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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/404

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

like day, pay, etc., in which y represents the vanishing sound of the vowel. The long sound of this vowel in the article a before words beginning with a consonant—e. g., a man, a book, etc.—instead of the short and obscure sound, is also very common in the United States, but seldom heard in England.

Again, a before r, in such words as care, rare, and in many like positions, is also a double sound, with a primary vocal element resembling short a, and a final one, like a in are, according to some writers. This final element is more open as given by Englishmen, and approaches nearly Italian a, and the r is so slightly sounded, even by correct speakers, that in the mouths of many it probably has no organic formation, and thus corresponds to the provincial pronunciation given by some Southerners to the final syllable of words like door, drawer, etc., in which the open a, as in ah, is heard. As pronounced by most Americans, the final sound in these words is ur, and the final r has a real value, of which further mention will be made under the head of this letter. A few New Englanders and Southerners differ but little from the English usage, either with radical or terminational elements of a in the above instances.

A, as in walk, water, awe, fall, etc., is produced with a deeper and broader sound by Englishmen than by Americans. Some of the latter, in fact, pronounce such words so that they have more nearly the sound of short o than the deeply-formed vowel which issues from native British throats, and which is more profoundly formed than the German gutturals.

There is a corresponding difference, also, in the open and brief sound of a in what, wash, wallow, was, and in other words in which a has the value of o in odd.

The varieties of the vowel e also illustrate well the phonological differences of the vernacular of the two countries. The sound of accented e before r, not followed by a vowel or another r, as in her, term, mercy, etc., is that of u in fur, as uttered by most Americans, but English speakers give it a less guttural and more open sound, verging toward a in are, which sound is fully heard in a few instances as in clerk, pronounced dark in England. The correct sound between u in fur and e in met is only formed by the minority of speakers in this country.

The American long e, as in evil, is produced by a closer approximation of the tongue to the palate. The English name-sound of this e has less firmly closed lingual points of lateral contact.

The short e, as in met, contrary to American custom, resembles somewhat in quality long a as pronounced by many Englishmen. The latter always give a brief and obscure sound to e in the definite article before words beginning with a consonant, as the man, the book, etc., but in this country long e is often heard in these instances.

The long i in ice, shine, time, find, etc., like most vowels, is a pho-