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SUBTONIC These elements are so denominated by Dr. Rush “ from their inferiority to the 'tonics,' in all the emphatic and elegant purposes of speech, while they admit of being intonated,' or carried concretely,' (continuously,) through the intervals of pitch." as in L-ull.*
9. G, as in G-a-g. 2. M, as in M-ai-m.
10. V, as in V-al-ve. 3. N, as in N-u-n.
11. Z, as in Z-one. 4. R, as in R-ap.
12. Z as in A-z-ure. 5. R, as in Fa-r.t
as in Y-e. 6. Ng, as in Si-ng.
14. W, as in W-oe. 7. B, as in B-a-be.
15. TH, as in TH-en. 8. D, as in D-i-d.
Compound of 8. and 12.
16. J, as in J-oy. The first six of the “subtonic" elements, l, m, n, r (hard,) r. (soft,) and ng, have an unmixed “vocality" throughout : the seventh, eighth and ninth, b, d, g, have a “vocality," terminating in a sudden and explosive force of sound : the remaining “ subtonics,” v, z, zh, y, w, th, j, have an “aspiration," (whispering sound of the breath,) joined with their vocality.
The fourth of these elements, -r, as in rap, - differs from the fifth, - r, as in far, in having a harder and clearer sound, executed by a forcible but brief vibration of the tip of the tongue, against the first projecting ridge of the interior gum, immediately over the upper teeth ; while the latter has a soft murmuring sound, caused by a slight vibration of the whole forepart of the tongue, directed towards the middle part of the roof of the mouth.
The common errors of careless usage, substitute the “soft” for the “hard” r, and omit the “soft” r, entirely; thus" fah,” for far. Another class of errors, consists in
* In arranging the "subtonics,” words have, în as many cases as prạcticable, been selected for examples, which contain a repetition of the element under consideration. The design of this slight deviation from Dr. Rush, is to present each element as impressively as possible to the ear.
+ Added to Dr. Rush's arrangement, for the reasons mentioned in subsequent observations on this element. - See last paragraph but one of this page.
rolling, or unduly prolonging, the sound of the “hard” r, and substituting the hard, for the “soft” sound.
The greater prolongation of sound, which takes place in the average of singing notes, or in impassioned recitation, renders a slight comparative "roll” of the “hard” qe unavoidable, at the beginning of a word. But it is a gross error of taste, to prolong this sound, in the style of foreign accent, as in French and Italian pronunciation, or to substitute the rough sound of the “hard” r, for the delicate murmur of the " soft” r.
The “ subtonic" elements numbered 13 and 14,- y, as in
ye, and w, as in woe, - are, it may be remarked, not properly separate elements from e, in eve, and oo in ooze, but only extremely short "quantities" of the same " qualities” of vowel sound which are exhibited in these words. They require, however, a closer position of the organs for their execution; and, hence, for the purposes of practical instruction, they may be advantageously studied as distinct elementary sounds.
“ATONIC These elements are thus designated by Dr. Rush, from their want of “tonic" property,
" their limited
of variation in pitch.” “They are all, properly, ' aspirations, and have not the sort of sound called 'vocality. They are produced by a current of the whispering breath, through certain positions of parts, in the internal and external mouth.” 1. P, as in P-i-pe. 5. C, “ soft," and S, as in T-en-t.
as in C-ea-se. 3. C, “hard” and K,
as in H-e. as in C-a-ke.
as in Th-in. 4. F, as in F-i-fe.
as in Pu-sh. Compound of 2. and 8.
9. Ch, as in Ch-ur-ch.* To some persons the foregoing analysis may seem unne
* Wh, which Dr. Rush has recognized as a distinct element, are but apparently' such. They differ, in no respect, from the separate elements, w and h, — only that, in the modern orthography of words, they are inverted, as to their order. The ancient orthography of the language, placed them as they stand in orthöepy, — Hw; thus Hweat, Hwen, &c.
cessarily minute. But exactness in articulation cannot exist without close discrimination and careful analysis. Many of the worst errors in the enunciation of words, are owing to slight oversights about the true sound of a letter. Without strict attention to details, there can, in this particular, be no security for accurate execution. The very common error, for example, of reading or singing the word faith as if it were written “ fai-ceth,” is merely an act of negligence regarding the “vanish," or final portion of sound in the diphthong, ai, which, — although it is unavoidably analyzed by the voice, in the utterance of singing, to a greater extent than in that of reading, should never be dissected, in the unnatural style which has just been mentioned.
