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A Manual of Pronunciation For Practical Use in Schools and Families   By: (1853-)

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Containing a Careful Selection of Words in the English Language Most Commonly Mispronounced, together with their Pronunciation as Given by the Best Authorities in England and America



Superintendent of Schools, Savannah, Ga.


Copyright, 1904 By OTIS ASHMORE



Nothing so quickly or so certainly reveals the character of our culture and early associations as our speech. The persistence of habits formed in youth, especially bad habits of pronunciation, is well known, and the correction of such faults in adult life is a matter of considerable care and effort.

This manual has been prepared for practical use in the school room and for the use of families and individuals who value a correct pronunciation of the English language.

Several important features of this manual have justified its preparation. First, the number of words presented has been limited to those most frequently mispronounced, thus reducing the book to a practical working field at small cost. Many of the words in most books on orthoepy are very rarely mispronounced, and they serve only to cumber the work. Those who desire an exhaustive reference book should consult the dictionaries. Second, the plan of exhibiting the weight of authorities where authorities differ is of great practical value. In these cases the typography and the arrangement are such as to prevent confusion. It is certainly desirable to know the weight of authority that prefers one of two or more authorized pronunciations. A glance at the page will show at once what company we keep. Third, the drill columns of unmarked words in the back of the book will be appreciated by every teacher. The attempt to teach orthoepy without much drill and practice is of little use. It is not enough to tell pupils how words are pronounced; they must be drilled by abundant practice in order to fix the correct pronunciation in the memory. Under the head of "How to Use the Book" this use of the drill columns is fully illustrated. Fourth, in case of those words about whose pronunciation there is no difference of opinion among the authorities the fact is indicated by a star opposite these words. It is a source of much satisfaction to know that many words, as albumen , address , coadjutor , divan , horizon , harass , idea , incisive , inquiry , leisure , opponent , etc., have only one authorized pronunciation, and that all other pronunciations are without any authority whatever.

There is another class of words concerning whose pronunciation there is some slight difference of opinion but the weight of authority is overwhelmingly in favor of some one particular form. The plan of this book enables the student to see at once the strength or weakness of his position in regard to the pronunciation of such words, and to choose the form supported by the best authority. This may be illustrated by such words as abdomen , acclimate , appendicitis , candelabrum , data , finance , ignoramus , gratis , etc.

There are many words in our language about whose pronunciation the best orthoepists and lexicographers differ greatly. In some cases it is very difficult to determine what form should be preferred. It is well that we should know these words and the differences of opinion concerning their pronunciation in order that we may give due credit to those who may use a different form of pronunciation from that adopted by ourselves.

"The ultimate standard of pronunciation for the English language is the usage that prevails among the best educated portion of the people to whom the language is vernacular; or, at least, the usage that will be most generally approved by them... Continue reading book >>

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