. 

In Scotland this vowel is generally deficient in openness and quantity; the e 
in meet, mean, etc., being sounded as abruptly as that in mechanic. In many dis- 
tricts the 3d vowel (but very short, and without the English diphthongal termina- 
tion) is substituted for the ist; thus, meal, steal, deal, etc., are pronounced male, 
stale, dale, etc. This peculiarity seems to be almost confined to words spelled 
with ea. 

A similar exchange of vowels takes place in Ireland ; but such words as sweet, 
chief, scheme, etc., where the sound is variously represented, partake of the 
peculiarity. The Irish sound is more open and prolonged than the Scotch ; and 
its vocality is Jess pure, being mixed with the articulative Aspiration which is 
characteristic of the Irish dialect. 

Vowel i is seldom exactly sounded in an unaccented syllable immediately 
after the accent, as in appetite, antithesis, penetrate, etc. In such cases the more 
open and easier form of the 2nd Vowel is substituted. Before the accent, how- 
ever, as in edition, beseech, precocious, return, etc., the 1st formation should be 
carefully preserved. 

The combination of e (i) with R gives the diphthong 1-8. The omission of 
the 8th vowel from such words as ear, here, cheer, etc., is a Scotticism. There 
is, besides, a harshness in the junction of e (i) with the articulative effect of R, 
which is gracefully avoided by the interposition of the open element always heard 
in English. 

Care must be taken to avoid the intervention of any similar sound between 
e (i) and L or N. The habit of inserting another vowel in this situation prevails 
in Scotland; but these articulations must be directly joined to the simple and 
unchanged vowel. 








































































SECOND VOWEL as in ill. 

This sound is of very frequent occurrence in English, and is comparatively 
little used in other modern languages. It has been generally reckoned but erro- 
neously the short form of the ist vowel. The shortest utterance of e (i) is a 
distinctly different sound from vowel 2, which, as its position in our Table indi- 
cates (p. 24), is a formation intermediate to e (i) and a (3) ; the tongue, from 
its position at e (i) being depressed about half way to its position for a (3). 

There is no longer form of this vowel in English, than that in the word 
hinge; but the prolongation of the sound is of course quite practicable. 

The 2d vowel is not heard in English before R, final or followed by any 
articulation ; in these cases, the 8th vowel is substituted. When the R is followed 


by another vowel, as in miracle, mirror, etc., the letter i retains the sound of the 
2d vowel, as before other articulations. 

In Scotland, we hear, instead of this vowel, a peculiar and more open sound, 
nearly approaching to that of the 4th English Vowel, being a formation inter- 
mediate to the 3d and 4th. This will be found noted in our General Scheme, 
(page 24), as the 4th of the Lingual series. 

Among Northern speakers, ambitious of an English enunciation, but who 
have been taught to believe that the vowels ee (1) and i (11) are identical in 
formation, we frequently hear the ist instead of the 2d vowel, as in vision, con- 
dition, suspicion, etc., pronounced veesion, condeetion, suspeecion, etc. This need 
not any longer be a mark of Northern English, for there is no difficulty in pro- 
ducing the true sound of the English element when its formation is understood. 

The 2d vowel is common enough in Scotch, under another form. It is heard 
instead of the short sound of the French u (the 3d Labio-lingual vowel), which is 
vernacular in Scotland. Thus the word gude (good), is in many districts pro- 
nounced exactly like the first syllable in giddy; and, where this custom prevails, 
we hear the sound opened into an a (3) in long syllables, as in do, pronounced da 
(3, without the English diphthongal quality) ; thus practically illustrating and 
corroborating the remark at page 25, on the tendency of i (2) to be lengthened 
into a (3) rather than .into e (i). We have, besides, numerous instances in 
English of a (3) being shortened into i (2), as in the final syllables of carriage, 
marriage, cabbage, orange, etc., pronounced carridge, oringe, etc. 

In the Irish dialects we hear i (2) opened into a (3) and sometimes into 
the proximate Scotch vowel noticed above. Thus, ill is by Irish speakers pro- 
nounced nearly like ale, his nearly like haze, forgive nearly like forgave, etc. 

In the unaccented terminations, il, in, we, etc., we generally hear element 9 
in Ireland ; as in peril, motive, genuine, etc., which are pronounced as if spelled 
ptrul, motuv, genuwn, etc. Another Irish peculiarity is to sound Y final, unac- 
cented, like e (i) instead of i (2), as in pretty, many, etc., pronounced pretty 
manee, etc. 









subtle (pr. suttle) 











THIRD VOWEX as in ale. 

The depression of the tongue to a position as much more 'open than that of t 
(2) as the latter is more open than e (i), produces the vowel which is the alpha- 
betic sound of E in French, German, etc. This sound is not heard singly in 
English, but is always diphthongally tapered into, or towards, the closest lingual 
vowel ee. The omission of this diphthongal termination is a marked provincialism, 
and is one of the leading features of the Scottish dialect, in which the monoph- 
thongal A is a very common vowel. When the English A (= a-e) occurs before 
a voiceless articulation, the second sound (e) is so abrupt, and so blended with 


the radical a, as to be with difficulty distinguished by the unpractised ear ; but the 
contrasted utterance of such words as mate, cape, lake, etc., as pronounced by an 
Englishman and a Scotchman, will show that even in the shortest utterance of 
this vowel the two elements are really present in English pronunciation. When 
the 3d vowel is final, or before voice articulations, its compound quality will be 
unmistakably manifested. 

The English custom of making this vowel a diphthong is very apt to throw 
the radical part of the sound into a too open position, so that we often hear 4-1 
instead of 3-1, from careless speakers; as dehy, lehy, etc., instead of day, lay, etc. 

The 3d vowel is never heard before R in the same syllable. R, which has 
the sound of the 8th vowel, could not follow the close finish of the English a 
without creating a new syllable ; and therefore a more open vowel which readily 
blends with the 8th is substituted ; as in air, care, etc., pronounced eh-ir, keh-ir, etc. 

The Scotch a, being a monophthong, unites with R in the same syllable, and 
therefore is retained in those words which in English have the more open sound 
(4) ; so that there is a very marked difference betwixt the English and the Scotch 
pronunciations of such words as air, care, pear, heir, etc., (see R, and 8th vowel). 

In Scotland the 3d vowel is used in many words instead of the English I2th; 
as in stone, bone, alone, etc., pronounced stane, bane, alane, etc. This is another 
indication of the analogy between a (3) and o (12), which has been noticed at 
page 60. 

From the diphthongal nature of the 3d vowel it is comparatively seldom heard 
fully in unaccented syllables. In the terminations age, ace, ain, etc., the 2d vowel 
is generally substituted ; but in deliberate speaking, the 3d would not be pedantic, 
and is often heard, especially in such words as dotage, herbage, mortgage, etc., 
where the preceding syllable is long. In the termination ate, as in dedicate, 
estimate, etc., the colloquial tendency is to open the vowel to et (4) ; but the 3d 
element is uniformly heard from good speakers. 






































* In bricklayer, stage-player, rate-payer, etc., when layer, payer, etc., are unaccented, the 
monosyllabic form 4.8 is generally heard; but when these or similar words are emphatic, as 
in the sentence "a good worker makes the best player," the dissyllabic form 3.1.8 should be 
preserved. So in pray-er (one who prays) which thus distinguished from prayer (a petition). 
The former is a dissyllable, the latter a monosyllable. 


plane raze tale wane 

plain rays tail wain 

plate tray waste 

plait sail trey waist 

pray vale wave 

prey stake vail waive 

prays steak veil way 

praise stade vane weigh 

staid vain 

stayed vein 


FOURTH VOWEL as in ell, ere. 

In forming this sound, the oral channel is enlarged by the depression of the 
fore-part of the tongue, from its position at a (3), about as much as it was 
increased from ee to a. This formation is one of the cardinal points in the 
vowel scale, being about midway between the closest and most open formations 
ee (i) and ah (7) ; the vowel is one of the commonest in all languages. It is 
the sound uttered by the sheep in bleating. 

A vowel intermediate to this and the preceding formation is heard in Scot- 
land, as the vernacular sound of i, in ill, in, it, etc. (G. V. S., p. 25). This is 
one of the most common vowels in the Scottish dialect ; it is heard instead of the 
English 4th in cherry, merry, etc. ; instead of the 8th in her, sir, etc. ; the Qth in 
does, etc. ; the I3th in put, foot, etc. ; combined with ee, it makes the Scottish form 
of the English diphthong 7-1, as in ay, child, idle, mine, etc.; and it is heard, 
besides, in numerous unaccented syllables. 

The organic change from the 4th vowel to the succeeding formation is com- 
paratively minute ; and consequently the sounds 4 and 5 are liable to be con- 
founded. The English long form of vowel 4 (heard only before R) often verges 
on 5; and in Scotland the short form is characteristically subject to the same 
change ; perish, being pronounced almost like the English parish, very like varry, 
heaven, like hav'n, etc. In some districts, or in some words, the converse of this 
change takes place, and we hear kerrier for carrier, merry for marry, etc. 

A peculiarity similar to the former occurs in the northern dialects of Ireland, 
in which such words as men, pen, bed, etc., are pronounced nearly like man, pan, 
bad, etc. 

The long form of the 4th vowel identical with the French e in meme, bete, 
etc. is the sound which is substituted for A (3) before R (8) in English. It 
is heard in no other position in the language. In Scotland this sound is common 
as a substitute for the English diphthong 7-1, when final, as in eye, high, buy, 
my, try, etc. The same vowel is also heard instead of A (3) in emphatic or 
strongly accented syllables; as, / say, away! admiration, etc., pronounced I JEH, 
awEH ! admiration, etc. 

An ear unaccustomed to analyze vocal sounds may possibly, at first, fail to 
recognize the same vowel formation in the words ell and ere, arising from its 
combination in the latter word with the open R (8) ; but close observation and 
careful experiment will satisfy the demurring ear of the correctness of the classi- 
fication. When we find all our orthoepists at fault with this sound, and see even 
Mr. Walker, in his laborious analysis of the principles of our language, omitting 
to notice this lengthened sound of eh (4) ; nay, asserting that ea in bear, e in 
there, etc., are the same in vowel quality as a in trade, ai in pain, etc., we cannot 
expect our assertion of the difference of these sounds to be received without 
question. It is, however, certain that all English speakers at the present day do 


make a difference in the sound of a as in care and in cane; and there can be little 
doubt that Mr. Walker must have made a correspondent distinction between them 
in his 9\vn practice, or else the very obvious difference now general in England 
must have grown with marvellous rapidity and obstinacy, at variance as it is with 
the theories of orthoepists. Mr. Walker had probably failed to discriminate these 
sounds, on account of early associations ; for in Scotland the e in there and a in 
trade are identical. To the qualified ear we appeal to corroborate our well tested 
conclusion, that the a in vary and e in very are identical in quality, and different 
only in quantity or fulness ; just as the long sounds in yawn and pool are con- 
fessedly by all orthoepists the same in quality with the short ones in yon and pull. 
The combination of this long vowel with R, it must be remembered, consti- 
tutes a diphthong, viz., 4-8. Thus : 

48 48 48 482 

pa-ir, be-ar, sha-re, va-r-y*. 

Let the reader pronounce the first word of each of the following pairs, 
omitting the vowel-sound of the r and joining the articulative effect of R to the 
preceding vowel, and his pronunciations should correspond to the second words: 
or conversely, let him pronounce the second word in each pair, with the interposi- 
tion of the vowel-sound of R between the articulate R and the preceding vowel, 
and his utterances should give the first words. 

fairy . . . ferry. chary . . . cherry. dairy . . . Derry. 

vary . . . very. Mary . . . merry. airing . . erring. 

But it is not every ear that will be at once competent for this experiment. 
We see every day how difficult it is for unpracticed organs to analyze even the 
simplest words into their elementary sounds ; and how hard it sometimes is to 
get the judgment to assent to the correctness of what seems so strange and peculiar 
as the separate utterance of the elements of language. The ear requires peculiar 
training, as well as natural acuteness, to catch and distinguish the transient shades 
of vocal sound with accuracy. Even excellence in utterance or in the practice 
of music, would appear to be no certain qualification for this peculiar province 
of the critical ear. Thus Mr. Rice, in his Art of Reading, wishing to prove the 
untenable assertion, that speaking sounds do not range between tones of various 
acuteness or gravity, but differ only in force or intensity, like the notes of a 
drum, says, "That I might not be mistaken, however, myself, in this particular, 
I repeated at different times several passages from Milton and other poets in the 
hearing of one of the greatest masters in that science (Music), who, after paying 
the utmost attention to the several articulate sounds in each sentence, declared 
them to be all of the same tone !" No fact in the science of speech is better 
established than that all speaking sounds partake of an upward or downward 
movement called an inflexion of the voice ; and that, consequently, there is not 
a sameness of tone throughout any correctly-delivered articulate sound ; but here, 
were a Professor of the Art of Speech, and "one of the greatest Masters in 
Music," deceived in that particular. 

We cannot, therefore, wonder if critics, less apparently qualified than these 
professional Masters of Sound, should be unable or unwilling, against general 
theoretic authority to corroborate by accurate experiment our Vowel-Theory and 
classification. Accustomed to a false scheme of representative letters, few per- 
sons find it easy to examine sounds by the ear alone, irrespective of their signs ; 
but this must be done by the philosophical student of speech. 

* In all words which contain R after a long vowel and followed by another vowel, the 
R has both its vowel and articulate sounds. The pronunciation of vary is thus, veh-ir-y. 















essay (v.) 







pendent (a.) 
pendant (s.) 

read (part.) 
read (infin.) 




























FIFTH VOWEL as in an. 

The formation of this vowel is slightly more open than that of the preceding 
sound. The enlargement of the formative aperture is caused by the depression 
of the middle of the tongue backwards. The vowels from ee (i) to eh (4) are 
produced by depressions of the -fore part, while the middle or back of the tongue 
remains elevated; those from eh (4) to ah (7) bring down the middle of the 
tongue, and so evenly enlarge the whole cavity of the mouth. 

The tendency to interchange the vowels 4 and 5 has been noticed under the 
former of these. In Scotland, the 4th sound is commonly heard in the first efforts 
to acquire the peculiar English formation 5, which the unaccustomed organs do 
not readily take with precision. Affected speakers in England pronounce 4 in- 
stead of 5, as "The ettitudes were edmirable." In some words this change is 
established by almost universal custom ; as in any, many, pronounced enny, menny. 

The 5th vowel, when initial, is liable to be confounded with the 6th in the 
article a, as in 

a road 

a test 

a peal 

a custom, etc. 

There is a shade of difference in the articulation as well as in the vowel-sound of 
these combinations, though the distinction is not generally attended to. 

In Scotland, the 5th vowel is seldom heard; the usual pronunciation of all 
words with that element in English, being a short sound of a, as'in are (7). Thus 
the verb tarry has in Scotland the same sound as the adjective tarry in England 
but more abrupt; cap has a short sound of ca(r)p, back of ba(r)k, etc. 

In Ireland, the 5th vowel is used regularly instead of the 6th, as in pass, 
bath, after, ask, etc., and even instead of the 7th, in the words papa and mamma, 
which are pronounced with the 5th element long in the final syllable. 



accite appose coral matrass 

excite oppose corol mattress 

allective apposite cymbal metal 

elective opposite symbol mettle 

allude bridal feracity missal 

illude bridle ferocity missile 

carat leman principal 

carrot lemon principle 


bad adds 

bade adze 

SIXTH VOWEL as in ask. 

Usage is considerably divided in England with respect to the pronunciation 
of some words ending in and, aunt, ath, ass, ast, ask, etc. ; some speakers give 
them the open sound of ah, while others pronounce them with the 5th vowel. 
With reference to the more open sound in these cases, Mr. Walker has re- 
marked, "This pronunciation of a seems to have been for some years advancing 
to the short sound of this letter, as heard in hand, land, grand, etc. ; and pronounc- 
ing the a in after, answer, basket, plant, mast, etc., as long as in half, calf, etc., 
borders very closely on vulgarity." But between a(t) and a (re) there is a great 
organic difference, sufficient to admit of at least one distinctly intermediate sound ; 
and such a sound is undoubtedly the most common variety of vowel-quality heard 
in these irregular cases. The extreme pronunciations 5 and 7 are at the present 
day comparatively rare. The precise quality of the prevailing intermediate sound 
cannot be correctly noted; for it ranges among different speakers through every 
practicable shade of sound within these limits. But the recognition of a middle 
sound may give us more uniformity in its employment. 

Speaking of this sound (intermediate to vowels 5 and 7), Mr. Walker re- 
marks : "As every correct ear would be disgusted at giving the a in such words as 
past, last, chance, etc., the full sound of a in father, any middle sound ought to 
be discountenanced, as tending to render the pronunciation of a language obscure 
and indefinite." The theoretical discountenancing of any sound in general use 
has undoubtedly this tendency; but the classification of all varieties of sound 
distinguishable in common usage must have the opposite effect, and tend to remove 
obscurity and indefiniteness. The vowel noted as the 6th in our scale is unques- 
tionably in our mouths every day, and it must therefore find a place in the cata- 
logue of our vocal elements. 

This variableness of vowel quality is not observable in all words containing 
the combinations in which No. 6 occurs. We never hear band, gas, hath, etc., 
with No. 7, but uniformly with No. 5. 

In the Scottish dialects we hear in some the 4th, and in others the 7th, instead 
of the English 6th vowel. Thus grass, brass, etc., are generally pronounced gress, 
bress, etc., and bath, dance, etc., bahth, dahnce, etc. (short). 

Unaccented a in the syllable immediately preceding the accent, as in abolish, 
alacrity, bazaar, etc., has the sound of the 6th vowel. Among careless speakers, 
the sound of this pre-accented a obscurely ranges through many shades of open 
sound from 5 to 9. 

The unaccented final a in comma, sofa, villa, etc., has always a more open 


sound than that of the a in jat, which is assigned to it by Mr. Walker; but its 
sound is less open than that of the a in far. In such words, we have instances 
of the 6th element. In Scotland, the a in this situation is closed into a (3) or 
even into i (2) ; thus, sofa is pronounced as if written so fay, or sometimes sofy. 

In words ending in nee and nt, custom wavers between the 5th and 6th 
vowels, as in dance, glance, chance; grant, plant, slant, etc. In words spelled 
with au before nt, we generally hear the 6th, or even the 7th, as in aunt, gaunt, 
flaunt, taunt, etc. 

The Article a generally has the 6th sound; though some speakers use the 
alphabetic vowel a (3). 


abrade avert foremast passable aunt can't khan 

upbraid evert foremost passible ant cant can 

SEVENTH VOWEX as in ah. 

This Vowel, which is often called the open Italian A, is formed with the lips 
drawn back, the teeth considerably separated, and the tongue evenly depressed, 
so as to spread the sound in the mouth, and direct it in a broad current out of 
the expanded oral aperture. The slightest alteration in the position of the tongue 
or the lips will affect the quality of the sound ; and thus, though this element is 
very common in all languages, there are often minute differences, which give it a 
distinct character. 

Habits of oral action such as pouting the lips, keeping them close at the 
corners, allowing them to cover the teeth, etc., influence all the vowels, the 
open ones especially; so that this, the most open sound, is peculiarly liable to be 
faultily affected. The correct speaker cannot be the slave of any habit of this 
kind. His lips and tongue must be pliable and plastic, and their action light and 
agile, that the most minute and momentary movements, either for articulation or 
emotional expression, may be performed with facility. 

In English the 7th Vowel occurs chiefly before R final, or followed by an 
articulation; but it is heard almost uniformly before Ive, and Im (I not sounded), 
as in halve, calve, palm, calm, alms, etc. Before //, as in calf, half, etc. ; and in 
laugh, haunt, etc., the less open sound of the preceding vowel, (6) is frequently 

In words spelled with au before n (except vaunt [10]) good usage is pretty 
equally divided between the 7th and the 6th vowels. 

The 7th vowel is never short in English. In Scotland we hear an abrupt 
form of it in words which in English have the 5th and 6th sounds, as in man, 
mask, etc. ; but we comparatively seldom find the 7th vowel sounded in words 
which have that sound in English. Thus, bar, jar, star, calm, palm, father, etc., 
are generally pronounced almost as if spelled bawr, cawn, fawther, etc. ; farm, 
heart, alarm, etc., are very commonly pronounced with the 4th vowel feh-rm, 
heh-rt, etc. ; and guard, Serjeant, large, etc., as regularly take the sound of the 3d 
vowel (monophthongal), and are pronounced as if written gayrd, sayrjeant, 
layrge, etc. 

The combination of the 7th vowel with R forms the diphthong 7-8, though, 
from the slight difference in the vowel quality of these elements, the diphthongal 
effect is not very obvious. The comparison, however, of such words as arm and 
aim, barm and balm, carve and calve, farther and father, will sufficiently prove 
the diphthongal quality. 



altar collar lumbar balm 

alter choler lumber barm 

psalm alms calve 

Sam arms carve 

DIPHTHONG 7-1 as in isle. 

This combination is the alphabetical sound of the letter I in English, and a 
very common element of speech. The first part of the diphthong is liable to 
considerable dialectic and individual modification, as are all the open formations, 
5, 6, 8, 9, etc. ; but the combination of the extremes of the vowel scale, 7-1 = 
ah-ee, is generally recognized as the correct English diphthong. The most usual 
departure from this in England is to 6- 1. 

In Mr. Knowles's dictionary this diphthong is analyzed into 10-1, which, 
however, confounds it with another diphthong, as in isle and oil, from which 
that author makes it differ only in some ill-defined abruptness of maxillary action. 
The student has but to blend the most open sound he habitually makes in such 
words as far, papa, palm, etc., with the ist Vowel, to produce that form of this 
diphthong which suits his habit of speech ; but, if he open his ears to the utterance 
of educated Englishmen, free from peculiarities of oral action, he will find that 
the radical part of the diphthong is nothing short of the open ah. It must be 
remembered, however, that .the sound is necessarily more abrupt than in the 
separate or inter jectional utterance of that vowel. (See page 58.) 

There is a tendency in all diphthongs, in careless utterance, to slide into a 
sound intermediate to their component elements. Thus, we often hear the 5th 
or even the 4th vowel substituted for 7-1. In Scotland especially, this is com- 
mon: the almost regular utterance of this English diphthong, when final, being 
vowel 4 or 5, as in I, eye, my, buy, etc., pronounced eh, meh, beh, etc. Sometimes 
the same sound is used before R; and fire, wire, etc., are pronounced fehr, wehr, 
etc. When the vowel is in other situations, as in night, idle, crime, wild, etc., a 
diphthong is compounded of the peculiar Scotch vowel (4th Lingual, G. V. S., 
page 25) with the ist vowel. This combination is heard, independently, in the 
Scotch pronunciation of the word aye; also in pay, Tay, etc., and frequently 
otherwise instead of vowel 3; probably from the same tendency that opens the 
radical part of the latter vowel to 4, in English mouths. 

In Ireland the general form of the English long I (7-1) is 9-1, or even 10-1, 
abruptly uttered; which has doubtless led Mr. Knowles to set down 10-1 as the 
formation of the English diphthong. 

The letter R, always having a vowel sound in itself, when it follows a long 
vowel, forms, in combination with this diphthong, a triphthong, the elements of 
which are 7-1-8, as in fire, wire, higher, etc. These words are sometimes reckoned 
dissyllables and sometimes monosyllables: when fully pronounced they are un- 
doubtedly dissyllables; but colloquially the middle element is often slurred over, 
or opened to vowel 3 or 4, so as to remove or lessen the dissyllabic effect. 


lyre line quite right sign vile 

liar lion quiet riot scion viol 


died Her rime right side sight sign tide time 

dyed lyre rhyme rite sighed site sine tied thyme 


DIPHTHONG 7-13 as in owl. 

This diphthong, which blends the extremes of the vowel scale, on the labial 
side, as the preceding diphthong does those on the lingual side, is a very common 
element of language. Its radical part is liable to fluctuations of the same nature 
as those to which that of the preceding diphthong is subject. The most usual 
English deviations from 7-13, are to 5-13, or 6-13, though we sometimes hear 8-13. 
In Scotland, the general pronunciation of this diphthong is 9-13. In Ireland it 
is 10-13. 

This diphthong forms one of the characteristics of American pronunciation. 
The first element is rarely made more open than 5, often not more than 4; and 
the radical vowel is long, and in general strongly nasal. 

When the diphthong 7-13 occurs before R, the triphthong 7-13-8 is formed 
as in our, sour, power, etc.; words the full utterance of which is dissyllabic; but 
colloquially the middle element is often slurred over, or opened to 10 or n to 
remove or lessen the dissyllabic effect. 


bow (of a ship) lower (to darken) slough (7-13) 

bow (window) lower (adj.) slough (uff) 

sow (swine) wound (part.) 

sow (v.) wound (n.) 


bough our 

bow (salute) hour 

EIGHTH VOWEL as in err. 

This is a characteristically English vowel. Its position in the General Scheme 
(page 24) indicates its exact formation. It is intermediate to ah and the French 
sound eu; seeming to the attentive ear to partake of the quality of both sounds, 
and to be thus analogous to the tint produced by the amalgamation of two shades 
of colour. As the colour varies with the varying proportions of its elements, so 
this vowel, among different speakers and in different dialects, partakes in a greater 
or less degree of the ah or the eu. In London, it is often heard as open as ah 
(but this is a vulgarity), as in sarve for serve, sar for sir, etc., and, in some of 
the English provinces, it is pronounced almost identically with the French sound, 
as in sceur for sir, peur (feet) for per (feet), etc. 

The sound of this element differs but slightly from that of vowel 9 (up, urn) ; 
but the difference, though not strongly marked, is clearly appreciable; and the 
distinction between such words as fur and fir, urn and earn, should always be 

"John's wife and John were tete-a-tete; 

She witty was, industrious he; 
Says John, 'I've earned the bread we've ate/ 
'And I/ says she, 'have urned the tea.' " 

The changes which take place in the organic arrangement for vowels of this 
open class are not all within reach of observation. The vocal passage is modified 
by the root of the tongue, and the parts immediately above the larynx. The visible 
difference between the formations 8 and 9 is a slight elevation of the forepart of 
the tongue which directs the voice against the palate somewhat farther forward 
for the 8th than for the 9th vowel. With so little accuracy have sounds been 


observed, and their formations studied, that many of our orthoepists Mr. Walker, 
for instance consider this vowel the same as our ^th, and mark the er in ermine, 
perfect, etc., to be sounded with the same vowel as in ell. Other authors, as, 
for instance, those of the "phonotypic" scheme, consider this sound identical 
with our Qth, and write the same vowel in sir and surly, myrrh and murder, etc. 

Vowel 8 is inseparably connected with the letter R in English. That letter 
alone, after a long vowel, has invariably the sound of er (8), as in fai-r, nea-r, 
poo-r, ca-re, co-re, lu-re, ac-re, luc-re, wond-er, broth-er, etc. The R in the 
equivalent terminations r, re, and er, has little or no articulative effect, but in such 
words as fairy, cheering, moorish, fury, etc., where a vowel follows the R, that 
letter has both its vowel and articulative effect. 

Er in all unaccented syllables, even when followed by a vowel, has the sound 
of 8, as in funeral, general, liberal, etc. 

In such words as far (7.8), fur (9.8), etc., the separate vowel quality of R 
is not so perceptible as when a closer vowel precedes the r; but sufficiently nice 
observation will detect the same final element in these words, and the really diph- 
thongal nature of the combinations. 

There is a tendency among some speakers to retain the radical vowel-sound 
of err, prefer, infer, etc. (8), in the derivatives erring, preferring, inferring, etc., 
but e and i before R followed by a vowel, have otherwise the same sounds as 
before other articulations in the same predicament, as in mirror (i = 2), herring 
(=4), etc. 

Welsh and Irish speakers use the Qth instead of the 8th vowel. In Scotland, 
though the 8th vowel is not heard, the Qth is not its substitute. The letters e 
and i before r have the same sound as before other articulations ; fill and firm, 
still and stir, etc. (No. 4 Lingual, General Vowel Scheme, p. 24) ; send and serve, 
pension and person, etc. (No. 4 English), having respectively the same vowel 
sounds. The reason of this is, that R, in Scotland, has always an articulative 
effect; it is trilled in all situations ; it has no vowel effect even when final. The 
terminations er and re have the peculiar Scotch vowel-sound (as in firm, etc.), 
followed by the trilled R. 

The 8th vowel and its associate softening of the letter R, are so peculiarly 
English, that they constitute a shibboleth to Scotchmen over the Border. In 
practising to acquire this English sound, the Northern student may at first pro- 
nounce the syllables ir, er, re, etc., simply as ah, and without any R. By a little 
practice he will thus check the tendency to raise the tongue to the palate, and 
be enabled to produce the true sound with precision. Frequently the mere effort 
to open the vowel to ah, and omit the R, falls short of that point, and produces 
at once the precise English element. 

The article the is often pronounced 8, when the next word does not begin 
with a vowel. 

A peculiar pronunciation of the vowel sound of R is one of the most striking 
characteristics of American speech. The trill of the articulate R is wanting, as 
in England ; but the vowel effect is much closer and more labial than the English 
8. It is the No. 4 Labio-lingual, of the General Vowel Scheme (p. 24), a sound 
between the French u and the German o. 


anker auger concert firs 

anchor augur consort furze 

asperate circle earn kerb 

aspirate surcle urn curb 

asperation circulate fir kernel 

aspiration surculate fur colonel 


literal myrrhine pertinance sailer 

littoral murrain purtenance sailor 

manner onerary pervade ternary 

manor honorary purveyed turnery 

miner pearl raiser wert 

minor peril razor wort 


berth earnest herd verge 

birth Ernest heard virge 

NINTH VOWEL as in up, urn. 

In forming this vowel, the tongue is drawn back a degree farther than for 
the preceding element, but hardly midway to its position for aw. The sound is 
always short in English, except when it occurs before R, final or followed by an 
articulation. When vowel 9 has to be' prolonged, in singing, it is very liable to 
be changed to the more familiar long sounds ah or aw. This arises, not from 
any difficulty in maintaining the Qth position, but merely from the English organs 
being unaccustomed to maintain it. A Welshman would have no trouble in pro- 
longing the vowel to any extent, because he is accustomed to pronounce it as long 
as our ah or aw. 

