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except when the t is preceded by s or x; as in question, di gestion, combustion, mixtion, &c.
The triphthong iou is sometimes pronounced distinctly in two syllables; as in bilious, various, abstemious. But these vowels often coalesce into one syllable ; as in precious, factious, noxious.
J J is pronounced exactly like soft g ; except in hallelujah, where it is pronounced like y.
K K has the sound of c hard, and is used before e and i, where, according to English analogy, c would be soft ; as, kept, king, skirts. It is not sounded before n; as in knife, knell, knocker. It is never doubled, except in Habakkuk; but c is used before it, to shorten the vowel by a double consonant; as, cockle, pickle, sucker.
L L has always a soft liquid sound; as in love, billow, quarrel. It is sometimes mute; as in half, talk, psalm. The custom is to double the l at the end of monosyllables; as, mill, will, fall; except where a diphthong precedes it; as, hail, toil, soil.
Le, at the end of words, is pronounced like a weak el; in which the e is almost mute; as, table, shuttle.
M M has always the same sound; as, murmur, monumental; except in comptroller, which is pronounced controller.
N N has two sounds; the one pure; as in man, net, noble ; the other a ringing sound, like ng; as in thank, banquet, &c.
N is mute when it ends a syllable, and is preceded by m; as, hymn, solemn, autumn.
The participial ing must always have its ringing sound; as writing, reading, speaking. Some writers have supposed that when ing is preceded by ing, it should be pronounced in ; as, singing, bringing, should be sounded singin, bringin : but as it is a good rule, with respect to pronunciation, to adhere to the written words, unless custom has clearly decided otherwise, it does not seem proper to adopt this innovation.
0 has a long sound; as in note, bone, obedient, over; and a short one; as in not, got, lot, trot.
It has sometimes the short sound of u; as, son, come, attorney. And in some words it is sounded like oo; as in prove, move; ard often like au; as in nor, for, lord.
The diphthong oa is regularly pronounced as the long sound of o; as boat, oat, coal ; except in broad, abroad, groat, where it takes the sound of broad a; as, brawd, &c.
Oe has the sound of single e. It is sometimes long; as in fætus, Anteci : and sometimes short ; as in economics, ecumenical. In doe, foe, sloe, toe, throe, hoe, and bilboes, it is sounded exactly like long o.
Oi has almost universally the double sound of a broad and e long united, as in boy; as, boil, toil, spoil, joint, point, anoint: which should never be pronounced as if written bile, spile, tile, &c.
Oo almost always preserves its regular sound ; as in moon, soon, food. It has a shorter sound in wool, good, foot, and a few others. In blood and floud it sounds like short u. Door and floor should always be pronounced as if written dore and flore.
The diphthong ou has six different sounds. The first and proper sound is equivalent to ow in down; as in bound, found, surround. The second is that of short u ; asin enough, trouble,journey. The third is that of 00; as in soup, youth, tournament. The fourth is that of long o; as in though, mourn, poultice. The fifth is that of short o; as in cough, trough. The sixth is that of awe; as in ought, brought, thought.
Ow is generally sounded like ou in thou; as in brown, dowry, shower. It has also the sound of longo ; as in snow,
The diphthong oy is but another form for oi, and is pronounced exactly like it.
P P has always the same sound, except, perhaps, in cupboard, where it sounds like b. It is sometimes mute; as in psalm, psalter, Ptolemy: and between m and t; as, tempt, Cmpty, presumptuous.
Phois generally pronounced like f; as in philosophy, philanthropy, Philip.
In nephew and Stephan, it has the sound of v. In apophthegin, phthisis, phthisic, and phthisical, both letters are entirely dropped.
Q Q is always followed by u; as quadrant, queen, quire. Que is sometimes sounded like k'; as,conquer, liquor, risque.
R R has a rough sound; as in Rome, river, rage : and a smooth one; as in bard, card, regard.
Re at the end of many words, is pronounced like a weak er; as in theatre, sepulchre, massacre.
At the end of words it takes the soft sound; as, his, was, trees, eyes; except in the words this, thus, us, yes, rebus, surplus, &c.; and in words terminating with ous.
It sounds like z before ion, if a vowel goes before ; as, intrusion ; but like s sharp, if it follows a consonant; as, conversion. It also sounds like z before e mute; as, amuse; and before
Y final ; as, rosy; and in the words, bosom, desire, wisdom, &c. S is mute in isle, island, demesne, viscount.
T T generally sounds, as in take, tempter. T before u, when the accent precedes, sounds like tch; as, nature, virtue, are pronounced, natchure, virtchue. Ti before a vowel has the sound of sh ; as in salvation : except in such words as tierce, tiara, &c. and unless an s goes before ; as, question; and excepting also derivatives from words ending in ty; as, mighty, mightier.
Th has two sounds: the one soft and flat; as, thus, whether, heathen: the other hard and sharp ; as, thing, think, breath.
