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DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, 10 wil :

District Clerk's Office, , BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the thirtieth day of Sep. tember, A. D. 1819, and in the forty-fourth year of the Independence of the United States of America, J. A. CUM MINGS, of the said District, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit :

The Pronouncing Spelling Book, adapted to Walker's Critical Pronouncing Dictionary, in which the precise sound of every syllable is accurately conveyed, in a manner perfectly intelligible to every capacity, by placing over such letters as lose their sounds, those letters, whose sounds they receive. By J. A. CUMMINGS, Author of Ancient and Modern Geography, Questions on the New Testament, &c. Carefully revised and corrected from the third edition.

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, “ An Act for the encouragement of learnning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned :" and also to an Act, entitled, * An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled, An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned ; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical, and other prints."

JNO. W. DAVIS, { of Massachusetts. ,

Clerk of the District

*** NOTWITHSTANDING the multiplicity of Spelling Books already in use, it is a prevalent opinion, that there is still room for improvement, and that something better than is yet before the public, is greatly needed. Whether the following work embraces all that may reasonably be expected from a book of this kind, must be referred to the decision of those, whose experience best qualifics them for competent judges. The following romarks, however, will in some measure show the nature and design of the work, and assist in form+ ing an estimate of its claims to attention.

The principal objects of a Spelling Book are 10 teach children to read and spell correctly, and to establish as far as practicable, uniformily in pronunciation.

Correct reading depends more on instructers, than any peculiarity in the construction of the books from which they teach. Not that we would be understood as saying, that if every child does not learn to read well, it is altogether the fault of the instructer, as parents are too often disposed to think. The faculty of reading with ease 13 the gift of nature, and not in the power of the instructer to impart. He may indeed regulate the voice, correct bad habits, and do something towards establishing good ones, but to give facility in reading, when natural capacity is wanting, ought not to be required of him.

Correct spelling is the result of study and prac: tice, but it may perhaps in some measure be promoted by a particular order and arrangement of the lo words, as hereafter noticed.

Pronunciation depends much upon example and habit. Children, in this respect, usually imitate their parents and those, with whom they early associate, and in this way frequently form bad habits, which attend them through life. It is boped that the following work will have a tendency to counteract this evil, and to aid children in acquiring correct habits of pronunciation. This is a subject, which demands more particular attention, than it has hitherto received. In a country like ours, whose literary character is just commencing, and where provincialisms and local peculiarities are not yet established, uniformity of pronunciation is peculiarly desirable. We have already become a great nation, both in extent of territory and population, and are every day fast increasing. In proportion as we become more extended, the greater is the probability, that our language may one day be broken into a va: riety of provincialisms; as is common with the languages of other countries. It is already a subject of complaint, that teachers in the same town often dif fer widely in their pronunciation, so that what is taught as correct in one school, is regarded as error! neous in another. Without early attention to this subject, our dialects may become as numerous as the states in the Union. To obviate this evil, and to produce harmony on a subject of so great importance, is one of the principal objects of the fol: lowing work. In order to accomplish this, it is necessary to fix upon some authority as a standard of English pronunciation. We are not insensible to the difficulties, which attend this subject, arising

from the partiality, which every one feels for the sounds, to which he has been accustomed. One can scarcely realize, that any other pronunciation can possibly be so correct and natural as his own; but when we recollect, that partialities in favour of any particular pronunciation are the effect of habit, and consider, that had we been taught to express our words in the most harsh and unnatural sounds, they would to us have been perfectly agreeable, we ought each, especially in our instructions, to be willing to relinquish our prejudices, and, for the sake of the rising generation, at least, to conform to some general standard. The sacrifice necessary for each to make, is so small, compared with the benefit to be obtained, that it would seem, every one, who is a friend to literature and his country, would cheerfully lend his influence, to the accomplishment of so desirable an object.

In regard to pronunciation, the great question seems to have been, whose system we ought to adopt; but at present, there can scarcely exist a doubt on this subject. The great popularity of Walker both in Europe and this country, the almost exclusive use of his Critical Pronouncing Dictionary among literary men, and of his Abridge ment in schools and academies throughout our country, have given him a decided preference Under the influence of these considerations, are the advice of those, whose opinions on this subjec are most valuable, we have not hesitated to choose him as our guide, and to conform every word in the following work precisely to his pronunciation, That we have not failed in a single instance, can scarcely be expected; but whatever errors may: have been commiited, are subject to future cor: rection, The only liberty we have presumed to take is, that when he has given two or more pro: munciations of the same word, we have chosen cither the one which he preferred, or that which we conceived most prevalent in this country.

That this work may be a perfect guide to pro nunciation, we have adopted a method, by which the precise sound of every syllable is as perfectly conveyed, as it would be by Walker's method of spelling the word wrong in order to pronounce it right, which would be to fill one half of the book, at least, with matter entirely useless, except for pro nunciation only, and with what would be worse than useless, as it respects spelling, since in proportion as children are accustomed to attend to false spelling for the sake of correct pronunciation, they will be liable to require an incorrect mode of spelling. The method we have adopted consists in placing over such letters as lose their sounds, those letters, with their appropriate long, short, and other characters, whose sounds they receive: This affords both instructers and children a perfect guide to the exact pronunciation of every word, without the necessity of constant reference to a dictionary in doubtful cases, which, in the actual business of instruction, to say the least, is extremely inconvenient. We cannot but feel confident in believing, that instructers will find great convenience in the use of a book upon this plan, adapta ed to Walker, even if they should not wish implicitly to conform to his pronunciation. They will at least, know what his pronunciation is, and of course, that which is most prevalent among literary men,

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