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lent than it is, the principle ought to prevail against it and effect its entire extirpation. The like exception is extended by these authorities to the u after r in accented syllables. True, they pronounce accordingly, troo. This is alike against rule, against a very prevalent usage, and, in this word, against derivation, as the original Anglo-Saxon treow, interposed the vowel sound be. fore the oo. The tendency to insert this sheva element before the oo sound dates back beyond the rise of the proper English tongue, and should be accepted as among its settled laws.
The i at the end of an accented syllable follows the general rule, and takes the sound given it in kite; at the end of unaccented syllables, the usage, as already indicated, seem at first sight to be extremely anomalous, but we find, on clearer view, principle ruling even here. In middle syllables the sound is ever that of i in pit, as in utility. Only in initial syllables do the apparent anomalies occur. There are of this class in the language between three and four hundred words in all; that is, there are so many words in our vocabulary beginning with an unaccented syllable ending in i, a little less than three hundred exclusive of adjectives and adverbs immediately derived from other stem-words in use. Nearly one-half of these are marked in the revised edition of the American Dictionary as having the long sound of i, that heard in kite; one-fifteenth are not marked at all, but should mostly have the short sound; so that the words are just about evenly distributed into the two classes : one-half giving the i its long sound; the other half giving it its short sound. A close inspection of these words discloses the following as governing principles in the pronunciation:
First. Those words that are of other than classic origin have the i short; as bijou, grăsette, sžmoon, stiletto, tirade , also words of classic origin early received into the language or fully popularized, as imagine, chimera, direct, italic, philosophy.
Secondly. Derivative words of classic origin follow at first the analogy of their original stem-words; as idolatry, isochronous, bīpolar, chirography, dīhedral, primeval, tricuspid.
Thirdly. Many words of this class are in a transition state, passing from the analogies of their origin to those of the English language, which require the short sound. In this part of the class, there is diversity of usage and conflict of rul The revised American Dictionary thus pronounces with the i short, divest, iridian, fidelity, liturgic, mirific, răparian, etc., but with the
i long, dimit, īridium, finality, hilarity, tīgation, sīderial, virago, vītuperate, etc.
Y follows generally the analogy of i. It is short at the end of final unaccented syllables, as apathy, perfidy. If, however, the syllable take a slight secondary accent, it is long, as in ally, lullaby, occupy, multiply, prophesy, and in compounds, as modify, liquefy, hereby, gadfly, outcry. At the end of initial syllables, it is marked in the revised American Dictionary as long in threefourths of the words given ; as short in one-eighth ; as either long or short in the compounds of the stem typo, as in typographer, typography, typology; and is not marked in one-twentieth of the words given. Inspection shows that, as with the i, long y passes to short ý, as the word passes into more popular use as the word becomes, so to speak, vernacularized. If accent is thrown on the syllable, the element takes its long sound as in compounds, as bycorner, drysaltery. There are about one hundred and sixty words having y at the end of the initial syllable in the revised American Dictionary.
The sound represented by ei in the few words in which it occurs in our language seems of a very anomalous character. In regard to this digraph, it is to be observed that in no word in the language of Anglo-Saxon origin can it be supposed to represent an original i sound, except perhaps in weird, A. S. wird, in which word the e and the i have become transposed, as Chaucer spelled it wierd. Height, sleight, neigh, neighbor, eight, weight, heifer, their, and also either and neither, have taken an i probably as a mere orthographical expedient to indicate the long sound of the previous vowel, or as connecting vowel before a consonant suffix in derivation. Either and neither, spelled uniformly in the early stages of the language ether, nether, or ethir, nethir, were formerly pronounced ayther, nayther, as they are still in some communities. The pronunciation of these words with the long sound of i is of very recent origin, is against the genius of the language, and seems to mistake the origin of the i in the words as if it were an integrant essential element, and not inserted merely to show the sound of the preceding e. It should be entirely rejected. In the words of French or Latin origin having ei, the digraph is sounded like a in fate, except in heir, ceil, French ciel, nonpariel, sovereign, forfeit, surfeit, counterfeit, seive, seize, seisin, inveigle, seymour, and the derivatives from the Latin verb capere, as conceive, deceive, perceive, receive, conceit, deceit, and receipt. In all the i does not belong to the original stem, but is introduced only as an ortho
graphic expe i It should not, therefore, in pronunciation be accepted as dependent orthoepic element. The sou
the letter s seems anomalous in some classes of words. for instance, we should
say, as we are directed in merican Dictionary, desist, with a hissing or aphthong : and desire with a phthongal s like 2, and may say desig: wer with an aphthongal or a phthongal s; why disable, dismay, resorb, dissemble, with aphthongal s, but disaster, dismal;
S, resort, dissolve, with phthongal s, and possess with either—the reason for these diversities is not apparent.
