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Accent And Pronunciation

Accent is a particular stress or force of the voice upon certain

syllables or words. This mark in printing denotes the syllable upon

which the stress or force of the voice should be placed.

A word may have more than one accent. Take as an instance aspiration. In

uttering the word we give a marked emphasis of the voice upon the first

and third syllables, and therefore those syllables are said to be

. The first of these accents is less distinguishable than the

second, upon which we dwell longer; therefore the second accent in point

of order is called the primary, or chief accent of the word.

When the full accent falls on a vowel, that vowel should have a long

sound, as in vo'cal; but when it falls on or after a consonant, the

preceding vowel has a short sound, as in hab'it.

To obtain a good knowledge of pronunciation it is advisable for the

reader to listen to the examples given by good speakers, and by educated

persons. We learn the pronunciation of words, to a great extent, by

imitation, just as birds acquire the notes of other birds which may be

near them.

But it will be very important to bear in mind that there are many words

having a double meaning or application, and that the difference of

meaning is indicated by the difference of the accent, Among these words,

nouns are distinguished from verbs by this means: nouns are mostly

accented on the first syllabic, and verbs on the last.

Noun signifies name; nouns are the names of persons and things, as well

as of things not material and palpable, but of which we have a

conception and knowledge, such as courage, firmness, goodness, strength;

and verbs express actions, movements, etc. If the word used signifies

has been done, or is being done, or is, or is to be done, then that word

is a verb.

Thus when we say that anything is an in'sult, that word is a noun, and

is accented all the first syllable; but when we say he did it to

insult' another person, that word insult' implies acting, and becomes a

verb, and should be accented on the last syllable.

Simple Rules of Pronunciation.

C before a, o and u, and in some other situations, is a close

articulation, like k. Before e, i and y, c is precisely equivalent to s

in same, this; as in cedar, civil, cypress, capacity.

E final indicates that the preceding vowel is long; as in hate, mete,

sire, robe, lyre, abate, recede, invite, remote, intrude.

E final indicates that c preceding has the sound of s; as in lace,

lance, and that g preceding has the sound of j, as in charge, page,


E final in proper English words never forms a syllable, and in the most

used words in the terminating unaccented syllables it is silent. Thus,

motive, genuine, examine, granite, are pronounced motiv, genuin, examin,


E final, in a few words of foreign origin, forms a syllable; as syncope,


E final is silent after l in the following terminations: ble, cle, dle,

fle, gle, kle, ple, tle, zle; as in able, manacle, cradle, ruffle,

mangle, wrinkle, supple, rattle, puzzle, which are pronounced a'bl,

mana'cl, cra'dl, ruf'fl, man'gl, wrin'kl, sup'pl, puz'zl.

E is usually silent in the termination en; as in taken, broken;

pronounced takn, brokn. OUS, in the termination of adjectives and their

derivatives, is pronounced us; as is gracious, pious, pompously.

CE, CI, TI, before a vowel, have the sound of sh; as in cetaceous,

gracious, motion, partial, ingratiate; pronounced cetashus, grashus,

moshun, parshal, ingrashiate.

SI, after an accented vowel, is pronounced like zh; as in Ephesian,

coufusion; pronounced Ephezhan, confushon.

GH, both in the middle and at the end of words is silent; as in caught,

bought, fright, nigh, sigh; pronounced caut, baut, frite, ni, si. In the

following exceptions, however, gh is pronounced as f: cough, chough,

clough, enough, laugh, rough, slough, tough, trough.

When WH begins a word, the aspirate h precedes w in pronunciation: as in

what, whiff, whale; pronounced hwat, hwiff, hwale, w having precisely

the sound of oo, French ou. In the following words w is silent:---who,

whom, whose, whoop, whole.

H after r has no sound or use; as in rheum, rhyme; pronounced reum,


H should be sounded in the middle of words; as in forehead, abhor,

behold, exhaust, inhabit, unhorse.

H should always be sounded except in the following words:--heir, herb,

honest, honor, hour, humor, and humble, and all their derivatives,--such

as humorously, derived from humor.

K and G are silent before n; as know, gnaw; pronounced no, naw.

W before r is silent; as in wring, wreath; pronounced ring, reath.

B after m is silent; as in dumb, numb; pronounced dum, num.

L before k is silent; as in balk, walk, talk; pronounced bauk, wauk,


PH has the sound of f; as in philosophy; pronounced filosofy.

NG has two sounds, one as in singer, the other as in fin-ger.

N after m, and closing a syllable, is silent; as in hymn, condemn.

P before s and t is mute; as in psalm, pseudo, ptarmigan; pronounced

salm, sudo, tarmigan.

R has two sounds, one strong and vibrating, as at the beginning of words

and syllables, such as robber, reckon, error; the other is at the

termination of the words, or when succeeded by a consonant, as farmer,


Common Errors in Pronunciation.

--ace, is not iss, as furnace, not furniss.

--age, not idge, as cabbage, courage, postage, village.

--ain, ane, not in, as certain, certane, not certin.

--ate, not it, as moderate, not moderit.

--ect, not ec, as aspect, not aspec; subject, not subjec.

--ed, not id, or ud, as wicked, not wickid or wickud.

--el, not l, model, not modl; novel, not novl.

--en, not n, as sudden, not suddn.--Burden, burthen, garden, lengthen,

seven, strengthen, often, and a few others, have the e silent.

--ence, not unce, as influence, not influ-unce.

--es, not is, as pleases, not pleasis.

--ile should be pronounced il, as fertil, not fertile, in all words

except chamomile (cam), exile, gentile, infantile, reconcile, and

senile, which should be pronounced ile.

--in, not n, as Latin, not Latn.

--nd, not n, as husband, not husban; thousand, not thousan.

--ness, not niss, as carefulness, not carefulniss.

--ng, not n, as singing, not singin; speaking, not speakin.

--ngth, not nth, as strength, not strenth.

--son, the o should be silent; as in treason, tre-zn, not tre-son.

--tal, not tle, as capital, not capitle; metal, not mettle; mortal, not

mortle; periodical, not periodicle.

--xt, not x, as next, not nex.