Among English speakers, there is too little precision in this sound. All the 
open vowels are liable to considerable variation among individual speakers ; but 
the Qth vowel is perhaps one of the most indefinite and variable of any. It would 
be well if at least a clear distinction were preserved between it and the preceding 
vowel (8), in such words as urn and earn, fur and fir, purl and pearl, etc., but 
the erratic'habits of both these vowels render it the more difficult to confine them 
to a settled location in the mouth. When the Art of speech shall be more gener- 
ally studied, such confusions and diversities will be condemned as unworthy of 
an educated speaker. The perfect distinction of minutely differing vowels is no 
less a test of polished and elegant speech than is the clear enunciation of unac- 
cented syllables the test of a good pronunciation. The power of marking these 
vocal and articulate niceties with clearness, evidences a degree of command over 
the vocal organs which is rarely obtained without considerable application. It 
gives, besides, a refinement and graceful variety to utterance, which should, of 
themselves, sufficiently recommend its cultivation to the tasteful student. 

In some English dialects, we hear, instead of 9, a sound approaching to oo 
(13) ranging in some cases between oo and o (re), (n), and in others between 
oo and the French vowel u or eu. It was probably a dialectic habit like this of 
sounding o (n or 12) for the 9th vowel, which seduced a recent writer on English 
sounds into the assertion, that the vowels in cup and cope are identical in quality, 
and differ only in quantity.* All these peculiarities arise generally from a habit- 
ual contraction of the labial aperture, and a too close position of the teeth. Let 
the defective vowel be practised with a very open formation even though, at 
first, the sound be as open as ah, and the ear and organs will soon be able to 
distinguish and form the 9th vowel with precision. 

In Scotland, this element is slightly less open, and of a deeper formation than 
in England, the tongue being farther retracted towards its position for aw. This 
Scotch sound will be found separately noted in our General Vowel Scheme (page 
24). The open character of the English u (9) will be readily acquired, by simply 
opening the mouth well, and retracting the lips so as to uncover the edges of the 

* See early editions of Pitman's Phonography. 


teeth ; and, when the vowel is followed by R, final or before another articulation, 
by guarding against any lingual vibration for the R. 

The Irish pronunciation of this element has, like the Scotch, a deeper forma- 
tion than the English, partaking more of the quality of aw; it will be Anglicised 
by the same means. 

[We take occasion here to notice the peculiar French sound eu, which, in 
ignorance of its mechanism, is often so difficult to the English mouth; and to 
bring it in contrast with the English u (9) the formation of which is equally 
difficult to French organs. The 9th vowel is not heard in French: the nearest 
approach to it is the vowel eu, as in jeune, peur, etc. Frenchmen do not, however, 
pronounce eu instead of u (9), but generally aw or o (10 or n). They may . 
with little difficulty acquire the true sound of No. 9, when they compare its for- 
mation with that of their eu. The French eu is formed with the organs internally 
arranged as for the French e or the English No. 4, and externally as for aw ( 10) ; 
it is the compound, or Labio-lingual vowel corresponding to these simple Labial 
and Lingual Formations. (Let the English student of French apply this theory, 
and he will at once produce the perfect French eu. The simplest way to practise 
is to dwell on the sound of eh (4), and, while doing so, to contract the labial 
aperture to its ordinary shape for the sound aw.) The English u (9) is inter- 
mediate in formation to aw and ah. The French student of English cannot fail 
to produce it by sounding the vowel ah, and, while doing so, allowing the tongue 
slowly to adjust itself upon the sound, as if to modify it into aw without con- 
tracting the lips. The sound is then to be pronounced as abruptly as the vowel 
in que, de, etc., and it will be perfect.] 


carious serious 

caries series 

TENTH VOWEX as in on, all. 

The loth vowel is formed by an increased retraction and abasement of the 
root of the tongue from its position for the last element, coupled with a slight 
contraction of the labial aperture. It is perhaps the richest and most mellow- 
toned of all the vowel-sounds. 

Mr. Knowles considers this the most open vowel-formation, but our experi- 
ments (see page 20), prove that the oral aperture is considerably smaller for this 
than for the 7th vowel ; and the latter may be proved, by a simple and conclusive 
experiment, to be the most open possible vowel-formation. Thus, let the mouth 
be opened to the uttermost, by widely separating the teeth, flattening the tongue, 
and drawing back the lips; and if a vocal effort be made, ah will result. En- 
deavor to sound aw, and it will be found impossible to do so without relaxing the 
lips or approximating the teeth, and manifestly reducing the oral aperture. In 
the light of experiment, there can be no question as to the relative openness of 
these vowels. 

The sound of the loth vowel is often too much modified by the lips; their 
projection and corrugation faults very common are injurious alike to grace 
and distinctness of articulation. It may be stated to be one of the characteristics 
of a good and practiced speaker, that he forms his vowels as much within the 
mouth as possible. The beautiful Oratorical Voice the Orotund which many 
speakers acquire from long practice, but which may also be attained by cultiva- 
tion, tends very greatly to subdue the action of the lips in speech; and this is 
attended with another advantage, that it leaves the lips free for their higher 
offices of emotional expression. 



The habit of contracting the lips for this vowel is apt to modify it into the 
next, viz., n, or even into 12, to the confusion of such words as war and wore; 
scald and scold, etc. 

In practising the loth vowel for the reduction of labial action, the tongue 
should be drawn back as far as possible, while the lips merely covering the teeth 
a little remain retracted as for ah. With the ringer placed under the chin, close 
to the neck, the downward pressure of the root of the tongue should be distinctly 

This vowel and the 7th are most irregularly used in Scotland: words pro- 
nounced with the 7th in England having the loth in Scotland, and others having 
the loth in England being pronounced with the 7th in Scotland. Thus what and 
walk (10) are what and walk (7) in Scotland, while star and calm (7) are staur 
and caulm (10). This exchange does not take place in words in which the loth 
vowel is represented by o or ou. In these cases, the vowel is closed into 12 in 
Scotland; as in morn, bought, cost, etc. (10), pronounced mourn, boat, coast (12), 
etc. To correct these irregularities, let words containing the 7th, loth, and I2th 
vowels be frequently and carefully read. The English pronunciation will soon 
become habitual ; for the formation of the vowels can present no difficulty. 

A peculiarity similar to the above is characteristic of the Irish dialect; for 
while in the diphthongs 7-1 and 7-13 the first element is changed into 10, we hear 
the loth vowel (short) changed into, or almost into, the 7th, in the great majority 
of words in which it occurs ; as not, off, on, etc. 

The letter a after the labial articulation w (or wh) is in a large proportion 
of words pronounced 10, instead of 5 or 7; as in wadding, want, wander, war, 
was, wasp, wharf, what, etc. This arises, no doubt, from the same principle of 
assimilation which changes con into com before a labial formation, and which 
alters the sound of n in Banff to that of m, and the sound of m in accompt to 
that of n. In wax, wag, whack, etc., where a guttural formation follows the a, 
this tendency is resisted, and the vowel, pronounced 5, is assimilated to the k or g 
rather than the w. 

The loth vowel combines with the 1st to form a common English diphthong 
heard in such words as joint, joy, etc. 























DIPHTHONG IO-I as in oil. 


This is a beautiful diphthong, compounded of aw and ee. It is generally 
somewhat longer than the diphthong 7-1, because of the less easy fluency of its 
elements. To modify the voice from ah to ee the tongue has only to ascend, 


while to modify the sound from aw to ee, the whole attitude of the tongue has 
to be reversed: the root is depressed and its surface concave for aw, and it is 
elevated and convex for ee, while the lips also take part in the action and slightly 
contract the labial aperture while the tongue rises. 

The first part of the diphthong is very uniform among English speakers: 
the second is less so, being very often stopped at i (2), and sometimes even at a 
more open position. The Irish pronounce almost 7-1, for this diphthong, but 
with the 7 longer than in the English utterance of that combination. In Scotland 
the first part of the diphthong is closed into II or 12 (monophthong) which is 
usually united with the 2d Vowel for the second part, forming the diphthong 
n-2 or 12-2. 

R never occurs after 10-1 in the same syllable in English: the word choir 
is pronounced quire as a monosyllabic contraction. In such words as coyer, 
destroyer, etc., the full dissyllabic combination 10-1-8 is clearly preserved. 

ELEVENTH VOWEL as in ore. 

This formation, intermediate to a (11) and 0(ld), (and identical with the 
sound of an or eau in French) is used in English instead of the alphabetic O, 
when before R in the same syllable. The latter vowel is a closing diphthong, 
and the open element 8(R) could not be pronounced after it without forming a 
new syllable. This has led to the omission of the second, and the opening of the 
first, constituent of the diphthong before R, to render the combination smoothly 

The open vowel quality of the English R draws all preceding closer vowels 
to a greater degree of openness than they have before articulations. This is 
particularly noticeable in the 3rd and I2th vowels, which are regularly changed 
into the 4th and nth before r (8) ; but the ist and I3th the closest vowels 
equally illustrate the tendency. Very few English speakers pronounce ee (i) 
and oo (13) distinctly before R, at least in conversational utterance. Such 
words as beard, hereafter, earzvig, merely, etc. ; cure, your, poor, etc., are flip- 
pantly pronounced 2-8 and 11-8, instead of 1-8 and 13-8. However this may be 
passable in ordinary conversation, it must be reckoned objectionable in more 
deliberate speaking, or in reading. In some cases, the close element, instead of 
being opened, is altogether omitted before r (8), as in cheeriul, future, etc., 
pronounced by many speakers, cherful, futyur, etc., but the full pronunciation of 
these words che-er-ful, fute-yure, etc., is more elegant, and always given by those 
who "speak by the card." 

There is a delicacy in the softly blending English combination n-8 (o-re), 
which is worthy of attention from provincial speakers especially in Scotland 
where the pronunciation of these letters is peculiarly harsh. In this lies one of 
those little points which are, perhaps, the most difficult to be separately appreci- 
ated, yet which give to dialects their most prominent features. 

That the English n (o-re) is not the same as the radical part of the I2th 
vowel (O-oo), but a more open formation, will be evident on comparing the 
Scotch and English pronunciations of such words as ore, shore, chorus, porous, 
etc. The Scotch o is the simple radical part of the English O-oo (12) ; but it is 
distinctly different from the o (n) before R in English. The rapid alternation 
of the proximate formations aw oh, or oh aw, repeatedly uttered, will lead the 
ear to recognize the medial sound. The R, when final or before an articulation, 
must not be trilled: but when a vowel-sound follows the R, as in glory, story, 
victorious, etc., the R receives both its vowel and articulate effect. In such words, 
therefore, there is a double difference between Scotch and English pronunciations. 



The monosyllabic combination n-8 does not invariably supersede the dis- 
syllabic form 12-8: in nouns formed by the addition of the personal termination 
er to a verb, as rower, sower, mower, etc., the o retains its diphthongal quality, 
and these words are thus distinguished from such as roar, soar, more, etc. 




form (a seat) 
form (figure) 




lore . 











import (11) 

import (10) [to signify] 










TWELFTH VOWKL as in old. 

The alphabetic or name-sound of the letter O is, in English, invariably asso- 
ciated with a closing sound of oo, forming a labial diphthong, 12-13, corresponding 
to the diphthongal name-sound of A (3-1). 

The radical part of the sound of O is somewhat closer than the preceding 
element n (ore), but it is hardly, perhaps, so much as half-way between it and 
13 (ooze). The diphthongal habit tends to make the initial element of No. 12 
too open in common pronunciation, so that the combination is sometimes even in 
danger of being confounded with 7-13, as in the Cockney pronunciation of no, 
almost the same as now; but this is an extreme: less degrees of openness, how- 
ever, particularly to o (n), are very common. In this respect, as well as in 
several other points already noticed, there is a striking analogy between vowels 3 
and 12. 

A very common fault in the mechanism of this sound consists in a pursed 
projection of the lips to "something like the shape of the letter o," (as the student 
is actually directed in many of our Elocution books;) but the roundness of the 
mouth must be internal, not external. The lips, for expression's sake, should be 
used as little as possible in speech. To form this vowel the tongue .should be 
well depressed backwards, while the lips simply approximate a little. This inward 
formation of O is, besides, productive of a mellowness of tone which is particu- 
larly agreeable, especially in public speaking. 

The tendency of diphthongs to slide colloquially into a sound intermediate 
to their component elements, is illustrated in a common provincial English utter- 
ance of this vowel noted in the General Vowel Scheme (page 25), as the 2nd 
Labial Formation. 

In Scotland, the long o is pronounced monophthongally. The vowel may be 
perfectly Anglicised, by simply allowing the sound to taper into oo before closing. 

Thus, foe (=fo-oo), home (=ho-oom), note (=no-oot). 

The Northern student will at first be apt to overdo this in quantity, but 
practice will enable him to give the requisite abruptness to the combination. In 


the shortest utterance of the English vowel, the diphthongal quality is really heard. 
By comparing the English and Scotch pronunciations of such words as hope, 
moat, yoke, etc., this fact may be made obvious to any ear. 

In Scotland the sound of a (3 monophthong) is common instead of o (12), 
as in hame for home, stane for stone, alane for alone, etc. In some districts a 
closer lingual sound is used in such cases, and we hear steen for stone, been for 
bone, etc. 

The 1 2th vowel is comparatively seldom heard in Scotland: its most usual 
substitute, however, is the roth. Words in which the I2th vowel is represented 
by ou or o before /, as soul, mould, folk, bolster, etc., are pronounced with the 
diphthong 9-13 in Scotland. In Ireland a similar pronunciation occurs, but not 
to the same extent. The I2th formation (but monophthongal) is usually sounded 
in Ireland in words pronounced with that vowel in English. 

Many words containing the letter o before II, It, Id, ss, st, are anomalously 
pronounced with No. 12 instead of No. 10; as roll, toll, poll (head), bolt, old, 
gross, engross, most, post, etc. Vowels before elisions, or before silent letters, 
generally have long sounds: thus, don't, won't, folk, yolk, etc., are pronounced 
No. 12 instead of 10. 


bow (for shooting) row (a range) 

bow (salute) row (disturbance) 

diocese proceed 

diesis precede 


no toe beau doe lo roe 

know tow bow (knot) dough low row (v.) 

THIRTEENTH VOWEL as in pull, pool. 

This is the closest of the Labial class of Vowels. In its correct formation, 
the base of the tongue is depressed, and the lips are evenly approximated. The 
mechanism of No. 13 is very often rendered deforming to the mouth, by the lips 
being "thrust out like a funnel." Indeed this is the mode of formation described 
in many books which profess to give directions on the subject; but it is faulty in 
many ways, both to the eye and the ear. It muffles the voice; it is a hindrance 
to expressive utterance ; and it impedes articulation, greatly aggravating difficulty 
in cases of stammering. The corners of the lips should meet, and their central 
edges approximate, without projection; and the depression of the root of the 
tongue should be so firm as to round off the angle of the neck and chin. The 
close position of the lips is merely required to lessen the external aperture of the 
mouth, and, in whatever way this may be effected, the sound will be modified 
into oo (13). The projection of the lips is therefore as unnecessary as it is 
unquestionably graceless. 

This element, like the ist, has an Articulative effect, when the modifying 
organs are further approximated during the continuance of the sound. By a 
slight appulse of the lips, the vowel oo becomes the articulation W. Thus, if the 
lips be momentarily compressed between the finger and thumb while sounding oo, 
the voice will be modified into woo, woo, woo, etc. 

Words ending with oo are liable to the fault noticed with respect to E (page 
73) the sound dies away in breath as the organs assume their close position. 
This habit will be easily corrected by prolonging the sound, and sharply finishing 
it in the glottis, without waste of breath. 


The thirteenth vowel is so associated with the sound of the articulation Y 
in English, from the alphabetic monograph U bearing the compound name Yoo, 
that the English student has often some difficulty in believing that u = yoo, is 
more than a simple vowel ; but he must lose sight of letters in his study of sounds, 
and then he will be able to analyze this seemingly simple element, and detect in it 
an articulative action, as well as a vowel sound. 

In Scotland we commonly hear the 3rd Labio-Lingual formation u (French) 
instead of oo (13). This is the general Scotch pronunciation of words contain- 
ing No. 13, represented by o or oo, as in do, too, etc. In some districts the 
Lingual sound i (2) or ee (i) is used, as in dee for do, seen for soon, skill 
for school, fill for fool, etc. ; and in long syllables, as when the vowel is final, 
the Third vowel (monophthongal) is not uncommon; as tae for too, day for do, 
etc. Thus the sentence, 

3 12 3 3 u 3 13 2 

"Poor John's so heated that he's just gone out to cool himself," 

conveys to an English ear the rather startling assertion, that "John is so hated 
that he has just gone out to kill himself." 

Element thirteen is the common Scotch sound of the English diphthong 7-13, 
as in house, plough, now, cow, etc., pronounced hoose, ploo, noo, coo, etc. 

In Ireland this vowel is seldom heard exactly as in England ; the sound used 
instead of oo is the Labio-lingual formation produced by the union of the posi- 
tions -{ J. This gives a very peculiar sound, which an English mouth will have 
some trouble to mould. The Irish vowel will be Anglicised by simply holding 
the tongue well back ; the labial position being the same as for oo. 

The sound of the alphabetic U (=y-i3) is one of the shibboleths of Ameri- 
can pronunciation. Instead of the articulate Y, the vowel ee (i) is heard with 
a distinctly syllabic effect, as in tune, pronounced tee-oon; or the formative posi- 
tions of ee and oo are combined, as in the Irish sound above noticed. 

Vowel thirteen is always long in the combination y-13 (u =). The following 
are the principal words in which No. 13 is short: book, bosom, brook, bull, bullet, 
bulletin, bullion, bullock, bully, bulwark, bush, butcher, cook, courier, crook, 
cuckoo, cushion, foot, full, fuller, fully, good, goody, hood, hook, look, pull, 
pullet, pulley, pulpit, push, puss, put, rook, stood, sugar, to, took, woman, wood, 
wool, would. 


could (") look( w ) wood( w ) sue 

cooed ( Jt ) Luke (~) wooed (~) shoe 

full r ) should D Jew 

fool ( ) shoed (~) dew suit 

pull ( v ) to ( v ) jewel shoot 

pool ( ) two(~) duel soot 


due room few too wood rude choose 

dew rheum feu two would rood chews 


We have shown, at page 28, that the letter H does not represent any fixed 
formation, but simply an aspiration of the succeeding element. Thus, H before 
e is a whispered e, before a a whispered a, etc. differing, however, from the 
simple whispered vowel by the expulsiveness of the aspiration, as before ex- 


plained; and H before alphabetic u which, it will be remembered, represents 
the combination y-oo denotes a whispered Y, as in hue, human, etc., pronounced 
Yhue = Yhyoo, Yhuman, etc. 

Some writers analyze the sound Wh into Whw, correspondently to Yhy; 
and it must be acknowledged that many persons do pronounce such words as 
what, which, when, etc., with a Vocal as well as a Breath W, Whwat, Whwen, 
etc. but this is by no means the general mode. Wh the breath W should be 
in such words used independently; although its lingual correspondent, the Breath 
Y, is not so employed in English. The latter is always associated with the sound 
of Y ; and it occurs only before the alphabetic sound of U. 

English speakers too commonly omit the aspirate of Y and W, and so con- 
found in their pronunciation such words as hue and you, which and witch, whale 
and wail, whither and wither, whig and wig. These aspirations are very unwel- 
come to the English mouth, but they can only be omitted at the expense of 
ambiguity. How very awkward to have a brother named Hugh: "I assure you 
I gave the book to 'Ugh." "I beg your pardon that you certainly never did." 
"Upon my honour! 'Ugh cannot have forgotten it." "I ! come, come?" "You! 
no, no, I did not mean you, but 'Ugh, your brother 'Ugh!" 

The Vowel aspirate is very irregularly used in many parts of England ; it is 
heard when it should be silent, and silent when it should be sounded; and that 
with such perversity that pure initial vowels are almost unheard, except in cases 
where they ought to be aspirated. A gentleman dining on cold hare, astonished 
his entertainer by exclaiming, "The hair is very 'ot." Explaining himself, when 
he observed the misapprehension, he said, "I mean the hair we breathe^ and not 
the 'are we're heating." 

This remarkable perversity of custom has been amusingly made the subject 
of a petition in verse from the letter H to the inhabitants of Shrewsbury, who 
are notorious for their haddiction to this obit. 

Whereas by you I have been driven 

From House, from Home, from Hope, from Heaven; 

And placed by your most learn'd society 

In Ills, and Anguish, and Anxiety: 

Charged, too, without one just pretence, 

With Atheism and Impudence, 

I now demand full restitution, 

And beg you'll mend your Elocution ! 

To this petition by the Rev. R. W. Evans, an aspiring Shrewsbury poetess 
aptly rejoined: 

Whereas we rescued you, ingrate, 

From Horror, Havoc, and from Hate, 

From Horse-pond, Hungering, and from Halter, 

And consecrated you on Altar, 

And placed you, where you'd never be, 

In Honour, and in Honesty; 

We think your talking an intrusion, 

And shall not change our Elocution. 

Many public speakers contract a very disagreeable habit of giving a vocal 
commencement to H, uhold, uhundred, etc. as if fearful that otherwise the 
letter would not reach the ears of their auditors. But if it be legitimately as- 
pirated, and no more, it will not fail of audibility: the succeeding vowel makes 
it heard far better than can the tasteless expedient of putting a vowel sound 
before it. 

A Northern habit of forming, or rather deforming the H, consists in giving 


a degree of guttural compression to the breath, by approximating the base of the 
tongue and the soft palate, producing the effect of the Scotch ch, which otherwise 
is not used as an initial sound in Scotland. There is something in this peculiarity 
extremely harsh and grating to English ears. It should be studiously avoided, 
and easily may be, by all who aim at propriety in speaking English. 

Let the Stammerer study attentively the characteristics of the letter H. It 
is invariably a severe stumbling-block. He will find that, in his fruitless efforts 
to pronounce it, or rather to pronounce the vowel after it, his chest is bearing 
down with collapsing force, and the breath welling out in heavy spouts from his 
convulsed glottis. A useful exercise to check this, consists in prolonging an 
expiration as much as possible. Let the lungs be fully inflated, by expanding the 
chest to its utmost breadth, and then let the breath be emitted slowly, softly, and 
equably in one unbroken stream. After a little practice, the whispered expiration 
will be continuable almost as long as a vocal one a vowel. The junction of this 
breathing with the vowels must next be aimed at. Thus : alternate, in the pro- 
longed expiration, the voice and the whisper of the same formation, h-e-h-e-h-e, 
etc., h-o-h-o-h-o, etc. If the difficulties with initial vowels have been first re- 
moved, the stammerer will not be long in subduing this perhaps the most 
troublesome feature in his impediment. Habit will, for a time, baffle his skill, 
or try it sorely ; but steady perseverance will overcome even the tyranny of habit. 

In the following words, though H is written, the vowels are not aspirated : 
heir, heirship, heirloom, etc. ; honest, honesty, etc. ; honour, honourable, etc. ; 
hostler ; hour, hourglass, etc. ; humble, humbly, etc. ; humour, humourous, etc. 






hair, hare 


air, ere, e'er, Ayr, heir, Eyre 

















eye, I 










owe, oh 











Hugh, hue, hew 

you, yew 







In the first part of this work the leading principles of articulation have been 
explained, and a complete scheme given of the Articulate Elements of Language. 
We shall now proceed to offer some practical observations on each of these ele- 
ments, with reference to their formations, defects, combinations, etc. 

This department of our work will be of especial service to teachers, parents, 
and others who have the management of children, in enabling them to prevent, 
or check the formation of defective or uncouth habits of articulation ; and to direct 
the vocal efforts of children in such a way as to insure fluency, grace, and dis- 
tinctness of speech. 

To the lisping, burring, mumbling, and mouthing "children of a riper growth," 
who are conscious of their cacophonies, and desirous to correct them, these obser- 
vations and exercises furnish the means of removing such articulative blemishes. 
To the public speaker they offer principles and praxes such as, in application, 
cannot fail to give articulation its highest effectiveness. 

The stammerer will find many remarks under the different elements, which 
will be of much service to him, both as directory and cautionary assistances. An 
intelligent practical acquaintance with the mechanical principles of speech is the 
only rational foundation for a system of cure. We cannot better advise the 
stammerer than bid him study well the natural principles of speech. Knowing 
them familiarly, he must be dull indeed if he does not work out a large measure 
of improvement from them. For perfect freedom from impediment, however, 
oral instruction, and the vigilant eye and ear of a master may be, in almost all 
cases, necessary; for stammering is generally accompanied by a great want of 
perception of the causes of error as well as by a nervous agitation, which unfits 
the stammerer for self-observation and correction. 

The following table exhibits the articulations in the order in which they are 
treated of in the succeeding dictionary of sounds : 

I. P, as 

II. B, 

III. M, 

IV. Wh, 
V. W, 

VI. F, 

VII. V, 

VIII. Th, 

IX. Th, 

X. S, 

XI. Z, 

in whey 

XII. R, as in rare 


XIV. T, 
XV. D, 

XVI. N, 

XVII. Sh, 


XX. Y, 

XIX. Yh, 

XXI. K, 


XXIII. ng, 













The formation of P consists, ist, in a steady equal contact of both lips, so 
as to retain the breath perfectly behind them; and, 2nd, in an equal and rapid 
disjunction of the lips, to allow the breath to escape. If the contact of the lips 
be not sufficiently firm to stop the breath, the letter will strike the ear like F; 
and if their action be heavy, the p will be inaudible when final, and very ungrace- 
ful in other situations. 

While the lips are in contact, there should be no pouting, or motion of any 
kind ; and their separation should be by one light and uniform action, so that the 


whole edges may be simultaneously disengaged; for if they are projected and 
pushed asunder as they not unfrequently are the features are deformed, and 
many faults, both of articulation and expression, are created. P before F or V, 
is in this way rendered an jmpossible combination, or at least an excessively ugly 
one, in the attempt; and many of the vowel sounds also suffer in quality from 
the contracted and rounded aperture of the mouth. The corners of the lips must 
be brought apart in finishing P, or all the vowels from ee to ah will be more or 
less injuriously affected. Besides, the habit of forming the labial-articulations 
in a loose and wriggling way interferes much with the expressive power of the 
lips in the manifestation of feeling. The mouth is the most expressive index of 
emotion, and that whose signs are least capable of suppression. The eyes have 
been called the "windows from which the soul peeps forth" ; we should call the 
mouth the door by which she actually comes forth. But if, by ungainly habits 
of speech, the delicately-varying expressiveness of the mouth may be defeated, 
how important to the orator and physiognomist at least must be the power of 
regulating the articulative motions of the lips. 

Where there exists any fault in the formation of this letter, the following 
exercise will be found highly improving. Practise words containing the letter P, 
and keep the lips in firm contact -for some seconds at each P observing that 
while the pressure of the breath is continued, there is no motion of any kind in 
the lips. Observe, also, that there is no escape of breath by the nostrils. 

This exercise will subdue and, with a little care, soon remove the tendency 
to mal-articulation of P. It will be found very useful to stammerers also in 
giving power over the facial muscles. The lips, in many cases of stammering, 
are so tremulous and feeble in their motions, that they cannot retain the breath 
under the slightest pressure, but start off again the instant they meet, causing 
repetitions of the labial syllable pa-pa-pa-paper. Sometimes in the effort to 
separate the lips, the upper lip descends with the lower lip, dragging down the 
nostrils, and deforming the whole countenance. The upper lip should have as 
little motion as possible, and it should never be depressed below the edges of the 
upper teeth. 

The letter P presents another difficulty to stammerers, from an upward 
pressure of the lower jaw locking the under teeth within the upper range, while 
the lips are in contact. This renders a downward motion of the jaw, as well as 
of the lip, indispensable to finish the letter; and the teeth are forcibly jerked 
down, again to be jammed upwards in fruitless repetitions; often, instead of 
disengaging the jaws by the descent of the lower teeth, the stammerer puts the 
effort of separation into the head, and tosses it backwards, or draws it from side 
to side. P is a formidable difficulty under such circumstances ; but a careful study 
and practice of the correct formation of the letter will soon remove this source 
of impediment and correct any fault that may interfere with grace or distinctness. 
Exercise before a mirror greatly facilitates the correction of any fault of oral 
action. To see the error is half-way to its cure. 

P is an obstruction of breath only ; there is no effort of voice in its forma- 
tion ; it has no sound but the slight explosiveness of breath which finishes it. A 
fault is often created by the conjunction of the lips while the breath is being 
drawn in, so that a degree of audibility is given to their meeting. This, in an 
aggravated degree, accompanied by deficient glottal power, produces stammering 
of a very heavy and convulsive kind. The lips, and the organs of articulation 
generally, should assume the positions required for the different elements, gently 
and after the act of inspiration is finished retain them firmly while the breath 
is compressed behind or between the articulating organs, and by a light disjunc- 
tion, give off the final effect of the articulation with rapidity. The letter P, 


having no other element of audibility than that which accompanies the organic 
separation, can never be deprived of this without indistinctness or impediment. 

We may express in a sentence the great leading characteristics of good and 
bad articulation. The energy of vocal action is disjunctive in good speaking, and 
conjunctive in heavy or impeded utterance ; that is to say, the contact or approxi- 
mation of the organs is light in the one case, and heavy in the other ; the general 
direction of the actions is downwards from articulations to vowels in good speech ; 
and in indistinct or stammering speech, the force of the actions is upwards from 
vowels to articulations. In order to be clearly understood, then, with reference 
to the letter P, we observe, that it is not made by the conjunction of the lips, but 
by their separation; and this of course implies previous contact. If the Stam- 
merer, and the Mumbler, and all classes of bad speakers, could comprehend and 
apply this principle, they would soon rejoice in distinctness and fluency. 

We must farther observe, that in separating the lips there should be no jerk- 
ing of the jaw. If a vowel follow the P in the same syllable, the teeth should 
descend freely for the vowel, but the P itself must have no motion of the teeth, 
either upwards when the lips meet, or downwards when they separate. The teeth 
should remain apart even when the lips are in contact. 

There is some little art required to make P audible when it occurs in con- 
nexion with any of the other obstructive articulations, as in nap-kin, step-quickly, 
slep-t, cheap-tea, scape-goat, etc. To master this difficulty, lightness and precision 
of action are the essential requisites. 


ape tay ape kay ape day ape gay 

ap tap ap cap ap dap ap gap 

In finishing P and other articulations, it is highly important in every case of 
difficulty, to notice that the issue of breath be restrained immediately on the 
organic separation. If the breath pour out continuously, and the chest fall, the 
lungs will soon be exhausted. It is the want of this power to retain the breath 
after articulations which causes the great difficulty which Stammerers experience 
in joining articulations to succeeding vowels. They will often get smoothly over 
the consonants, and stumble at the vowel, utterly unable to connect the two. They 
must bear in mind that the breath in articulation is exploded from the mouth, and 
not from the chest. The space within which the air is compressed is above the 
glottis, and the effect of the compression must not be communicated below the 

When a word contains the combination pp, the effect of only one p is heard ; 
as in apprise, upper, supplicate, etc. ; but when one words ends with P, and the 
next commences with the same letter, the final and initial elements should in 
general be separately articulated. Two p's can only be made by a repetition of 
the action of one. B and M, being formed by the same labial action as P, will 
not blend with that letter; but the P must be separately finished when it comes 
before them. Not, however, when it is in the same word, as in upbraid, upborne, 
upmost, topmast, etc., where the P is a mere stop of the voice and loses its final 
percussiveness. In cupboard, the b only is heard, and in subpoena the b is sunk, 
and p heard. 

It was noticed at page 29, that the nasal letters M, N, NG, must have the 
breath perfectly obstructed by the mouth, in order that the current of sound may 
pass completely through the nostrils; it follows, therefore, that any of the ob- 
structive letters coming before either of the nasal elements, must be finished inde- 
pendently of the nasal letter, or the explosive effect of the obstructive letter must 
pass through the nose. This creates a degree of sniffling which is very ungrace- 


ful, and which may be easily avoided by a light and rapid articulation of the 
obstructive element. P or B before M, must, from the hiatus caused by the 
repetition of the same action,, be allowed to nasalize their final breathings when 
they meet in one word, or in common phrases ; but there is no excuse for sniffling 
the terminations of T, D, K, and G before M, for these linguals and gutturals 
are produced by actions which may be rightly performed without at all disturbing 
fluency of articulation. On the same principle, T and D before N in the same 
word, must lose their oral explosiveness ; but the other obstructives (B, P, K, G) 
should never be allowed to do so in the same situation. So, too, T before L, as 
in outlaw, battle, etc., is not finished by removing the point of the tongue as in 
other situations, but by extrusion of the breath over the sides of the tongue, 
through the apertures of L. 

P initial combines only with I, r, and 37 in English, as in play, pray, pew, etc., 
therefore in all the other combinations which we write, namely, pu, as in pneu- 
matic ; ps, in psalm; pt, in ptarmigan, etc., the p is silent. Pw is a common 
French combination, as in poids (pronounced pwah). 


Apt, chapter, cupful, fop, heptarchy, kept, leapt, mapped, napkin, naphtha, pamphlet, 
papaverous, pauper, pavement, peep, people, peevish, pepper, pebble, pimple, pipkin, pivot, 
popped, public, puff, puppet, wrapt, stopped, stopcock, upmost, upward. 


This articulation differs from the preceding in no degree, extent, or continu- 
ance of labial pressure (as has been erroneously supposed), but in the employment 
of an apparatus unused tor P, i. e., the vocal organ in addition to all the action, 
compression of breath, and explosive force of P. The external action of both 
letters being the very same, our remarks on the formation of P, will apply equally 
to this articulation. If the junction of the lips be too feeble to intercept the 
breath, the letter will sound like V; and if their action be heavy and sluggish, 
pouting, or unsteady, the same faults and difficulties will be produced which were 
noticed under the head of P. While the lips are in contact for P, there is no 
sound produced; the prolongation of the contact only prolongs silence; but in B 
there is a sound heard, while the lips are closed. The glottis is in the vocalizing 
position, and the breath in passing through it creates sonorous vibration ; during 
the continuance of which, the neck, at its junction with the chin, will be observed 
to distend. This arises from the swelling out of the pharynx, into which the 
stream of air from the glottis, unable to escape by the mouth or nostrils, forces 
itself. The muffled vocal sound which is heard during the distension of the 
pharynx ceases as soon as that compartment is filled, and it can only be renewed 
after the pharyngal muscles have been allowed to contract. Many persons, from 
deficiency of pharyngal power, are unable to produce the shut voice in these 
elements ; so that B, D, and G are hardly distinguishable from P, T, and K. This 
whispering of the Voice Articulations is a remarkable characteristic of Gaelic, 
Welsh, and Irish speakers. After a little practice the power of vocalizing the 
obstructive formations may be perfectly acquired, and the national defect will 
disappear. Let the student dwell on the articulation as long as possible in its 
various situations ; and though, at first, he may be able to produce only a momen- 
tary stroke of voice, he will soon develop such an elasticity in the pharynx as will 
enable him to continue the sound for a couple of seconds. It is necessary to 
guard against the slightest nasal sound in this exercise. The nasal tubes open 
from the pharynx, and if they are not perfectly closed by their natural valve 


the soft palate, the pharynx will not distend ; it is then a leaky bag, and cannot 
be inflated. 

In forming B, and indeed the Obstructive articulations generally, the com- 
pression of breath must not cease until the external contact terminates, or the 
explosive finish of the elements will be lost. It is a peculiar characteristic of 
some varieties of Stammering, that the vocal part of B, D, and G, will be heard 
perfectly, while the letters will not out. The Stammerer repeats the articulation 
again and again with the pharyngal murmur distinct, yet without the least emis- 
sion of breath following. He is consequently unable to connect the initial letter 
with the succeeding vowel. In this case, the muscles which constitute the sides 
of the pharynx contract too soon; the instant they yield to the pressure of air, 
they again collapse, either from a want of power in the muscles themselves, or 
from the Stammerer's inability to continue the effort until his lips are separated. 
Expedite the latter action, and the former difficulty will cease. Whatever be the 
cause of the impediment, energetic and intelligent practice will soon remove it. 

B initial combines with /, r, and y f as in blue, brew, beauty. Bw which is 
a common French combination, as in boire (pr. bwahr) is heard in English in 
buoy, buoyant, etc. 

In the final combinations mb and bt, b is silent, as in dumb, bomb, doubt, 
de&t, etc. 

B before M, in the same word, as in cabman, is not finished by a separation 
of the lips ; but before N this final action of the B should not be wanting. 


abe tay abe kay abe day abe gay abe nay 

ab tab ab kab ab dab ab gab ab nab 

The combination BB in the same word, sounds like single B ; but when one 
word ends with B, and the next begins with that letter, or with M, both elements 
should be heard, and unless the words form an unimportant phrase, the lips 
should be separated between the articulations. 


back bail bath beach bear belt 

pack pail path peach pear pelt 

birch best bet bill bind blunder 

perch pest pet pill pined plunder 

boor bore bother breach bull bunch 

poor pour pother preach pull punch 

cab cub mob 

cap cup mop 


^Abracadabra, babe, babble, baptism, bauble, beblot, bedaub, beef, bepeppered, beverage, 
biblical, biped, blubber, brabble, bribe, bobbin, bubble, bump, hubbub, probable. 


This letter has the same orally obstructive formation as P and B, but the 
nasal passages are uncovered, and the air, instead of collecting within the mouth 
and pharynx, flows continuously through the nostrils. The soft palate is the valve 
which covers or uncovers the nares; its action in doing so is extremely limited, as 
may be seen by forming G and ng with open mouth before a glass ; the sound may 
be intercepted and nasalized at pleasure, by a very slight but perceptible motion of 


the upper part of the velum, while the contact of its edges with the tongue remains 
undisturbed. This contact is the necessary formation of G, of which ng is the 
nasal form. We have said that the stream of breath cannot be directed entirely 
through the nostrils, unless it be obstructed in the mouth. It is a common mistake, 
however, to think that the soft palate must, in order to open the nares, lie on the 
tongue for all nasal sounds. If the breath were thus uniformly intercepted at the 
posterior articulating part of the mouth for all the nasal elements, there could be 
no difference between M, N, and ng. The contact of the anterior organs would 
not influence the sound, unless the vocal current reached those organs. The for- 
mation of the English Nasals requires that the oral aperture be closed, and the 
breath directed against the obstructing organs; while the withdrawal from the 
nares of that part of the soft palate which lies opposite to them, gives the breath 
a passage through the nostrils ; and the articulation is not finished until the organs 
which close the oral passage are separated. If the obstructing organs be not dis- 
joined, the element loses its articulative quality, and is merely a nasal vowel. 
Great indistinctness arises from the want of this action when m, n, and ng are 
final. The French seldom sound the nasal articulations when final, or when before 
another articulation ; in these cases they give, instead, a nasal quality to the pre- 
ceding vowel, making the voice issue partly by the mouth and partly by the nose. 
There are no such sounds in English. (See French Semi-Nasal Vowels, page 29.) 

The English nasals are all purely vocal. They are often faultily formed in 
this respect: sometimes the voice is breathy and ill-formed in the glottis; and 
sometimes its sonorous quality is injured by some contraction of the nostrils. In 
order to remove these blemishes, let the nasal elements be practised separately 
with the same prolonged vocality which was recommended for vowel sounds. 
When the vocalizing of the nasals has been perfected by this exercise, they should 
be practised with the requisite articulative actions, and in their various combi- 

The nasal elements, and also the letter L, are often called Semi-vowels, be- 
cause they are perfectly sonorous, and capable of separate and prolonged enuncia- 
tion, like vowels. These semi- vowels may each separately form a syllable ; L and 
N often do so in English, as in castle, fasten, etc. ; and M has a similar syllabic 
effect in rhythm, chasm, prism, etc. In the pronunciation of such words, care 
must be taken that no vowel sound is heard between the m and the preceding 

The letters of this class are also called Liquids, because they flow into other 
articulations, and seem to be absorbed by them. This peculiar quality might per- 
haps be better understood, were we to call it transparency; they show through 
them the nature of proximate articulations. When the Liquids occur before 
voiceless articulations, they are so short as scarcely to add any appreciable quantity 
to the syllable ; wilt, bent, brink, lamp, etc., have thus but very little more duration 
than wit, bet, brick, lap, etc. The liquid or transparent letters in this situation 
cannot be prolonged without producing drawling, and an un-English pronunciation 
of the words. When these letters, however, come before Voice Articulations, they 
form the longest syllables in the language, as in willed, bend, tongues, lambs, 
film, helm, etc., which have as long quantity as any syllables containing the same 
vowels can have. The liquids have the same quantity as other Voice Articula- 
tions before vowels. They are, however, longer when final; and it is one of the 
greatest beauties of good speaking, to give them, then, their "fair proportion." 
The "liquid" quality should not extend to proximate words, but only to letters in 
the same word. 

M before f, v, or w, presents a difficult combination that is seldom heard with 
distinctness from ordinary speakers. M is especially awkward before / and wh, 


which, being voiceless, shorten the liquid, and render rapidity of action necessary, 
as in comfort, amphibious, somewhat, somewhere, etc. 


aim fay aim vay aim way 

am f am am vam am warn 

M generally presents a serious difficulty to the Stammerer. Voice feeble and 
ill-formed, collapsing chesi,^-adhesive lips, motion in the nostrils, descent of 
the upper lip, upward pressure of the lower jaw, ascent of the chin, twisting 
and protrusion of the lips ; and the very smoothness of the letter which will not 
bear such rough antagonistic treatment, all combine to render M one of the 
greatest difficulties, and the Liquids generally, the greatest obstacles to fluency 
that the Stammerer meets with. The explosive letters will bear a good deal of 
harshness, but these delicate articulations are impracticable amid such violence of 

Careful and patient practice, with the aid of a glass, and sometimes with the 
temporary assistance of direct appliances to check convulsive action, will, however, 
surmount even these apparently impassable barriers to speech. 

M initial combines with y, as in muse, but with no other articulation in 
English. It is written, but silent, before N, as in mnemonics. Mw is a common 
French combination, as in moi, pronounced mwah. 


Amphib, anemone, comfort, emphasis, film, helm, lymphatic, mammalian, mammon, map, 
member, memnonian, memoir, memorable, mime, mimetic, mimic, minimum, mob, mumble, 
mummery, nymph, rythm, spasm, triumph. 


This element is the voiceless form of W. In its formation the lips are closely 
approximated, and then rapidly separated while the breath is not obstructed. 
Sometimes a slight degree of vocality is added to the action : in consequence of 
the common but erroneous theory which resolves the sound of wh into hw or hoo. 
Wh should, analogously to P and the other Breath Articulations, be pronounced 
entirely without voice. If the action be confined to the lips, Wh will be found 
to be so unexceptionable and delicate in its articulative effect, that even the Cock- 
neys, who, in their inconsistent horror of aspirations, confound it with W, need 
not reject it as uncouth. In Scotland the action of Wh is often not confined to 
the lips, but thrown back to the soft palate also, so that the breath is at once 
modified into the guttural ch and the labial Wh. The effect of this guttural modi- 
fication is peculiarly harsh and ungraceful. 

Wh is not heard before o or oo. In these cases, the vowel is simply aspirated 
without the articulative action: this gives H instead of Wh before these vowels, 
as in whole, whose, etc., pronounced hole, hooze, etc. 

Wh and W should be contrasted in practice till the ear and organs recognize 
and execute the difference satisfactorily. 


whawa wa wha wha wa wha wa wha wa whim wim 

whip wip, etc. 


whey whale wheel when where which whether 

way wale weal wen ware witch weather 


whig while whin whine whit white whither 

wig wile win wine wit wight wither 


Wharf, whelm, whiff, whiffle, whim, whimper, whimwham, whip. 


This letter has been called a Vowel by some orthoepists, by others a Con- 
sonant, and by others both a vowel and a consonant. When W occurs before a 
vowel, it is unquestionably an Articulation; and in other situations, it is either a 
redundant letter, as in flo w, or an auxiliary mark to make up the writing of some 
sound which has no fixed symbol. The combination aw, for instance, sounds 10 
as in saw; ew sounds 12 as in sew, and 13 as in grew; ow sounds 12 in flow, and 
7-13 in now, etc. The only regular sound of W is that of the initial articulation. 

In forming W, the lips are very closely approximated, but not necessarily 
projected and an effort of voice is made, which produces a sound resembling oo f 
but with a more contracted aperture ; and the articulation is finished by the smart 
recoil of the lips to give egress to the succeeding vowel. 

When W is before oo, the combination is rather difficult, from the little scope 
the organs have for the articulative action ; the w is in consequence often omitted 
by careless speakers, wool being pronounced ool, woman, ooman, etc. The fol- 
lowing experiment will clearly show what the formation of W really is. Sound 
the vowel oo, and, with the thumb and forefinger, momentarily approximate and 
again separate the middle of the lips during the continuance of the sound, and the 
word woo will be pronounced. After a little exercise, the lips will be able to 
originate the necessary action, and perform it with precision and rapidity. 

W and wh occasion many a difficulty to the Stammerer. Sometimes the seat 
of the impediment lies in the production of voice in the iv; sometimes in the 
junction of the articulation with the succeeding vowel. The Stammerer, blind to 
the principle that articulations are made by disjunctive actions, jerks his chin 
forcibly upwards ; the lips meet and close upon each other, in struggle ; while the 
head, eyes, and whole body, partake of the effort, and undergo a paroxysm of 
convulsive action ; and it is not until the face is reddened with the straining, and 
the chest almost collapsed, that the sound ungovernably rushes out. 

The cure of this distressing impediment must be founded on the clear con- 
viction that the lips cannot produce the sound that they only modify it, gently 
and instantaneously ; and that consequently, any effort thrown into them is unnat- 
ural, and must be a cause of difficulty. Let the Stammerer but observe the 
mechanism of W from the vowel oo in the way above described, and the hold of 
the impediment will be at once greatly loosened. Guarded practice and careful 
application of the principle of its articulation will soon obviate the difficulty which 
this element presents. 

The 7th vowel is never heard after W in English. The contracted labial 
aperture for the articulation would render its combination with so open a vowel 
abrupt and harsh ; and the more congenial formation No. 10 (aw) is used instead. 
All the other vowel-sounds occur after W. No articulation ever follows it, in 

Wr is a digraph retained in our orthography, but the w is not sounded. The 
combination is, however, perfectly practicable, and it was no doubt articulated in 
the earlier ages of our language. In the Scottish dialect, both letters are still 
often heard in such words as wretch, wright, etc. 

W combines with the initial articulations, B, D, G, T, K, Th, S, as in buoy, 
dwindle, gnava, twice, queen, thwart, sway. 


In the French language, W follows almost all of the articulations : it is heard 
after R in roi, after F in fois, L in loin, M in moi, N in noir, P in paid, V in voir, 


wooes buoy 

ooze boy 


Wafer, waft, warfare, weave, weep, weevil, wife, wipe, wives, wigwam, wolf, woman. 
womb, women, woof, wove. 

F is formed by apposition of the middle of the lower lip to the edges of the 
upper teeth, followed by the rapid withdrawal of the lip to finish the articulation. 
The breath must not be stopped during the organic contact. The obstruction 
offered by the lip, however, gives the breath sufficient compression in the mouth 
to produce a degree of percussiveness when the lip is removed. We have already 
spoken of the necessity of attending carefully to the labial action, so as to avoid 
redundancy or ungracefulness. An awkward formation of F and V is so common 
as to render a repetition of the caution here necessary. The lip is frequently 
rolled outwards, so as to bring its interior surface against the front of the teeth ; 
and the upper lip is twitched up towards the nostrils, to avoid collision with the 
clumsy usurper from below. The mouth is sadly deformed by these ungainly 
actions, and the wriggling lips look in profile like a couple of "uneasie worms/' 
twining in agony. There is nothing in the mechanism of F, or of any articulation, 
or in any combination of sounds in speech, that requires these loose and protrusive 
actions of the lips; they should be* studiously avoided by every person of taste. 
The lips should, in all their actions, retain as nearly as possible, the form of the 
dental ranges. For F the upper lip should have no motion; and the under lip 
should merely rise sufficiently to bring its edge against the tips of the upper teeth. 
A too labial formation of the vowels aw, o, oo, creates an awkwardness in articu- 
lating F in syllables containing these vowels ; as in azvful, wolfish, uvula, over, 

Redundancy of labial action in forming F, aggravated by the upward pressure 
of the jaw, creates a trying difficulty to the Stammerer. F, properly continuous, 
becomes perfectly obstructive, and acquires all the difficulty of P, with a more 
awkward position of the lips : for the lower lip frequently forces its ascent to the 
upper gum, and wedges itself in between that and the upper lip. But Error is 
too various to be traced in all its vagaries ; and the erroneous actions of Stammer- 
ing are so eccentric as to present new features in almost every case. Let the true 
principles of articulation be investigated, and brought in contrast with any error, 
and, if the source of the error be not at once made apparent, the means of re- 
moving it will, at least, be so. 

F is sometimes formed by the close approximation of both lips, instead of the 
lower lip and upper teeth : but the tension of the lips necessary for this formation 
is ungraceful and fettering to the general maxillary action. A loosely formed P 
sounds like F, by the breath not being perfectly 'intercepted. 


ap fa af pa pa fa fa pa pa fa pa fa pa fa 

pifpip fipfif 

F and Th sound very much alike. F is /afo'o-dental, and Th /w#wa-dental ; 
and the manner of their formation is precisely the same, namely, a continuous 


breathing between the apposed organ and the teeth, followed by the quick removal 
of the articulating organ. 

Breath Articulations are frequently vocalized before Vocal ones, and between 
vowels: thus, ph is sounded v in nephew and Stephen. Careless speakers pro- 
nounce if like iv in such situations, and of is always pronounced with v instead 
of / (ov or uv) ; but this change has perhaps been sanctioned for the purpose of 
distinguishing the word from off. 

F initial combines with /, r, and y, as in flight, fright, fury. In French it 
combines also with w, as in fois. F in English unites with no initial articulation, 
except S, as in sphere. 


Faith, falsify, fame, fathom, favour, feather, febrifuge, feeble, feoff, fervour, fib, fifty, 
flap, flippant, fop, frippery, froward, fume, muff, phenomenon, phlebotomy, phosphorus, puff. 


This articulation adds to the action of F a vocal sound. With this difference 
of sonorous quality, F and V are in every respect the same. Our remarks on the 
articulation of F will therefore equally apply to V. V is liable, however, to an- 
other kind of mispronunciation in the absence or but partial presence of voice. 
The clear vocality of the voice articulations is a source of much beauty in speech : 
and the vocal vibration should not subside until the disjunctive action which com- 
pletes the articulation is made. All vocal articulations are more or less capable 
of Inflexion the continuous formations especially so, and much of the effect of 
an expressive voice lies in the varied intonation of these elements. 

Londoners often pronounce w instead of v, and, with strange perversity, v 
instead of w. Thus we hear wessel for vessel, and voter for water; werry veil 
for very well, etc. ; but of course only or mainly among the uneducated. 

Rapid alternations of W and V are organically so difficult not to Stam- 
merers only that they form a useful exercise to bring the lips under control. 

va wa wa va va wa va wa va wa 

As a general exercise on the Labial Articulations, the following arrangement 
of the Three Modes of action will be useful. Reiterate the combinations rapidly. 


wa ba va va ba wa ba va wa 

wiv bib wib viv biv wiv 

V initial combines only with y, as in view. Vr is a peculiar French combina- 
tion, as in Vraie. 


vain van vast vault veal iveer. veil 

fain fan fast fault feel fear fail 

very vetch view vile vine voiced vase 

ferry fetch few file fine foist phase 

five rive save serve wave wive 

fife rife safe serf waif wife 


Immovable, movement, thieve, throve, valuable, vamp, vapid, velvet, verb, verify, viper, 
vivid, vivification, vivify, vociferate, voluble, volume, vomit, votive, wove. 


TH as in thin. 

This articulation is that which gives the most forward action to the tongue, 
the front edge of which rests equally and lightly against the inner surface or edge 
of the upper teeth, while the breath escapes over the sides of the fore-part of the 
tongue. The breath must not be obstructed, or a thick and indistinct T will be 
produced. The necessary mechanism of Th is simply obstruction of the breath 
by the tip of the tongue, and a lateral passage for the breath (on one side or both 
sides) over the fore-part of the tongue. The tongue may lie either between the 
teeth, on the upper teeth, on the gum, or even on the rim of the palatal arch ; 
and the sound of Th will be produced if the issue of the breath be in the way 

The second of these is the proper formation, as it is that which most readily 
combines with other lingual movements. The first formation, namely, the plac- 
ing of the tongue between the teeth, is a very common mode of untutored articu- 
lation ; and frequently the "unruly member" is fulsomely protruded, as if lapping 
the air. School-boys have a way, often a painful one, of curing this vice, by 
striking the chin upwards, and making the teeth bite the obtrusive member. Yet 
the number of speakers who continue thus to thrust their tongues into unnecessary 
observation, shows that the biting specific is either not very generally adopted, or 
not of permanent efficacy ; and the adult organ often rolls in luxurious ease upon 
the dental pillows, and stretches itself out even to the softer lip, as if rejoicing in 
full-grown security from the terrors of "chin-whack." 

Another faulty formation of Th consists in a movement of the lower lip 
inwards to meet the tongue. This gives so much of the character of F to the 
articulation, that it is often difficult to know which is the letter intended. F and 
Th are mechanically much alike. The action of the lip for F is precisely analogous 
to that of the tongue for Th. Both organs partially obstruct the breath by central 
contact with the teeth ; and the breath is in both cases emitted through lateral 
interstices. The following Exercise on the actions of F and Th will give clis- 
tinctiveness to these elements. 

Pronounce not the name, but- the articulate sound of the letters F and Th, 
without an intervening vowel. Dwell for some seconds on the F, keeping the 
whole range of the upper teeth in sight, then quickly. disengage the lip, and place 
the tongue in the position for th, resting in this position with both ranges of teeth 
in sight for a few seconds ; then withdraw the tongue energetically, and assume 
the position for F, as before : and so on alternately, till the actions can be reiterated 
with rapidity. 


f-th-f-th-f-th-f-th-f-th-f-th, etc. 
fatha fathafa fith tha f a tha fatha thif 

Th is sometimes sounded instead of s: this constitutes one form of the defect 
called Lisping. Combinations of th and s present an articulative difficulty which 
should be mastered by careful practice. (See S.) 

A voiceless L is a common substitute for Th among children ; and even older 
tongues will sometimes be found to utter the cacophony. Nothing can be more 
simple than the cause of this error, and the means of its correction. 

Th is not heard in French or German: the digraph is written, but it is pro- 
nounced t. Foreigners generally have so great a difficulty in articulating the 
English Th, that it is a rare thing to find one of them so far naturalized to the 
English tongue as to be capable of uttering this shibboleth. The difficulty arises 
only from ipnnrflnr* O f rtir mtnrr nf tlir formation : just as the Englishman's diffi- 



culty in giving the Gallic effect to the French semi-nasal elements is the result of 
a want of knowledge of the true mechanism of these sounds. A clear under- 
standing of the formation of the peculiar elements would make their easy pro- 
duction the work of half an hour's practice. 

To the Stammerer Th presents another source of impediment besides those 
already noticed. This lies in the action of the tongue. The heavy conjunctive 
force of the articulative action, impels the tongue with unmanageable pressure 
against the teeth, till it is either protruded from the mouth, or rolled up behind 
the lower teeth, so as to occasion a complete blockade. The mere occlusion of 
the mouth would not necessarily lead to difficulty, for many of the articulations 
are perfectly obstructive ; but continued pressure creates impediment. The organs 
must in all cases start off from their articulating positions with lightness and 
rapidity. The tongue in forming Th, for instance, takes its articulative position 
against the teeth, as above described ; but the articulative action without which 
the element is incomplete is a smart recoil of the tongue, so as perfectly to 
separate it from the teeth. 

It is an important general principle of lingual articulation, that the point of 
the tongue should always be directed upwards, or at least horizontally. It should 
never touch the lower teeth, and it should never descend into the lower jaw. In 
practising the recoil from the various articulating positions to lighten a heavy 
lingual action, the movements should be carefully watched before a glass ; and if 
the string of the tongue (the frsenum) be always kept in sight, the protrusive and 
downward habits of impeding action will soon be subdued. The muscular power 
of the tongue may be so greatly increased by exercise, and brought under the 
control of the will, that in a mechanical sense the lingual organ certainly cannot 
be called an "unruly member." We have often in a few days drilled into activity 
and precision of action, a tongue which formerly lay lumpish and inert in the 
mouth; and the apparent bulk of the tongue has been so reduced by the exercise, 
that, instead of being, or seeming to be, too large for the mouth, it has learned to 
stow itself within the ample cavity, almost out of sight. Very rarely does the 
heaviest and hughest looking tongue need more than such a drilling to give it 
nimbleness and tapering elegance. 

When the formation of Th is from any cause imperfect, let the following 
practice be pursued. Place the tongue carefully in the articulating position, and 
continue it steadily there for some seconds: then quickly withdraw it, by one 
action, as far back and down in the mouth as possible, with its under surface kept 
in sight. The finger may be placed at the angle of the neck and chin, and the 
descent of the tongue should be distinctly felt. In a short time, lingual power 
will be so developed, that not only Th, but all the elements produced by the agency 
of the tongue, will be greatly improved. 

Th, though a double character, is a simple articulation, and should be repre- 
sented by a single letter in the alphabet. H, the sign of aspiration, is added to P, 
to represent a continuous formation by the lips, viz. F; and it is on the same 
principle added to T and S, to represent continuous formations by the tongue, viz. 
Th and 57*. In some languages, we find other combinations with h; in Gaelic, 
for instance, Bh and M h, which sound V ; but Mh has this peculiarity, that it gives 
a nasal effect to the adjoining vowel. 

The vowels exhibit a tendency to prolongation when before Th; for the 
articulation being continuous, and its seat far advanced in the mouth, the vowels 
cannot be so readily stopped by it as by obstructive and posterior formations. 
The words path, bath, etc., illustrate this tendency. 

Th initial unites in English with w, r, and y, as in thwart, throne, thews. It 
blends with no initial articulation. 



death thought loth oath ruth 

deaf fought loaf oaf roof 

sheath thew thief thigh thill 

sheaf few fief fie fill 

thin thirst threat three thrill 

fin first fret free frill 


Fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, twelfth, breadth, depth, length, width, faithful, healthful, 
plinth, thirtieth, thistle, thoroughfare, thrift, thwart, truthful. 

TH as in then. 

This is the same articulation as the preceding, but with the addition of voice 
during its formation. There is no distinction made in our Orthography of these 
elements, but the difference between the sounds is the same as between F and V, 
P and B, etc. Thus not only is our alphabet deficient of simple characters to rep- 
resent this and the preceding element, but we confound the two sounds by using 
for both the same digraph. To be consistent, we should write this sound Dh. 

Our remarks on the formation of Th (breath), and on the difficulties and 
peculiarities of its articulation, equally apply to the vocal Th; and the exercises 
recommended for the former will, with voice added, be equally effective for the 
correction of faults in the latter. In forming this element the voice should be 
clear and flexible; though, from the interstitial nature of the apertures through 
which the breath passes, a degree of hissing will at the same time be heard. The 
retraction of the tongue which finishes the articulation should not be followed by 
any sound of voice. This is an important general principle of articulation; for, 
if a vocal sound escape after the articulating organs are disjoined, it must evi- 
dently be a vowel; and this addition, by no means uncommon, gives a drawling, 
"humming and hawing effect" to speech, which is most disagreeable to the listener. 

Custom has vocalized the th in the plural of a few words which have the 
breath th in the singular : as in path paths, oath oaths, mouth mouths, bath 
baths, lath laths. The reason of this change does not seem very obvious ; for it 
is just as easy to pronounce ths in these cases as thz. A similar change, however, 
takes place in F, which is vocalized from calf to calves, loaf to loaves, etc. The 
analogy between the mechanisms of F and Th (already explained, page 101), may 
account for these elements being thus correspondingly influenced. 


clothes lathe lithe nether oaths than 

close lave live (adj.) never owes van 

that thine thou withe withes writhe 

vat vine vow wive wise rive 


Blithely, gathereth, litheness, loatheth, loathsome, mouths, paths, sheatheth, soothest, 
therewith, thither, wreaths. 

The peculiar mechanism requisite to produce the clear hissing sound heard in 
this letter, is a single and very contracted aperture for the emission of the breath 
over the centre of the fore-part (not the tip) of the tongue, when, without much 
elevation from the bed of the lower jaw, it is closely approximated to the upper 


gum. The tongue is otherwise in contact with the teeth and gum, so as to obstruct 
the breath at all parts but the point, which is sufficiently squared to prevent its 
touching the front teeth. The slightest projection of the tip brings it against the 
teeth, and, by partially intercepting the breath at that point, modifies the sound 
into that of th; and the least retraction of the tongue from the precise point of 
the true formation, causes the middle of the tongue to ascend towards the arch of 
the palate, and modifies the current of breath into the sound of sh. No element 
of speech is so often and so variously faulty as S, and yet there is rarely much 
trouble required to correct its irregularities. Among the most common imperfec- 
tions of this sound, we may note four leading varieties. 

The first is caused by contact of the tongue with the teeth, or its projection 
between the teeth. This produces the sound of Th. Some people reckon this a 
fascinating charm, especially in maiden mouths, a mark of guileless innocence 
and simplicity; because, forsooth, the "thame thweet thort of thound" is often 
heard in the innocent prattle of childhood. There can be but one opinion as to its 
puerility; it is therefore an unbecoming habit in those who have outgrown the 
years of childishness. 

Another form of defective S arises from the Hat expansion of the tongue 
over the lower teeth. This is a lazy-looking and peculiarly unprepossessing fault. 
It is too much allied to the aspect of imbecility to be tolerable from any other 

In a third form, the point of the tongue is depressed behind the lower teeth, 
and the breath hisses between the elevated middle of the tongue and the palate. 
In this case, the teeth are too much apart to allow of sufficient sharpness in the 
sound ; and the lower lip is frequently employed to direct the stream into a nar- 
rower channel, by rising towards the upper teeth. By these means a very close 
resemblance to the sound of S is produced ; and if we could not see its mechanism, 
we might pass it without notice, but it is so conspicuously deforming to the mouth, 
that we are glad to turn our eyes from the speaker's face. These defects are 
commonly called, indiscriminately, by the general name of LISPING. 

Another cacophonic substitution for S is a hissing over the sides of the back 
of the tongue, like the breath form of L, which is heard in Welsh, and represented 
in that language by LI. This is a cluttering disagreeable sound ; and it is gener- 
ally accompanied by other faults of lingual action. The inarticulate confusion of 
speech which results is commonly called "thickness." 

With reference to the method of correcting these and other imperfections, 
we would be less careful to point out the exact cause of the defect, than to illus- 
trate the true mechanism of the sound which is defective ; and, by exercises on 
analogous and kindred formations, to induce the organs to fall into the unaccus- 
tomed position, unconsciously and unexpectedly on the part of the pupil. In this 
way, the association between the letter and the malformation is most readily 
broken, and the new form of articulation fixed into a habit. 

The analogy between the articulative actions of R and S is generally of much 
service in leading the tongue to the position for the latter element. A whispered 
R may be modified into S, by bringing the teeth as close as possible without actual 
contact, and depressing the tip of the tongue to a horizontal position, during the 
flow of the breath. Sometimes mechanical assistance facilitates the acquisition of 
the S ; a paper cutter held between the teeth furnishes a convenient ledge on 
which the point of the tongue may lie until it acquires the power of adjusting 
itself to the required shape. 

We have hitherto described only the articulating position of S, but the ele- 
ment is not finished without the retraction of the tongue from that position. The 
energetic practice of this part of the articulation will greatly tend to give ease and 


rapidity in executing the S, and in managing the tongue in the- various evolutions 
of speech. 

Another improving exercise consists in stopping the hissing sound of S, by 
repeated appulses of the tongue against the palate, producing the combination 
st-st-st, etc. The action of the tongue from S to T should be backwards and up- 
wards: a common heaviness of speech arises from striking the tongue forward 
to the gum or teeth, or from simply pressing it upward, without a change of posi- 
tion. In the combination st (and sts, which the quick reiteration of st produces 
also) there are few persons who exhibit distinctness and lightness of articulation. 
A little careful practice will give facility to all who desire that their speech shall 
be something more than a ''mere brute instinct, by which," as Dr. Rush remarks, 
"some persons only bleat, bark, bray, whinny, and mew, a little better than 

St is common in English, both as final and as an initial combination. Such 
awkward clusters of consonants as in the following words are of frequent occur- 
rence: fits and starts, tastes and distastes, states, statists, statistics. 

Similar combinations of S with P and K are likewise very common ; but they 
do not present so great a difficulty as the preceding, because the obstructive ele- 
ments are produced by the action of a different part of the mouth from that which 
forms the S. 


ast sta ast stast 

asp spa asp spasp 

ask ska ask skask 

S and Th present an articulative difficulty when they meet without an inter- 
vening vowel. The action of the tongue from one to the other of these elements 
is exceedingly limited but it must be firm and decided, to render the combina- 
tion distinct. The change from the position of S to that of Th, consists in taper- 
ing and advancing the tip of the tongue. The ivhole tongue must not be pushed 
continuously forward, but the mere tip should just touch the teeth as high as 
possible. Let the student endeavour to produce a long series of these elements 

s-th-s-th-s-th-s-th-s-th-s-th-s-th, etc. 

Syllables containing S and Th alternately initial, should also be practised. 
The difficulty they present, renders them well worthy of the student's care : for in 
overcoming this difficulty a great degree of organic power is gained, which must 
produce a beneficial effect upon articulation generally. 


ace tha as thas tha sa tha sa tha thith sis 

aith sa ath sath sa tha sa tha sa sis thith 

When S final comes before S initial, as in "The Alps .sublime," the neat 
articulation of the double consonant requires a little art. 

The difficulty of doubling articulative actions without awkward hiatus has 
led many Elocutionists to advise the omission of one of the elements in such com- 
binations. Whoever could rest satisfied with saying "the Ethiopian's kin and the 
leopard's pots," when he meant "the Ethiopian's skin and the leopard's spots," 
may follow the tasteless counsel ; but we trust all others will rather spend an hour 
in drilling the organs into lightness of action, or else be distinct, even at the 
expense of hiatus. 


S is an extremely difficult articulation to Stammerers. In general, they have 
no difficulty in producing the hissing sound ; they can take the articulative position, 
but they cannot add to that the necessary action to finish the element, and connect 
it with the succeeding vowel. The hissing is thus continued till the lungs are 
almost exhausted. The fault here lies mainly with the glottis, which, in a non- 
vibrating position for the S, will not take the vocalizing posture for the succeed- 
ing vowel with sufficient readiness; and the chest aggravates the impediment by 
bearing down heavily "upon the lungs, while probably the ungovernable jaw adds 
its share also to the difficulty. General practice on the actions of the various 
organs implicated in the defect, furnishes the only sure ground of cure. When 
the power of governing these has been in some degree acquired, exercises on the 
special articulations will be of service ; but until the chest and glottis the pro- 
ducing organs are brought under voluntary control, it will be of little use to 
practise the merely modifying actions of articulation. 

The English language has been called the "hissing tongue," as if, more than 
its neighbour languages, it abounded with this serpent sound. The removal of S 
from some of our combinations might certainly add to the euphony of our speech ; 
but a comparison either of letters or sounds with the French, Italian, and Spanish 
languages, will show that the English is far from having the unenvied distinction. 
We have taken the trouble to compare some passages of equal length in these four 
languages, to ascertain the number of the hissing lements S and Z, actually pro- 
nounced in them, and the following is the result. In a French, Spanish, and 
English translation of the same passage there were found to be in French, 60, 
in the English, 65, and in the Spanish, no of these sibilants actually sounded. 
In the French paragraph there were 93 sibilant letters, while in the English one, 
there were only 77. 

Still further to test this, we took a passage in Italian, containing the same 
number of words as in the Spanish portion, and found, even in this smooth eu- 
phonic tongue, a preponderance of 5 of these sibilants over the n'umber contained, 
in our decried English : which is thus proved to be "more hissed at than hissing !" 

S initial combines with P, T, K, F, M, N, L, W, Y, as in sport, store, scope, 
sketch, square, sphere, smile, snow, slow, swear, sue. The combination sy as in 
sue, suit, etc., is difficult to unaccustomed organs, which are apt to substitute soo, 
soot, etc., or shoo, shoot, etc., for the more elegant and the correct pronunciation 
syoo, syoot, etc. S enters into combination with no initial articulation in English 
utterance. In such words as psalm, psychology, etc., the p is therefore silent. 


cess erse face force gas kiss lease 

saith earth faith forth Gath kith Leith 

looser moss mouse pass race souse 

Luther moth mouth path wraith south 


Assassins, assesses, asks, asps, assists, busts, ceases, costs, cystus, desks, discuss, feasts, 
fifths, necessaries, necessitous, sashes, sassafras, sauces, saucers, see-saw, scissors, Scotch, 
scratches, seethe, seize, sessile, sixths, sloth, snatches, sneeze, sources, sphinx, splash, squash, 
statics, statist, statistics, statutes, success, such, sues, suicide, suscitate, system. 


This element unites a vocal sound with the hissing of S. The articulative 
position and action of Z are in every respect the same as those of S. Both letters 
are consequently liable to the same kind of defects, in lisping, etc.; and the exer- 
cises prescribed for S, will, with voice added, be equally effective in perfecting Z. 




tha za tha 
za tha za 


za tha va 
za va tha 

tha va za 
tha za va 

va za tha 
va tha za 

Z is generally less difficult to the Stammerer than S, on account of the vocal 
sound in the articulation which renders its junction with a following vowel com- 
paratively easy. But the buzzing sound of Z is apt to be feeble and intermittent, 
and in this case all the difficulty of S will be experienced. Glottal power must 
first be acquired in the formation of clear and firm vocality, and the chest re- 
strained from undue pressure -in expiration. The tongue will soon be trained to 
finish the articulation with lightness and without interrupting the voice, if the 
principles of lingual action be clearly understood and carefully applied. 

The letter S has the sound of Z after all voice articulations, except (in a few 
words) m, n, I, and r, as in temse, tense, else, hearse, etc. S between vowels also 
is very generally pronounced Z, as in visit, reason, etc. 

Z" initial combines only with Y, as in zeugma. It joins with no initial articula- 


abuse (v.) 

abuse (n.) 









sows (n.) 














house (v.) 


house (n.) 














diffuse (v.) 

doze ' 

diffuse (adj.) 


grease (v.) 


grease (n.) 












close (v.) 

close (adj.) 










Jesuit, schism, spasms, xyst, zest, zeugma, zigzag. 


This element is produced when the breath is directed over the upturned tip 
of the tongue, so as to cause some degree of lingual vibration. In order to effect 
this, the breath must be obstructed at all other points, that the force of the stream 
may be concentrated on the tip ; and the tongue must be held loosely, to enable it 
to vibrate readily. The vibration may be produced in every degree from the soft 
tremor of the English R, which merely vibrates the edge of the tongue, to the 
harsh rolling of the Spanish Rr, which shakes the whole organ. The trilled or 
strongly vibrated R is never used in English ; but there are various degrees of 
vibration which characterize the English R in different situations. 

Between vowels, as in merit, the R is strongest, but it has only a momentary 
tremor ; for articulations between vowels are always short in English. R is never, 
like n or /, prolonged when two articulations meet in a compound word ; (as in 
meanness, foully, etc.;) the reason is, that R final is differently formed from R 
initial, and both letters have their regular formation in this position ; as in wi-re- 
wr ought, rear-rank, etc. R initial has the articulative vibration, but only of the 
edge of the tongue. 

When the tongue is raised just enough to mould the passing stream of air 
but not yield to it, we have the condition for the final R. The aperture for the 
emission of the voice is so free that the vowel quality of the sound is scarcely, 


if at all, affected. When the succeeding word, however, begins with a vowel, 
the final r has generally the effect of medial r, to avoid hiatus as in her own, or 
else, etc. 

A description of the Final r (the 8th vowel) will be found on page Si. 

No letter is more frequently faulty than R. The extremes of error are to 
throw the articulation back to the uvula, or forward to the lips; but these are 
found in all degrees of modification and combination. The sound of the former 
R, when roughly executed, as we often hear it, is like the snarling of a cur: 
the latter formation produces the effect of W with which more or less of the 
guttural modification is generally combined. 

The uvular vibration constitutes what is called burring, a fault almost uni- 
versal in some of the northern divisions of England. Ask a person who burrs to 
open his mouth, and you will see the little uvula dancing and leaping in the chan- 
nel of the tongue. To cure this fault, the first care must be to keep this restless 
little organ out of the way. There would be but little difficulty in getting suffi- 
cient vibration of the point of the tongue from a few very simple exercises ; but 
we should still have the guttural effect remaining. The Burrer should therefore 
exercise himself in separating the uvula and soft palate from the tongue as far as 
possible. After a little practise, he will generally be able to do this so effectually, 
that the uvula will shrink to a point, and the soft palate will form but one arch 
instead of two.* When he can retain the organs in this position at will, let him 
commence his practice to acquire the new articulation, by very gradually raising 
the point of the tongue, during the prolonged utterance of the open vowels ah 
and aw, till it comes upon the palate obstructively, and so forms the letter D. If 
the under jaw be kept still, it will be almost impossible to carry the tongue slowly 
upwards without sounding an R during the progress of the tongue to the palate. 
The tongue should then be stopped at an intermediate elevation, while the voice 
is continued, and the teeth and lips are kept perfectly motionless. When some 
power of action in the tongue has been thus acquired, strike it upwards quickly 
and repeatedly during the flow of voice ; and, probably, a very tolerable R will be 
at once produced. Further improvement will then be gained by the following 
exercise. Sound Z with the edge of an ivory paper-cutter between the teeth ; and, 
during the continuance of the sound, gradually open the teeth till they admit the 
breadth of the paper-cutter between them. The effort to continue something like 
the buzzing sound of Z, while the teeth come apart, will draw the point of the 
tongue backwards and upwards almost to the position for R initial ; and the sound 
thus produced may at once be used as initial R in practising words beginning with 
that letter. At first it may sometimes be necessary to give the subsequent vowel a 
separate commencement, by a momentary pause after the R, thus, r-each, r-ide, 
etc., to prevent the possibility of habit foisting in a little of the old guttural vibra- 
tion between the new R and the vowel. Fluency of connexion will very soon be 
gained, and the roughest Burr may be, by these means, perfectly cured. 

R is a very harsh letter in the mouth of a Scotchman. This forms one of 
the points by which a Northern utterance is most readily detected in England; 
for few Scotchmen get over their vernacular habits in forming this letter. Yet 
there is no reason why they should not. If the true formation of the English R 
be understood, and the difference between it and the Scottish R clearly appre- 
hended, any one may soften a rough R almost at the first effort. There is not the 
slightest difficulty when the principle of formation is known. 

There is a difficulty, however, to unaccustomed organs, in producing a rolling 
or vibrated R. Many persons cannot, from want of lingual power, attain it. If 
the tongue is too much tied to the bed of the jaw, burring will arise from the 

* See the back part of the Mouth. 


effort to make the rough R ; and a labial modification of sound, something like w, 
will be produced by the attempt at the smoother sound. This latter peculiarity 
would almost appear to be cultivated among affected English speakers : it is too 
common to be accidental. "The wuffness of the anwdinawy awh/' these sonorous 
reformers seem to say, "wendews its ewadication fwom wefined uttezvance desiw- 
able and weally necessawy." 

An easy method of developing vibratory power on the point of the tongue, 
is to repeat, with open mouth, and with the utmost softness and rapidity, articula- 
tions of the letter D. Thus, de-de-de-de-de-de-de, etc. ; or, idididididid , etc. 

R is difficult often peculiarly so to the Stammerer. The breath pours out 
from the open channel with destructive impetuosity, and the waste of the material 
of speech induces a series of efforts in head, and chest, and limbs, to supply the 
place of the ungovernable agents of utterance. When the Stammerer has brought 
the valve of the throat the glottis under due control, he will have but little 
difficulty in restraining the pressure of the chest, and completely obviating all the 
distressing distortion of the impediment. He must carefully study the mechanism 
of R, and enounce the sound, if necessary, separately at first, to break the asso- 
ciation between it and the stammering paroxysm. A little practice will render 
this expedient unnecessary, and enable him to effect its combination with fluency. 

R final is, we have said, so purely vocal, that it can hardly be reckoned an 
articulation. The student, desirous of acquiring the smooth pronunciation of this 
English element, should practise words terminating in r, re, or er, giving to the r, 
etc., the vowel sound of i in sir. Let him at first sit before a glass, and, while he 
sounds this vowel, observe that the tongue rises very gently ; but not so much as 
to create a hissing of the breath, or vibration of the tongue. If the vowel ah be 
sounded for r final with an observed elevation of the point of the tongue, the 
English element will be very speedily perfected. Uneducated Cockneys pro- 
nounce ah, without this lingual elevation, and say sah for sir, heah for hear, etc. 

An English peculiarity not confined to Cockneys, or to the uneducated, is the 
insertion of an R between vowels. Thus, when one word ends and the next 
begins with the open vowels 6 or 7, the tongue strikes glibly up on the palate, and 
gracelessly obviates hiatus, by interposing an r. "Is papa r at home?" . ."What 
an idea r it is!" This obtrusion is only heard after these open vowels; the 
formative apertures of which are but little different from the aperture of the 
English r (8). Thus we never hear "Go r away" "I see r it now," because the 
final vowel in the first word does not leave the tongue in a position for the easy 
formation of R, which is never pronounced without the open vowel effect (No. 8) 
after long vowels. This interpolation of R is one of the most inveterate of all 
habits of speech. The only cure is to finish the first vowel by a momentary occlu- 
sion of the glottis ; and thus give the subsequent vowel a separate commencement. 
Children may easily be prevented from falling into this habit. Prevention is 
better than cure. 

R and L, are very liable to be confounded when they occur in proximate 
syllables. The vocal aperture for the former is over the point of the tongue, and 
for the latter over the sides of the back part of the tongue ; and there is a diffi- 
culty in passing quickly from one to the other of these positions : thus in the sen- 
tence, "Little Richard wrote a letter; look at the letter little Richard wrote" or 
in the quick reiteration of "a lump of raw red liver" etc., few persons will avoid 
some confusion of the R and L. A similar difficulty presents itself in such words 
as literally, literary, literarily, etc. 

On all such organic difficulties highly useful exercises may be arranged. The 
following will be found beneficial in giving power and precision of action to the 



ra la la ra ra la ra la ra la ra la la ra la ra ra la 

ril rin ril nil rin lin 

R initial receives no articulation in combination with it in English. In French 
we find rw, as in roi, roideur, etc. 

R unites with the initial articulations P, B, F, Th, Sh, T, D, K, G, as in 
pretty, bride, freeze, three, shrink, try, dry, crime, grief. 

W seems to have been at one time sounded before R; it is still written, and 
in Scotland we frequently hear it pronounced by old people in such words as 
wretch, wrong, write, wright, etc. It has been noticed that w is often sounded 
instead of R as in affectation. 


Aerial, airily, auroral, crural, drollery, granary, honorary, horary, laurel, literally, literary, 
literarily, lyrical, orrery, plural, prurient, raillery, rarity, real, recklessly, regally, regularly, 
reiterate, re-resolve, revelry, roarer, roller, rookery, ruler, rural, sorrily, stroller, truly, 
verily, warrior, warily. 

This is the most clearly sonorous of all the articulations. It is formed by an 
uninterrupted current of pure voice, flowing over the sides of the back of the 
tongue and little if at all affected by vibrations of the apertures through which 
the sound passes. The fore-part of the tongue is in contact with the rim of the 
palatal arch, and laterally with the teeth. This is the articulating position of L, 
and were there no subsequent action necessary to complete the element, L would 
be simply a vowel. But the oral aperture is changed by the removal of the fore- 
part of the tongue ; and this action constitutes the letter an articulation. The nasal 
elements, as elsewhere noticed, (see N) have a similar vowel-vocality ; with 
them as with L, it is the removal of the apposed organs which constitutes the 
letters Articulations. This accounts for the syllabic function which these elements 
perform in such words as saddle, kettle, mutton, sadden, etc., where / and n with- 
out any vowel sounded, form distinct syllables. 

The formation of L is very often faulty sometimes from the apertures 
through which the voice flows, being contracted so as to cause a degree of vibra- 
tion on the sides of the tongue; sometimes from the breath not being perfectly 
intercepted by the point of the tongue; sometimes from the tongue being too 
thickly pointed and not sufficiently spread out in front so that the breath escapes 
too far forward, and by too elongated openings ; often from the tongue habitually 
taking the unfavourable position of turning its tip downwards to the bed of the 
jaw, thus causing the rounded back of the tongue to rise into the palatal arch 
and depriving the articulation of the clear, sharp, and percussive effect of the 
removal of the obstructing fore-part of the tongue ; sometimes from rounding 
the lips either with or without the lingual action so as to modify the voice 
almost into oo, or W ; as "the wady is weh-oo," (the lady is well;} and, in not 
a few cases, from making the articulative position perfectly obstructive, and pass- 
ing the sound through the nose with the effect of ng, or a modification of nasal 
quality, between that of ng and n. These and other minor diversities of mal- 
formation of this most mellifluous element, are remarkably common. 

A Scotch peculiarity consists in prefixing a vowel sound, nearly that of u 
(9) to L ; the / being thus made to sound almost like ul in ultimate. This is not 
heard when L is initial, but when a vowel precedes the /, as in ale, sell, etc., 
pronounced a-ul, seh-ul, etc. When L should make a separate syllable, as in 


mettle, etc., the same sort of sound is frequently heard. There is a greater ten- 
dency to this fault when L follows the close, than when it follows the open vowels. 
There is indeed an organic preference for the interposition of some open vowel 
between e (i) and I, arising from the difficulty of shifting the tongue rapidly from 
its lumpish position at ee to the very different expanded attitude of L ; as in feel, 
Held, etc. The incombinable nature of these formations is seen also in the want 
of fluency in the junction of L with the y of u (=yoo). When L and u occur 
in one syllable the tongue would fain pass over the y, and pronounce lure and 
lute simply loor and loot; but polite usage forbids this, yet authorizes a com- 
promise of the difficulty ; and, instead of requiring both articulations to have their 
full formation by the removal of the point of the tongue between them, allows the 
tongue to remain on the palate, while the middle of the tongue rises towards the 
v position. The / before u is thus articulated by the middle instead of the point 
of the tongue, and a softened effect of Y is produced as the succeeding vowel 
opens from the described position. This half-formed Y is represented in some 
pronouncing dictionaries by an apostrophe: thus, to represent the sound of the 
words lure and lute, the notation in Smart's excellent Dictionary, is Voor, I'oot, etc. 
When the / and y are not in the same syllable as in value, volume, etc. both 
elements have their full articulation. 

To perfect the mechanism of L, let the student adopt the various means of 
practice subjoined, and, whatever the nature of his mal-articulation, it will very 
speedily be removed. 

Adjust the mouth carefully to the position for L, the tongue spread out, 
elevated to the edge of the palatal arch, and lying closely against it, the lips 
draivn back and perfectly separated at the corners, so as to permit the sound to 
pass out uninfluenced by the lips. Let the arrangement of the tongue against the 
palate in front (by no means touching the front teeth) and latterly against the 
inside of the teeth, be perfectly obstructive. Produce as clear a vocal sound as 
possible, its vowel quality will be something like the French u and continue it 
for some time with the articulating organs perfectly steady; then, by a rapid 
backward action of the whole tongue, modify the sound to that of the vowel aw. 
Repeat this with increasing rapidity, till the syllables produced are shortened to 
lollollolloll, etc. In the same way, proceed with the other vowels till the forma- 
tion of L with all the vowels is perfected. Then take the combinations, Im, In, Ir, 
Ig, Ib, Iv, Iz, Id, ly, and practise them with vowels before and after them, at first 
prolonging the L for some seconds, to be assured of its correct formation and 
pure vocality, and gradually giving it the natural duration. The tongue must not 
leave its position for L, till the instant of formation of the succeeding element. 
Many persons are unable to produce L in combination with M, as in elm, helm, 
etc., without interposing a vowel. There is no difficulty in the combination when 
the mechanism of the sounds is clearly understood. 

L is so short before the Breath Articulations, that its prolongation, as in the 
previous exercise, would be unnatural and a useless means of practise. Let the 
student form L in the following combinations, by striking the tongue instanta- 
neouly to its position, stopping the sound at the instant of contact, but retaining 
the tongue silently for some seconds in its place, before proceeding to the next 
articulation, which must be formed without any intervention of sound or breath- 
ing, thus : 

al p al f al th al s al sh al t al k, etc. 

L final should be separately practised. After the long vowels, let it be quickly 
articulated, eel, all, arl, url, awl, oal, 661, and after the short vowels, let it be 
a little more prolonged al, ell, ill, 611, ul. But in every instance it must be defi- 
nitely finished by the removal of the tongue from the palate. 


L, like the nasal liquid N, is a very difficult letter to the Stammerer. The 
exercises above prescribed will be found sufficient to perfect this articulation, 
when, by a preliminary course of practise, the fundamental processes of speech 
have been mastered. When the stammerer can govern the chest and glottis, and 
keep the tongue and jaw steady during the continuous flow of the vocality of I, he 
may safely proceed to these exercises ; but we must here again remark, that it 
will be hopeless to attempt to correct any individual fault, till the organs and 
processes employed by the defective element have been first brought under per- 
fect control. 

L, like N, is most difficult with the close lingual vowels. Such words as little, 
lily, literal, etc., are severe stumbling blocks : the narrow scope for action which 
the vowel allows, the abruptness of the vowel, and the subsequent articulation 
requiring the same organs as the I, so disincline the tongue to exertion, that it 
remains glued to the palate ; while the glottis, uselessly outpouring breath and 
broken murmurs, vainly endeavours to proceed without the tongue ; till the lungs 
are exhausted, and the effort of inspiration probably disengages the fettered organ. 
The Stammerer must proceed cautiously in his practise, and act on the preventive 
as much as he can ; for it is a work of almost unmanageable difficulty to break the 
connexion between the spasmodic actions of impediment when they once get a 

Repetitions of the same Mode of action by different organs, or of different 
Modes of action by the same organs the latter especially are difficult of articu- 
lation; and form, therefore, excellent exercises. Combinations of L, R, and N, 
present difficulties of the latter class, which will be found under the letters R 

L initial receives no articulation in combination with it. The softened effect 
of y, heard in lunacy, lute, lewd, etc., has been already noticed ; but this results 
rather from a modified formation of the L itself than from a combination of / 
and y. 

L unites with the initial articulations P, B, F, S, K, G, as in play, blame, 
name, slave, class, glass. 


Blithely, boldly, eel-like, falsely, film, foully, guiltlessly, hollowly, holily, ill-looking, 
jollily, ladle, lallation, latterly, lawlessly, lethal, lewdly, lilac, lily, linnet, listlessly, literature, 
lithic, little, lithely, lolling, lonely, lowly, loyally, lucklessly, ludicrously, lullaby, luridly, lyric, 
palely, palaeology, philology, realm, senselessly, sillily, slowly, soliloquy, soulless, stealthily, 
teleology, ululate, wilily, worldly. 


Previous remarks (pages 30-35) will have sufficiently explained the nature 
of the Obstructive Formations, of which this is one. We may therefore confine 
our observations here to the mechanism and individual characteristics of the 
articulation T, referring to the above-noted pages for information regarding the 
general principle of obstructive articulation. In forming T, the edge of the whole 
tongue is laid against the front and sides of the mouth, so as perfectly to obstruct 
the breath. While the tongue is in this position, there must be a continued pres- 
sure of breath against it; and wherever an aperture is made by the removal of 
any part of the obstructing edge, the confined breath will be emitted with a degree 
of explosiveness more or less strong, in proportion to the degree of its previous 
compression behind the tongue, and also in proportion to the abruptness with 
which the aperture is made. Among the numerous defects of speech which come 
under the notice of one engaged in the work of correcting mal-articulations, the 


breath will be found to escape from the obstructive position T, through apertures 
of every possible variety, both of position, shape, and size. Sometimes from the 
very back part of the mouth, with a cluttering sound, it will issue through aper- 
tures over one or both sides of the tongue ; sometimes through lateral apertures 
at all anterior points; and correctly, through one front central aperture, by the 
complete disengagement of the tongue from the palate. Another mode of emitting 
the compressed breath from the articulative position T, is by the nares or nos- 
trils, a faulty mechanism more common than perhaps most persons are aware of. 
The correct articulative action is, we have said, the removal of the whole tongue 
from the palate. Let the student practise this action by articulating the following 
syllables in rapid reiteration, till he can perfectly disengage the tongue with con- 
siderable force and abruptness : 

ate, etc, ite, ote, oot : at, et, it, ot, tit. 

Such must always be the mechanism of T, initial or final: but when the 
liquids / or n follow T in the same word, the lateral explosion before I, and the 
nasal emission before n, are not only admissible, but they are the regular and 
necessary modes of finishing T in such cases. Thus in fitly, and fitness, etc. ; 
battle, nettle, little, etc., and batten, bitten, button, etc. ; the point of the tongue is 
kept in contact with the front of the palate, in forming the tl; and the whole 
tongue is retained in its obstructive position during the utterance of the tn. The 
reason of this will be evident after a moment's reflection on the formative actions 
of / and n: it will be found to be impossible to articulate T independently of these 
actions, with sufficient fluency for consecutive syllables of one word. The same 
combinations, however, in proximate words, must not be articulated thus by one 
action, unless in common colloquial phrases. Correct reading requires the final 
element of every word to be finished independently of the letter which may begin 
the next word. The student should therefore practise the articulations t I and t n 
in this separate way till he can produce them lightly and clearly without coales- 

ate nay at nal ate lay at Ian. 

