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and on being farther drawn out, repeated these sounds in the reverse or. der, then, successively, with different lengths, the same series direct, and again reversed. This experiment settles the order of the vowel-sounds, which had also been already determined by the utterance of a continuous stream of vocal sound, with the parts of the mouth gradually changing their position. It does not determine at which end of the series the vocal sounds should be considered as beginning, which has been settled on other grounds. The number of vowel-sounds has been determined by a careful analysis of the spoken language. There seem to be fourteen well settled vowel-sounds in authorized use in the language.* Several others are sometimes heard; as, for example, the sound of ò in most, among ourselves. Four diphthongs, i, oi, ou, and u, from their frequent occurrence in the language, have symbols assigned them.
“ The natural order of the consonant-sounds is determined by observing the organs of articulation employed in forming or modifying them, and the order settled upon by Mr. Pitman is that of labials, dentals, palatals, gutturals, nasals, beginning with those formed by the lips and going back to those formed by aid of the teeth, the palate, and the nose. The reverse of this order might have been taken ; and has been taken by Bishop Wilkins and Dr. Franklin.
“ What particular consonant-sounds are found in the language is determined, as in the case of vowels, by an analysis of the language itself. They are settled at twenty-four, including those of an ambiguous nature, represented by w, y, and h, and called coalescents, and the breathing represented by h. After exhausting the letters of the present alphabet, excluding k, 9, and x, it became necessary to adopt nineteen new letter-signs for the unrepresented or misrepresented sounds. These
• Eight are long, as 1. ee in keep, 2. a in make, 3. a in mare, 4. a in mark, 5. au in caught, 6. u in burn, 7. o in pole, and 8. oo in fool; and six short, namely, 9. i as in pin, 10. e in met, 11. a in sat, 12. o in top, 13. u in cup, and 14. oo in foot. Of the short, only two correspond precisely to long sounds, namely, 11 to 3, and 12 to 5. The order in the phonic scale would seem to be nearly
have been chosen with great care, and after very numerous experiments. The present form of the phonetic alphabet being as high as the seventeenth of those which have been successively proposed.
The proposed alphabet is the following:
“Some objections which are made to the project of reform ought to be considered.
“1. It is feared by many that if the new mode of printing should prevail, all the libraries now in existence will become useless. This fear is entirely groundless. When a knowledge of the language, or facility in reading, is once acquired through phonotypy, it will be perfectly easy to read books printed in the common type; far more easy than it is for us to read old black-letter English, or the English of the times of Chaucer. It will probably take less time, - I have no doubt myself that it will take much less time,- to read phonotypically first and heterotypically afterwards, than to learn to read by the common mode alone ; inasmuch as, when one has learnt the phonotypic alphabet, he may learn to read of himself without farther assistance, the letters giving necessarily the true sounds of the words, and, the knowledge of the words of the language once acquired, one may, afterwards, soon read them with ease, however disguised by a barbarous heterography.
“2. It is objected that it will, if adopted, oblige all of us to learn a considerable portion of a new alphabet. Let any one who feels this objection make the attempt, for only two hours, to read a well printed phonotypic book, and the objection will disappear. When the art of writing was first introduced among the Anglo-Saxons, the art of deciphering it was well called reading, that is guessing. Reading English is a sort of guessing at the meaning of hieroglyphical symbols ; and so admirably are we all trained to the art by learning to read, that any one will find it surprisingly easy to guess at the power of all the newly introduced letters of the phonotypic alphabet, without looking into a First Book for them. This statement, which I believe is literally true of the small letters, may, perhaps, admit of an exception in regard to the capitals, when found in a line by themselves. The new letters are carefully selected, as has been already stated, to represent those sounds which least frequently occur; and in assigning them characters, forms have in most instances been chosen with which we are already familiar or which resemble the letters whose power they most nearly represent.*
“3. A third objection which is urged against the reform is, that by changing the spelling we are in danger of losing sight of the derivation of a word, and thus of losing one clew to its meaning. Let Dr. Franklin answer this objection, as it was made to him originally by a correspondent.t "Now as to the inconveniences you mention; the first is, " that all our etymologies would be lost, consequently we could not ascertain the meaning of many words.” Etymologies are at present very uncertain, but such as they are, the old books would still preserve them, and etymologists would there find them. Words in the course of time change their meanings, as well as their spelling and pronunciation; and we do not look to etymologies for their present meanings. If I should call a man a knave and a villain, he would hardly be satisfied with my telling him that one of the words originally signified only
* The sound of ee in feet is represented by a letter which is nearly the italic i; a in date and a in psalm are represented by common forms of our written e and a; au in caught by e; u in cur, by u, u lengthened, the sign proposed by Dr. Franklin; o in grow, by o, and oo and u in fool and full by m, u, two u’s combined ; ew as heard in yew, the name of a tree, by u; oy in boy, by o, o with a contracted y above it; ch in etch by g, which it most nearly resembles ; th in loath, by one form of t, t; th in loathe by đ, d and t combined; sh in mesh, by a long s, S; zhe in measure, by a written 2, 3; and ng by a sign suggested by Dr. Franklin, , n with the last part of g combined with it.
