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of a vowel. All letters except the vowels are


The consonants are sometimes divided into mutes and semi-vowels; b, c, d, g, h, p, q, t, are called mutes, because they cannot be sounded at all without a vowel. Their sound begins with a consonant, and cannot be prolonged.

L, m, n, r, f, s, are called semi-vowels, because they have an imperfect sound of themselves; which can be continued at pleasure, and all begin their sound with a vowel, partaking somewhat of the nature thereof.

A diphthong is the union of two vowels in one syllable: as ou in sound.

When both vowels are sounded, it is called a proper diphthong; if but one of them is sounded, it is called an improper diphthong.

A triphthong is the union of three vowels in one syllable; as eau in beauty.

The simple sounds of the vowels may be found in the following scheme.*

[blocks in formation]


C is sounded hard like k, before a, o, u, l, r, and t; as in can, cord, cup, claw; or when it ends a syllable. Before e, i, and y, it is gen

*NOTE. These sounds of the vowels correspond with those given in Walker's Dictionary.

erally sounded like s; as in cell, city, &c. F is sounded like v in of.

G, before a, o, u, 1, and r, and at the end of a word, is always sounded hard; as game, gun, grow, mug. Before e, i, and y, it is generally sounded soft like j; as gem, giant.

Ti, before a vowel, generally sounds like sh ;

as nation.

X, at the beginning of words sounds like z in Zion; elsewhere it has the sound of ks; as in wax, oxen.

Ch, in proper names in the Bible, and words derived from the Greek, has the sound of k; as Achish, chymist, chorus; but in words derived from the French it generally sounds like sh; as chaise, machine.

Ch, in arch, before a vowel, sounds like k; as archangel, archives; except in arched, archer, and arch-enemy; but before a consonant it always sounds like tch, as archbishop. Ch is silent in schedule, schism, yatch.

Gh, at the beginning of a word, has the sound of g, as ghost; in the middle it is silent, as right; and at the end when preceded by a vowel, it sounds like f, as laugh; otherwise only the g is sounded, as burgh.

Ph, mostly sounds like f; as in philosophy but sometimes like v; as in Stephen.

Ph, is silent in apophthegm, phthisis, phthisic, and phthi sical.

Th has two sounds, one flat; as thus, them. heathen; the other sharp; as think, breath.

This sometimes sounded like simple t; as in Thomas, thyme.

REMARK. The sounds of the letters vary as they are differently associated, and the pronunciation of these combinations depends on the position of the accent. In order to pronounce accurately, great attention must be paid to the vowels which are not accented, and a due care to give them a distinct, open and specific sound.



A syllable is a distinct sound uttered with a single impulse of the voice; as man.

A syllable is either a word, or part of a word; as but, butter.

A word of one syllable is called a Monosyllable.

A word of two syllables, a Dissyllable. A word of three syllables, a Trisyllable. And a word of four or mcre syllables, a Polysyllable.

Spelling is the art of expressing words by their proper letters; or of rightly dividing words into syllables.

The following are the general rules for spelling words. RULE 1.

Words of more syllables than one, ending in 1, should be written with a single 1, but monosyllables ending with f, l, or s, preceded by a single_vowel, double the final consonant: as staff, mill, pass. But if they end with any other consonant, it should not be doubled. tions to this rule are, of, if, as, is, has, was, yes, his, this, thus, and us. And add, butt, egg, err, inn, and buzz.

The excep


X, at the end of a word preceded by a consonant, is

changed into i before an additional syllable, as holy, holi ness; except when the next syllable begins with a vowel; as, deny, denying. But when y at the end of a word is preceded by a vowel, it is very seldom changed by the additional syllable.


E final, or e at the end of a word, should be omitted when a syllable is added which begins with a vowel; as love, loving, &c. except after c and g soft, before able and ible, as service, serviceable: But if the additional syllable begin with a consonant, the e should not be omitted: as peaceful. The words duly, truly, awful, judgment, abridgment, acknowledgment, are exceptions to this rule.


A consonant at the end of a word, preceded by a single vowel, should be doubled on the addition of a syllable beginning with a vowel; as begin, beginning, &c.

But if it be preceded by a diphthong, or the accent be on the preceding syllable, it should remain single; as, toil, toiling, differ, difference, &c.


Words ending in double l, having ness, less, ly, or full, added to them, generally omit one l; as fulness, skilful. But words ending in any other double letter, retain both when these syllables are added to them; as harmlessness, curelessness.


Words derived from words ending in ce or ck, are written with ci in the additional syllable, as grace, gracious, &c. Those derived from words ending in d, s, or se, should be spelled with si; as descend, descension, &c. and those from words ending in t, or te with ti; as, sect, section, &c. except such as are derived from words ending in mit, or vert, which take si; as omit, omission.


Words taken into composition, often drop those letters which are superfluous in their simples; as handful, also,


The following Rules show the most useful methods of dividing words into syllables.


A single consonant between two vowels must be joined to the latter; as be-gin: except the letter x; as ex-ist, &c. and words compounded; as up-on, dis-ease.


Two consonants proper to begin a word, must not be eparated; as fa-ble. But when they come between two Yowels, and are such as cannot begin a word, they must be divided; as un-der, in-sect.


When three consonants meet in the middle of a word and are proper to begin a word, if the preceding vowel be pronounced long, they must not be separated; as dethrone. But when the vowel of the preceding syllable is pronounced short, one of the consonants must always be joined with it; as dis-tract, dis-prove.


When three or four consonants, which are not proper to begin a word, meet between two vowels, the first consonant should always be joined to the preceding vowel; as com-plete, con-strain.


Two vowels, not being a diphthong, must generally be divided into separate syllables; as cre-ate, deni-al.



Compounded words must be traced into the simple words of which they are composed, and ivided accordingly; as good-ness, over-power.


Grammatical terminations are generally separated; as teach-est, lov-ed.

The best and most general direction for dividing the syllables in spelling, is to divide them as they are naturally separated in a right pronunciation

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