We have omitted, as will have been observed, that part of Dr. Rush's analysis which presents the “ tonic" elements a, as in awe, (identical with a, in all,) a in arm, and a in an, as diphthongal
. Correct reading and appropriate singing, alike forbid the “ vanish” of these sounds to be rendered apparent to the ear. It is one of the acknowledged improprieties of enunciation, which permits the word awe to terminate in any form approaching, even in the most distant degree, the negligent style of awer."
Let it be admitted that the “vanish," or final portion of the sound, in such elements, is but an unavoidable, accidental“ vocule,” inseparably attached to the “radical” or initial sound ; and it becomes, from its very nature, a thing which judgment and taste would alike require to be sunk out of notice to the ear.
The preceding arrangement of the elementary sounds of the language, as presented by Dr. Rush, exhibits them in a manner very clear and distinct, as results of organic ac
- or as sounds formed by the voice. But to ascertain their character, with perfect accuracy of knowledge, for the purposes of vocal practice and culture, it becomes important to examine them closely, in connexion with the exact position and movement of the organs,
Classified, in this light, the audible elements of our language, may be conveniently designated by the terms in use previous to Dr. Rush's arrangement. We will commence with the
VOWELS AND DIPHTHONGS.
These elements, generally, are formed by the act of “expiration" modified into vocality by the larynx, and the adjoining organs, aided by the tongue, the palate, the lips, &c., which give definite and distinctive character to the sounds of the voice, as rudiments of speech.
The enunciation of vowels and diphthongs, demands attention principally to the free and expansive opening of the mouth, together with a strict attention to the action of the particular organ, or organs, by which each element receives its peculiar character as a definite sound. Much attention, in the execution of these sounds, is required to the action of the organs at the moment of commencing and at that of closing each sound. The sound of the voice in the utterance of the first audible portion of articulate sounds, Dr. Rush has termed the “radical,” (initial,) movement : the sound uttered in the concluding portion of an articulation he has termed the “ vanishing, (final,) movement. Each of these points of articulate sound, demands the closest discrimination, as regards both the voice, and the motion or action of the organs. If the latter is not exact, the former will be more or less incorrect or vague, confused, and indefinite. The “radical” movement always demands clearness, force, precision, and spirit, in the execution : the “ vanish” requires nice and delicate finish, perfect exactness, but no undue marking or prominence. It should resemble, in its effect on the ear, that of a light but definite touch on the piano.
“In just articulation, the words are not to be hurried over, nor precipitated, syllable over syllable; nor, as it were, melted together into a mass of confusion : they should be neither abridged, nor prolonged, nor swallowed, nor forced, and, — if I may so express myself, — shot from the mouth: they should not be trailed nor drawled, nor let slip out carelessly, so as to drop unfinished. They are to be delivered out from the lips, as beautiful coins newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, perfectly finished, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, sharp, in due succession, and of due weight.” *
The precision and force of the “radical” portion of a sound, are gained by deep inspiration, and a preliminary rallying,
* Austin's Chironomia, pp. 38, 39.
or gathering of impulse on the organs, somewhat as we brace the muscles before the exercise of jumping or diving, — and then causing an instantaneous explosion of the accumulated and compacted breath, in the form of clear, cutting sound. In practising the following elements, this explosive, radical movement should be carried up from the slightest style of a suppressed cough to the most violent exertion, or the loudest style of coughing. The preliminary practice of a repeated actual cough is the best preparatory discipline for the species of organic action which constitutes the “radical” portion of any articulate sound.
VOCAL AND DIPHTHONGAL ELEMENTS, corresponding to the “ tonics” of Dr. Rush, and executed principally by the action of the larynr, with the mouth more or less open. I. Simple Sounds.
II. Compound Sounds. 4. E-ve;
13. A-le; (original element 5. 00-ze;
and 4.) L-00-k;
14. I-ce; (3. and 4.) 6. E-rr;
15. 0-ld; (original element 7. E-nd;
and 5.) 8. I-n;
16. Ou-r; (10. and 5.) 9. Ai-r;
17. Oi-l; (16. and 8.) 10, U-P;
18. U-se; (4. and 5.)
CONSONANTAL ELEMENTS, corresponding to the " subtonic" and "atonic" sounds in the classification of Dr. Rush.
I. Labial Sounds.
These are, - in consonance with their designation, formed by the action of the lips. They may be enumerated as follows: