Page images
PDF
EPUB

* conversational utterance. Such words as beard, hereafter, earwig, merely, &c.; cure, your, poor, &c., are frequently pronounced '17 to -3, and 8 to 3, instead of 18 to 3, and 10 to 3.

M. Bell,

6

P. 146.

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

xv. "The long form of the 15th vowel, identical with the French ' ê in même, bête, &c.' (14th vowel acc. to Ellis) 'is the sound which

is substituted for the 16th vowel, before r (3rd vowel) in English. "It is heard in no other position in the language. An ear unaccustomed to analyze vocal sounds may possibly at first fail to • recognize the same vowel formation in the words ell and ere. Let the reader pronounce the first word of each of the following pairs, omitting the vowel sound of the r, and joining the consonantal

, effect of r to the preceding vowel, and his pronunciation should 'correspond to the second words; or conversely, let him pronounce

the second word in each pair, with the interposition of the vowel• sound of r between the consonantal r and the preceding vowel, • and his utterances should give the first words: fairy, ferry; chary, "cherry; dairy, Derry; vary, very; mary, merry; airing, erring.

• But it is not every ear that will be at once competent for this 'experiment.' M. Bell, pp. 126—128.

xvi. In such words as four, our we have triphthongs, viz. 3 to 18 to 3, and 3 to 10 to 3.

The difference between this vocal sound of r when separate and when part of a diphthong (or triphthong) is heard by comparing lyre, liar; ne’er, greyer; drawer (a thing), drawer (a person); more, mower; your,

xvii. Mr Ellis' account (abridged) is as follows:

• In English at the present day r has at least two sounds, the • first when preceding a vowel, is a cely perceptible trill with the tip of the tongue, which in Scotland and with some English speakers, as always in Italy, becomes a clear and strong trill. The • second English r is always final or precedes a consonant.

It is a vocal murmur, differing very slightly from the u in but (3rd vowel). “This second r (marked 1) may diphthongise with any preceding “vowel. After the 2nd, 6th and sth vowels (as in hard, dwarf, "born) the effect is rather to lengthen the preceding vowel, than to • produce a distinct diphthong. Thus farther, lord scarcely differ

from father, laud: that is, the diphthongs 2 to I, 5 to are heard • almost as the long vowels 2 and 6. That a distinction is made by

many, by more perhaps than are aware of it, is certain, but it is • also certa that in the mouths of by far greater number of speakers in the south of England the absorption of the = is as complete as the absorption of the 1 in talk, walk, psalm, where it

ewer.

[ocr errors]

6

6

6

6

6

[ocr errors]

A. J. Ellis,

• has also left its mark on the preceding vowel. The diphthongs

15 to I, 3 to as in serf, surf, are very difficult to separate from each other, and from a long 3rd vowel. But the slight raising of • the point of the tongue will distinguish the diphthongs from the vowel in the mouth of a careful speaker, that is, one who trains • his organs to do so. No doubt the great majority of speakers do not make any difference.' Ellis, p. 196.

• The combination of the vocal r with the trilled r after a long ! vowel is very peculiar in English; compare dear, deary, mare,

Mary, more, glory, poor, poorer, with the French dire, dirai, mère, Mairie, Maure, aurai, tour, Touraine,

• The Scotch do not use the vocal r at all, but only the strongly trilled r.

•In Italy this strongly trilled r is constant; in France and a 'great part of Germany a trill of the uvula is pronounced in lieu of ' it. This French r (r grasseyé ou provençal) is not unlike the Arabic 'grh and the Northumberland burr. The last is often confused by southerners with 8, Harriet sounding to them like Hagiet.' Ellis, p. 198.

6

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

Connexion of u, w, v, w, qu, &c. (Comp. SS 90, 118. 2.)

xviii. • When the breath passes between the anterior edges of the lips in close approximation, the effect of the breathing resem.bles the sound of f. The Spanish b is articulated in this way, but * with vocalized breath, its sound consequently resembling v. When the aperture of the lips is slightly enlarged by the separation of their anterior edges, and the breath passes between the inner edges of the lips, the effect is that of the English wh, w; the former being the voiceless, the latter the vocal form of the same articulation. The lips must be in sufficiently close approximation to pre6 sent a degree of resistance to the breath, or the w will lack that • faint percussive quality which alone distinguishes it from the vowel oo (10th vowel).' M. Bell, p. 52.