T before P, K, B, G, which otherwise completely obstruct the breath, is 
liable to be reduced to the character of a mere stop without any audibility : and 
before m, which also occludes the mouth, it is liable to be nasally finished To 
obviate these sources of indistinctness, let the following combinations be practised. 


ate pa ate ka ate ba ate ga ate ma 

at pat at kat at bat at gat at mat 

T is a very difficult articulation to the Stammerer. It has all the heaviness 
arising from the downward pressure of the chest, the strong conjunctive or up- 
ward bearing of the jaw, and the muscular laxity of the mouth the elements of 
impediment in the obstructive articulations generally ; in addition to which it has 
another source of difficulty in its own articulative action. Often the percussion 
of the T will be distinctly heard, yet there the Stammerer sticks fast, unable to 
combine -the next sound with the t. This sort of difficulty may be caused by want 
of glottal power ; but it will frequently be found to be merely articulative. Only 
the point of the tongue is disengaged it is turned downwards so as to allow the 
breath to escape but at all other points, the tongue remains in contact. The 


effect of throwing down the point of the tongue is to elevate the middle of it; 
and the very worst position for speech is thus assumed. Let the Stammerer prac- 
tise syllables and words ending with T, and observe, by looking in a glass, or 
placing his finger in the angle of the neck and chin (as directed at page 104), that 
the whole bulk of the tongue recedes in the mouth to finish the articulation. 
When this final action is mastered, let him practise T initial ; at first, if necessary, 
separating the T from the next element, but restraining any unnecessary waste of 
breath (page 30) ; and by degrees he will be able to unite the sounds with natural 

A not uncommon fault of articulation is the substitution of tl for cl, and dl 
for gl; as in clean, glean, etc., which are thus mispronounced tlean, dlean, etc. 
The difference in the effect of this unwarranted combination is so slight, that it 
might readily escape observation, except from ears accustomed to vocal analysis. 
In the north and west of England this peculiarity is especially common. 

T initial combines in English with w, r, sh, and y, as in twine, true, chain, 
tune. S is the only articulation with which t unites, as in stay, stray, etc. Th is a 
common English digraph, but it represents a simple sound (see page 104). 

The combination Tsh is of very frequent occurrence, though we in no in- 
stance write it. It is one of the simplest possible combinations ; for the T merely 
gives an obstructive commencement to the Sh. Tsh is the breath form of J = 
dzh ; and while the latter is reckoned an Alphabetic element, and represented by a 
single letter, the former which is the very same articulation is written, incon- 
sistently enough, Ch. 

The combination Ts, which does not occur initial in English, but is common 
in many languages, is another equally simple form of double articulation ; from 
the position T, the tongue is merely advanced a little, and the breath extruded 
hissingly through the aperture of s; as, for tsh, the tongue is slightly retracted, so 
as to send the breath through the aperture of sh. 

The combination Ty, as in tune, is liable to be mispronounced Tsh, from the 
cause explained at page 121 ; but after a few lingual exercises have been mas- 
tered, the tongue should have acquired sufficient neatness and precision of action 
to contradistinguish these elements without effort or ambiguity. 


Astute, attacked, attributed, deteriorated, determinate, detriment, etiquette, iterated, 
potato, stickle, stopped, strategic, stutter, tactics, tantalize, tatter, taught, tautology, technics, 
tessellated, tetragon, tetrical, titillate, tittle-tattle, titular, totality, totter, trigger, trinity, 
trinket, triturate, tropical, truculent, chapter, chatter, chicken, chink, chit-chat, chipped, 
chitter, twopence, twitched, twitter, Teutonic, tutelary, tutor. 


This articulation bears the same relations to the preceding that B does to P, 
V to F, Z to S, etc. Its articulative position and action are the same as those of 
T; but while the tongue is in contact with the palate, the voice is exerted, and a 
muffled sound is heard, as the breath which produces the glottal vibration dilates 
the pharynx. Distinctness very much depends on the audibility of this sound. 
The student should therefore practise D and the other vocal obstructives, until he 
can give their vocality as much duration as it is capable of receiving (see page 
96). Our remarks on the formation of T apply equally to this element, which is 
liable to the same faults of articulation, defects, etc. 


ade bay ad bad ade may ad mad 

ade gay ad gad ade nay ad nad 


The Stammerer must study the general mechanism of the vocal obstructives, 
(page 33), and acquire power over the formation of their pharyngal murmur, 
before he sets to work to battle with his difficulties on this articulation. He must 
be able to retain the articulative position steadily; to perform the articulative 
action rapidly, and independently of all other positions and actions; and, lastly, 
to pass trippingly from one position to another, without attempts at impracticable 
coalescence, and without losing any one of the peculiar effects of each articulation. 
His cure, thus founded on power over the organs and operations of speech, will 
progressively advance, with rapidity, proportionate to his energy and watchful- 
ness. Having gone through this training, the Stammerer will not only feel himself 
relieved from the oppressive incubus which tormented his whole "dream of life," 
but he may rejoice in a freer possession, and more conscious enjoyment of the 
crowning faculty of man, than the best of merely instinctive speakers who never 
felt the sore deprivation, and who know not the value to their social happiness of 
that power of speech which they ignorantly exercise. 

D initial, like T, unites with W, R, and Y ; and with the vocal form of Sh 
as in dwarf, drew, due, and Jew. It combines with no initial articulation: we 
write Bd in bdellium, but the B is silent. Dy (as in duke) is apt to be confounded 
with Dzh = J, as Ty is slurred into Tsh, by careless tongues. 

The combination Dzh J is one of the simplest forms of double articula- 
tion; in this respect analogous to the French Bw and Pw, and the German Ts 
or Dz. The same articulating agents are used for both elements of the combina- 
tions : the continuous elements being merely commenced explosively by the mo- 
mentary oral occlusion. This obvious simplicity of the combination dzh is, doubt- 
less, the reason why these sounds are denoted by a single character in our alphabet. 


awed darn dint duck droll need 

ought tarn tint tuck troll neat 

badge dead dire dusk droop rider 

batch debt tire tusk troop writer 

bed deal dome Dutch drought sad 

bet teal tome touch trout sat 

cold dear door drain drunk tied 

colt tear tore train trunk tight 

dangle dies dowdy drench faded Tudor 

tangle ties doughty trench fated tutor 

dank dine down drew ladder udder 

tank tine town true latter utter 

dale dingle duel drip loud 

tale tingle tewel trip lout 


Avidity, additament, deadlight, debited, debt, dedicate, deducted, ditch, ditto, dividend, 
docketed, dodecagon, dotted, doth, drastic, dreaded, drip, drudge, Druid, due, dulia, duty, 
dwelt, dwindle, edited, educate, eradicated, gibbeted, gladiator, hereditary, jejune, jilted, 
jotted, laudatory, meditated, nudity, oddity, quidditative, rhododendron, sedative. 


The difference between this articulation and the preceding (D) is precisely 
the same as that between B and M, explained at page 97. While the organs are 
placed in the orally obstructive position, the soft palate uncovers the end of the 
nasal passages, and the current of voice flows continuously through the nose. If 


these passages are not immediately opened, or if the breath is altogether intercepted 
for an instant, the effect of dn, as in midnight, will be produced. D and N having 
the same lingual action, the tongue would require to make two strokes on the 
palate in order to articulate these letters separately ; but when d or t comes before 
n in the same word, such separate articulation would create a hiatus incompatible 
with the closeness of syllabic connexion; D and T, therefore, before N in the 
same word, merely give an obstructive commencement to the N, while the tongue 
remains motionless. Many persons habitually form the nasals M and N with this 
initial percussion; and the converse fault, namely, that of commencing the Ob- 
structive elements nasally, is equally, if not more common. The three nasals are 
also very often faultily finished explosively, from a momentary covering of the 
nares before the articulating organs are separated. The peculiar liability of NG 
to be thus terminated by G has been already noticed. (See page 34.) The voice, 
in forming N, must be pure and unmixed with aspiration. The least contraction 
of the nostrils, or their partial obstruction from any cause, will create sniffling. 
If the nostrils are pinched while forming N, the explosive effect of D with a nasal 
resonance will be produced. This is the sort of sound caused by u cold in the 
head," when the vocalized breath -entering the nostrils, but meeting with impedi- 
ments to its egress, collects in the pharynx, and the removal of the tongue from 
the palate is attended by a degree of the percussiveness of D. If the nostrils are 
altogether clogged up, it will be impossible to avoid this ambiguous effect, but a 
pure formation of voice, and an effort of expansion in the nasal passages, will, in 
a great measure, obviate the sniffling which so commonly results from this trouble- 
some cause. 

In some cases, the nasal elements have the quality of these cold-impeded 
sounds, only from habit, probably growing out of frequent liability to colds. 
This peculiarity impresses the utterance very strongly; it is altogether incom- 
patible with effective speaking. Except where the fault arises from structural 
affections, polypus, etc., it may be entirely removed by careful exercise of the 
imperfect elements. 

N is almost invariably a source of great difficulty to the Stammerer. He will 
generally have perfected the explosives, and nearly all the other articulations, 
before he can master this letter, and perhaps L. The impediment on N may be 
of a fourfold nature ; combining the difficulties which arise from mismanagement 
of the chest and organs of respiration, of the glottis and sonorous agents, of 
the tongue and articulative organs, and of the lower jaw. Without further in- 
dicating the nature of the difficulties this element may present, we may at once 
prescribe a means of practice for the acquirement of the true formation, inde- 
pendently of all previously existing faults. Let the Stammerer exercise himself 
with persevering energy in the way recorfimended ; above all, endeavouring to 
understand the principles on which he is working, and he will not be long in attain- 
ing command over all the processes at fault in his impeded utterance of N. 

Let him, with a mirror before him, open his mouth as widely as he can, and 
retain it at its greatest opening, while he places the tongue on the palate, as for D. 
Here let it rest steadily for some time : it is in the position for either T, D, or N. 
Let him now produce a continuous sound, without the slightest motion in any 
visible part of the mouth. This sound if the tongue has been obstructively 
placed on the palate must necessarily pass through the nose. While the organs 
remain in the position assumed, this sound is a nasal vowel; it is as clearly a vowel 
as e, o, or any of the recognized oral qualities of vowel sound. The Stammerer 
will by this exercise at once effectively counteract the disturbing tendencies of the 
tongue and the jaw; and by strengthening and purifying the voice, he will gain 
glottal power ; while, by giving the well formed sound as long continuance as pos- 


sible, with the chest elevated, he will check the heavy pressure on the lungs, and 
acquire ease, steadiness, and power of expiration. 

Still keeping the tongue on the palate, the voice may be exercised in the pro- 
duction of short and quickly uttered jets of N-sound as well as of the continuous 
stream but, throughout with the tongue, lips, and teeth perfectly motionless. 

These exercises will perfect the articulative position of N. Let the Stam- 
merer, when these have been sufficiently practised, add to them the action which 
completes the articulation, by rapidly removing the tongue from all points of 
upward contact. If the current of voice be continued, the removal of the tongue 
will admit the breath into the mouth, and some vowel will be produced. Those 
vowels which are formed with the tongue drawn backwards, present less difficulty 
with N and the other lingua-palatal articulations, than the vowels which require 
the approximation of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, on account of the 
greater scope which they afford to the articulative action. Thus no, (g)naw, etc., 
are much more easily uttered than (k)nee, (k)nit, nay, etc. Let the Stammerer, 
therefore, in adding the vowels to N, begin with the least difficult, reiterating each 
syllable frequently without any break in the continuous flow of glottal sound. 

At this stage he must carefully watch that no unnecessary action especially 
of the jaw accompany that of the tongue. The teeth should remain as steady 
as if the jaw were' hingeless, till the tongue can perform its office independently, 
and with satisfactory rapidity and energy. This exercise should be followed up 
by reading words with N initial ; and then by practising combinations in which N 
occurs, or any exercises containing a difficulty. 

N, like the other liquids, (see page 98) presents several marked varieties of 
quantity. It is extremely short when followed by a breath articulation, as in 
paint longer when before a vocal articulation, as in pained and longest when 
final or before another liquid, as in pain and painless. 

N initial combines only with Y, as in new. N unites with no initial articula- 
lion but S, as in snow. It occurs, however, before nearly all articulations in sepa- 
rate syllables ; as in rainbow, en/oy, endure, un/old, ingratitude, en/tance, inquire, 
enc/ose, unkennel, in/et, inmost, unknown, un/>ardoned, inroad, insult, intact, 
invalid, unwise, inwre, frenzy, enshrine, panther, meanwhile. N is found also in 
the following final combinations : with d as in bend, dzh as in hinge, s as in 
hence, t as in bent, z as in lens, tsh as in bench, th as in plinth. 

The nasal articulations are very liable to be exchanged in some combinations, 
so as organically to correspond to the articulations with which they stand con- 
nected. Thus n before a labial articulation in the same syllable, will be changed 
to m; and before k or g, into ng as in Banff, pronounced Bamff; ink, bank, etc., 
pronounced ingk, bangk, etc. A similar tendency is manifested in the vulgar pro- 
nunciation of such words as length and strength, where the ng before the lingua- 
dental articulation th is changed into n. This, however, is to be avoided because 
not sanctioned by the best usage. The pronunciations lenth and strenth are very 
generally heard in Scotland. 

Combinations of N and L present an articulative difficulty; in overcoming 
which, considerable lingual power cannot fail to be acquired. The following 
arrangements should be practised with rapid iteration. 


na la la na na la na la na la na la la na la na na la 

' nin HI nin lil nin nillin-rinnil 

HI nin lil nin lil rinnil-nirril 

lin rin lin rin lin rillin-linnil 

nil ril nil ril nil lirrin-rillin 



chine gleaned lane nap nutation son 

chime gleamed lame map mutation some 

cunning gnaw money narrow prison tense 

coming maw mummy marrow prism temse 

feigned guns nail newt run tent 

famed gums mail mute rum tempt 

fern kneel name nunnery scene tine 

firm meal maim mummery seen time 


Anemone, anent, annual, anonymous, anthelminthic, cognomen, conundrum, enemy, en- 
mity, inanimate, inanity, knitting, linen, Memnon, Memnonian, monad, mnemonics, ninny, 
nomad, nonage, nonentity, numerate, unanimous, unenamoured, unentertaining, unenumerated, 
uninitiated, uninured. 

This element is heard when the point of the tongue, from its forward posi- 
tion at S, is drawn inwards, so as slightly to enlarge the aperture through which 
the breath hisses. The shape, too, of the passage, is altered by the middle of the 
tongue rising within the arch of the palate. The general appearance of the tongue 
is more thick and bulky than for S. This cannot be observed during the articula- 
tion of the elements, for the teeth are not sufficiently apart, but if the mouth be 
opened after 5* and Sh, without moving the tongue from the articulative positions, 
the difference in the elevation and apparent bulk of the tongue will be evident. 
The observation in this way of the position of the tongue is of much use in facili- 
tating the correction of faults in articulation. We have said that the point of the 
tongue is drawn inwards from its position at S but the kind of sound heard in 
Sh may be produced with the point of the tongue merely depressed, or even ad- 
vanced to the lower teeth. The breath is then modified by the approximation of 
the middle of the tongue to the rim of the palatal arch ; but this formation is a 
faulty one, because it does not easily combine with other lingual articulations. 
The tongue cannot pass with facility from one to another of its positions, unless 
it is kept free from contact with the bed of the jaw. Let the student place the 
tongue in the position for S, and then, while the current of breath flows uninter- 
ruptedly, let him gradually draw back the tongue keeping the point at a uniform 
elevation and he will modify the hiss into Sh. Let him practise this action till 
he can pass from S to Sh, thence to S, back again to Sh, and so on alternately, 
repeatedly during one expiration. 

The formation of Sh is very generally faulty from an accompanying projec- 
tion of the lips. The action of the tongue is not sufficiently firm and decided to 
give a distinctive character to the hiss, and the clumsy expedient of funnelling the 
lips is resorted to. The exercise on S and Sh above prescribed will manifest both 
the existence and the dispensability of this labial action. 

The sound of this element is generally represented by sh, when it is initial or 
final, but the sound is often heard in other positions, where it has no appropriate 
orthography, as in Asia, social, conscious, tension, mention, etc. Wherever the 
articulations ^ and y come together, as in words beginning with s, followed by 
alphabetic u, there is a natural tendency in the organs to strike sh instead of sy. 
S is produced with the tongue comparatively flat and pointed; Y is formed with 
the middle of the tongue raised in close approximation to the roof of the palatal 
arch: and the position of sh being exactly intermediate, the tongue somewhat 
retracted, and its bulk somewhat elevated, we see in the mechanism of the ele- 


ments the reason why sh will very naturally take the place of sy in rapid utter- 
ance. This tendency is yielded to in some instances, but opposed by correct usage 
in others. In sure, assure, insure, fissure, tissue, etc., universal custom has au- 
thorized the exchange of sy for sh; but in suit, sue, superior, etc., the best usage 
imperatively forbids it, as a corruption. In all words containing this combination, 
we see the natural tendency strongly illustrated in the pronunciation of the unedu- 

A tailor was threat'ning a debtor to shoe (sue), 

Says he, needy witling, "Kind sir, at your pleasure; 

But I'll thank you as much, and 'twere easier for you 

Just to shoot (suit) me, and now I can stand for my measure." 

The pronunciation of the word sewer (a drain) illustrates the working of 
the same principle and also of one noticed at page 87, with reference to the 
vowel oo before r(S). The necessities of fluent speaking have demanded the cur- 
tailment of this word as one not worthy of the more emphatic and deliberate pro- 
nunciation of the double articulations ; and the identity of its sound, so shortened, 
with another word (sure), has rendered a vowel-change necessary to contradis- 
tinguish the words. This has been done by the substitution of 0(11) for oo; and 
the current pronunciation of the word (shore) is thus very naturally obtained. 

The tendency of anterior lingual articulations to take sh rather than the more 
difficult 3; into combination with them, is further manifested in words containing 
y after t, as in tune, tutor, etc., where vulgar pronunciation converts the y into sh. 
In unaccented syllables, this change is made by more than the vulgar, as in nature, 
feature, etc., which are too often colloquially pronounced na-tshoor, fea-tshoor, 
etc. ; but careful speakers should articulate ty in all such cases. 

In the common terminations sion, tion, cial, tial, cious, etc., pronounced shun, 
shal, shus, etc., English usage has fixed the sound of the si, ci, ti, to sh. In 
French these terminations are dissyllabic pronounced se-on, etc. 

In some words, in which se or sy have become slurred into sh, the ear does 
not seem satisfied to lose all trace of the elided sound, and a soft effect of y is 
heard, as in specie, tertian, etc. But shy is a very unfluent combination, and 
never occurs in one syllable. 

The student will find the repetition of the hissing articulations, th, s, and sh, 
a very useful exercise. Thus : begin with th, and change that by a rapid motion 
of the tip of the tongue to s; then, by a farther retraction equally rapid, produce 
sh; then back to s and th, and thence again to s and sh, without any intervening 
vowel sound; thus, 

th-s-sh-s-th-s-sh-s-th-s-sh-s-th, etc. 

Syllables with these elements alternately initial, form an excellent lingual 
exercise. They present comparatively little difficulty when arranged in the order 
of their formation; th, s, sh; or sh, s, th; but when the anterior and posterior 
formations come together, as in the following arrangements, they present a stumb- 
Hng-block, which probably the best articulator will not get over without practice. 
Verbal accentuation should be given to the syllables. 


tha sha sa sha tha sa sa sha tha sa tha sha 

tha sha sa sha tha sa sa sha tha sa tha sha 

To the Stammerer who has sufficiently mastered the fundamental principles 
on which his cure must be based, these perplexing combinations will be of much 
service, in developing power and precision of lingual action. 


Sh initial combines only with R in English, as in shrew, shrine, etc. The 
combination is harsh, and somewhat difficult; and it tends to make speakers em- 
ploy the lips to assist in effecting it more easily. Labial interference is, however, 
ungraceful, and should be dispensed with. 




































Asia, Grecian, Persia, Russian, ascii, antiscii, association, chaises, facetious, justiciary, 
precocious, possessions, sashes, satiate, special, specie, species, specious, suspicious, shrewd, 
shrift, shrink. 


This articulation, which is not uncommon in English,- arising out of the 
necessities of fluent utterance, instead of zy has no appropriate symbol in our 
orthography. It is the regular sound of the letter J in French. Before alphabetic 
u(=yoo), we have this sound represented by s, as in measure, and by z, as in 
seizure, etc. It legitimately occurs also in lesion, vision, etc. ; and in transition, 
where the regular sound of ti, viz., sh, is vocalized, to avoid the less euphonious 
combination of two hissing elements. Careless speakers pronounce zh instead of 
y in educate, credulous, etc., and often even in accented syllables, as duke, duel, 
etc. This will be carefully avoided by all who desire to speak well. 

In its formation, this element is precisely the same as the preceding (sh) 
with the addition of glottal sound. In this simple state, Zh occurs initial in no 
English word ; but is invariably commenced from the obstructive position D. The 
combination thus produced, namely, Dzh, is represented by J or G, as in James, 
George, etc. 

Zh final, also, is never unaccompanied by d, except in naturalized French 
words, such as rouge. Its English use is exemplified in judge, cage, etc. In 
the former word, the letter d is redundant, since g alone, as in cage, represents 
the combination dzh. The writing of this redundant d is one of our orthograph- 
ical expedients to denote that the preceding vowel is to have its "stopped" or 
"short" sound, and the writing of a final e is another expedient to show that the 
g is to have its "soft," or double sound, and not its "hard," or single sound. How 
much more easy and natural would it be, how much perplexity would it save 
foreigners, and how many weary tasks and useless punishments would it ward 
from unhappy learners, if we could only be brought to submit our orthography 
to rational correction ? Here, for instance, is a division of this work on a sound 
which our acknowledged literal symbols furnish us with no mark to designate ; 
which is only recognized among the elements of our language as one constituent 
of a double alphabetic sound, apparently deemed indivisible, because represented 
by a single letter ; and yet we are compelled to use a digraph to represent the half 
of this alphabetic monograph, or we could not show its relation to the breath- 
articulation of the same formation, Sh. 



Abrasion, invasion, occasion, adhesion, lesion, derision, incision, transition, vision, cor- 
rosion, contusion, delusion, diffusion, illusion, intrusion ; azure, leisure, seizure, measure, 
pleasure, treasure ; casual, visual, usual, usurer. 


(dzh) age barge budge hedge ledge liege siege 

(dz) aids bards buds heads leads Leeds seeds 

badge besiege edge large liege ridge serge 

(tsh) batch beseech etch larch leech rich search 

gin jaunt jean jeer jest Jew Jews joke 

chin chant chain cheer chest chew choose choke 


In forming this element, the back of the tongue is rounded upwards to a close 
position against the palate at a point intermediate to the formations sh and ch 
(German). If the effort be made to compound these elements by sounding both 
together, the effect of a whispered Y will be produced. 

This element the breath form of Y occurs in English only in connection 
with the vocal Y the first element of alphabetic w(=yoo). It is represented by 
H, as in hew, hue, human, etc. 

The German and Scotch ch have the effect of this whispered 3; when they 
occur in connexion with close lingual vowels, as in ich (the pronoun /in German) 
and fich! (a Scotch interjection of disgust). 


Hew = hue = Hugh 
Ewe = yew = you 


This element bears the same relation to the preceding that V does to F, Z to 
S, etc. : the organic position modifies vocalized instead of whispered breath. The 
tongue in forming Y is almost in the position for the vowel ee; just as in forming 
W the lips modify the voice almost to the quality of the vowel oo. The formative 
apertures are simply more close, so that Y and W are articulated forms of the 
close vowel-sounds ee and oo. 

A very common fault among careless speakers is to aspirate y in connexion 
with breath articulations, and often to convert it into the proximate form sh. 
Thus, tune is pronounced tshoon; beauteous, beautshus; righteous, rightshus, 
etc. This should be avoided, it is mere slovenliness. 

The ist Vowel (ee) unaccented, before a vowel, is in many words warrantably 
shortened into y as in filial, saviour, glazier, etc. After the sound of Sh or Zh> 
the y is often entirely sunk, as in social, vision, etc. 

Y before the ist vowel presents an artictilative difficulty. Many persons, 
especially in Scotland, entirely omit the Y in that situation : thus we hear of "an 
old man bending under the weight of ears" instead of "years." A little practice 
will enable any one to master this combination without such asinine alterations. 

The letter Y when final, is always a vowel; it has the sound of the 2nd vowel 
in such- words as many, very, etc., and of the diphthong 7-1 in by, try, etc. The 
Articulation Y is never heard final in English ; it occurs, however, in French, as 
in fille, etc., pronounced fee-y(e), etc. 


Y initial combines with no articulation. The initial elements P, B, M, F, V, 
T, D, N, Th, (Breath) S, Z, K, G, take Y into combination, but only before the 
close labial vowel oo; as in pure, beauty, mew, feu, view, tune, due, new, thurible, 
sue, zeugma, cupola, gewgaw. L, we have noticed, takes Y imperfectly into com- 
bination, as in lure, lute, etc. (See page 113.) 


ye'll yean year yeast ye've use beauty Bute 

eel e'en ear east eve ooze booty boot 

'cute dure due feud mewed mute pew pule 

coot doer do food mood moot pooh ! pool 



This articulation is formed by the silent contact and audible separation of the 
back of the tongue and the posterior part of the palate. The precise points of 
contact vary before the different vowels. Before the close lingual vowel ee, the 
position of the tongue is much farther forward than before ah or aw. The tongue 
could articulate K from one uniform position, before all the vowels, but there is 
a natural tendency to accommodate facility of utterance by these little changes, 
which would require an effort to avoid. The vowel ee (No. i) requires the 
middle of the tongue to be pressed very close to the palate, and the syllables ke or 
eke are articulated with the least possible action of the organ, by merely closing 
the ee aperture before or after the vowel. The effect of the "broad" and "close" 
formations of k (as we have seen them discriminated in a Gaelic grammar, but 
never in an English one) differs only in the vowel quality of the breathing emitted 
on the separation of the organs. But an English peculiarity of elegant speech 
depends entirely on this trivial circumstance. The posterior "broad" formation 
which would naturally come before the open vowel ah(j), is exchanged for the 
anterior "close" formation in such words as card, kind, etc. There is an ex- 
tremely graceful effect in this euphonism, which is but clumsily imitated by those 
who interpose an e or a y between the k and the open vowel. 

In Smart's Pronouncing Dictionary, the student is carefully guarded against 
the affectation of sounding y in these cases, but, from the notation adopted, he 
will still be apt to overdo the euphonic effect; for it is ranked as a separate ele- 
ment, represented by an apostrophe thus, c'ard, k'ind, etc. We have described 
the organic cause of the peculiarity. It occurs only before the open vowels 7 and 
7. 1 1 and not in all words containing the combinations. 

An American singularity consists in giving the anterior formation to K before 
7.13 also, as in cow, etc. 

In any case of indistinct or impeded utterance, the position of the point of 
the tongue in the articulation of K must be observed. The tongue is often thrust 
down into the bed of the lower jaw, or against the lower teeth, but this is fatal 
to fluency and clearness, and it is also offensive to the eye. The fore-part of the 
tongue should always be kept as nearly horizontal as possible. It may even be 
folded backwards for the posterior K, but it can never be suffered to descend 
without a sacrifice of neatness, which a speaker of taste would not willingly make. 

To the Stammerer this observation of the position of the tongue is particularly 
necessary. He generally forms K by forcing up the middle of the tongue against 
the top of the palatal arch, while the point of the tongue aids the effort to hold it 
there by pressing down against the lower teeth or gums. The jaw, too, bears 
upwards with force upon the tongue, which, in the paroxysm of impediment, the 


Stammerer is utterly unable to move. Sometimes the fixture of the tongue is less 
complete, and in its efforts to leave the palate, the antagonist forces throw the 
whole mouth and features into convulsive distortion. The Stammerer must prac- 
tise this articulation with his mouth widely opened and motionless, so that the 
tongue may be free to strike and leave the palate unaffected by motions of the jaw. 
Let the tongue be well exercised in the simple action of k, in combination, at first, 
with the open vowels ah and aw, until it can give off the syllables with rapidity, 
and entirely by its own action. Thus : 

kah kah kah; caw caw caw; akakak; ockockock, etc. 

The syllables may be arranged in word-clusters dissyllabic, trissyllabic, etc., 
with varying accents. Thus : 

ickik, eckek, akakak, okokok, ukukuk, etc. 

After this exercise, the Stammerer should be able to master words with k 
initial Let him remember if he find them difficult, that the k is merely a position 
from which to commence the succeeding vowel ; that the initial letter may prac- 
tically be considered as done, whenever the organs meet ; for that then he has only 
to separate the organs in order to emit the vowel. If he attempt to make anything 
more of the consonant by pressure, he must inevitably fail. 

The following arrangement of the three breath obstructive formations, P, T, 
K, should be practised. 


katapa kapata pakata pataka tapaka takapa; 

pit tit pip kik tit kik 

pit kit tip kip pik tik 

pit tit pip tit pip tit pip kik pip 

pit kit pik tip kip tik kit pit kip 

Not only the Stammerer, but all speakers, especially those whose enunciations 
are indistinct, should cultivate this sort of oral gymnastics, as one of the most 
powerful means of improving the articulation. 

A common ungainliness of speech, and a frequent aggravation of a Stam- 
merer's difficulty, arises, in words beginning with qu ( kw) from anticipating 
the w, by projecting the lips while the tongue remains in the attitude of K. The 
mouth can do only one thing at a time. 

K initial combines with w, r, I, and y, as in quick, crime, climb, cure. K 
unites with initial S, as in scheme, scream, etc., and with no other articulation. 