Th, at the beginning of words, is sharp ; as in thank, thick, thunder: except in that, then, thus, thither, and some others. Th at the end of words, is also sharp ; as, death, breath, mouth : except in with, booth, beneath, &c.
Th, in the middle of words, is sharp,; as, panther, orthodox, misanthrope : except worthy, farthing, brethren, and a few others.
Th between two vowels, is generally flat in words purely English ; as, father, heathen, together, neither, mother.
I'h, between two vowels, in words from the learned languages, is generally sharp ; as, apathy, sympathy, Athens, apothecary.
Th is sometimes pronounced like simple t; as, Thomas, thyme, Thames, asthma.
U U has three sounds, viz. A long sound; as in mule, tube, cubic. A short sound; as in dull, gull, custard. An obtuse sound, like oo; as in bull, full, bushel. The strangest. deviation of this letter from its natural
sound, is in the words busy, business, bury, and burial ; which are pronounced bizzy, bizness, berry, and berrial.
A is nuw. ften used before words beginning with u long, and an uways before those that begin with u short; as, a union, a un versity, a useful book ; an uproar, an usher, an umbrella.
The diphthong ua, has sometimes the sound of wa ; as in assuage, persuade, antiquary. It has also the sound of middie a ; as in guard, guardian, guarantee.
Ue is often sounded like we ; as in quench, querist, conquest. It has also the sound of long ų ; as in cue, hue, ague. In a few words, it is pronounced like e short; as in guest, gur:ss. In some words it is entirely sunk; as in antique, oblique, prorogue, catalogue, dialogue, &c.
Ui is frequently pronounced wi ; as in languid, anguish, ertinguish. It has sometimes the sound of i long; as in guide, guile, disguise : and sometimes that of i short ; as in guilt, guinea, Guildhall
. lo some words it is sounded like long u; as in juice, suit, pursuit: and after r, like oo; as in bruise, fruit, recruit. Ưo is pronounced like wo; as in quote, quorum, quondam.
Uy has the sound of long e; as in obloquy, soliloquy; pronounced obloquee, &c.;except buy, and its derivatives.
V V has the sound of flat f; and bears the same relation to it, as b does to pod to t, hard g to k, and z to s. It has also one uniform sound; as, vain, vanity, love.
W, when a consonant, has nearly the sound of 00 ; as water resembles the sound of ooater ; but that it has a stronger and quicker sound than oo, and has a formation essentially different, will appear to any person who pronounces, with attention, the words wo, w00, beware; and who reflects that it will not admit the article an before it; which 00 would admit. In soine words it is not sounded; as in answer, sword, wholesome: it is always silent before r ; as in wrap, wreck, wrins kle, wrist, wrong, wry, bewray, &c.
W before h is pronounced as if it were after the h; as, why, hwy; when, hwen ; what, hwat.
W is often joined to o at the end of a syllable, without affecting the sound of that vowel ; as in crow, blow, grow, know, row, flow, &c.
When w'is a vowel, and is distinguished in the pronunciation, it has exactly the same sound as u would have in the same situation; as, draw, crew, view, now, sawyer, vowel, outlaw.
'X X has three sounds, viz. It is sounded like z at the beginning of proper names of Greek original ; as in Xanthus, Xenophon, Xerxes.
It has a sharp sound like ks, when it ends a syllable with the accent upon it; as, exit, exercise, excellence; or when the accent is on the next syllable, if it begins with a consonant; as, excuse, extent, expense.
It has, generally, a flat sound like gz, when the accent is not on it, and the following syllable begins with a vowel; as, exert, exist, example ; pronounced, egzert, egzist, egzample.
Y Y, when a consonant, has nearly the sound of ee; as, youth, York, resemble the sounds of eeouth, eeork; but that this is not its exact sound, will be clearly perceived, by pronouncing the words ye, yes, new-year, in which its just and proper sound is ascertained. It not only requires a stronger exertion of the organs of speech to pronounce it, than is required to pronounce ee; but its formation is essentially different. It will not admit of an before it, as ee will in the following example; an eel. The opinion that y and w, when they begin a word or syllable, take exactly the sound of ee and oo, has induced some grammarians to assert, that these letters are always vowels or diphthongs.
When y is a vowel, it has exactly the same sound as i would have in the same situation; as, rhyme, system, justify, pyramid, party, fancy, hungry.
z Z has the sound of an s uttered with a closer compression of the palate by the tongue : it is the flat s; as, freeze, frozen, brazen.
It may be proper to remark, that the sounds of the letters vary, as they are differently associated, and that the pronunciation of these associations depends upon the position of the accent. It may also be observed, that, in order to pronounce accurately, great attention must be paid to the vowels which are not accented. There is scarcely any thing which more distinguishes a person of a poor education, from a person of a good one, than the pronunciation of the unaccented vowels. When vowels are under the accent, the best speakers and the lowest of the people, with very few exceptions, pronounce them in the same manner; but the unaccented vowels in the mouths of the former, have a distinct, open, and specific sound, while the latter often totally sink them, or change them into some other sound.