"The sound of v consonant in ancient Latin is a matter of dispute: it was probably w or bh (i.e. labial v), and more proba• bly the latter than the former, because we can hardly imagine w 'generating v except through bh, but the passage from bh to v is

easy and slight, that the two parts of Germany which are distinguished by the two different sounds at this day profess to pronounce their w in the same way. Bh is a kind of bat sound readily • falling into w or v, but the real w has a very moderate domain in

[ocr errors]

6

6 SO

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

* Europe. The bh is thoroughly established in High Germany and • in Spain, where the old joke of

• felices populi quibus vivere est bibere points at once to the antiquity of the sound in that country in which it is still used for both b and v, and to the probable pronunciation of v in Latin as bh at that time. The example of kavvéas • being heard as cav' n'eas=cave ne eas would be solved by the

identity (kabhne’ās) in both languages at that time.' [But comp. § 94.] * At the time when the Anglo-Saxons being Christianized adopted the Christian Roman alphabet, the Roman y consonant was certainly [the denti-labial] v, a sound which the Anglo-Saxons * did not then distinguish from f.

An accurate conception of the three sounds w, bh, v. is necessary for the proper understanding of many linguistic relations. For w the lips are rounded nearly as for u, and the back of the tongue is raised, but the outer edges of the lips are brought more together than for u, and the sound of w, when continued, is there. • fore a buzz, a mixture of voice and whisper, and not a pure vowel sound. When the buzz is strong, the tremor of the lips is very perceptible, and a little more force produces the labial trill 'brh. If the voice is removed, we have wh, and the back of the 'tongue being raised as before mentioned, the slightest effort suffices 'to raise it higher and produce kwh. This gives the relation between the gutturals and labials which plays such an important part in comparative philology. On the other hand for bh the tongue is not raised, the sound is a pure labial, less like u, but easily deduced from w by lowering the tongue and slightly flattening the lips. It is to those used to it an extremely easy and pleasant consonant, produced with the least possible effort. By dropping the voice it pro• duces ph, which is not now used in Europe but was probably a • value of $. For w, bh there must be no contact with the teeth. * Directly the lower lip touches the upper teeth, an impediment is raised to the passage of the air through the mouth, and the breath escaping out on both sides, produces a rushing, rubbing, rustling • sound, distinctive of the “divided” consonants, and known as v,

which on dropping the voice, becomes f. But all degrees of con*tact between the lower lip and the teeth are possible, producing • varieties of f, v, from sounds which can scarcely be distinguished * from ph, bh, up to extremely harsh hisses and buzzes. Generally • then w is a consonant framed from u by closing the lips too closely

to allow of a pure resonance for the vowel sound; bh is a b with “the lips just slightly opened, or a v without touching the teeth, that is, a pure labial; v is a denti-labial. The w is further dis

tinguished from bh, v by having the tongue raised. It is possible of course to raise the tongue when sounding v; the result is vh,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

6

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

6

6

[ocr errors]

a very peculiar and disagreeable sound. But if the tongue is raised . when sounding bh, no ear would distinguish the result from w. • The following words may shew these differences. Fr, oui, oui ; • Engl. we, Germ. wie, Fr. vie; usual Scotch quhen, English when, Aberdeenshire fen; usual German schreiben, faulty German schreiwen; German pferd, now pfert, once probably pp bert, and in some Bavarian dialects p'hert.' Ellis, pp. 514, 515.

6

6

[ocr errors]

=

6

Roman Preference of vo to vu. (Comp. $ 93.) xix. The reason of the Romans retaining this vowel o after v instead of allowing it to pass into u (§ 213) was the danger of thus losing either the consonant sound v (=w) or the vowel u.

