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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/405

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391
ENGLISH PHONOLOGY.

netic compound, and it has Italian a as the radical and long e as the vanish, and the American transition from the former to the latter is quicker. The English i is more diphthongal and the radical element is a more open sound. In fact, this distinctly audible separation of the pharyngeal and lingual modifications of the vowel elements constitutes an important point in the comparative phonology of British and American English.

For the relative differences in i before r in accented syllables, as in virgin, third, etc., reference is made to the above description of e under like circumstances.

Short i, as in pin, as the equivalent of y final in beauty, badly, philosophy, etc., is the usual pronunciation in the United States, but British usage is a sound like a in quality, but more nearly identical with the open e (c ouvert) of the French. In fact, the frequent recurrence of this sound in English mouths at the present day is probably a relic of the influence of Norman French upon the Anglo-Saxon vernacular. The short i in pin has in American articulation its correct shut and explosive sound, such as exists in few other languages, but it more closely approaches long e in quality in British usage.

The long sound of o, as in home, bone, etc., has an initial element, formed more deeply in the throat than Italian a with a slight vanish in oo. The American differs from the English pronunciation in two ways—first, in that the labial modification is more decided with lips more nearly approximated; and, secondly, in that the secondary element is omitted, and the o approaches short u among many New Englanders, as in stone, home, broke, spoke, whole, and many similar words. In most Americans, however, the difference is in the labial modification alone, and if the lower jaw is allowed to drop slightly in the articulation of the word blow, for instance, the long o with the enlarged labial aperture becomes almost identical with the native English sound of the same letter. On the other hand, there is in England a cockney and provincial separation of the posteriorly and anteriorly formed elements of this vowel which is not to be found among natives of the United States.

The short o, as in hot, odd, cot, etc., is formed by Englishmen with more laryngeal depression and greater posterior oral enlargement. The American short o issues from a less deep throat-formation, is not as broad, and is usually a less abrupt sound. The long sound of double o as in food, moon, etc., is one of the extremes of the scale of vowel elements, and it is uttered by Americans with greater labial contraction than is customary among Englishmen. New Englanders are wont to substitute for it the short sound of oo in foot, in words like broom, roof, root, and in a large number of similar words. British custom always retains the long double o in these instances. There is a British fault in Yorkshire and other northern parts of giving the long instead of the short double o in cook, book, etc., for although