Act, cachectic, cachexy, cackle, cacophony, calculate, calx, cantankerous, capital, carcanet, 
carking, cassock, catachresis, catapult, catechism, catechetics, categorical, characteristic, 
clanking, click-clack, climacteric, climax, cockatoo, cockatrice, cockpit, cocoa, colloquial, con- 
catenate, conch, concuss, conqueror, contact, contradict, contrary, cracked, crepitate, cricket, 
critic, crocodile, cucumber, cuticle, kick, kipper, kitten, nictitate, picnic, quack, quickset, 
quincunx, scatter, sceptic, sect, shocked, strict, vectitation. 


This element is the sound of the letter G before a, o, and u. It is commonly 
called the "hard" G, to distinguish it from the "soft" G ( j, dzh) sometimes 
heard before the vowels e and i, as in gentle, ginger, etc. 



The formation of the "hard" G is precisely the same as that of the preceding 
letter (K) but with the addition of an effort of voice during the contact of the 
articulating organs. It thus differs from'K as B does from P, D from T, etc. 
Our remarks on the position of the tongue, etc., in forming K, will therefore 
equally apply to this letter. 

G, before the open vowels 7 and 8, and the diphthong 7.1, takes, in some 
words, the same anterior formation as K in such combinations, producing a soft 
transitional effect resembling the articulation Y, as in girl, guard, guide, etc. 

A very common fault in the formation of G initial, consists in a degree of 
nasality, which, for want of sufficient energy of articulation, precedes and weakens 
the percussiveness of the letter, good being pronounced ng-good, etc. The fault 
is precisely analogous to the less common one of sounding m before b, or n before 
d, as m-but for but ; n-dorit for dorit. 

The vocal sound of G is very often feeble, or altogether wanting. It is not 
capable of much prolongation, but the student should have the power of clearly 
producing this shut vocality as a means of expressiveness. He should practise 
combinations of the three vocal obstructives, B, D, G, giving to the articulations 
all the vocal sound he can, but carefully guarding against a nasal tone. In B, D, 
or G, the voice can only be continued while the breath passes into the pharynx; 
when this cavity is fully distended, the sound must cease, and on separating the 
organs, an explosive emission of the compressed breath will take place. If the 
sound is easily continued beyond a couple of seconds, the voice may be suspected 
to be passing into the nostrils. 


ga ba da 
ga da ba 

ba da 
ba ga 

da ba ga 
da ga ba 

G, like K, is subject to the error of lateral explosiveness before L; glove, 
globe, etc., being pronounced dlove, dlobe, etc. There is no organic necessity to 
plead for this defect. The cure consists in rousing up the tongue to activity. 

G initial combines with /, r, w, and y, as in glad, great, Guelph, gules, etc. ; 
but very rarely with the last two in English. G enters into combination with no 
initial articulation. 










































Aggregate, agog, cog, cognisant, gagged, galaxy, gargarize, gargle, gastric, gherkin, 
gibber, gig, giggle, gittern, globule, glutton, goggle, gregal, grogram, gullet, gurgle, gutter, 
guaranty, logogram, logography, recognize, segregate. 



This is the nasal form of the preceding element ; the organic formation by the 
tongue and palate is precisely that of G ; but the velum, or soft palate, is removed 
from the nares, and the pharynx being thus rendered incapable of retaining the 
breath, the voice passes freely out of the nostrils. 

Ng is never used as an initial articulation in English; but it does occur as 
such in some languages. Among individual cacophonic peculiarities, ng is some- 
times heard instead of L. This is generally accompanied by burring. The tongue, 
either from bad habit, or from inability to leave the lower jaw, lies in the bed of 
the mouth, and forms the linguo-palatal articulations by the middle of the tongue 
striking against the roof of the mouth. This makes the position for / nearly, or 
altogether obstructive, and the effort to give continuous voice to the letter, of 
course sends the vocal stream through the nose. 

"Soft;/<7y and sweet, in H^iquid ngays, 
The heavenly ha.ngenguja.hs raise!" 

In most cases, this, like nine-tenths of all varieties of defective articulation, 
is perfectly curable : and even where structural malformation exists, Art can do 
much to lessen or cover the peculiarity. 

It is a general principle of articulation, that the organs employed in forming 
any element must be separated in order to complete it. We have explained at 
page 34, the reason that in thus finishing ng, there is a tendency, greater than in 
the case of the other nasal sounds, to give a degree of compression and consequent 
explosiveness to the breath producing the double articulation ng-g, or ng-k. 
Many persons find it difficult to finish ng by separation of the organs without pro- 
ducing some effect of G or K, and they consequently form the articulation im- 
perfectly by simply stopping the sound in the glottis. When, however, the ng 
final is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, the organs must come apart ; 
and with the vowel out comes the G. 

The best way to get rid of this habit is to practise ng as an initial before 
vowels. This will have the effect of at once manifesting the existence and the 
nature of the defect ; and the power to give the soft terminal action will very soon 
be acquired. 

nga, nge, ngi, ngo, ngoo. 

Exception has been taken by some critics to the English mode of writing this 
element by ng, because the sound contains neither an n nor a g. That the Alpha- 
bet does not supply a character to represent this simple elementary sound, is 
undoubtedly a fault ; but until we have a distinctive character, we could not wish 
a better digraph than ng which, very appropriately symbolizes a nasal G. 

N before g or k, unless in unaccented prefixes (as in enquire, engross, include, 
ungodly, unkind, etc.) generally takes the sound of ng, as in single, uncle, vanquish, 
etc., pronounced sing-gle, ung-cle, etc. A similar exchange of n for m before 
labial articulations has been noticed at page 119. The digraph ng has its simple 
elementary sound in sing-er, hang-er, etc. ; but it has the sound of ng-g in such 
words as En-gland, iin-ger, lon-ger, youn-ger, etc. The omission of the g in these 
words is a Scotticism. 



clang fang pang rang dinging 

clan fan pan ran dinning 

king singing thing gong bung 

kin sinning thin gone bun 

stung tongue rung long-er (n.) long-est (v.) 

stun tun run lon-ger (adj.) lon-gest (adj.) 


Banging, bringing, clanging, clinging, flinging, hanging, longing, singing, winging, wrong- 
ing; anxious, compunction, concord, crank, function, unctuous; length, lengthen, strength, 


NOTE. A catalogue of the works of A. Melville Bell on Line Writing, World- 
English, and Visible Speech (see page 53) can be obtained at the Volta Bureau, 
1601 35th street N. W., Washington, D. C. 





Under the head of Impediments are usually included all defects of Articu- 
lation, Lisping, Burring, and other Alphabetic Mispronunciations, as well as 
Stuttering, Hesitation, and Spasmodic Stammering. But the last three alone 
come within the meaning of an Impediment; and to them, we shall confine our 
remarks on Impeded Utterance. Sufficient directions for the removal of all minor 
blemishes of articulation will be found under the different letters in the preceding 
part of this work. 

One general direction, however, we may here give with reference to all forms 
of inarticulation or of malarticulation. In practising for their correction, pro- 
nounce one sound at a time: facility of combination will come with practice. 
First study the mechanism of the element which is defective, and practise it singly 
until its formation becomes easy and distinct. Then separately prefix and sub- 
join other sounds, and gradually increase rapidity of sequence until the effect of 
ordinary combination is produced. Fluency and perfect accuracy will, in this 
way, in a short time be attained. 

Those defects are properly impediments, which prevent the organs from 
passing smoothly from one to any other vocal position. Thus when the organs 
articulate so loosely that they no sooner touch than they rebound ; and when 
syllables are iterated again and again, before the text sound can be formed, there 
is an impediment of a comparatively simple kind, which is distinguished by the 
name of Stuttering. When there is a silent choking effort, accompanied perhaps 
by an ineffectual opening and shutting of the mouth ; or when only short, frag- 
mentary particles of sound escape, during the open-mouthed effort to speak, there 
is clearly an impediment, of a more serious nature, Spasmodic Hesitation. 
And when, at the recurrence of any habitually difficult word or letter, or under 
the apprehension of any difficulty, a series of muscular actions is evoked, such as 
have no connection with the natural effort of speech, there is the most aggravated 
form of impediment, Convulsive Stammering. 

Stuttering and Hesitation are stages through which the Stammerer generally 
passes before he reaches the climax of difficulty; and if he were brought under 
treatment, before the spasmodic habit became established, his cure would be much 
more easy than after the malady has become rooted in his muscular and nervous 
system. But often the transition from simple to more complicated forms of 
difficulty is so rapid, that it cannot be traced or anticipated. Perhaps some slight 
ailment may imperceptibly introduce the higher impediment, or some evil example 
may draw the ill-mastered utterance at once into the vortex of difficulty. Indeed, 
in by far the majority of cases of Stammering, the impediment can apparently be 
traced back to imitation, from which it either had taken rise, or under the influence 
of which it had become formidable, from a state perhaps of mere indistinctness 
or careless Stuttering, which had predisposed to the affection. 

The characteristics of these three kinds of impediment are broadly drawn: 



few cases present just these and no other features ; in all there is something 
idiocratic, so that hardly any two cases are precisely alike. 

A case of simple Stuttering would need little more for its removal than the 
cultivation of a firm articulation and clearly sonorous voice. A case of simple 
Hesitation would require little more than a course of exercises for the manage- 
ment of respiration, to increase the receptive and retentive powers of the lungs ; 
and a knowledge of the various oral actions which modify the sounds of speech, 
in order to exchange difficulty for smoothness and fluency. Spasmodic Stammer- 
ing generally combines with its own peculiar contortive efforts, the incontinent 
hurry of stuttering, and the gasping breath-catches, and silent straining of hesi- 

But in many cases of Stuttering that is, where stuttering or loose, hurried 
repetitions are the leading features of the impediment, there is a complication 
of difficulties: some degree of hesitation, and occasional spasmodic twitchings, 
will indicate the progression of the impediment to its painful climax; and exer- 
cises of a more complex nature must be adopted to eradicate the germs of Stam- 

Hesitation is seldom found without more active manifestations of difficulty : 
effort misdirected gives rise to distortions of the mouth, lateral motion of the 
jaw, protrusion of the tongue, straining of the eyes, winking, rolling of the head, 
etc. Very often, indeed, an impediment characterized mainly by hesitation and 
silent effort, is accompanied by a species of action more difficult to be subdued 
than the most demonstrative and violent, that agitates the whole body in con- 
vulsive stammering. The less impetuous actions are not so easily made subjects 
of observation and correction; and the pupil is often of a comparatively heavy 
and sluggish temperament, too inert to bestow watchfulness, to discover and 
check beginnings of difficulty: so that a case of apparently slight impediment is 
frequently more tedious and difficult to cure than one of the most boisterous and 
convulsive aspect. 

Nervousness is, in a greater or less degree, an aggravant of difficulty in all 
cases of Impediment. It is a common professional dogma, and a still more 
common popular delusion, that nervousness is the cause of Stammering; but it 
would be more correct to say, that Stammering is the cause of nervousness. 
Constitutionally nervous persons are undoubtedly more liable than others to be 
affected by difficulties of utterance ; but there is an incomparably greater number 
of "nervous" persons than of Stammerers, and were stammering the result of 
nervousness, the larger proportion would certainly be found among those affected 
by Impediment. Any peculiarity either of conformation or of habitual man- 
ner is a cause of nervousness, when the idiocrasy is made a subject of observa- 
tion. An amateur called upon to play or sing for the first time before critics, is 
incapacitated for the attempt by nervousness : and just in the same way the 
Stammerer is nervous, and his nervousness renders him incapable of natural effort. 
His peculiarity is manifested, or is in danger of being so, every time he opens his 
mouth, and so the shortest monosyllable may, from fear of impediment, create the 
most ungovernable struggle. Thus the first words of sentences, though made up 
of easy elements, and such as would present no difficulty in another position, 
become severe stumbling-blocks, and often impassable obstacles. 

Numerous Treatises on Impediments of Speech have at different times been 
given to the public; but in most instances these works have been intended more 
as advertisements of their authors as practitioners of the Curative Art, than as 
expositions of the modus operandi of cure. Mystical theories of the causes and 
means of cure have, of course, been prevalent where outspoken simplicity would 
have been unprofitable. The ordinary policy with pupils, was to bind them to 


secrecy as to the processes employed. Pupils paid dearly for their knowledge: 
and the public could not expect to have the lucrative secret revealed in the pages 
of a thin octavo. No ! the authors were wiser. The simple exercises which 
wrought success or such measure of it as was attained were precautiously 
committed on oath or on "honour" to the keeping of the pupil, but were carefully 
concealed from the public. The books were filled with learned-looking disquisi- 
tions on volitions, associations, nervous discordancies, and such popularly unin- 
telligible subjects, to invest the Stammerer's malady in the darkest and most 
profitable mystery. 

Some authors have, however, treated practically of the subject; but in their 
theories of the cause, as well as prescriptions for the cure, there are strange 
diversities ; some writers ascribing the impediment to nervous and physical 
causes for which they recommend medical treatment ; others, to organic or 
structural causes for which they recommend surgical operation ; some to habit- 
ual collapse of the lungs, removable by deep inspirations ; some to irregular action 
of the diaphragm correctible by strength and continuity of expiration; some to 
spasmodic disturbances of the glottis for which they recommend a singing and 
drawling tone ; some to mere hurry for which they recommend deliberation and 
regularity of rhythm; some find the chief source of difficulty in vowels, and direct 
attention mainly to the production of these elements; others declare consonants 
to be the worst, and recommend a vowel prefix to render them easy ; while others 
advise slurring the consonants, or altogether omitting them. 

The Stammerer is gravely told in one work, that "a knowledge of the cause 
and nature of the different varieties of the impediment, is the only guide to the 
proper line of practice for its removal ; as this -must invariably consist in the 
adoption of opposite and counteracting modes of speech!" as if the reverse of 
every wrong must needs be right, and as if truth varied its features with the ever 
changeful varieties of error ! When "doctors differ" so much about the "cause" 
and "nature" of the impediment, the Stammerer could have but little hope of a 
cure in this way, even were the theory of such knowledge being all-important, 
correct, and philosophical. But the rational, as it is experimentally the successful 
mode of procedure, is first to study the standard of correct articulation ; not the 
varieties of imperfect utterance, and then not to go from one extreme to another, 
but, at every step to compare the defective with the. perfect mode of speech, and 
so infallibly ascertain the amount, the kind, and the source of error. 

The perfect success of this plan in practice, as well as its obvious reasonable- 
ness, recommend it hopefully to the Stammerer's own exertions. There, perhaps, 
has seldom been a self-cured Stammerer ; yet, we cannot think success impossible 
or improbable, if the directions given for his guidance are simple and explicit, 
and if the means recommended are natural, and directly calculated to be efficacious. 

Let the Stammerer divest his mind of any perplexing theories he may have 
received as to the cause and nature of his impediment, and set to work diligently 
to find out what natural speech is; to gather a clear idea of its processes, we 
do not mean a minute anatomical acquaintance with the structure of the organs 
of speech, but a practical knowledge of the positions and actions of the mouth, 
etc., in modifying breath into articulate sounds. By this elementary work, he 
will be trained to close observation and analysis, without which he can do nothing. 
He will probably find that he knew little or nothing of the subject intuitively; and 
he will be the less surprised that he had so often gone wrong, and that, being 
wrong, he had so sadly failed to rectify himself. Never was the axiom more 
emphatically true, that "knowledge is power ;" for the Stammerer gains such con- 
fidence from this knowledge that he is almost immediately able to check his diffi- 
culties, and lessen the frequency of their recurrence. Daily increase of facility 


and preventive command over habitual errors, rewards continuous exercise ; until 
in the large majority of cases, perfect ease and unbroken fluency are attained. 

Whether nervousness, imperfect or discordant volitions, or associations, or 
whatever else can, be the cause of impediment, the effect is mechanical derange- 
ment, and obvious mismanagement of the vocal actions. Ignorance of the natural 
principles of speech must manifestly increase the difficulty, for when a want of 
fluency is felt, the Stammerer, not knowing what are the actions necessary to the 
desired utterance, yields to the embarrassing influence of difficulty and ignorance, 
and splutters on at random, with tongue, eyes, head, trunk, hands, feet, and the 
whole frame in effort. 

The first object, then, with the Stammerer, must be, to acquire a thorough 
knowledge of the elements of speech, vowel and articulate, vocal and voiceless. 
He must practise the elements separately, as well as in difficult arrangements, 
until he feels confident that he can utter them, in any order or combination ; and 
that, besides, he does so, by conscious regulation of every act of speech. A tyro 
flutist finds it one task to learn to blow his instrument, and another to finger it. 
So the Stammerer's task is twofold. His first step is to gain power over the 
respiration, and the next to bring under control the various organs of articulation. 
The relation which breath bears to speech, and the relation which the sounding 
part of the vocal instrument (the throat) bears to the modifying part (the 
mouth), must be clearly comprehended; and then, with ordinary application, the 
power of playing on the instrument of speech should be acquired as readily as 
facility in blowing, tonguing, and fingering the flute. 

By bodily exercise riding, walking, running uphill, the use of dumb-bells or 
other gymnastics, bawling against the wind, or Demosthenically drowning the 
noise of the waves by the sea shore, or in any other available way, power of 
lungs, and a full development of the chest should be gained ; while constant watch- 
fulness to check any bad habits must be vigilantly maintained. 

Let the Stammerer work on hopefully, even though, for some time, he should 
seem to be "hoping against hope." Command of the breathing in speech is one 
of the most difficult, as it is one of the most important powers to be perfectly 
obtained. While respiration is at fault, articulation is as powerless as the finger- 
ing of a flute would be to evoke music without the stream of air. Difficulty, 
therefore, must not be suffered to deter from persevering efforts, until the end 
is gained. That "consummation so devoutly to be wished" will assuredly, sooner 
or later, be the reward of hopeful industry. 


A useful exercise for the regulation of the breath may be obtained in count- 
ing. Thus, to acquire facility of silent respiration, count slowly and distinctly, 
with a free inhalation by mouth and nostrils before each number; carefully sub- 
duing the least tendency to audibility or suction in the act of inspiration, and 
heaving the chest naturally, without any upward action of the shoulders, or other 
bodily movement. 

To gain power in retaining the breath and prolonging the expiration, count 
five, six, ten, twenty, fifty, or any greater practicable series of numbers, with each 
breath; and continue the exercise for several minutes, without allowing the chest 
to fall, or pausing longer than is necessary to inhale before each group of 

The opposite nature of these two exercises will show that neither mode of 
respiration is intended to be exclusively adopted in speaking: they will develop 
power, and give command over the organs and actions of respiration ; and while 


the one exercise will so far neutralize the effect of the other, as to prevent the 
formation of a habit in either way, they will exert such an influence on practice 
as will enable the Stammerer ultimately to regulate his respiration in any way, 
with natural ease, and more than ordinary effect. 

When the formation of Voice has been perfected, and vowel sounds can be 
uttered without any unnecessary action, ungainliness, or peculiarity of tone, the 
Articulations, and especially those which are defective, should be separately and 
carefully studied. The breath obstructives, P, T, K, should be practised first ; 
then their vocal correspondents B, D, G ; and next their nasals M, N, NG. The 
differences and correspondences of the letters must be clearly understood, and 
all the difficulties of their combinations overcome by determined practice. (See 
preceding Dictionary of Sounds, Section Second.) 

Attention should next be directed to the letters in organic classes: those 
formed by the lips should be taken first, as being in general the most difficult, 
and as being the most easily observed with necessary minuteness. The labial 
class of elements includes P, B, M, W, Wh, F, V. 

The letters formed by the elevated point of the tongue should next be prac- 
tised. These are T, D, N, L, R. For these the teeth may be considerably opened. 
They should be kept apart, in practice, at first, by a pencil, paper-cutter, or other 
convenient article, held between the teeth. The lips must be perfectly quiescent, 
and kept back against the teeth in the formation of all lingual elements. 

The sibilant letters, S, Th, Sh, in which the tongue acts more horizontally, 
may be taken next. Some combinations of these elements will be found organ- 
ically difficult, and will require energetic and patient practice. The teeth, for 
these letters, require to be almost closed: the lips must be carefully retained 
steadily in an open position, drawn back, and well separated at the corners. 

The letters formed by the back or root of the tongue should now present but 
little difficulty. These are K, G, NG, Y. Let the teeth be well separated, and 
maintained motionless in their position with the tongue drawn back, and its 
point as much raised as possible. 

The principles of organic action being of such great importance in the cure 
of Stammering, we shall here add a summary of directions, with some further 
observations, respecting the proper action of each part of the instrument of 
speech. We shall notice separately the Lips; the Teeth; the Tongue; the Larynx, 
and the Head; the Thorax, and the Abdomen. 


The lips are in all cases the seat of much difficulty. An attentive study of 
the elementary formations will show that there is very little labial action really 
necessary in speech, and that projection, pursing, circular contraction, loose 
spreading, or any other outward motion of the lips, is a fault to be avoided by all 
who would speak with grace, and especially to be vigilantly guarded against by 
the Stammerer. He must literally "set a watch upon his lips" if he would conquer 
his impediment. 

The external shape of the mouth, or rather the arrangement of the lips, is, 
in all persons, very much a matter of habit. Habitual ill-nature everybody looks 
for and recognizes on the lips ; and there, sweet temper and cheerfulness have 
their calm abode. The soft and pliant texture of the lips is easily impressed by 
any habit ; and even every passing emotion can mould their plastic substance to 
express it. Thus, we often indeed generally find fixed on these portals of the 
mouth a legible summary of the man. The lips of the vulgar and ignorant are 
"arrant tell-tales," which there is no belying; and mental superiority cannot con- 


ceal itself from their disclosure. Falsehood cannot utter itself by these "miracu- 
lous organs" of truth ; but conscious rectitude., integrity, and virtue, shine through 
the lips, and give irrefragable evidence there, when other testimony is absent or 

Habits of speech are most especially operative in giving character to the lips. 
An acute observer can generally tell by their aspect, even in repose, whether a 
person's articulation is good or bad ; and there are few Stammerers who do not 
show to the practised eye, an indication of their infirmity in the lips. 

In many cases, pupils whose mouths were deformed by broad, thick, un- 
wieldy, pouted, or down-hanging lips the result of bad habits of speech, have, 
by exercise, so managed to govern and adjust these organs, that the expression of 
the features has been completely altered. Let the Stammerer, whether his mouth 
is thus labially deformed or not, take prompt and active measures to acquire per- 
fect control over the lips; for the slightest twitch and least perceptible motion, 
may be so associated with some of his difficulties, that he cannot perfectly over- 
come the latter until this trivial-looking action is prevented. 

The lips should move only vertically in articulation ; any lateral or horizontal 
motion is a blemish as well as an interference with the expressive power of the 
lips. Every modification of vowel sound may be perfectly made within the 
mouth, aided by the mere diminution or enlargement of the labial aperture. But 
this does not require any looseness or projection, far less circular pursing of 
the lips : the aperture may be lessened in any degree by approximation merely, and 
without altering the relative position of the lips and teeth. This mode of vocal 
action has the advantage, also, of grace and superior distinctness ; while to the 
orator it possesses the further recommendation of leaving the lips entirely at his 
disposal for the various emotional expressiveness of which they are pre-eminently 
capable. Let the Stammerer particularly attend to the disposition of his lips. 
To prevent their officious meddling with sounds over which they possess no legiti- 
mate influence, he must keep a constant restraint upon them, by drawing them 
backwards as far as he can, and as closely against the teeth as possible. Let both 
ranges of the teeth be visible not the whole length of the teeth that would be 
to grin ; nor their extreme edges only that would be to simper ; but, by drawing 
back and separating the corners of the lips, let all the teeth be fairly, though not 
fully seen. By this sort of exercise, the thickest looking lip will soon be pared 
down to due proportion, and the very dangerous labial actions of Stammering 
will be perfectly subdued. 

In connexion, however, with the above labial position, the following principle 
of labial action must be carefully observed. The upper lip should remain almost 
as motionless in articulation as the upper teeth ; the whole of the necessary labial 
action being confined to the lower lip. Thus in forming P, B, M, W, or Wh, the 
upper lip does not act downwards to the lower, but the lower lip rises to meet the 
upper. If the latter descend to the former, it will pull down the nostrils with it, 
and set the whole of the upper part of the face in motion. Till the Stammerer 
can articulate the labial letter without the least tendency to this facial action, he 
will not succeed in eradicating his defect: he will find that some of its strong 
roots lodge here. The articulations F and V, and the vowels o and oo, are the 
only other labial formations ; but the former use only the lower lip, and the latter 
are less close approximations of both lips than W, so that neither can in the 
least require the descending action which we condemn. 

If it should be found difficult to keep the lips back and quiescent, a pair of 
silver hooks may be used to assist the muscles, which, at first, are often really 
powerless ; but this aid should be dispensed with as soon as possible. The hooks 
grasping the corners of the lips, should keep them in the right position by means 


of an elastic tie fastened behind the head. Or a thin pencil or ivory knitting pin 
may be placed within the teeth, in such a way as to hold back the lips ; but as this 
interferes with the action of the tongue, the hooks are to be preferred. 


The upward pressure of the jaw is immense in many cases of Stammering. 
In natural speech, the action of the jaw is downward. To prevent pressure in the 
wrong direction, the Stammerer must not substitute pressure in the right direc- 
tion, but keep the jaw still as motionless as if it had no hinge. When he can 
articulate in this way it will be easy to add a little smooth, downward action, to 
give the vowels fulness and purity. 

The teeth must be very close, though not in contact, for Th, S, Z, and Sh; 
the thickness of a paper-cutter may be inserted between them to retain them at 
this distance in practising these elements. For R, L, T, D, N, Y, K, G, NG, the 
mouth may be more open, and the breadth of an ordinary paper-cutter may be 
held between the teeth in practice, that the tongue may have room for independent 
action. If, however, the tongue is too much- tied to the lower jaw to admit of 
such an elevation, or if the arch of the palate is disproportionately high, the 
opening of the teeth must be regulated by the ability of the tongue to strike on 
the palate. The teeth must never be kept so open as to prevent the tip of the 
tongue from articulating T and D with sharpness, or a bad habit of lingual action 
will be acquired. 

The operation of separating the f raenum which binds the point of the tongue 
downwards is a very simple one, and is to be recommended when there is a 
manifest inability to elevate the tongue. 

A lateral motion of the jaw, and sometimes a horizontal one, with a general 
indecision of action, give much trouble in many cases of impediment. The fore- 
going modes of practice will tend to check these habits. When any object is held 
between the teeth, it should be retained horizontally. If it fall from the horizontal 
line, it will show that the jaw is retreating; if it rise, that will indicate an advance 
of the teeth, certainly a less serious fault than the other ; but the correct position 
is for both ranges of the teeth to be exactly in line. 

The teeth should never come in contact in speech. Even in forming the shut 
labial articulations, they should not be allowed to close. Some small object may 
at first be held between the side teeth in practising the labials ; or, excepting for 
F and V, it may be held by the front teeth. 

The rationale of all these modes of exercise, it will be seen, is to reduce the 
action of speech to the least possible amount. Were we to stop here, there might 
be a stiffness and tmgracefulness of articulation remaining; but the student is 
fully informed, in other sections of this work, how to perfect the vocal action 
when obstructive and impedimental faults have been removed. 


The tongue must be understood to be an "unruly member," only figuratively, 
and as representing the faculty of speech. The tongue itself is one of the most 
alert and obedient organs in the body. Within the little compass of the mouth, 
it throws itself, at the bidding of the will, into a score of different attitudes, with 
a dexterity, precision, and untraceable rapidity that would excite our highest ad- 
miration and astonishment, could we but witness them. The fingers of a Thalberg 
or a Liszt, which dazzle the eye with their fleetness over the keys of a pianoforte, 
are not half so nimble as this agile little member, which the least scientific, un- 



lettered, unmusical scold, can put through all its movements with lightning 

Besides its minuter changes of shape in forming vowels, this Protean member 
produces by its independent action and various configurations, no fewer than 
eight of the eleven actions of articulation; forming sixteen distinct elements of 
speech, namely, Th(in), Th(en), S, Z, Sh, Zh, R, L, T, D, N, H(ue), Y, K, 
G, Ng. 

Many of the lingual letters present severe difficulties to the Stammerer, but 
very little impediment is caused by mal-action of the tongue itself. Numerous 
faults of articulation arise from its careless and untrained evolutions, but. Stam- 
mering, and that cleaving to the roof of the mouth which produces such painful 
impediment, arises more from the pressure of the jaw than of the tongue. The 
upward actions of the tongue are made heavy only by the upward bearing of the 
jaw; and the continued pressure of this ponderous frame prevents the tongue 
from disengaging itself and falling into the bed of the mouth, as it otherwise 
naturally would. 

To lighten the actions of the tongue, the Stammerer must keep his jaw rigid; 
and while doing so, he must develop the latent muscular energies of the tongue, 
by vigorous exercise. The various elements that are produced by the actions of 
the tongue should be rapidly run over in natural sequence, from one to another ; 
reiterated separately, and combined in any way that may be found difficult until 
this member is fairly disciplined to good habits, and broken off from bad ones. 

The tongue should never, in speech, be protruded between the teeth ; it should 
never touch the lower teeth ; it should never be pointed downwards to the bed of 
the jaw ; it should never be thrust up within the palatal arch, as in the act of 
sucking ; nor should the point of the tongue in any action deviate from the centre 
of the mouth. 

In finishing its different articulations, the tongue should completely disengage 
itself, and fall back within the mouth, depressed and out of sight. The depression 
of the root of the tongue will be outwardly visible at the angle of the neck and 

Almost every Stammerer has tried to assist his tongue by putting pebbles in 
his mouth. In some cases, this has been done by "advice of the family doctor." 
And on what principle was such an expedient recommended ? On no principle ! 
but only because, forsooth, Demosthenes the renowned Inarticulate, who* cured 
himself of certain faults of speech, is said to have practised with pebbles in his 
mouth. And on what better than this no-principle ground was the art of surgery 
disgraced some few years ago, by operations on the uvula and tonsils to remove 
impediments of speech! Why did reckless operators turn up their professional 
cuffs to such barbarous mutilations? Oh, on no principle! but because, in 
operating on a boy for deafness, some one said that the boy had got accidentally 
cured of some defect of speech which he was then affirmed to have had before 
the operation. 

