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of enunciation, and as it is more difficult to overcome a wrong habit once formed than to avoid forming it in the first place, you should always be careful to utter your words distinctly. To cultivate the habit of distinct enunciation, avoid speaking hurriedly, and give sufficient time to each word.
Pronunciation. — The correct pronunciation of words is even more important than distinct enunciation; for while imperfect enunciation may indicate mere carelessness or nervousness, incorrect pronunciation indicates ignorance. When in doubt about the pronunciation of a word consult a dictionary, and then endeavor to fix the correct pronunciation of it in your mind. It may require much effort and watchfulness to acquire the habit of enunciating your words distinctly and pronouncing them correctly, but the improvement in your spoken language will more than repay the effort.
1. Pronounce the following words several times, being careful to utter each syllable distinctly:
Appetite, already, accept, acorn, arithmetic, barrack, bayonet, botany, calculate, canopy, capitalist, current, cypress, dangerous, direct, disobey, enjoy, evening, every, February, friendship, general, government, geography, governor, grocery, herald, history, handkerchief, ignorant, ivory, innocent, jewelry, livery, librarian, machinery, memory, multiplication, mercury, misery, nursery, poet, participle, partiality, partridges, quarrel, salary, showery, secretary, where, which.
2. In pronouncing the following words be careful to give to the final syllable its correct sound:
Advancement, acquaintance, avenue, azure, brethren, actor, cabbage, chicken, cruel, excellent, failure, fortunate, garment, gentleman, goodness, hundred, item, Latin, lecture, lighten, literature, modest, pencil, populace, porcelain, picture, package, pudding, ruin, settlement, slept, swept, student, singing, solemn, to-morrow, velvet, victory, window, yellow.
3. Find words ending in the following suffixes that are often mispronounced: –
Age, ance, ate, il, in, ing, lain, ment, ness, ure, or, ow.
4. The following words are frequently mispronounced because of the silent letters they contain:
Apostle, castle, epistle, Christian, column, nestle, often, soften, toward, windward.
Find other words that present the same difficulties as the above.
5. Tell what mistake is often made in the pronunciation of the following words:
Across, elm, film, once, lightning, twice, wish.
Mention other words into which extra sounds are sometimes incorrectly introduced.
6. The following are a few of the words that we often hear mispronounced. Pronounce them aloud, and consult a dictionary when not sure of the pronunciation.
Acorn, address, adult, again, apparatus, apricot, Arab, Asia, ask, bade, because, bouquet, bomb, brethren, brigand, bronchitis, calf, catch, cemetery, courteous, coffee, contrary, courtesy, deaf, dew, docile, education, fast, finance, fuchsia, gristle, granary, glycerine, hoof, handkerchief, hearth, horizon, inquiry, instead, Italic, illustrate, just, jugular, lofty, literature, laugh, masculine, mischievous, new, neuter, often, partner, perspiration, psalm, pretty, reptile, rather, resignation, revenue, roof, salary, salve, soprano, sterile, sirup, tedious, tomato, tumult, tune, tutor, Tuesday, verdure, volcano, wrestle, yonder, zoology.
NotE. — Frequent drills in enunciation and pronunciation should be given.
Every day, no doubt, you relate to your companions in school or at home some incident of which you have been told, or some occurrence which has taken place upon the street or elsewhere. Your purpose in telling others of an incident that has impressed you is that they may know of it, and hence you endeavor to relate it in such a way that they may understand just what has happened. If you are accurate in your account and use language that will present the incident clearly and vividly, your hearers may be able to imagine and picture it almost as well as if they had actually seen it. If, however, you relate it in a disconnected, broken manner, giving the explanations and details only in reply to questions asked, your account will fail to present a lively narrative, and it will be dull and uninteresting.
It is often very desirable to be able to tell a story which one has heard or read, or to relate an incident which one has seen, so that another may understand it. A person who can tell a story well, or relate with clearness and vigor something that has happened, will always be listened to with interest; while one who omits important details, mixes particulars, and relates a story in such a bungling fashion that his hearers must put forth special effort to make out what he is trying to tell, gives pleasure to no one, and certainly cannot feel much satisfaction in his effort himself.
Main Incident in a Narrative. — Every story or narrative should contain some point or incident of sufficient importance to furnish a reason for telling it. The bringing out and making clear just what this point is forms the purpose for which the story is told. For instance, in a story in which the point is the rescue of a drowning man, only such incidents will be told as pertain directly to the rescue; and these should be related in such a manner as to picture clearly the way in which the rescue was effected. The point or main incident should be stated as briefly as possible, for if it is tediously drawn out, or if it is lost sight of in the relating of less important details, one's hearers may lose interest and not care to listen to the story at all. Since it is the wish of the person speaking to hold the interest of those who listen to him, he should keep the important point of his narrative constantly in mind, using the other items and details only as they relate to the main incident, and in such a way as will make it stand out clearly.
In the following story notice how the details all relate to the main incident:
MAGGIE CUTS OFF HER HAIR
Tom followed Maggie upstairs into her mother's room and saw her go at once to a drawer, from which she took out a large pair of scissors.
“What are they for, Maggie?” said Tom, feeling his curiosity awakened.
Maggie answered by seizing her front locks and cutting them straight across the middle of her forehead.
“Oh, my buttons ! Maggie, you'll catch it !” exclaimed Tom; "you'd better not cut any more off.”
Snip! went the great scissors again while Tom was speaking, and he couldn't help feeling it was rather good fun; Maggie would look so queer.
"Here, Tom, cut it behind for me," said Maggie, excited by her own daring, and anxious to finish the deed.
“You'll catch it, you know,” said Tom, nodding his head in an admonitory manner, and hesitating a little as he took the scissors.
“Never mind, make haste!” said Maggie, giving a little stamp with her foot. Her cheeks were quite flushed.
The black locks were so thick, nothing could be more tempting to a lad who had already tasted the forbidden pleasure of cutting the pony's mane. I speak to those who know the satisfaction of making a pair of shears meet through a duly resisting mass of hair. One delicious grinding snip, and then another and another, and the hinderlocks fell heavily on the floor, and Maggie stood cropped in a jagged, uneven manner, but with a sense of clearness and freedom, as if she had emerged from a wood into the open plain.
“Oh, Maggie,” said Tom, jumping around her, and slapping his knees as he laughed, “oh, my buttons ! what a queer thing you look! Look at yourself in the glass ! you look like the idiot we throw out nutshells to at school.”
Maggie felt an unexpected pang. She had thought beforehand chiefly of her own deliverance from her teasing hair and teasing remarks about it, and something also of the triumph she should have over her mother and her aunts by this very decided course of action; she didn't want her hair to look pretty, – that was out of the question, she only wanted people to think her a clever little girl, and not to find fault with her. But now, when Tom began to laugh at her, and say she was like the idiot, the affair had quite a new aspect. She looked in the glass, and still Tom laughed and clapped his hands, and Maggie's flushed cheeks began to pale, and her lips to tremble a little.
From “ Mill on the Floss.” GEORGE Eliot.
Time and Place. – In narrating an incident the time and place of the occurrence should receive particular attention. It is often necessary for the correct understanding of an incident to know something of the character of the place where it happened. The time is also often of the utmost importance, and has much to do with determining the nature of the occurrence. In “ Ichabod Crane's Ride,” page 16, the time of night and the reputed character of