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This Elementary Spelling Book is designed as an improvement on the American Spelling Book; a work whose extensive and increasing circulation manifests the estimation in which it is held by the citizens of the United States. The classification of words in that work has been universally admitted to be a great improvement on all the schemes which had preceded it; and the pronunciation, with few exceptions, is in exact accordance with the best usage both in England and the United States. The classification, however, which was imperfect in that work, is here completed, and the few errors in orthography and pronunciation, which occur in that, are corrected in this work. Indeed the plan of classification here executed is extended so as to comprehend every important variety of English words, and the classes are so arranged, with suitable directions for the pronunciation, that any pupi! who shall be master of these Elementary Tables, will find little difficulty in learning to form and pronounce words that properly belong to our vernacular language. The tables intended for Exercises in spelling, and forming words, contain the original words, with the terminations only of their derivatives. These tables will answer the important purposes, of teaching the manner of forming the various derivatives, and the distinctions of the parts of speech, and thus anticipate, in some degree, the knowledge of grammar; at the same time they bring into a small compass a much greater number of words than could be otherwise comprised in so small a book.


The pronunciation here given, is that which is sanctioned by the most general usage of well-bred people both in the United States and in England. This fact is stated from personal knowledge. There are a few words in both countries whose pronunciation is not settled beyond dispute. In cases of this kind, I have leaned to regular analogies, as furnishing the best rule of decision.

There has been, for half a century past, an affectation of pronouncing the English u as yu, in a multitude of words, in which this sound had before been unknown. This affectation resulted in changing d before u into j as gradual, [grajual], and t into ch, as in nature [nachure], and one author went so far as to change s into sh, in words beginning

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with super, as superior, [shooperior]; with a like affectation, d before i in immediate, obedience, was changed into j, [immejeate, obejeence]. The mischiefs resulting from this affectation, in changing the proper sounds of the letters, and thus impairing the use of the alphabet, have been very extensive, and cannot be easily repaired. But the good sense of the intelligent part of the British public has, in some degree, checked the evil; and the last writer on orthoepy has rejected the chu, and dje, and dju, from every word in the language.

In orthography there are some classes of words in which usage is not uniform. No two English writers agree on this subject; and what is worse, no lexicographer is consistent with himself. In this branch of English philology, I have adopted, both in this work, and in my dictionary, that orthography which is most simple, and which is now the best authorized. I have pursued the rules which are held to be legitimate, and rendered all classes of words, falling within the rules, uniform in orthography. If established rules and analogies will not control the practice of writers, I know of no authority by which uniformity can be produced.

In this work, the figures 1 and 2 express the first and second sounds of the vowels, as in the American Spelling Book. The other sounds of the accented vowels are represented by points or marks attached to the letters. It is highly desirable that this mode of remedying, in some measure, the evils of a very irregular orthography, which cannot be reformed, might be adopted in all printed books. It was adopted in the Hebrew language, and is used in the German, Swedish and Danish at this day. This would serve to fix the pronunciation of words, facilitate the acquisition of it both by foreigners and our own children, and probably contribute to the propagation of the English language, and of christianity among distant nations.

The vowels in unaccented syllables are, for the most part, left unpointed; as I am convinced that any attempt to designate sounds so slight and indeterminate, would do more harm than good.

Letters printed in the Italic characters, are mute; but by the classification of words here adopted, few of these characters are necessary.

The reading lessons are adapted, as far as possible, to the capacities of children, and to their gradual progress in knowledge, These lessons will serve to substitute variety

for the dull monotony of spelling, show the practical use of words in significant sentences, and thus enable the learner the better to understand them. The consideration of diversifying the studies of children, has also had its influence in the arrangement of the lessons for spelling.

It is useful to teach children the significations of words, as soon as they can comprehend them; but the understanding can hardly keep pace with the memory, and the minds of children may well be employed in learning to spell and pronounce words, whose signification is not within the reach of their capacities; for what they do not clearly understand at first, they will understand as their capacities are enlarged.

The objects of a work of this kind being chiefly to teach orthography and pronunciation, it is judged most proper to adapt the various tables to these specific objects, and omit extraneous matter. In short, this little book is so constructed, as to condense, into the smallest compass, a complete SYSTEM of ELEMENTS for teaching the language; and however small such a book may appear, it may be considered as the most important class-book, not of a religious character, which the youth of our country are destined to use.

In the plan and execution of this work, I have had the advice and assistance of some of the most experienced instructors in New-York, to whom I would present my grateful acknowledgments.

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Language or Speech is the utterance of articulate sounds, rendered significant by usage, for the expression and communication of thoughts.

Articulate sounds are those which are formed by opening and closing the organs. The closing of the organs is an articulation or jointing, as in eb, ed, et. The articulations are represented by the letters called consonants. The sounds made with the organs open, are called vowels, as a, e, o.

Sounds constitute the spoken language, addressed to the ear; letters or characters, representing sounds, constitute written language, which is presented to the eye.

The letters of a language, arranged in a certain order, compose what is called an Alphabet.

The English Alphabet consists of twenty six letters, or single characters-a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z. The compounds ch, sh, th, and ng are also used to represent distinct sounds; and another sound is expressed by si, or z, as in brasier, azure, pronounced brazher, azhur.

Of the foregoing letters, a, e, o, are always vowels; i and u, are vowels or diphthongs; w is also a vowel; and y is either a vowel, a diphthong or a consonant.

A, has five sounds, as in late, ask, ball, hat, what.

E, has three sounds, as in mete, met, prey.

I, has three sounds, as in pine, pit, fatigue.

O, has four sounds, as in note, not, move, dove.

U, has three sounds, as in truth, but, bush.
Y, has two sounds, as in chyle, pity.

The sounds of the vowels most generally used, are the long and the short.

Examples of the first or long sound.

a in make, fate, grace. e in me, mete, meter. i in pine, bind, strife. o in note, hold, post. u in true, duty, rude. y in dry, defy, ply.

Examples of the second or

short sound.

a in mat, band, grand.
e in bet, men, send.
i in bit, pin, wish.
o in not, boss, bond.
u in dun, must, fund.
y in pity, cyst, cylinder.

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