Hundreds of unfortunate Stammerers were agonizingly mutilated while this 
delusion lasted. But "experientia stultos docet:" though the absurdity of the 
operations did not prevent their infliction on multitudes of too confiding dupes, 
the inefficacy of the knife to excise a habit was too manifest after the suffering 
had been endured ; and the practice was at last almost entirely abandoned. 

The Stammerer has high authority and ample precedent for trying the effect 
of pebbles in his mouth; but he may, perhaps, be satisfied to spare himself the 
chance of a fit of indigestion should he swallow one of them, when we tell him 
that he would find pebbles in his mouth as useless as pebbles in his pocket. Any- 
thing placed below the tongue pulls the point down, by pressing on the f raenum 


a bad position ; and anything placed above the tongue would prevent articulation, 
and be in rather a dangerous position for an inward slip. Demosthenes did not 
cure himself by pebbles but by indomitable energy and perseverance. If the 
pebbles at all assisted him, they did so only by keeping his teeth open. But 
Demosthenes was not a Stammerer. His defect was the common one of inability 
to sound the letter R. Perhaps he had the Stammerer's habit of snapping his 
teeth close at every articulation, and the pebble between the jaws would be very 
useful in correcting this. At all events, let not the Stammerer trust to anything 
out of himself, to any mechanical assistance, or unnatural expedient, for his cure ; 
but let him fairly follow the example of the great Grecian, and devote his energies 
to the task of cultivating his natural powers, and, like Demosthenes, he will suc- 
ceed in making himself a far better speaker probably than he ever would have 
been without the stimulus of impediment. 


The upper jaw is a fixture, and consequently has no motion in speech; but 
the Stammerer, apparently ignorant of this fact, strives to disengage his locked 
teeth by upward effort, and, of course, throws back his head for this purpose. 
The mobile lower jaw goes up too, however, and so he tosses, and shakes, and 
jerks his head in vain, till nature comes to his assistance, and the necessities of 
respiration force his mouth open. These deforming spasms are, of course, in- 
voluntary but ignorance originated them. Had the Stammerer, at his first mis- 
guided effort, been told how to effect the pressing purpose, the faulty habit would 
not have been established : it was not without many repetitions and painful asso- 
ciations that the random effort acquired its muscular attachments and spasmodic 

Many speakers besides Stammerers would be the better of the Stammerer's 
practice to control habits of loose swinging, tossing, or nodding of the head. A 
deaf person might often think a speaker was angrily reproving or vehemently 
dogmatising by the "laying-down-the-law"-like motion of his head. Other orators 
seem to imitate the action of a pugnacious ram, to batter their opinions into their 
auditors' skulls: and others incessantly shake their craniums, as if to create a 
froth and fermentation within. The head is an important oratorical weapon, and 
speakers would do well to keep it from such extravagancies. The "seat of intel- 
lect," tossing and swinging as we often see it, is at best but a light-headed exhibi- 
tion. Weighty thoughts, one would think, would tend to keep it steady! 

To check the difficulties associated with the peculiar head actions of Stam- 
mering, the head must be held firmly upon the neck the chin horizontal and 
drawn inwards. This position must at first be strictly maintained ; for the slight- 
est difficulty with any element, would probably induce the whole of the old spas- 
modic series of stammering actions, if the muscles of the neck were allowed to 
relax. When the habit of moving the head in connexion with articulation is 
broken, no farther care about the position of the head will be necessary: but 
until there is nothing to fear from its freedom, the more it is reined in prevent- 
ively, the better. 

Another important advantage gained by this position of the head, is the 
depression of the larynx the instrument of voice and the consequent deepening 
of the voice. The glottal membranes are put in the easiest position for vocal 
vibration the root of the tongue is depressed the cavity of the mouth enlarged 
the arch' of the fauces spread and the whole organism placed in the most favour- 
able position for easy articulation. By this practice, too, the voice may be per- 
manently deepened and mellowed, and greatly improved in clearness and strength. 




The chief inveteracy of Stammering is generally connected with the respira- 
tion, and a faulty action of the thorax. In many cases there is a considerable 
degree of pain attending the compressive action of the chest; and in some, the 
paroxysms of impediment produce such violent writhings of the body, that the 
aspect of the chest is that of decided deformity. 

Contraction of the chest depresses the diaphragm, and depression of the dia- 
phragm expands the abdomen ; so that a clear outward index of error is furnished, 
both in the thoracic and abdominal actions, to assist in the correction of faults. 

This is the most difficult kind of mal-action to correct in Stammering. The 
Stammerer is in constant dread of difficulties, and as the natural consequence 
of fear his chest falls, and the whole series of habitual spasms is induced in 
anticipation of a failure. It will be some time before the Stammerer who labours 
under much of this species of impediment will acquire sufficient confidence to 
make rational preparations for encountering a dreaded combination ; and often 
he will fall prostrate before a terror-inspiring word. The lack of confidence dis- 
ables his chest, and the want of breath renders useless any effort at articulation. 

If the respiration be not perfectly free, there can be no ease of speech. The 
common rule given to Stammerers, is to draw the abdomen inwards during ex- 
piration; but there is danger of this being overdone. In some cases a forcible 
inward action of the abdomen constitutes a leading feature of the impediment. 
We would, for the management of respiration, recommend the same policy that 
we have prescribed for articulation, namely, to reduce the action to a minimum, 
and to admit no motion that is not indispensably necessary. 

Let the chest be well expanded, and while the breath is expelled, either in 
slow continuous currents, in broken and abrupt jets, or in any other way even 
with all practicable force of voice let the chest be kept expanded, and use as 
little and as gentle abdominal action as possible. The action which really effects 
the purpose of expiration, is internal namely, that of the diaphragm, and a slight 
flattening of the abdomen is all that naturally results from its action on the lungs. 

The organ of force in speech is not the chest not the diaphragm not the 
mouth, but the pharynx, at the back of the mouth, above the windpipe. The sides 
of the pharynx must be so elastic as to expand with the slightest pressure of air, 
and the lips and tongue, in articulation, must be so passive as to yield to the 
slightest impulse of pharyngal pressure. Force thrown either into the act of 
expiration, or the actions of articulation, must result in a straining of the vocal 
organ, or a restraint on the free issue of breath through the mouth; and all 
varieties of Stammering are characterized in various degrees by these two modes 
of mechanical error. 

With reference to respiration, it must further be observed, that many per- 
sons Stammerers especially never, except, perhaps in yawning, experience a 
true inflation of the kings ! Hence arises much of the common tendency to pul- 
monary disease. The lungs require room for their healthy expansion ; and if the 
walls of the chest are not sufficiently raised, the air does not ramify to the ex- 
tremities of the lungs. These consequently become by pressure attached to the 
inner lining of the chest ; or the smaller air passages, from the want of mechanical 
inflation, close up, and become the seat of tubercular disease. 

In connexion with impediments of speech, the power of voluntary inhalation 
is often altogether wanting, and the processes of respiration require to be made 
manifest by suction and ejection of water through a tube, in order to give the 
pupil a perception of the nature of inspiration and expiration. As the blind-born 
have no idea of the nature of vision, so those destitute, as we may say, of the 


faculty of breathing, cannot at first comprehend the nature or the necessity of 
vocal respiration. This difficulty must be overcome before any progress can be 
made in the eradication of Stammering. 

We would now, in conclusion, recapitulate some fundamental facts, and im- 
press on the Stammerer the principle which forms the basis of all exercises for 
the practical application of our directions on the organic positions and actions. 

All voice is produced in and by the glottis; and all whispered emissions of 
breath also emanate from the glottis. All articulations are produced in and by 
the mouth; all vowel variations are also caused by the configuration of the mouth. 
The production of the material of speech is one thing, and the moulding of that 
material into articulate elements and syllables, is quite another process. Two 
entirely different sets of organs are, brought into operation in the two acts : as 
different as the furnace, boiler, and other steam apparatus of a locomotive, are, 
from the piston, rods, and wheels, to which the steam communicates motion. The 
human speaking machine is, however, much more perfect than this most perfect 
and wonderful work of art; for the former has independent motion in all its 
parts, and is capable of indefinite combinations, while the latter is fixed to one 
unvaried round of movements. 

"In human works, though laboured on with pain, 
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain ; 
In God's, one single, can its end produce, 
Yet serves to second, too, some other use." 

The speaking machine is capable of performing all its functions separately ; 
no two actions are necessarily connected: -and since each independent action must 
result from a separate volition, it follows that speech, in its most rapid utterances 
is but an arbitrary arrangement, a conventional sequence, of separate, and con- 
sequently distinctly separable acts of the will, and of the obedient organs of 
respiration, voice, and articulation. 

The Stammerer must study to apply this principle. As soon as he has 
strengthened his voice, and brought his chest into natural action, let him take the 
articulations one by one, and utter their exact sounds separately, and with vowels 
prefixed and subjoined. Then let him, in reading words containing the different 
elements in their various positions and combinations, dwell a little on the letter 
to which his practice is directed, that he may the better observe whether its 
formation is in all points, correct. After a very brief practice of this analytic 
process, the Stammerer who yesterday seemed in danger of strangulation in his 
efforts to articulate pity, paper, package, pepper, pocket, puddle, and such words, 
will to-day enounce them without difficulty, and almost with ordinary fluency. 
There is nothing unnatural in this analytic pronunciation ; it is merely cautious 
creeping before walking, wary walking before running ; and all that is wanted to 
give ordinary compactness to the utterance is facility of action, to enable the 
vocal and articulate organs to perform their offices almost simultaneously. For 
let it be carefully noted, that however inseparable the elements of a syllable may 
seem to the ear, they are in reality, and cannot be otherwise, separate and wholly 
independent formations. 

This is the most important principle the Stammerer can acquire. It breaks 
at once the associations from which the worst features of his impediment resulted, 
and thus almost immediately sets him free from the galling fetters of spasmodic 
tyranny. So far as this principle goes, it is perfect, it gives nothing to un- 
learn : -and all that it leaves to be accomplished are fluency and natural rapidity. 
These are certain acquisitions to the industrious, and they are speedy acquisitions 
to those who unite aptitude, intelligence, and a spirit of ardour to the equally 
necessary spirit of patient industry. 


After the basis of a cure is laid in a knowledge of natural principles, its 
perfection, and especially the time occupied in its perfection, will depend entirely 
on the aptitude, industry, and self-control of the pupil. How long the Stammerer 
may take in effecting his own cure, we cannot determine. But whatever sacrifice 
of time and labour it may cost him, though he should spend the leisure of twelve 
months in the work, the object is worth it all! The cure is not to be considered 
doubtful in any case unconnected with structural mal-formation, nor always 
even then, it is merely a question of time, when proper means are employed. 
Let the Stammerer, then, to whom oral instruction is beyond convenience, either 
of purse or position, take courage, and hopefully commence the task himself. He 
must "work with a will" for it is no task for the faint-hearted. "Courage is half 
the battle!" 

Again we repeat, but in other words, the nature of the Stammerer's under- 
taking. He has to take his speech to pieces, as a watchmaker does a watch, and 
examine all the cogs, and pins, and pivots, of its mechanism ; then, having dis- 
covered and corrected the defects of the separate parts of the machine, he must 
proceed carefully to replace them, one by one, in natural order, adjusting each 
to easy action before he passes to the next! Such, precisely, is the curative 
process: it is not a tedious one, for the elements of speech are few and definite 
in number, but though it were irksome, perseverance would sooner or later bring 
it to an end ! And the Stammerer will then, not only have his speaking machine 
in order, and free from obstructions and irregularities, but under superior con- 
trol, from his intimate acquaintance with its structure and modes of action. 


The following arrangements of letters are organically difficult. Their prac- 
tice forms an excellent means of improving articulation and bringing all parts of 
the mouth under control. To Stammerers, especially, they will be found of the 
highest utility, in perfecting fluency after the power of free analytic enunciation 
is acquired. 

A vowel sound should be prefixed or subjoined to each of the letters in 
practice, and the combination repeated frequently with one flow of breath. 


pt tp ptp tpt pttp tppt 

pk kp pkp kpk pkkp kppk 

tk kt tkt ktk tkkt kttk 

ptk pkt tpk tkp kpt ktp 

pf fp pfp fpf pffp fppf 

f wh wh f f wh f wh f wh f wh wh f wh f f wh 

p f wh p wh f f p wh f wh p wh p f wh f p 

fth thf fthf thfth fththf th f f th 

f th wh f wh th th f wh th wh f wh f th wh th f 

ths sth thsth sths th s s th s th th s 

thsh shth thshth sh th sh th sh sh th sh th th sh 

s sh sh s s sh s sh s sh s sh sh s sh s s sh 

th s sh th sh s s th sh s sh th sh s th sh th s 

* For other exercises of the same nature, arranged for elocutionary practice, see the 
Author's "Principles of Elocution." (For sale at the Volta Bureau, $1.50.) 



bd db bdb dbd bddb dbbd 

bg gb bgb gbg bggb gbbg 

dg gd dgd gdg dggd gddg 

bdg bgd dbg dgb gbd gdb 

bv vb bvb vbv bvvb vbbv 

bw wb bwb wbw bwwb wbbw 

bvw bwv vbw vwb wbv wvb 

vw wv vwv wvw vwwv wvvw 

vm mv vmv mvm vmmv mvvm 

wm mw wmw mwm wmmw mwwm 

vwm vmw w v m w m v mvw m w v 

v th th v v th v th v th v th th v th v v th 

thz zth thzth zthz th z z th z th th z 

v th z v z th th z v th v z z v th z th v 

thl 1th thlth Ithl thllth 1 th th 1 

vthl vlth thvl thlv Ivth 1 th v 

thzh zhth thzhth zh th zh th zh zh th zh th th zh 

z zh zh z z zh z zh z zh z zh zh z zh z z zh 

z th zh z zh th th z zh th zh z zh z th zh th z 

zr rz zrz rzr zrrz rzzr 

rl Ir rlr Irl rllr Irrl 

rn nr rnr nrn rnnr nrrn 

nl In nln Inl nlln Innl 

rln rnl Irn Inr nrl nlr 

nm mn nmn mnm n m m n mnnm 

n ng ng n n ng n ng n ng n ng ng n ng n n ng 

m ng ng m m ng m ng m ng m ng ng m ng m m ng 

n m ng n ng m m n ng m ng n ng n m ng m n 

y zh zh y y zh y zh y zh y zh zh y zh y y zh 

yw wy ywy wyw ywwy w y y w 


The passages that follow contain instances ist, of Double Articulations; 
2nd, of Difficult Combinations; 3rd, of Alliterations and Difficult Sequences; and, 
4th, of Miscellaneous Difficulties. 

The eye is directed by italics to the leading points for practice. 


Hear both elements distinctly, with as little hiatus as possible. 

A figure regal /ike, with solemn ;narch, 
Goes slow and stately by; whilst they, distill'd 
Almost to jelly with the act of /ear, 
Stand dumb, and speak not to him. 
O! studied deceit! (not study.) 
A sad dangler, (not angler.)' 
A languid dame, (not aim.) 
His crime moved me, (not cry.) 
To obtain neither, (not either.) 
He could pain nobody, (not pay.) 
Goodness centres in the heart, (not enters.) 
Luxurious soil, (not oil.) 
He will prate to anybody, (not pray.) 
Make clean our hearts within us, (not lean.) 

In bulk as huge as whom the fables name of monstrous size, (not eyes.) 
Can the Ethiopian change hi^ skin, (not kin,) or the leopard 1m jpots? (not pots.) 
Whose beard descending swept his aged frreast, (not beer.) 

A constant smirk on the face, and a whiffling activity of the body, are strong indications 
of /utility, (not utility.) 


Fear is a good watchman but a bad defender. 

Hypocrites first cheat the world, and at last, too, themselves. 

One vice is more expensiz^ than five virtues. 

Spend time in good duties, and /reasure in good deeds. 

Time is so swift of foot that none can overtake it. 

Trusf wot too far, and mistrust ot too fast. 

Use soit words, but hard arguments. 

A \ittle leaven \eaveneth the whole /ump. 

Vaun-couriers of oafc-cleaving thunderbolts. 

His palsied hand^ Deemed to wa^r strong, 

In horrid climes where Chiloe's tempests sweep. 

Our sou/ loatheth this light bread. 

Was it a wailing bird of the gloom, 

"Which shrieks on the house of woe all night? 

And on the bridge of his well-arched nose 

Sit laughter plumed, and white-winged Jollity. 

Learn to live as you'd desire to die. 

Doing nought is next to doing naughtily. 


Give each of the elements its full separate audibility, without hiatus. 

Yet the lark's shrill fife may come. 

And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the faty shall overflow with wine and oil. 

Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it 
shall tingle. 

What though each spark of earth-born rapture fly ! 

In septennial parliaments, your representatives have si,r years for offence, and but one 
for atonement. 

Can the husbandman look forward with assured confidence to the expected increase of 
his fields? 

Now on the leaflet yew it plays. 

Long has it hung from the cold yew's spray. 

Oft by that yew on the blasted field. 

Examples prevail when precepts fail. 

Frequent good company. 

Put the cut pumpkin in a pipkin. 

Then pealed the notes omnipotent to charm, 

And the loud tocsin tolled their last alarm. 

My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'er. 

In praising sparing be, and blame most Daringly. 

Malice seldom wants a marfc to aim at. 

We must not blame fortune for our faults. 

We must look to time past to improve what is to come. 


These sentences should be repeated again and again as rapidly as may be 
done with distinctness. 

Poor men want much, but wealthy men want more. 

Rags and liberty rather than links and riches. 

Let reason rule your life. 

A versifier wants a very wonderful variety of words. 

Hope, open thou his eye to look on high, and his ear to hear. 

Teach thy heart the holy art of humbly hearing truth. 

Robert loudly rebuked Richard, who ran lustily roaring round the lobby. 

Twice 2, and twice 2, with two times twice 2, 2 and twice 2, are twenty-two. 

Thrice three, and three times 3. with three-fold threes, and 3, and 3, are thirty-three. 

Four times 4, and 4, with 4, and 4, and four times 4, are forty-four. 

Five fives, and four fives, with five and five, are fifty-five. 

Six times 6, and six times 6, minus 6, are sixty-six. 


Seven times 7, and thrice 7, with 7 more, are seventy-seven. 

Eight times 8, and one 8, with 8 and 8, are eighty-eight. 

Nine times g, with 9, and 9, and no more nines, are ninety-nine. 

Geese cackle, cattle low, cocks crow, crows caw. 

I snuff shop snuff, do you snuff shop snuff? 

Fill the sieve with thistles, then sift the thistles in the sieve. 

I like white vinegar with veal very well. 

Men's manners, more than merit, make or mar their fortunes. 

Much water makes the meal-mill wheel work well. 

Learn what you like to learn, delight in learning what you learn, and learn to like 
things laudable. 

He humbly honours the hoary head. 

Hope is the highway to happiness. 

Pull the poor fool out of the full pool. 

A swan swam over the swell swim, swan, swim! The swan swam back through the 
swell well swam, swan ! 

Swimmers in sin soon sink in sorrow. 

Money makes many men mad. 

Value virtue more than fame or fortune. 

Virtue finds favour with all, though few fully follow it. 

Yield not, you young, to useless yearnings, nor yet ye in years. 

Eye her highness, how high she holds her old haughty head. 

The witwal wings her weary flight, where winter winds wither the waving woods. 

A merchant's mismanagement makes much mischief to the mercantile machine. 

Vice oft wears variegated velvet, while virtue walks in vulgar velveteen. 

False friends are far more formidable than fiercest foes. 

Several sailors saw the sottish soldier stagger senselessly to his solitary cell. 

Captain Cunningham cut and come again. 

The soup must be heated before he eat it. 

Peter Piper's peacock picked a peck of pickling pepper from a paper packet. Did Peter 
Piper's peacock pick a peck of pickling pepper from a paper packet? If Peter Piper's peacock 
picked a peck of pickling pepper from a paper packet, where's the paper packet whence the 
pretty speckled peacock picked the peck of pepper? 


Such passages as the following require very minute distinctiveness of ut- 
. terance. 

Chaste stars, (not tars.) 
Cold ground, (not coal.) 
Irish yews, (not shoes.) 

Yet half I see the panting spirit sigh, (not spirit's eye.) 
Oh! the torment of an ever-meddling memory, (not a never-meddling.) 
Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valour, as thott art in desire? 
(not thy known.) 

A warm tear gushed, the wintry air 

Congealed it as it flowed away; 
All night it lay an ice-drop there, (not a nice drop) 

At morn it glittered in the ray. 

"Give the cat stale bread." "The cat's /ail, mamma?" "Silence, child!" 



|1NCE the first publication of the " Principles of 
Speech and Dictionary of Sounds," the author 
has developed a more minute analysis of 
speech-sounds, complete for all languages and pho- 
netic effects, and coupled with a scheme of symbols 
expressive to the eye, of the organic formation of the 
sounds they represent. The graphic result is hence 

The following are the fundamental principles of the 
symbdlization : 


The symbol of Voice is a straight line, because that 
is proximately the shape of the glottis in sounding 
voice. Every vowel is an utterance of voice ; hence 
every vowel is represented by a straight line. 

The vowel lines are subject to the following varie- 
ties, to express the modification of the sounds by the 
various attitudes of the tongue, etc. : 


Ill J T f 

31C 3 I C 

T T I J I I 





* I f 

J I i 

1 I f 

3- * C 
J I I 


The symbol of the tongue is a curve, having proxi- 
mately the same outline as the tongue presents in the 
formation of the consonants. Hence every lingual con- 
sonant is represented by a curve. 

The consonant curves are subject to the following 
varieties, to express the modification of the sounds by 
the shape and mode of action of the tongue, etc. 




A straight line within a curve shows that the con- 
sonant action is accompanied by voice, thus: 

<> 00 



The learner will perceive that there are thirty-six 
vowels and forty-eight consonants included in the 
above scheme; but that there are only nine varieties of 
vowel lines, and six varieties of consonant lines ; the 
nine vowel forms being repeated with inversion, four 


times, and the six consonant forms being repeated 
with inversion, eight times, with the uniform differ- 
ences which are now to be explained. 


The roof of the mouth is an arch. When the con- 
vex tongue is raised towards the front of the arch- 
behind the upper teeth the voice has the quality of I 
as in (eel) ; when the tongue is raised as closely to the 
back of the arch the soft palate the voice has the 
vowel quality of 1; and when the middle of the 
tongue is raised as closely to the top of the arch the 
hard palate (involving a high position of both back 
and front of the tongue), the voice has the vowel 
quality of I. 

The discriminating mark on the straight line is on 
the right side for Front sounds ; on the left for Back 
sounds ; and on both sides for Top or Mixed sounds. 


Repeat the three High vowels a number of times, 
until you feel that you can distinguish them by lingual 
position, as well as by sound. 

11 III 1 I f 

III I 1 f III 

You may not at first be accurate with 1 and T, but 
the familiar I (ee), will give you an unmistakable start- 
ing point; and if you consider 1 and I simply as ee 
formed respectively at the Back and at the Top of the 



tongue, you will soon be able to oscillate the tongue 
with certainty, from one to the other of its three 
high positions. 


Keeping the tongue in the Front of the mouth, as 
for I, but slightly depressed and drawn Backward, so 
as to enlarge the Front cavity, the voice has the vowel 
quality of C (a as in ale). 

Keeping the tongue at the same elevation, but draw- 
ing it farther back, the vowel quality is I. This has 
been called the natural vowel, because it is unmodi- 
fied by either Back or Front quality. It is the indefin- 
ite sound (1) heard (I) from (I) drawling speakers. 
As a linguistic sound it is the unaccented e of French 
and German. 

Still keeping the tongue at the same Mid elevation, 
but drawing it to the Back of the mouth, --so as to give 
the voice a slightly guttural quality, the vowel sound 
is 3 (as in up). 


Repeat the three mid vowels a number of times, 
until facility is obtained in discriminating them by 
position as well as by sound. 

31C 3 t I C I ] 

C ) I I 1 [ It) 


By opening the mouth widely, so as to enlarge its 
respective cavities to the utmost, a series of three Low 
vowels will be obtained. 


The Low Back vowel (J), has the deep guttural 
effect of the interjection of disgust, ugh \ 

The Low Front vowel (I), has the effect of the 
exclamation of wonder, eh ! 

The Low Mixed vowel (I), has a sound intermedi- 
ate to J and I, as if in the attempt to pronounce these 
elements together. 

The mere separation of the jaws will not suffice to 
produce the Low vowels. The effective action is that 
of the tongue, which should be depressed independ- 
ently of the opening of the mouth. 

In the exercise which follows, a pencil may at first 
be held by the teeth, that the separate action of the 
tongue may be felt. 


Repeat the three Low vowel sounds until facility is 
attained in discriminating them by position as well as 
by sound. 

J I I J I I I I J 

I J I I J I I I J 

The sounds of the nine primary vowels should be 
well practised, in order that the necessary foundation 
may be laid for the derivative classes of Wide and 
Round vowels. 


The Primary vowels have all more or less of a semi- 
consonant effect, arising from a slight degree of frica- 
tiveness in their narrow channels. They are, in con- 


sequence, strongly organic. The wide vowels are 
comparatively indefinite in organic quality as if 
loosely and carelessly formed; but they are purely 
sonorous, and free from friction. Every Primary 
vowel has its Wide variety. Compare the vowels in 
eel and /'/// for that purpose giving the sounds the 
same length ; and endeavor to feel the organic cause 
of their difference. This will be found to be the one 
source of Wide quality in all cases, namely, ^wide- 
ning of the posterior cavity of Ihe mouth the phar- 
ynxso as to neutralize the anterior effects of the 
Primary vowels. 


High Back Wide. .1 Unaccented // in the terminations, 

tion, tions, etc. 

Mid Back Wide. . . 3 a in ask, path, etc. 
Low Back Wide. . . J a in alms, father, etc. 

High Front Wide. .1 /' in ///. 

Mid Front Wide. . C a in air, unaccented e in ment, 

ness, etc. 
Low Front Wide.. .1 a in at. 

High Mixed Wide ^ unaccented e, i. 

Mid Mixed Wide. .1 article a; unaccented a in chap- 

man, tfMack; unaccented er. 
Low Mixed Wide..\ er in her. 


The eighteen vowels thus far introduced are all 
formed without any action of the lips; a second series 


of precisely the same formation, is differentiated from 
the first by the addition of " Round," or labial quality. 
In practising the first set of vowels the lips should be 
spread, so that the edges of the teeth are visible. For 
the Round vowels the lips must more or less cover the 
mouth. There is no need for projecting the lips ; the 
opening between them has simply to be varied from 
narrow to broad. A narrow opening is associated 
with High vowels ; a broad opening with Low vow- 
els; and an intermediate opening with Mid vowels.. 

Round quality has the uniform symbol of a bar 
across the straight line (+). 

Any of the lingual vowels may be Rounded ; and 
any of the Round vowels may be delabialized by 
spreading the lips. This may be best done, experi- 
mentally, by means of the fingers. The result will 
then be independent of the will of the speaker. 

The High Back Round vowel (1), has the sound of 
oo, which requires narrow labial aperture. Delab- 
ialize this sound, by mechanically spreading the lips, 
and the true sound of the High Back Primary vowel 
will be heard. 

In this way unknown sounds can be readily and 
certainly produced. The Low Back Round vowel 
(J), for example, which has a broad labial aperture 
has the sound of aw. Delabialize this sound, and 
you will hear the true quality of the Low Back Pri 
mary vowel. 



High Back Round. . .1 oo as in loo, rue. 

Mid Back Round . . .} o as in go. 

Low Back Round . . . J aw as in awe, all. 

High Front Round, .f u (German). 

Mid Front Round. . .- u (French). 

Low Front Round.. .1 o (German), eu (French). 

High Mixed Round.. 1 u (Swedish). 
Mid Mixed Round.. \ (Irish), as in come. 
Low Mixed Round . . I Provincial English. 

The precise sounds of the symbols f, , I, will be 
obvious by delabializing the sounds. Thus : f delab- 
ialized is ee; delabialized is a; and \ delabialized is 
L eh, ell. 


High Back Wide Round. .1 oo as in good, book. 
Mid Bach Wide Round. . .} o as in ore. 
Low Back Wide Round. . . J o as in on. 

High Front Wide Round, .f u in gmd, (Scotch). 
Mid Front Wide Round . .{ variety of u, (French). 
Low Front Wide Round . .1 ow in now, (London). 

High Mixed Wide Round. I. u, (Swedish). 
Mid Mixed Wide Round. \ homme, (French). 
Low Mixed Wide Round. .$ Sir, (Irish). 

The preceding classifications of vowels were, before 
publication, tested experimentally, in the writing of 
foreign sounds of almost all varieties, and of arbitrary 


peculiarities and individualisms. No linguistic sound, 
or combination of sounds, was found that could not 
be expressed with perfect legibility by the Visible 
Speech elements. But their chief practical application, 
hitherto, has been in teaching and recording the vari- 
ous unseen or unheard positions of the vocal organs ; 
so helping the deaf to pronounce speech, and teachers 
of the deaf to give defmiteness to their instructions. 
To hearing students, the Visible Speech symbols will 
be even more directive, whether in application to their 
own tongue, or to any foreign language. 


Glides are transitional, non-syllabic sounds, formed 
while the organs change their position. With a more 
open and fixed configuration, glides would be vowels; 
and with a closer formation, the organic glides would 
be consonants. Being thus a sort of intermediate 
sounds, the symbols of glides unite a straight line and 
a curve. Thus : 

Back glide.. non-syllabic guttural sound. 

Top glide . . . .* " " sound of e as in pte, 

Point glide . . . * a non-syllabic sound of r t as in ear, 
air, err. 

Lip glide 2 a non-syllabic sound of oo, as in 

now, out. 

Voice glide ... I a non-syllabic sound of I, as in 
weary, fiery. 

Round glide. .* a non-syllabic sound of slightly labi- 
alized quality. 



Consonants are close positions of the organs of 
speech, producing a sound of friction, or of stoppage, 
within the mouth. 

All consonants are either vocal or non-vocal; /. e. t 
voiced or whispered. 

