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CRITICAL PRONOUNCING DICTIONARY,
| BUT WHERE WORDS ARE SUBJECT TO DIFFERENT PRONUNCIATIONS, THE AUTHORITIES OF OUR
AT LARGE DISPLAYED, AND THE PREFERABLE PRONUNCIATION IS POINTED OUT.
TO WHICH ARE PREFIXED
| THE SOUNDS OF LETTERS, SYLLABLES, AND WORDS ARE CRITICALLY INVESTIGATED AND SYSTE-
TITY, ON THE ACCENT AND QUANTITY OF THE ENGLISH, IS THOROUGHLY EX-
OF A CONSISTENT AND RATIONAL PRONUNCIATION.
FOR AVOIDING THEIR RESPECTIVE PECULIARITIES;
DIRECTIONS TO FOREIGNERS, FOR ACQUIRING A KNOWLEDGE OF THE USE
OF THIS DICTIONARY.
THE WHOLE INTERSPERSED WITH
"Quare, si fieri potest, et verba omnia, et vox, hujus alumnum urbis oleant: ut oratio Romana
planè videatur, non civitate donata.” -QUINTILIAN.
TO WHICH IS ANNEXED .
BY JOHN WALKER,
STEREOTYPED BY B. AND J. COLLINS, NEW-YORK.
No. 230, Pearl-street.
IEW subjects have of late years more employed the peas of every class of criticks, than the im provement of the English language. The greatest abilities in the nation have been exerted in cultivating and reforming it; nor have a thousand minor criticks been wanting to add their mite of a:nend. ment to their native tongue. Johnson, whose large mind and just taste made him capable of enriching and adorning the Language with original composition, has condescended to the drudgery of disentangling, explaining, and arranging it, and left a lasting monument of his ability, labour, and patience, and Dr. Lowth, the politest scholar of the age, has veiled his superiority in his short Introduction to English Grammar. The ponderous folio has gravely vindicated the rights of analogy; and the light ephemeral sheet of news has corrected errors in Grammar as well as in Politicks, by slyly marking them in Italics. Find
Nor has the improvement stopped here. While Johnson and Lowth have been insensibly operating on the orthography and construction of onr Language, its pronunciation has not been ne glected. The importance of a consistent and regular pronunciation was too obvious to be overlooked ; and the want of this consistency and regularity has induced several ingenious men to endeavour at a reformation; who, by exhibiting the irregularities of pronunciation, and pointing oat its analogies, have reclaimed some words that were not irrecoverably fixed in a wrong sound, and prevented others from being perverted by ignorance or caprice.
Among those writers who deserve the first praise on this subject, is Mr. Elphinston ; who, in his Principles of the English Language, has reduced the chaos to a system; and, by a deep investigation of the analogies of our tongue, has laid the foundation of a just and regular pronunciation.
After him, Dr. Kenrick contributed a portion of improvement by his Rhetorical Dictionary; in which the words are divided into syllables as they are pronounced, and figures placed over the Towels, to indicate their different sounds. But this gentleman has rendered his Dictionary exteinely imperfect, by entirely omitting a great number of ciationi-those very words for which a Dictionary of this kind would be most consulted.
To him succeeded Mr. Sheridan, who not only divided the words into syllables, and placed figures over the towels as Dr. Kenrick had done, but, by spelling these syllables as they are pronounced, seemed to complete the idea of a Pronouncing Dicti
leave but littl
ion of future improvement. It must, indeed, be confessed, that Mr. Sheridan's Dictionary is greatly superior to every other that preceded it; and his method of conveying the sound of words, bv spelling them as they are pronounced, is highly rational and useful. - But here sincerity obliges me to stop. The numerous instances I have given of impropriety, inconsistency, and want of acquaintance with the analogies of the Language, sufficiently show how imperfect* I think his Dictionary is upon the whole, and what ample room was left for attempting another that might better answer the purpose of a Guide to Pronunciation.
The last writer on this subject is Mr. Nares, who, in his Elements of Orthocpy, has shown a elearness of method
of method and an extent of observation which deserve the highest encomiums. His preface alone proves him an elegant writer, as well as a philosophical observer of Language: and his Alphabetical Index, referring pear five thousand words to the rules for pronouncing them, is a'nçw and useful method of treating the subject: but he seems, ou many occasions, to have mistaken the best usage, and to have paid too little attention to the first principles of pronunciation..
Thus I have ventured to give my opinion of my rivals and competitors, and I hope without ears CT self-conceit. Perhaps it would have been policy in me to have been silent on this head, for fear. of putting the publick in mind that others have written on the subject as well as myself; but this is a narrow policy, which, under the colour of tenderness to others, is calculated to raise ourselves at
xpense.A writer, who is conscious he deserves the attention of the Publick, (and unless he is thus conscious he ought not to write,) must not only wish to be compared with those who have gone before him, but will promote the comparison, by informing his readers what others have done, and on what he founds his pretensions to a preference; and if this be done with fairness and prithout acrimony, it can be no more inconsistent with modesty, than it is with honesty and plain
The work I have to offer on the subject has, I hope, added something to the publick stock; it not only exhibits the principles of pronunciation on a more extensive plan than others have done, divides the words into syllables, and marks the sounds of the vowels like Dr. Kenrick, spells the Words as they are pronounced like Mr. Sheridan, and directs the inspector to the rule by the word like Mr. Nares; but, where words are subject to different pronunciations, it shows the reasons from analogy for each, produces authorities for one side and the other, and points out the pronuiciation which is preferable. In short, I have endeavoured to unite the science of Mr. Elphinsten the method of Mr. Nares, and the general utility of Mr. Sheridan; and, to add to these advar vi ges, have given critical observations on such words as are subject to a diversity of pronunciatica, and bare invited the inspector to decide according to analogy and the best usage.
Bat to all works of this kind there lies a formidable objection: which is, that the pronunciation of a language is necessarily indefinite and fugitive, and that all endeavours to delineate or settle care in vain. Dr. Johnson, in his Grammar, prefixed to his Dictionary, says: “ Most the
See Principles, No. 124, 126, 129, 396, 454, 462, 479, 480, 550; and the words Assume, Collect, Covelons, Donativa ghepere, Satiety, to, and the inseparable prensivon Dir,