• The roth vowel (i.e, u=00) has an articulative (i.e. conso.nantal) effect, when the modifying organs are further approximated • during the continuance of the sound. By a slight appulse of the • lips, the vowel oo becomes the articulation w. Thus if the lips

be momentarily compressed between the finger and thumb while • sounding oo, the voice will be modified into woo, woo, woo, &c.' M. Bell, p. 151.

. When w is before 00 the combination is rather difficult • from the little sccpe the organs have for the articulative action; the w is in consequence often omitted by careless speakers, wool being pronounced ool; woman, ooman; &c. M. Bell, p. 171.

6

[ocr errors]

On Labialisation. (Comp. $ 93. 3.) xx. The Latin v when following q or g is not really a separate letter but a modification of q or g. Thus Mr Ellis speaking of English says: "kw or Labialised k, the lips being opened simultaneously with the release of the k contact and not after it, is an ancient • element of our own and probably of many other languages. In • Anglosaxon it is written cw, in Latin qu, which is the form • adopted in English. Gu bears the same relation to g as qu to k, .but as the form of the g remained unchanged little attention was * paid to it. It does not exist as part of the Saxon element of our language. Initially it is generally used superfluously for g. • Occasionally it has the sound gw, as in language, itself a modern form, anguish, distinguish. Usage however varies

, some saying lang-gwagę, ang-gwish and others lang-wage, lang-wish. The • Italian quale, guanto are apparently kwuale, gwuanto... As we have 'ky, sy (in the antiquated pronunciation of card, sky, guide=kyard,

skyi, gyide) and kw, gw, so also to our unacknowledged palatal • modification of t, d, viz. ty, dy (e.g. in nature, verdure, often pro

6

[ocr errors]

6

nounced as na-tyoor, ver-dyoor) correspond an equally unacknowledged labial modification of t, d, viz. tw, dw, e.g. between, twain, 6 twelve, twist, twirl; dwindle, dwell, dwarf. Many of those who ' have thought on phonetics have been more perplexed to decide whether w is here really a vowel or a consonant, than in the corresponding words, wean, wain, wist, well, war. The difficulty is • resolved by observing that the opening of the lips is really simultaneous with the release of the t, d contact.' Ellis, pp. 206, 208, 209, slightly compressed.

xxi. In French this labial modification is common after most consonants, e.g. p (pois), b (bois), m (mois); f. (fois); (voix), k (quoi), 8 (goître); t (tói), a (doit); n (noix), 1 (loi), r (roi), s (soi). Ellis, pp. 4–9.

xxii. In Latin it occurs only after k (or a), &, and s, e.g. svavis, svadeo (So in English sweet, persuade).

Compare however tvos, fvit, &c. $ 92. After initial 1 and r it does not occur. In salvus, servus it was probably separately pronounced and hence the first syllable was long, whereas aqva has the first syllable short. A preceding & was expelled sometimes e.g. nivis for nigvis, brevis for bregvis, fruor for frugvor, &c. ($ 129. 2. 639). In other words the v was dropped ($ 640).

The Roman grammarians had similar perplexities to those mentioned in the passage quoted above. See Schneider, Lat. Gr. I. p. 329 sq.

On k, c, q. (Comp. § 57.) xxiii. The names of the three consonants k, c, q, viz. ka, ce, qu, all representing the sharp guttural explosive, were pronounced with a different vowel. Compare this fact with the following. "K is • formed by the silent contact and audible separation of the back

of the tongue and the posterior part of the palate. The precise • points of contact vary between the different vowels. Before the close lingual vowel ee (18th vowel) the position of the tongue is much further forward than before ah (2nd vowel) or aw (6th vowel). The tongue could articulate k from one uniform position • before all the vowels, but there is a natural tendency to accom“modate facility of utterance by these little changes which would • require an effort to avoid.' M. Bell, p. 217.

The Germans have similar modifications of the continuous consonant. Ch in ach is guttural, in ich is palatal, in auch is labial (Ellis, P. 206)

6

6

« PreviousContinue »