The general principle in relation to all those pairs of elements in our alphabet, paired from being formed by the same articulation, but the one of each pair being aphthongal and the other phthongal, as the the f with its cognate v, th in thin, and its cognate in then, s and z, sh and zh, is this : that they are aphthongal except when, between phthongal elements, it is easier and consequently more euphonious to vocalize the articulation. The Anglo-Saxon had but one character to represent both the aphthongal and the phthongal in the case of the f and the s pairs; its alphabetic system did not contain the sh pair; and it had distinct characters for the aphthongal and the phthongal th, while we have but the one and that a digraph to represent both. The principle stated holds in relation to all the four pairs of elements however represented, including consequently the sh element when represented by si, and the s of the consonant diphthong represented by s. In regard to the f pair, however, the English has introdued the v, so that f now represents the aphthongal and v the phthongal, and no difficulty now exists as to the proper pronunciation. Stephen, formerly written with a v, Steven, is the only word in which ph represents the phthongal element, except, according to British usage, nephew, which was also formerly written with a v. It may be remarked in passing, that the grammatical anomaly of such plurals as knives, as well as of the verb-derivatives from nouns in f, as to live, to strive, from life, strife, is accounted for in the light of the principle stated, as the plural and the infinitive in the Anglo-Saxon took a connecting vowel before the final consonants in s and v respectively.
Applying the principle now to the s in the words of unsettled pronunciation, in the first place, we recognize in the light of the remark just made why certain words used as nouns have the aphthongal, as use, to use, rise, to rise, sacrifice, to sacrifice; why, too, we should pronounce suffice, as if written with a 2, sufize.
In the next place, the principle indicates that ss and sc should be aphthongal. Thus, in fact, they generally are. But we have exceptions. Scissors and hussar were formerly spelled with a single s, and having the accent on the final syllable, regularly took the phthongal sound. Hussy is accounted for as a contraction of housewife. To pronounce dissolve, discern, dessert, possess, with a z sound, as directed in the revised American Dictionary, is in violation of the principle. Of these four, discern and possess are regularly pronounced with the aphthongal sound of the s by many, if not by the most and the best speakers. They, certainly, if not also the others, should be brought back to the rule.
Farther, design, desist, and disable, the usage in regard to which is more or less unsettled, should also be pronounced as if spelled with a z, in conformity with the principle.
Words of Latin stock with the prefix re before the s, conform more readily to the English analogy than those with the prefixes de and dis. Thus, we have the phthongal in resolute, resonance, reservoir, etc.; but the aphthongal in desolate, designate, disesteem etc. We find, in fact, in respect of this last class of words as well as also in respect of words with the s before a phthongal consonant, the same distinction in force which has been already recognized in the case of words with the i in open initial syllables, that words less popularized including of course those in which the prefix is not recognized as significant in the word—for example, words recognized as of Latin origin are pronounced with the s aphthongal; while those fully anglicized are pronounced with the s phthongal.
Once more, usage under this general principle of euphony has established a distinction as to their pronunciation in words having the s before a syllable commencing with a vowel according as that syllable is or is not under the accent. Thus it pronounces disaster with the s phthongal, but disattire with the s aphthongal. This distinction should be applied to the consonant diphthong c. Accordingly the phthongal should be heard in exact, exhaust, example, exhibit, luxuriate; but the aphthongal in exceed, extend, exorcism, exhibition, luxury. There is no good reason for excepting, as both Worcester and the revised American Dictionary do, exhalation from this rule, any more than exhortation and exhumation.
Be not alarmed, dear reader, I am not about to announce any startling fact, nor to present anything strikingly new or interesting, but to consider a practical question, which to my mind seems one of vast importance-Attention in the school-room.
It is not necessary to define the term with which this article is headed, nor to enter into any metaphysical analysis of the subject. All readers of the MONTHLY will admit the truth of the statement, that no good results can be obtained in study or recitation where the attention of the pupils is not closely fixed and rigidly maintained throughout the time allotted for such work. Whatever is secured without this must of necessity be unsatisfactory, and, to such a degree, that the pupils will be unable to rely upon their supposed acquisitions.
As I have been able from time to time to extend my observations of schools and teachers, and to test their work by actual examination, I have been more and more impressed with the truth and force of the above statements. The power to fix the mind intently upon the lesson—to fix it with that absorbedness that will make the subject theirs—is indeed very rare. When we compare the results to be expected from the labor and training bestowed with the results actually secured, it seems to me an irresistible conclusion that more than half the time and labor spent in school is lost-worse than thrown away. I add and emphasize this last clause, because I believe that the vicious habit of half-attention (which is inattention) is, in many instances, so fastened on the pupil that he goes into the world unable to cope with the practical affairs of life. How many men do we see all over the land shifting from one thing to another, drifting hither and thither, and making failures of their lives from this very cause! Better opportunities for business will not account for all the changes we see.
Whenever I have spoken with teachers on this subject, I have received for an answer something like the following: “I constantly remind my scholars that they must pay attention and study their lessons"; "I make them keep their places at recitation and look on their books," etc.—and I doubt not that most, if not all, of these teachers work conscientiously. But no amount of telling pupils to pay attention" will secure the desired result. The stubborn fact is they do not pay attention after all,