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given. If our example were spelt "syllibul," it would make scarcely a perceptible difference in the sound of the word. These obscure sounds are generally indicated in dictionaries by a single dot under the vowel.
The only rule for the pronunciation of obscure vowels is to make the sound as nearly like the full sound as is possible without seeming stilted.
The articles, person l pronouns, conjunctions, and short prepositions like f, to, from, and for, are always obscure, except when they are emphatic. Thus, when we say, "give it to me,' we give the e in me its obscure sound (2d vowel), like i in pin; but when we say "give it to me," we give it its long sound (1st vowel). Nor do we say to (tōō), but almost tů (11th vowel). Treat such words, as regards pronunciation, exactly like the unaccented syllables in words. To be over exact and pedantic would often alter the meaning of the sentence, as in the illustration above.
The consonants are formed by the action of the tongue, palate, and lips. The following consonants are made by compressing the lips and then separating them by a quick recoil and relaxation, b, p. Do not give the consonants their name-sounds in practising, thus: bē, pē.
Combine these and all following consonants with each of the seventeen vowel-sounds.
TO THE TEACHER :-Rhythmical exercises like the following will be found useful in attaining flexibility and accuracy in the use of the agents of articulation:
In common time: Bä bä bä, bä bä bä, bä bä bä, bä. Repeat three times, sustaining the last bë a full beat, making a succession of three triplets and a quarter note; the last time sustain the final bä as long as possible.
In common time: Bà bà bà bà, bà bà bà bà. bởi bộ bà ba, bã, as if there were three groups of sixteenth notes, and a quarter note. Distinguish carefully between successions of ba and of äb, på and äp. Careless practice will result in something like äb ä bä bä bä bä, etc. This caution applies to many other combinations.
The head has gestures and attitudes. The gestures of the head are few but full of meaning. The common ones are the nod, meaning yes; the shake of the head, meaning no; and a contemptuous fling of the head to one side, which latter, like a shrug of contempt, which it usually accompanies, is to be avoided, except when absolutely necessary to the expression.
The attitudes or positions of the head are more numerous and important than are its gestures. We find nine fundamental positions of the head.
I.-The Head Erect. (Fig. 8.)
This is the attitude of simple attention without sympathy. We find it in the attitude of Respect (Lesson VI.). As a bearing or habit, it indicates strong vitality, consciousness of power. Be careful that the position of the body, either in sitting or standing, corresponds to that of the head, so far as your knowledge goes.
II.-The Head Bowed. (Fig. 9.)
This indicates one of two conditions: Either the mind is so occupied that the attention is drawn away from surrounding things; or, we are submitting ourselves to some one or something more powerful than ourselves; we say, for instance, "man must bow to the inevitable."
This, then, is the expression of reflection, thought,
mental concentration, or of respect and submission. As a bearing, the bowed head might indicate a thoughtful character, or a very humble, abject person. What would be the difference in the bearing of the hips and chest?
The ordinary bow means that you place yourself at the service of the person you salute. You are, for the time, his "humble servant." The attitude of the body will vary with the condition you wish to represent.
With the lips closed we have one other sound, m, sometimes called a nasal consonant, because its sound escapes through the nostrils. It is in reality a humming sound, and is one of the few consonants that may be sustained for an indefinite time.
Fand v are formed by pressing the lower lip against the teeth.
W, in wine, wh, in whine, are formed by rounding the lips somewhat, as in the formation of the vowel 00. Wh is really hw; we say hwen, hwine, not w-hen; w-hine.
With the tongue in various positions we form the following consonants:
T, d, by the recoil of the tip of the tongue from the upper teeth.
L, n, by keeping the tip of the tongue in its position against the upper teeth, but more relaxed than in t and d. N is the nasal sound in this position.
R is formed in two ways: With the tip of the tongue very much relaxed we get what is commonly
called the trilled or rough r; with the tongue curving inward gently, but without any vibration of the tip, we have the smooth or glide r, in care, car, culture, etc. Be sure to give this smooth r its true value; do not say câh, cäh, cultcha,
With the tip of the tongue between the teeth we get th, in thin, myth; th, soft, in this, with, beneath.
For Speaking Without Waste of Breath.
With face and throat perfectly relaxed, take a firm, solid breath and call out suddenly and rather forcibly "hä!" As you make the sound, expand the waist slightly. Practise this, holding the flame of a candle near the mouth. If more breath is used than is necessary, the flame will flicker as you make the sound; but when absolute control is gained, it will remain perfectly steady. Of course, the flame will be disturbed when the breath escapes after the exercise; do not mind that.
Use other vowel-sounds in the same way.
Make a succession of sounds with one breath, as many as you can, and in various rhythms.