a lad or servant, and the other an under ploughman or the inhabitant of a village. It is from present usage only the meaning of words is to be determined.' To this answer may be added, that phonography will probably accompany phonotypy, and that when words from different languages are written, side by side, in the letters of an alphabet of signs formed on philosophical principles, as those of phonography are, a multitude of derivations will reappear which had been long buried out of sight under the barbarous and fantastic ruins of exploded heterographical spellings.*
“4. A fourth objection may be stated, with its answer, in the words of Dr. Franklin. Your second inconvenience is, “ that the distinction between words of different meaning and similar sound would be destroyed.” That distinction is already destroyed in pronouncing them; and we rely on the sense alone of the sentence to ascertain which of the several words, similar in sound, we intend. If this is sufficient in the rapidity of discourse, it will be much more so in written sentences, which may be read leisurely, and attended to more particularly, in case of difficulty, than we can attend to a past sentence, while the speaker is hurrying us along with new ones.'
“The existing forms of letters have been retained to represent those sounds which they are found, after an extended numerical analysis, to stand for most frequently in the present alphabet. This fact renders the change in the appearance of phonotypical printing as small as possible, and the difficulty of reading it the least possible ; so that any person accustomed to read our language as now printed may at once read phonotypical printing without difficulty, and in an hour or two read it fluently. The advantages following from the adoption of this reformed alphabet will be very great.
“1. It may be acquired in one fifteenth part of the time necessary for the present.t
“2. When acquired, it leads the learner to the correct pronunciation of every word which he meets with.
* This fact, very strikingly proved by writing phonographically words in different languages from the same root, gives satisfactory evidence of the truth of a principle admitted by Archdeacon Hare: -“The common pronunciation of a word frequently agrees better than its spelling with its etymology and analogy."
7 A writer in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal says one twentieth the time. A child has now, instead of the mere alphabet, to learn nearly all the words of the language, as if they were represented by separate hieroglyphics.
“ 3. It dispenses entirely with the difficult, and to most persons impossible, acquisition of learning to spell. A knowledge of the just sound suggests infallibly the true spelling, and the spelling, with equal certainty, the correct pronunciation.
“4. By the omission of silent letters, it renders reading one fifth part more rapid than at present.
“ 5. It will render the acquisition of reading and spelling attainable to millions, to whom it is now unattainable.
“6. It will enable a writer to represent any proper name or word of an unknown language in such a manner as to be read by a stranger with precisely the same pronunciation which the writer gives it, inasmuch as variations of sounds are made visible to the eye.
“7. It will tend to banish provincialisms,* as each written word suggests its correct pronunciation.t
“8. By representing the long and short vowels by different letters, it renders possible the adoption of a few perfectly simple and comprehensive rules of accent, a thing which, up to this time, has been nearly wanting in the language."
William S. Sullivant, Esq., communicated to the Academy, through the Corresponding Secretary, a paper entitled, “Contributions to the Bryology and Hepaticology of North Ameri
• Dr. Franklin used to regret that there was not something like a phonotypic dictionary in existence in his day, as it would, he said, have enabled him, when in England, to avoid the peculiarities of American pronunciation,
1 In order that it may have this effect, the books printed phonotypically must give the received pronunciation of the best speakers in England. This is a matter of the greatest importance; and America looks to England for a guidance in this respect which may be safely followed. Peculiarities of speech - provincialisms — are growing up and strengthening in all parts of our country; and although this cannot probably be prevented for the mass of the people, who learn the lan. guage only from the ear, it may for the educated part of the community. Phonotypy offers the means of rendering the pronunciation of well educated peo. ple nearly uniform, wherever the language is read and spoken. But in order to do this, it must be under the direction of persons who have, all their lives, been accustomed to hear the language spoken in its purity. Peculiarities of particular districts of the mother country are as much to be avoided as provincialisms or Americanisms. This point has not received the attention it deserves from the editors of the Phonotypic Journal; and it would not be difficult to point out in their pages instances of pronunciation which would, even in New England, be Considered as decidedly inaccurate, and sometimes vulgar.