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Critical pronouncing dictionary of the English language: incorporating the ... online

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ISlglv tjbe yronunciat(on oC eia»»ical anK SSttiptutt Vtoyec Named


■ , ; i..' o ■ • "



1861. ^' ..':."•...-• /••-

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bradbuhy.ano kvanis, PBurrEBS, whitefriars.

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]^R. SHSaiDAN and Mb. WALKER are Um only authon who have produced Pronouncing -
Dktioottieiy preriou to the preeent^ which conM be at all deemed complete ; they
having dona what all preceding Orthoepiate omitted^ namely, divided the words of tho
£ngliih language into syllablei, and placed figures over the vowel characters, to distinguish the
different sonnda which they represent.

Hie prseent Dictionaiy contains Fifty-five thousand more words than either Mr. Sheridai\> *
or Mr. Waik«r%, (in all upwards of ninety thousand) ; and by an improved system of notation/
evwy letter reproaenta a sound actually heard in Pronunciation, so that by merely committing
a itw rules to iiMmofyi even foreigners may acquire a perfect maateiy in this department of
oar language. In addition to these Ninety thoussnd words I have given nearly twelve
thousand Greek, Latin, and Scripture Proper names, divided into syllables, with the sounds of
the vowels, and the accents properly marked, making altogether abovb Onb Hundred
Thousaud WoKoa — ^the laigest number hitherto comprised in any similar volume.

I shall not say more of my own labours, or criticise those of my predecessors, but I
coniidor it incumbent on me to state the circnmstanoea which led to the publication of
Mr. Walker'a Dictionaiy; more eflpeciallyaa they are but little known.

Mr. Sheridan commenced his Dictionaiy in 1760 ; but did not publish it till 1780. He
died at Maigate, in Kent, in 1788, oh his v^ay to Lisbon for the recovery of his healtlu
attended by his younger son, the late B. B, Sheridan, leaving hia Dictionary in the hands of
his younger dai%hter, and his Bookaellars, and Publishers, Dilly in the Poultry, Dodsley in
PsU Mall, and Wilkie in St Paulli Church Yard, between whom di£Eeiencea arising, which
could not be accommodated, the publication of the Dictionary was discontinued.

Mr. Walker waa at that time a Teacher of Elocution in the Academies in and near
London ; and waa encouraged by the Booksellers, whose namea appear to the first edition of
his Dictionaiy, publiahed in 1701, to take Mr. Sheridan's work, and form another upon it.
This he did, by merely copying it in the mass ; carefully omitting the slightest notice of the
uuterly and complete deve)opement of all the simple and compound elementary principles
of ProDunciation, the true nature of our Accent and Emphasis, and the Rules of English

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Veraificalion, &o., which precede the Dictioxuay, and sabstitatiog in their room '' 559 Rules, {
or Principles of TrpimnciatiQn/* and^ from them, deducing a key-line of the yowel sounds,
which runs along ih» head of -eTerj page of his Dictionaiy, mixing up in* it the only ibor
diphthong sounds that he allows us, instead of twenty-fire, ax^* 'adding, the two -coo-
sonant sounds marked by tft^ taken from Mr. - Sheridan, without -i^knowljidgment, which \
key-line is exactly given by me in page 8, of my Principles of Pronuncu^on. Assuming also"- j!
the office of a hypercritic over Sheridan, Kenrick, Elphinstone^ Kares, Scott; Ferry, &fi^. by./ jr
picking out particular wordsj^ and agreeing with, or differing from some of those, authois in the i
pronunciation ; thereby indirectly intimating, ih^i all these authors had produced Pronou^in^^||
Dictionaries. . ' ' '":*">

•; • / - (^

Now, whoever will take the trouble of examining their works, as I have done, will perceiv ^'^

that no work like Mr. Sheridan>had been .previously given as a Pronouncing D'ctionaiy ;. fifd. J

that the works of all those authors,. excepl Kenrick's, are mere Pocket Qranttnazs, grv]p^ <f

. |. 0.'^ i iinder the head of Orthoepy,, some correct, and some most absurd and incorrect lists of w^^ds,; .

