Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

but do all cultivated speakers pronounce them alike? Do all speakers have the same vowel in dog, pond, cost, froth that they have in hot? If not, shall they be compelled to have the same sound, or shall one permit the possibility here of two groups? The latter is the method of this book. A group is made of words which are described as pronounced like odd, that is lot, got, not, rod, pod, sod, rob, drop, stop, and another group described as pronounced like soft containing cost, froth, etc. For the words in the first group some speakers have a vowel like the accented vowel of father, only short, and for the words of the second

group, a vowel like the vowel of caught, only short. Or some speakers may have the same vowel for both groups, either the vowel of father, shortened, or the vowel of caught, shortened.

All these varieties of pronunciation actually occur with frequency in cultivated American speech, and they could be set aside only by assuming in a dogmatic way that one pronunciation alone is permissible. This would be equivalent to saying that short o always has the same value and must be given this value whether the custom of a particular group of speakers gives it this value or not. This would be a tyrannical and narrow rule such as no one has a right to make. Such a rule would discourage rather than encourage that closeness of observation which enables pupils to distinguish shades of sound, for instead of observing what actually occurs, the pupils would merely apply a mechanical rule. In this book wherever words of the same type or group in spelling have different pronunciations in good use, they are presented in different groups. No statement is made of what the pronunciation of the words in these several groups ought to be, for the reason

a

that it is desirable to permit a personal choice from the several accepted pronunciations.

Furthermore, the book has avoided putting into the same group words almost but not quite the same in pronunciation. The vowel of feed is commonly described as long e, and the same sound is frequently said to appear in here, fear, peer, etc. But it is not altogether the same vowel, as any one can tell by listening closely to the vowels in feed and fear. To teach pupils that it is the same vowel inevitably would lead to a confusion and distrust of the whole subject of pronunciation.

Another question is whether words like glass, fast, dance, etc., shall have the “ Italian" a, or the “intermediate " a, or the so-called “flat a, this last being the vowel of hat, mad, match, etc. This is so much a matter of opinion that there is no possibility of answering the question. Some cultivated speakers pronounce the words one way and some pronounce them another way, and such being the case, the obvious thing is to pronounce them as one feels inclined to pronounce them.

So also with the pronunciation of r final or before consonants, as in star, hard, etc. In some parts of the United States this r is not pronounced, in others it is. The exercises in this book are so presented that if one wishes to pronounce the r one may do so, but if one wishes to pronounce the words without r in the Eastern and Southern fashion, that also may be done. The pronunciation of words like dirt, pert, worth, etc., also varies a good deal among cultivated speakers, and here again no theoretical uniform pronunciation is prescribed.

The conclusion is that in standard cultivated pronunciation, now and then we find that the same word may

r

have several pronunciations. When this is true, it is the purpose of this book to permit freedom of choice. Pronunciations which are not current in cultivated use, if they are treated at all, should be considered as incorrect pronunciations.

The authors wish to say that this book has been written in collaboration and that each is to be considered responsible for all it contains.

PLAN OF THE BOOK

The purpose of this book is to furnish drill exercises in the production of speech sounds. It is designed for the use of the normal child in the last five years of the elementary school. The lessons will prove valuable also in teaching foreigners to speak English.

Speech is best acquired through the ear by imitating a good model. It sometimes happens, however, that a child cannot make a sound correctly through imitation. In that case his attention should be directed to the position of the organs of speech. The illustrations and descriptions of sounds in this book will be found helpful for the purpose. In some cases a small mirror may be employed to advantage.

Only one method of making a sound is given, but some sounds can be correctly produced in different ways. For instance, many speakers make s by raising the tip of the tongue, others by lowering it. The acoustic effect is the same in both cases. Generally speaking, if the sound seems right to the ear the method of making it should not be criticised.

The position of the mouth in the front views is that used in making the sound for drill purposes. This position is more exaggerated than for ordinary speech.

The symbols shown at the beginning of each lesson are taken from Webster's New International Dictionary, Funk and Wagnalls' Standard Dictionary, Key I, and from the alphabet, with slight modifications, of the International Phonetic Association. It is not to be expected that the pupils

XV

« VorigeDoorgaan »