The sound of the Back consonant is caused by 
squeezing the breath (C) or the voice () between the 
Back of the tongue and the soft palate, as in nach, 
tage, (German). The sound of the Top Consonant is 
caused by a similar squeezing between the Top of the 
tongue and the hard palate, as in hue, you (O ft). 
The sound of the Point Consonant is caused by a sim- 
ilar squeezing between the raised Point of the tongue 
and the upper gum, as in etre* (O Ci)) ray. The sound 
of the Lip Consonant is caused by squeezing the breath 
(O) or the voice ( 3) between the Lips, as in blowing 
to cool; wie, (German), b, (Spanish). 


The Primary curve modified by the effect of its op- 
posite curve gives a series of four Mixed Consonants: 

Bach Mixed. . C The sound of the Back curve mod- 
ified by a close position of the Lips, 
as in sough (Scotch). 

* A non-vocal Point consonant is heard in English where r pre- 
cedes a non-vocal consonant in the same syllable, as in arch, harsh, 
heart, harp, hark ; but the glide (y), is more frequently employed in 
such cases. 



Top Mixed. . .Q The sound of the Top curve modi- 
fied by raising the Point of the 
tongue, as in sh, z^ 

Point Mixed. .5 The sound of the Point curve mod- 
ified by raising the Top of the 
tongue, as in s,z- 

Lip Mixed > The sound of the Lip curve modi- 
fied by the Back of the tongue, as 

in wh, w. 


The sounds of the preceding consonants are all 
emitted through a central oral channel, but when the 
organs are so placed as to obstruct the central chan- 
nel, and open a passage on one or both sides of the 
obstruction we have a series of sixteen Divided con- 

Back Divided C S as in laodh, (Gaelic). 

Top Divided CO CO as in gli, (Italian). 

Point Divided CO CO as in /.* 

Lip Divided 33 as in /, v. 

Back Mixed Divided . & & as in C labialized. 
Top Mixed Divided . .2 P2 as in //, (Welsh), Ih, 


Point Mixed Divided. 13 2x5 as in th, dh. 

Lip Mixed Divided. . .3 3 as in 3 3 gutturalized. 

* The non-vocal Point Divided consonant is heard when L pre- 
cedes a non-vocal consonant in the same syllable ; as in else, felt, 
quilt, health, self, silk. 



When the oral passage is closed, so as to prevent 
emission of breath, we have a series of eight shut 
consonants four non-vocal and four vocalized. The 
non-vocal shut consonants have no sound but the 
slight puff which accompanies the relinquishment of 
the shut positions, thus : 

Back Shut.. . .Q Stoppage by means of the Back of 

the tongue, as in key. 
Top Shut . . . .Q Stoppage by means of the Top of 

the tongue, as in chew.\ 
Point Shut . . . O Stoppage by means of the Point of 

the tongue, as in tea, 
Lip Shut D Stoppage by means of the Lips, as 

in pea. 

While the organs are in these Shut positions, a mur- 
mur of voice may be produced. The sound can be 
only momentary, because there is no issue of breath. 

Back Shut Voice. . . 1 g as in go. 

Top Shut Voice. . . .Q d* as in jew, (-d^hoo). 

Point Shut Voice . . CD d as in do. 

Lip Shut Voice .... 3 b as in boy. 


While the organs are in the various Shut positions 
the passage through the nose may be opened. The 

f The sound of ch in chew, commences with a shut position of the 
tongue, followed by the sound of sh (Q) j and the shut position is 
assimilated to that of Q and becomes Q instead of o. 

* Top form to assimilate with 


non-vocal Nasals have no sound but of the breath 
nasally emitted, and that is so feeble as to be scarcely 
audible. The non-vocal Nasals, therefore, have gen- 
erally been denied inclusion as speech-elements. They 
are, however, common in English. Thus, when m, 
n, or ng precedes a non-vocal consonant in the same 
syllable, these nasals are voiceless, as in imp, hint, 
inch, since, prince, glimpse, ink, (=ingk), length. The 
effect is rather one of hiatus than of any audible 
quality; but it is peculiarly English. A foreigner may 
always be told by his vocalizing the nasals in such 
words : 

Back Shut Nasal G non-vocal ng. 

Top Shut Nasal Q non- vocal n. 

Point Shut Nasal & non-vocal n. 

Lip Shut Nasal > non-vocal m. 

Back Shut Nasal Voice . . B ng. 

Top Shut Nasal Voice . . . & n. 

Point Shut Nasal Voice.. *& n. 

Lip Shut Nasal Voice ... 9 m. 


Before the publication of the system of Visible 
Speech, public demonstrations were given (in Edin- 
burgh and London), of the unique power of the sym- 
bols to represent "any sound that the mouth can 
make." Professors of nearly all the European lan- 
guages, and of Sanscrit, Persian, Chinese, etc., as well 
as speakers of North American, African, and other 
tongues, dictated the most uncouth varieties of strange 


phonetics, which were written in Visible Speech upon 
the black-board, and afterwards read, by a student of 
the system, with an effect which seemed "like an 
echo " of the original dictation. The reader, of course, 
was not present while the tests were dictated. These 
results have been repeated in this country, and may be 
repeated in any country. 

To qualify the student for this application of Visible 
Speech, he must be familiar with the vowel and con- 
sonant symbols exhibited in the preceding pages, as 
well as with the following supplementary symbols 
of Vocal Physiology. 


O Throat and Glottis wide. H. 

Throat contracted. Whisper 

1 Glottis straight and narrow. Voice. 
\ Round Voice. (Labialized}. 

I Nasal. 

\ Trill of the organ represented in preceding sym- 
bol, thus: 0* Throat Trill (of the epiglottis) ; 
Ci Back Trill (of the uvula) : Oi Lip Trill. 

X Catch of the Glottis, as in coughing, 

< Suction drawing in air. 
> Breath emitting breath. 

ft Stop of the breath while the organs retain their 
position for preceding element. 

< Suction stopped. An effort of suction without 

drawing in air ; as in T <, an interjection of vex- 


> Breath stopped. An effort of percussion without 
emission from the throat; as in P>, a smoker's 

* Holder. Prolongation of preceding sound or or- 
ganic position. 

i'l Side. 

I-I Sides. The opening of one or both side apertures 
after a shut position. 

' Abrupt. 

, Hiatus between the elements of a syllable; as 
in p'aper. (Irish). 

A Close. A compressive formation of preceding 

v Open. A loose formation of preceding element. 

c Inversion of the tongue. 

o Protrusion of the tongue. 

Link joining two elements simultaneously 

o Whistle. 

c- Vocalized whistle. 

o< Lingual or inner whistle. 

Level tone. 

/ Simple rise. 

\ Simple Fall, 

v Compound rise. 

A Compound fall. 

N Rising wave. 

[ Higher than preceding pitch. 

[ Lower than preceding pitch. 

' Accent (stress), written high, as in a 9 way. 

, Emphasis, written low, as in "The ,one thing 



In the following pages, English Visible Speech is 
exemplified, by interlinear transliteration, to furnish a 
convenient form of exercise. 


Visible Speech is the ready vehicle for a universal 

lei? &T 

language. Whenever that necessity of mankind is 

MID tfToi^fof js 

provided, Visible Speech will be the equally 

3ICO I wT 

necessary means for its diffusion. No language is 

foreign to Visible Speech. It will teach German, 

Dl 3M000I UDlQQ. lo sliO 

French, English, or Zulu with equal ease, and 

, leecofo, j 

that either to foreign or to native learners. It 


teaches the ^ to discriminate sounds, enabling 

JOT 3X Ol 

those who have no "ears to hear" to use artic- 

W}?l5 Ol OI3 05} "lirfoJ Ol Olit! " D! fl>lSi5 

ulate language in their intercourse with the hearing; 

slw wT 

and qualifying those who lisp, or burr, stammer 

W}u5 Ol O 


or stutter, to pronounce their words with correct- 

t* UO]OW Ol DdJtQJjiOU Wfo? 3]WKiJ 3J3&5 OJWICIO- 

ness and fluency. It will do away with dialectic 

peculiarities so that these may no longer " bewray " 

} wto ttfo >C CD} cojeel* "foe" 

the speaker's provincialism. It will enable children 

to learn their mother tongue with rapidity, and 


through that to learn any other tongue with a 

UWl WJO Dl COIiSiJ TCOl ]WT>! O]Q 3lw I 

facility now unknown. Visible Speech is the re- 

alization of a long-cherished dream of philosophers. 

XWftfCQltf J3 t OOJ6-QOlCi)IOO EUfo J3 OluOJOl3lifa5. 

While it was only a dream, and considered hope- 
33*00 ID sjtf KKof 1 QKi)Jte, 1^3 oj^yldny o}o- 

less of attainment, a universal alphabet was felt 

COCO J3 IOC03&CC3D, I (t)103i3l^OlCO t003lCO 3J05 3ICJO 

to be a grand linguistic desideratum. Now that 

ol I I eciH03 colessluola GrtbI<znMo]a 0332 tflo 

it is an accomplished fact, are all as ready to ac- 

fo ftf ice iqjscxiofno 3too, 3^ jco i& ci)iT ol IQ- 

cept it ? But Visible Speech is more than a uni- 

? ]0 

versal alphabet. It is also a self-interpreting alpha- 

sx^co tW3l0Co. lolcisjou} l uiwa-IcjoivowTofe ico3l- 

bet of universal sounds. 




Alexander John Ellis, the chief phonetician of the 

icocaoosjoa* ffittjs looJb, wT oofs ojajCoIniaj J3 wT 

nineteenth century, has left on record his estimate 

CflKOSOfoW OlOOOlCi)!, Oltf OOI3O Jtf CDlOJWt! Oftf lUOl&To 

of Visible Speech. After witnessing a demonstration, 

J3 3MG0i OOlQQ. 33OI* SiDCCCole I C9JCKXXi>[nte, 

by means of tests of his own devising, Mr. Ellis 

I* Qfotf J3 OIUOO J3 Oftf Jtf DT33XCiJle? B(D. Xwfo 

wrote : * 


" The mode of procedure was as follows: Mr. Bell 

"WT. &} J3 Ddaufoffih! 3JCiJ ICiJ 3JCOIJ5: BCD. ICO 

sent his two sons, who were to read the writing, out 

OIDO Olvi5 Dl 0]03ij3, Ol 31V Dl Ci?I(D CCT Ci;3?iOli. 32O 

of the room, it is interesting to know that the elder, 
js wT o)ls, ID Iu3 IccoicDiuole ol cu} wio wT icooru!, 

who read all the words in this case, had only had five 

Ol 0)1 JCO WT 3]VOXi3 ICC Wlb O(O, OI }Ci3QOl 01 33S3 

weeks' instruction in the use of the alphabet and I 

Ci3 WT <i)iL5 J3 WT 

dictated slowly and distinctly the sounds which I 

cfaoCoC ocojcol IQP ojlooleooof wT o32^c5 D!QO 3?; 

wished to be written. These consisted of a few 

SlfJO Ol I d)to. dij5 OJS3<L5lOOT(i> J3 I 3C3l 

words in Latin, pronounced first as at Eton, then as 

* Letter to The Reader, September 3, 1864. 


in Italy, and then according to some theoretical notions 

Ice loicof, ICD Kitf lajwafe ol u]s 

of how the Latins might have uttered them. Then 

J3 O3I 6Sf WIOfOKtf B3*O OI3 

came some English provincialisms and affected pro- 

0[3 UJ9 

nunciations; the words "how odd "being given in 

tf]tfolcotetf; wT 33j3 "032 j" He elso* la? 

several distinct ways. Suddenly German provincial- 

isms were introduced. Then discrimination of sounds 

itfSj5 3lV Id3O(i)l(T)iOO. WIQ5 IOQ(i)feIc;ColCi5 J3 y32Q5j3 

often confused, from Polish, German, Dutch, Swiss, 

J3C0* ajCCSttitf, 3WJ8 DjCOlO, ffi^iyQlCi;. ]QQ, Oslo, 

French and English. Some Arabic, some Cockney 
3Ci>"[CQQ ice leecoln. LS]Q M0Ia, L5]8 aja^I 

English, with an introduced Arabic guttural; some 

leecofo, sJjw la? foocutorcloo -[cuiela ejoicDloo; a]9 

mispronounced Spanish, and a variety of shades of 

lOQ(i)^32S300 UDttffQ, 1^ I SlO^Co! J3 O[QXi5 J3 

vowels and diphthongs. The result was perfectly 

satisfactory; that is, Mr. Bell wrote down my queer 

MID Iw, &y. TOO 

and purposely exaggerated pronunciations, and mis- 
TOJCD o]aoloool ce^iffi^lc^CoC Dcj^jj]ajolcnlajj5, x sly- 

pronunciations, and delicate distinctions, in such a 


manner that his sons, not having heard them, so ut- 
&ltf\x wio oto U3s5u5, ojjo oisle 01* wcs, uj- 30- 

tered them as to surprise me by the extremely correct 

It wC& itf ol otai>3fci> &T 03?; &5T 

echo of my own voice. Accent, tone, drawl, brevity, 

laj js 3* }s? sjxa ta^Coo, oKs, CDJGO, Bristol, 

indistinctness, were all . reproduced with surprising 

accuracy. Being on the watch, I could, as it were, 

jo? wT 3joo, 3s al, ti5 lo 3l, 

trace the alphabet in the lips of the readers. 1 think, 

cMo wT t^3lCo to wl colcxj js wT wlsytaa. 3?; ufoa, 

then, that Mr. Bell is justified in the somewhat 

to 6JT 

bold title which he has assumed for his mode of 

03-00 O3*ocot D!QQ ol oltf lc5d)l& sj* oto 93- J3 

writing * Visible Speech.' I only hope that, for the 

' stofeoot UD!QQ. ' ox 3<t?ool 030 coco, 3j wl 

advantage of linguists, such an alphabet may be soon 

13 GOfe<Q3.1bOL5, O[QQ 1Q5 ICJ310CO &[ 1 

made accessible, and that, for the intercourse of na- 

&C iduiuteow, TCP &sto, sj* wT IcsolrajK; J3 Ac- 

tions, it may be adopted generally, at least for 

nlo&s, fo &C . 01 ljooC ffiflictfMcoI, xo ooloo 3j 

extra-European nations, as for the Chinese dialects, 

and the several extremely diverse Indian languages, 

tec wT oi3lci)i,co Cauoc)l9'ajl 


where such an alphabet would rapidly become a great 

social and political engine." 

105 DtCOloIdlCO 

It was a confidence only due to Mr. Ellis's disinter- 

10 3JU I QjCOfoCOO }S3COf Stol Ol 9*. iC 

estedness and promptitude in recognizing the merits 

wi^oCatfCo IE Dwjooforcl I (i>iajea53*ttle wT siufou 

of Visible Speech which led the author to invite that 

13 3M0GW ooloo X)!QQ ooi wT jcojii! eft IsJ33?;o wio 

gentleman, at a later period, to inspect the theoretical 

ffift"[C?OCO*8l5, tO I GOCOb! Dlwljffi, D! lOLJOlQO wT wf^IofcriCO 

details of the invention, before publication. In a sec- 

ond letter to The Reader, Mr. Ellis describes what he 

J03 COIDl* Ol "Wl wMi?," 9i!. IGOlo CCTyQ(i)3?i0d3 OJD Ol 

now knew theoretically as well as practically, f 

CE532 ^^1 W&Ci)IOlCflwI l& 3100 lCi3 DWtQDlcaOOl. 

"In your number for September }, 1864, you gave 

"Jb fl)te Ci5390l!? 3J!il OCDOIQBlli! 3, 1864, 1 Q[3 

insertion to a letter which I addressed to you concern- 

Isolate oi l coioi :oJbo ] lowiud ol 3t QJCOI^- 

ing Mr. Melville Bell's new system of expressing 

13 3V. QIOOSloO "[GO'Ci5 Q301 olODCQ J3 CCO3(i)IulQ 

speech-sounds by written symbols. I had then been 

favored with a private demonstration of its capabilities, 

afcs I DO)3X3Co i9jcooci)[Qlc; js loo 

I Letter to The Reader, August 5, 1865. 


which I had tested to the best of my power; and 
slao f 3* ol oiooc al tit 01^0 js &f 032*; is 

I was able to give a most satisfactory report to that 
ol els I sjuo utofo3i;aofci>f ci)To}yo ol wa 

extent. But I did not know the forms of the letters, 

CQ'JOItfO. 0]O 3* I 05JO 05} Wl GJ^aJ 3 Cuff GOlOltfiJ, 

or what each individual letter represented, or how 
j ojo loo JbdjMojfllloo wioly coCcxuT^iooC, Jif 032 

they were to be combined, or what was the theory 

wC 31* ol 0T aj903to(iJ, jvf ojo 3ji5 wT &jfjr 

on which the extraordinary results I witnessed were 

based; and I was, therefore, obliged to qualify my 

opinion. Mr. Melville Bell and his sons have now 
Jottfrcloj. &y. sioosloo 0ico XCTJ ofcc u]s?;i5 ots 0532 

been kind enough to devote several hours to explain- 


ing to me thoroughly the whole phonetic theory and 
Ie ol si wMcof wT 03-00 sjojiola uljwl to? 

plan of symbolization, and to read and exhibit on 

J3 UteBJOOftftQlO;, XdD Ol Ci)I t^ 5 

paper before me examples of its use, sufficiently nu- 
&T Cj53OOi>45 js IOLS lu, 

merous to enable me to form a complete judgment of 

Ol (frCOOt &T Ol 3Ji I QJOCKOlO ffi^]ffi?59CC5O J3 

its powers and merits. 1 take the liberty, therefore, 
lou D32&5 to? &ici>rou. 3S oCa wT 


in the interest of science, to complete the information 

fo wT JboMoo js uOKCcxJ, ol ojDOjofo &ff 

I gave you, so far as I am at liberty to do. I may add 

3* Q[3 0$, 2J3- 3J!i! ttf ft \B \O COfel^oI Ol 1. 3* S[ 1 

that I have no sort of connection, pecuniary or per- 

jrflo ft ois c# ujvo js amidols?, DfattMluI jv QXtf- 

sonal, with Mr. Melville Bell's scheme; that 1 have 

not been of the slightest assistance to him in its con- 

ol ola I<o3 lo 

struction; and that persons might even rather suspect 

uociOaote; ICD(D wio Dj^loxis 93?;o Is^ cujwl!.; olyoioo 

me of wishing not to forward a scheme which will, 

9l f3 Slole 05JO Dl 3J!9fliJ 1 UOfe OlQQ Sid), 

I believe and hope, thoroughly supersede one on 

which I have labored for many years, and expended 

oJbo ft o\3 ooCBte sjy aial wl^, 105 Caooi^QDC 

much money. My impressions in favor of Mr. Bell's 

Qft foOCDlQl^JJ Id? 3[3ly J3 S* 

scheme are so strong, that it is necessary for me to 

io lo Ij3 tfiuc^luf 3y si ol 

guard against any suspicion of being biased in giving 

eft IQICSOO to?! uloolote js 0Ke 03^1^0 fo 

them expression. 

As I write I have a full and distinct recollection of 
pis 3?; ufto 3* ois 1 sloo tec ccloolaao djCajooiaolaj J3 


the labours of Amman, (1692-1700); *Du Kempelen, 

wl coc!^ js I&1, (1692-1700); { aiDDcoCtf, 

(1791); Johannes Muller, ( 1834-1851); K. M. Rapp, 
(1791); fflaHtfto sfooi*, (1834-1851): a 3. aio, 

(1836-1841); C. R. Lepsius, (1863); E. Brucke, (1856); 
(1836-1841); ul. w. wioully, (1863); 1 Bcitfca (1856); 

S. 5. Haldeman, (1860) ; Atoc A/0//*r, (1855-1864). 
a- a otwaTsitf, (1860); siao sfwu, (1855-1864). 

To these I may add my own works, (1845-1848- 
ol wfo 3* SC I 93s 3- 3]vao, (1845-1848- 

1856), together with a host of other works of more or 

1856), OlQltfl!i! 3lw I O}OO J3 M 3]yOL5 J3 S^ J^ 

less pretention and value, which it would be too long 

WIU DCitfOlSQltf IC5 3luOcr>l, olQQ lo 3l 0T Dl OOJ6 

to enumerate. The above treatises contain, perhaps, 
ol TcerclQMo. wT 10]3 DO)IoMo5 oj^oCcc, DI^XD^, 

a complete account of the present state of phonetical 
I qjDocclo ictfJoo js 63T cwi^C^o ^o[o js 

knowledge, so far as has been published. 

Now it is with this full and distinct recollection of 
S532 lo Ici5 3l&5 wJb 3loo t^ IoolGoo wCajooianl js 

works which I have not only read, but studied, many 

3]Oy IOQ 3?i O],3 <JO 3-C0a)I Ci)"[, 0]O OD]55l, SlOjf 

of them with great care and attention, that I feel called 

js wCQ 3lw eci)[o aCi ICD lotc?Qla5, wio 3s 3lco ajco 

upon to declare that, until Mr. Melville Bell unfolded 

ol asTajoC* &5to, Isoi'co ,9^ 


to me his careful, elaborate, yet simple and complete 

Ol 9l Oftf DCKBTCO, JiOlJ<uCO, (f)\0 olDDjO 105 QJOOOOlO 

system, 1 had no knowledge of alphabetics as a sci- 

ofOOCQ, C* 01 S5} tfJCOTffifl J3 IC03l0IOIdO Itf I 03*- 

ence. . . . Alphabetics as a science, so far as I 

COO. . . . IU3lIOfaO ICiJ 1 03KCCSO, O} 3JK 1&5 3* 

have been able to ascertain, and I have looked for it 

013 TO> [0004 Ol IOWOCC3, IS5 3* 013 COlQO 3J* Io 

far and wide did not exist. . * . . I should be 

sjy 1^3 33* I 05JO CeMloo. . . . 3* ol B! 

loth to say that Mr. Melville Bell's scientific system 


of alphabetics admits of no improvement. It would 

J3 I^GlBIOIdO I91OO J3 Z% lDOCi)l39C^O. ID 3l 

be strange if it did not. But it has all the present 

I L50tt[S5fflft 13 10 I S3JO. ]0 Io O\V JCO wT DCiJl^CCO 

appearance, on the one hand, of satisfying the wants 

IDMSO, J05 &T 3]u5 OICD, J3 Uiofosftfa wT 3}COO 

of science, and, on the other, of fulfilling the demands 

J3 U3XCOO, IS5, J53 uOT ]uCl!if, J3 SlCOSloOle WT TBI^W 

of practice. The power of showing by the very form 

of the symbol how to produce the sound is really as- 

J3 ^T OIQBJCC 032 Ol DdJ}^10 WT 03225 ftf 

tonishing, so perfect is the arrangement that a simple 

O} DJIiQCQO fCi5 COT lCDC<a5ffi^9CCO WlO I 

name is given to each vowel heard, depending en- 

ol IDQ 332Cco 


tirely on the shape and modification of the wind pas- 

O3WJ0I J03 WT Q[0 Xtf &Jl3laCnlvJ J3 &5T 3lCi5 DIO- 

sage, by which its power is conveyed with ease to 

Tffifl, 3* X>Jbn loy D32* Itf QJS33C 3ltf ICi5 Ol 

those who have been properly instructed in the mean- 
w}d5 ol ols To? DujcMccf Jb^oci>]aoC fo wT slop- 

ing of the words employed. The numerous examples 

le J3 WT 3]!!j5 CODWJWJ. WT tftti&lttly CStfOOOWKiJ 

which Mr. Melville Bell and his sons gave me of the 

DlQQ i. 9IG03lj0 0100 125 Ofjj O]05J3 Q[3 T J3 WT 

facility with which delicate distinctions in English pro- 
cnuMof 3lw D!QQ (DicoIaCo clyolaaolcw I fee^Io owj- 

nunciation, and difficult Scotch and Irish dialectic 

sltf^lColtiJ, 103 cMolcjo UOJQQ Is; 3Xci)In 3XlcoiaoIa 

vowels, could be symbolized and understood, were 

3]2CcXi5, eft I dkjco3to<2 I jcaoa&Joto, 3l 

most interesting and satisfactory. No approach to 

steo Ioolci)C^oIe XCDOJ uiolusioojci)!. a?} loutan ol 

such a perfection of analysis and symbolization of the 

vowels has yet fallen under my notice. Lastly came 

J. 003^000! a[9 

the consonants ; and here, too, although they have been 
wT ojsyjtflsou; la? ols!, ol, JQOW} wC ols To? 

generally much better understood than the vowels, the 

treatment is very original, and apparently exhaustive. 


I need only allude to the method of marking the 

3* tfl 3-oJooI icdol ol wT &iwl js &j!afej wT 

position and shape of the tongue with respect to the 

DftStol 10555 O[O J3 GOT O]S 3fw dtfUDIdO Ol &ft 

palate, and the general modifications whereby the 
QlooTo, ts> wT ffifli^Mco sjaMaColaxiS sc^O* wT 

great variety of consonants thus formed is reduced to 

KD[o 3lci>3*Cof js ajcsuMcJoy wte sjs^ JSw cDTawiuo ol 

a rational and intelligent order. Nor must I omit to 
I uiQltflco xaj JboiwffflftCso jw^iy. 03j 9]oo 3X }&Io ol 

mention the mode of indicating glide sounds, during 

which the organs change their positions, and which, 

therefore, assume a kind of middle place between con- 


sonants and vowels. 


As it would be impossible to give illustrations, the 
IP lo 3l 01 Jbofoteoof ol els Moo<i>cnlaxi5, wT 

above general remarks must suffice as an outline of 

10]3 ffl^lOTl^a) <DT9J!A30 QlOO Ol33?^5 lCi5 I 320003*05 J3 

the theory. To those who endeavor to pick up con- 

WT WUI. Ol Wjtf Ol C25I3l!i! Ol Ola lo OJC?- 

ceptions of speech-sounds from the confused accounts 

of ordinary writers, such a theory may seem terribly 


difficult. But treated practically by one who thor- 

r=]o ou>Io3 Dwiaolalcof 03* 3]s ol 

oughly understands it, it will be found extremely easy. 

JWl JtfGWOlQfliW 10, 10 3fdO 01 332tf CCXXXrttowI M. 

There is nothing vague, nothing figurative. Each 
afltf fo cjcole 3[e, sOwfe 3le<i>ld>Col3. lor* 

symbol, and each part of a symbol, has a meaning, 

and contains a direction for utterance. They are 

Itf qpOCCSiJ I 03l(DlQOlCi5 3t ]Ol(DlCX5. &tf ^ 

words of command, which any raw recruit can obey 

3]yOXi5 J3 QJ93CI;, 

after proper drilling. 

The shapes of the letters have direct reference to 

6(51 OOOO J3 WT COtOlKiJ Ot3 I(i)IQO WtGldJC^O Ol 

the positions of the organs of speech, and thus can be 

read at sight into the words of command which the 

<|>I ID ^3^O fool u3T 3]!!5W J3 aj9325 X)loO ttT 

organs have been drilled to obey. By a happy con- 

l&ftZM Ol3 0TQ5 0d)lQO Ol 3"0C. 03?- I OlOl OJ03- 

trivance, the vowels have such a remarkably different 

appearance from the consonants, that they strike the 

eye at once, and hence determine the number of syl- 

3* IO 


lables of which the words consist. Mr. Bell considers 

iBGOKiS J3 DloO Wl 3]5>:i5 QJtfdboa S5i, 0100 qjpulofljfti 

that the forms of the letters would be easy for the 

WlO WT 3Jtf3tf J3 Wl COIOlytf OlCU 01 M 3J* Wl 

blind to recognize by touch ; but of this I am no 

0003*05 Ol d>tdJQCt53?a5 03* OjQQ J 0]O J3 tfJb 3* 19 Oft 

judge. Their great peculiarity is that each letter 

e5C QjjCo oTQ^looficjjlal Ici5 ofljo IQQ 

has its genus immediately marked upon it, by its 

Mrrooof sjirao IOJCD la 03R lay 

general contour, and its species by the detail of the 

contour; its varieties by diacritics of peculiar 
ojtfofr; foy siciMCoftf 03 3?;iacDloIay js oTaoloorw 

kinds . . . And thus the whole system is bound 

CtiJCiJCDtf . . . 105 to)U WT Oj-W OlOOCQ ICi5 032^5, 

together by a philosophical and scientific chain. 
03* I 3loo^pfaioo ICSXD 

It is a simple statement of fact to say that no 

10 ftf I ofDOOOt OOC09CC50 J3 31QO Ol O[ OOlO 05}- 

system of marking our pronunciation which has hither- 

yloocs js isjidale 32^ Dd)j]?)5ylcnlci? x)Jbo 01$ ohflx- 

to been adopted has succeeded in marking the 
ol 0To3 ICDJOOC ot^ i5lcofC fe sjiiafe wT 

extent of national peculiarities of English speech, to 
Gaooico js CiJinlcclco DTa^ioolici)IoIa is leeoolo OOQQ, ol 

the accuracy possible in Mr. Bell's system. 

^ laolci/Ibf ojofejot Ice m. 


\ am afraid my language may seem exaggerated, 

3* 13 l3d>C 93* ooteesTffitt $[ ufe 

and yet 1 have endeavored to moderate my tone, and 

105 (i)IO 3* 013 CQJCDtSly Ol SJQJMO Sf Oft5 ICC 

have purposely abstained from giving full expression 

0X3 D]H5lUWl I000C05 3(i$D Isle 3lOO CDOCKDlOltf 

to the high satisfaction and pleasure which I have 
ol &T o3X ^toJbstarjltf -[^o? DcoT^Ti oJbn 3s ols 

derived from my insight into the theory and practice 

of Mr. Melville Bell's 'Visible Speech/ as it is 


rightly named. ' ' 

No name is gilded with a brighter halo of unselfish- 
ness than that of ALEXANDER JOHN ELLIS, in "believing 
and hoping " that his own costly labour of years might 
be thoroughly superceded by the invention of Visible 
Speech ! Honor to the great Phonetic Scientist, to 
whom jealousy was unknown ! 







<D <> 

H H 

^jjj f\| 

* O 

H 3 

H H 

Qj J-i 


Unirersity of Toronto 








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