•;5:\''/.Jto- exemplify the- different sounds which th'sr vowel characters, or letters represent ; Kenijfck, ;.

V .• 'r-^ « . .tlii^ most conspicuous, and Mr. Walker, following in the same track ^ not possessing ears a^ia-^^

!' *^ eii9Qgh to distinguish that, y and w, the touchstones of their mistakes, always represent YJSm^ r

'* %imds, the former in every place in which it appears, in the beginning, the middle, and^h^' t-

•f ^^C * ei^of words, the sound e, or the diphthong i, as in ye, lovely, by. In } and the latter, inv&riJkly

.\ ^.' . * / *t&ft of in da: as oe, we ; ao, now ; as Louth and Sheridan have demonstrated. >

.••."'■ *•••• * I'" *i

'*•*..: '; ,. .|'*'^lie following specimen from Kenrick*s Dictionaiy, who lays down sixteen diffej^ftV,'

^; ; . wnlnds of the vowels, and refers to them by figures, will show that he merely gives the wo^;

' *^first in their order undivided, with the accentual mark invariably plisced over the vowel cli»:

racter of the syllsble which he distinguishes as accented ; and then, divides them into syllajtiea^' .

without «iny alteration, or addition ; and, without marking the accented fettexiiufther thai^lily'

•JJ^'res placed over the vowel9 in each ayUable. '\ •.•:*'>-■


:* *

'. -^^

A'dmiral— ad-mi-ml. AdjVst— ad-just. . 1.

*;•■ "^'. •A'*^j^**^^"^^"j^**^'*^ A'bbot — ab-bot. ., ''\.\

. ;.:* '; A'bandon— a-baiiTdon. A'bdicate. ' - ;

Mr, Perry, in Ids . Dictionary, very judiciously taking a hint from Mr. Sheridan,
nukes the accent fall either on a consonant or vowel, instead of following the absurd
practice of all the editors of Johnson, including Todd, of always placing the accentual mark
over the voWel.

Now, though I cannot, fit present^' enter upon an examination in which I should be able
to prove that Mr. Sheridan's Principles of Pronunciation are correct, and that, for one error
which he has committed in practically marking the pronunciation of our words, Mr. Walker
has conunitted two, I shall, in con&mon justice to him, briefly point out the grounds upon
which he was more particularly.qualified to give a Fac-simile Pronouncing Dictionaiy of the
English Language. At the same time, I cannot help expressing my astonishment that, in
representing the pronunciations to the eye, ho did not exemplify the first of the four rules
' which he lays down in his Principles, and which, though it more immediately refers to words
as represented to the eye in the spelling or writing of them, has an equal reference to the
ear in the pronunciation. The following are the rules :—

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** When written words are considered as the types of sounds, in order io make them
cone^ond to )heir archetypes, the fonr following roles should be strictly observed :—

** 1. No character should be set down in any word which is not pronounced.

^2. Eveiy distinct simple sound should have a distinct character to mark it, for

which it should uniformly stand.
" 3. The same character should never be set down as the representative of two

different sounds.
4. All compound sounds should be marked only by such characters, as will

naturally and necessarily produce those sounds, upon their being pronounced

according to their names in the alphabet.*'

Mr. Sheridan was the third son of the Rev. Doctor Thomas Sheridan, of Quilca, in the
Ccmnty of Cavan, in Ireland, at whose house Dean Swift, young Sheridan*s Qodfather, spent a
great deal of his time, and wrote his Gulliver's Travels ; and, together with the father, took great
pains with his Godson, in giving him instruction, tiU, at a very early age, his father sent him to
Westminster SchooL In that seminaiy he formed friendships with the sons of several of the
nobility, the Grenvilles, Percys, Lord Bute, and in particular with the Rev. Dr. Markham, after-
wards Archbishop of York ; Sheridan and Markham being accounted the two best scholars of
their standing. Thence he was removed to the University of Dublin, in which he took his first
degree of A3., in 1736, and the degree of A.M. soon after. In November, 1758, he was, on
account of his literary reputation, admitted in congregation to the degree of A.M. in the Uni-
veisity of Cambridge ; and, on the 16th of March, 1759, he was admitted to a similar distinction,
in the sister University of Oxford. He gave Lectures on the English Language, and developed
bis principles of Pronunciation in both Universities, as well as in London, Dublin, and
Edinburgh ; and was honoured with the freedom of this last City, which was presented to
him by Robertson, the historian. He was also the intimate friend of the Rev. Dr. Robert
Sumner, Master of Harrow School ; and of the Rev. Doctor Parr, who succeeded Sumner. In
1762, he published his scheme for a Pronouncing Dictionary, and in it developed the correct
simple principles on which it should be founded ; and in 1762, his late Majesty George the
Third, on account of his literary reputation, granted him a Pension of two hundred a-year ; the
inteUigence of which was communicated to him by his early fiiend and Patron, the Earl of
Bute ; to whom he suggested the propriety of a provision for Doctor Johnson ; and was the first
who communicated to Doctor Johnson the Royal intention. Both Pensions were given out of
His Majesty's Privy Purse. In 1775, he published in London his Art of Reading Prose, and
his Art of Reading Verse, in two volumes ; both of which the compiler of this work read to him
ia 1776, and 1777, imbibing, firom his instructions, that correct knowledge of the fundamental
principles of the English language, which, being gifted with a good ear, has enabled him, after
a lapse of so long a period, to fulfil his laborious and difficult undertaking.


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I9t4 S 9 1 » 9 t 61 i « 6t44

«T1, tfrt, a'ce, e'te, im/, U/, bet', bit', but'— on', WES', at'— good'— w, o— y, e, or i— i, u.

In the fint piaec, thcj ihoiild be aUe to prononiico
pr<i|»erlT all tb« words and MNwds in tho key-lino;
which, u doCudt of maslon, thoy »«y eaiily karn to do,
Vy iMwiag ihtm from tha aontli of any fingUshnian.

And it win be neoeaary to get the key-lino by
seart, to as to bo able to repeat, and to exemplify, any
*me oS the Towal louidt, Mparately, in any Bailable of a
word that praaenta itself to their eye.

As this la the maater-key to the marks for the vowel
sounds throagboat* it wOlbo necessary that all, who
would know them at sight, shonld haTo the perfect
oae of it aeeording to the abore directions.

Fordipiers ahooid abo be frequently exercised in the
pranwiciatkm of the consonant sounds, preceding them
W any of th« diort Towel sounds, as the short sound re-
fres^tMl by £-4n', M, iff, ^, y, £f , £V, ^t&', ity,
t^, isV, isb', !ng, which, throwing the organs into the
exact contact necessary to produce and perfect each of
th«m, will ahow which of them may be dwelt upon, for
a ltttl« tima. when accented, by keeping the organs to-
gether, and which cannot be dwelt upon for the smallest
sp«c« of time, because the organs must be instantly
separated, in order to perfect the sound : thoformer, as
eb\ idf, ^» tha latter as Hkf, Ip', ef , of the mutes ;
and showing that tha sounds of the semivowels may bo
dwelt npeo almost at pleasure, as, el, em, or, &c.

And m order to conq^uer the sounds of itti and ^th,
and othar consonants, it will be good practice to follow

the acmnd of the consonant by the Towel sounds, as they
S'Uam ia the key line: as, Id&O. ilOk^l, itt^fi, £m^,
i^di'i, iO^A', i^, ^^» 2ft^&?, &G.

This point obtained, the next step will be to show
foreiicnan how Uiey may acquire the use of such sounds
in the English tongue as peculiarly belong to it, whether
nmple or compound ; with which they were not preac-
qoninted, and to which, as being norel to them, they
fiad it difficult, and in some cases, for want of proper
ioatmctioii, impossible, to give utterance. For which
porpoaa I shall point ont ue diffBrence between the
French langusga and ours in that levptct, as that is the
mnet generally known and spoken by forsigners.

In the French tongue are to be found tne sounds of
all cmr vowels ; bat it is not so with regard to the con-
aosmatt and di^thongs*

Thmm are fiTa of oar consonants, which, though
marked hy two letters each, are in reality simple soun<b;
aad tbeaa are O, tA, sA, xA and ao / the first two to
be ^owtd in the words thin and mm, the last in rin^,
nnd the sound ah, eib, in axure, osier.


The GooscBant th has two powers, according as it is
formed by tha voioe, or the breath : the one may there-
foca be called vocal, tha other aspirate. Of the former,
f>iere bss bean an examnle given in the word ike» ; the
power of the latter will oe round in the word thin. To
aiaringuish them from each other in the Dictionary, the
1 alter, or aspiimte, has a small line drawn across tne h,
t faus - -ai. As this sound has hitherto been found to be
uneompiefable by Frenehmen, and most foreigners, it
vriU be n aaa ssar y to ^ww tha causa of the difficulty, and
iWn , by rsosovidg that, to point the means by which a
right pronunciation of it may be easilv attained.

It is te be observed, then, that in the French tongue,

all the articulations are formed within the mouth, and
the tonsue is never protruded beyond the teeth ; con-
sequently, unless he is shown how to do it, the foreigner
will never of himself place the organ in a position that
it never had been in before ; so that, when he is urged
to pronounce that new sound, as in the word then, with-
out having the position of the organs in forming that
sound pointed out to bim, he naturally utters the sound
that is nearest to it in bis own tongue, and, instead of
then, says dsn, and for Oin, tins onanging eth to a d,
and etH to a t. And this he continues to do all his
life, for want of being taught the following plain simple
method of necessarily prMucing those sounds, if it be
but strictly followed. Suppose, then, yon were desirous
of showing a foreigner how he should form the sound eih
when it begins a word or rjllable ; desire him to pro-
trude the tip of his tongue between his teeth and a little
beyond them ; in that position let him press it against
the upper teeth without touching the under ; then lot
him utter any voice with an intention <tf sounding the
word then, drawing back the tongue at the same
time behind his teeth, and the right sound will necessa-
rily be produced. To pronounce the el£, or aspirated
th, the orffans must be exactly in the same position
with the former ; but previous to the withdrawing of
the tongue, instead of voice, he must emit breath only,
which will as necessarily produce the proper power of
the aspirated th, as in the word thin.

When these sounds end a word, or syllable, as in the
words breaihe, br§a^, he must be told, that tnstan*
taneously after sounding the preeeding letters, he is to
finish the word by applying tne tip of the tongue to the
upper teeth, as before, and in sounding the word
breathe^ the voice is to be continued to the end ; while
in that of breatht the voice is cut off at the vowel, and
the consonant tt is formed by the breath only. In
both cases, it will be of use to continue the tongue in
the same position for some time, prolonging Uie sounA
of the voice in the former, and of the breath in the
latter, tiU the sounds become distinct and easy by prac-
tice. This win the more speedily be effected, if he
will for some time every dav repeat from a vocabulary
tU the words beginning with ih, and form lists of such
words u terminate wi£h it.


As to the simple sound or consonant marked by the
junction of the two letters n^, it is, perhaps, a sound
peculiar to the English language, as in the word nna*
tonoi and seems to have been taken from the noue
made by bells, mimicked in the expression of ding-dong
bell. There is a sound in the French nearly approach-
ing to it, to bo found in such words as dtnt, camp, and
in all their nasal vowels; but these are imperfect
sounds, and can scarcely be called artieulate ; and there
only wants to perfect the articulation to make the
French exactly the same with the English : the only
difference between them being, that, in the Frencn
similar sounds, the tongue doee not touch the roof of
the mouth, as in pronouneinj§; the English ing, though
in other respects It be in a similar position. If, there-
fore, a foreigner wants to produae this sound, he h«#
only to raise tha middle of his tongue into a gcntk
contact with the roof of his mouth in prenouneiog an|

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it* 4 ft«7t9^1«lt e ••44

•Tl, i^rt, i^ce, e'te, n</, t</, bet^, bit^, but'-* on', was', atC-goodK— w, o— y, e, or i— I, o.

of the nasal vowdi, which eompletet the articulation,
and in this way the French nasal vowel heard in thfl
word dent, will be converted into the English consonant
louaded in the syllable don^ ; and so on of the rest.


This letter has a very different sound in English from
what it has in French. In the latter it has a simple
sound ; in the former it is the representative of a com-

Sound sound made of d and an aspirated x, Thb is a
iiBcuU sound to such foreigners as have it not in their
several tongues ; and to enable them to pronounce it,
It is only requisite to desire them to form the letter d
with a vowel before it, as ed ; keeping the tongue in the
tame position that it has when that letter is so formed ;
then let them try to unite it to the French j, which is
exactly the same sound with what I have called the
aspirated z or zh, and the compound sound of edzh, or
dzfutt will be produced. But as foreigners are equally
strangers to the combination of the two letters xh, and
would therefore not know what sound belonged to it, it
will be proper to substitute the French j in tiie room of
th in spelling all words containing that sound, as thus,
edie ; and in order to begin a syllable with that sound,
which is more difficult than to conclude with it, let
them place the tongue in the position of sounding ed^
keeping it in that position, and then the first sound
Uttered must necessarily be that of <f, which connected
with the subsequent j followed by a vowel, of course
taust form the compound to be found in the words

^oy (joy), djokt qolce).
11)0 sound of this lett4

letter has been sometimes marked
m the Dictionary bv a combination of the letters dzh ;
and sometimes by tne letter t'. But if a foreigner will
consider the xh as eouivalent to the French ^. the
right pronunciation tfiU soon become familiar to him.


The sound annexed to this combination of letters i*
different in the English from what it is in the French v
in the former it is a compound, in the latter a simple
Boand ; in the same way as that of j, just described.
The sound of the French ch is exactly the same as the
English sh ; and, in order to facilitate the pronuncia-
tion of our compoond ch, it will be only necessary to
follow the same method as has been above proposed
with regard to the letter j ; with this difference, that a
t instead of a d is to be formed in the manner there
described, preceding the sound of the French ch, as, etch.
It is true, we have some words in our tongue where
the ch is preceded bv a t, producing the same indivi-
dual sound, as in the words itch, gtiteh, which Uie
French never fail to pronounce properly, being guided
to it by seeing the letter t placed before the ch ; but
to other words, of exactly the same sound, though
differently spelt, by the omission of the t, as rich, which,
they always annex their own simple sound of oh. So
that here IS a plain simple ruletognide foreigners in
the right pronunciation of the EngUsh ch, which is, by
always supposing combined letters preceded by a t;
thus, in the words cheese, charm, let them suppose them
spelt tcheese, tcharm ; and if they find any difficulty at
first in uniting those sounds at the beginning of words,
on account of the eye*s not being accustomed to such a
combination of those letters, let them do as was before
directed with regard to j ; let them begin with placing
the organs in the position of sounding t, which will be
done by placing a vowel before it, as et ; the t being
thus formed, let them keep the tongue m that position :
the sound of t must necessarily be the first uttered on

Online LibraryR. van der MeulenCritical pronouncing dictionary of the English language: incorporating the ... → online text (page 1 of 220)