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SPELLER AND DEFINER,
REVISED AND ENLARGED.
BY SALEM TOWN, L L. D.
AUTHOR OF THE "ANALYSIS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE,”
Educ T 758.54.850
1857. June. 29.
Henry G. Benny E19
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the District of Maine.
IN presenting to the Public a new elementary work, for the use of Schools, the Author feels bound briefly to assign the reasons which have prompted him to an undertaking, that might, at first view, appear to be superfluous. These reasons, he trusts, will be deemed sufficiently valid, to free him from the imputation of having engaged in a service uncalled for.
The principle, which he considers as lying at the foundation of all good teaching, is, that a child being taught, both to read and to spell, should be taught, at the same time, to understand what he reads and spells. It is this principle, which has suggested the plan of the present work. He would not deny, that some advantages may accrue from the mere mechanical exercise of spelling, an storing the memory with words which, as yet, convey no sense He is ready to admit, that it is better for the mind to be thus furnished, than not to be furnished at all; but as words are the signs of ideas, and the ultimate object of acquiring words is, to acquire ideas, and a medium of imparting them to others, it is not easy to say why this end should not be kept in view, through every stage of the learner's progress.
All the spelling books now in use, follow out the same uniform plan, of arranging words according to their sounds and syllables, irrespective of their import. On that plan, they are generally well executed, and would admit of little improvement.
But if the above principle be well founded, something is still requisite, beyond a mere judicious arrangement and correct orthography, to answer the grand purposes of elementary instruction. It is plain, that as far as practicable, the knowledge of the sign, and of the thing signified, should be acquired. together, inasmuch as both are to hold an inseparable connection in the mind.
This Speller is believed to be the first school book for children, ever published, in which the principle, as to the arrangement of
synonymous definers, was adopted and carried out, through the entire work. Many persons, at first, honestly believed such a course would be attended with injurious consequences; but time and experience have, to a great extent, changed their views.
In confirmation of the importance of acquiring a knowledge of the synonymous import of words, we make the following quotation from the preface of the revised edition of Dr. Webster's royal quarto.
"One new feature is now added to this volume, by making it a synonymous dictionary. Every one engaged in literary composition has felt, at times, the want of such a work; a work not intended, like Crabb's, to discriminate nicely between the shades of meaning in similar terms, but to present, under each of the important words, an extended list of others having the same general import, out of which a selection may be made according to the exigencies of the case." "It will afford important aid to young writers in attaining grace, variety, and copiousness of diction."
The question has been very satisfactorily settled among teachers, that children, while acquiring the synonymous import of words, do, at the same time, make equal, if not greater advancements in the accuracy of spelling. The acquisition of ideas, always adds interest to the exercise.
The key of sounds adapted to Dr. Webster's dictionary, are, in the main, used in this Speller. It should be noted that ed, when a suffix, adds a syllable in the spelling of a word, but not in pronouncing it, unless preceded by t or d.
The marks for c hard and g soft, where these sounds could not easily be mistaken, are sometimes omitted.
In giving the best synonymous definers, some repetition was found unavoidable; this, however, is no more objectionable than it would be in a school dictionary.
This revised edition is somewhat enlarged, and has an addition of about three thousand words. The orthography and pronunciation, are believed to accord with the revised edition of Dr. Webster's dictionary, that work being most generally adopted as the standard in the United States.
OF LANGUAGE, ITS ELEMENTS AND FORMATION.
LANGUAGE is a medium by which we receive and impart ideas. Language was spoken, long before it was written.
The main organs of speech are the tongue, teeth, palate and lips, aided by the breath.
Speech is the faculty of uttering articulate sounds.
Articulate sounds are the distinct utterance of letters, syllables, or words.
Spoken language is a combination of articulate sounds denoting ideas, or things.
Written language is a combination of words, used by common consent for signs of ideas.
Letters are characters presented to the eye, in a written language, to indicate the variety of sounds, heard in a spoken language.
The letters in the English language are twenty-six, and are called the English Alphabet.
The alphabet has usually been divided into vowels and consonants; but more recently into vocals, subvocals and aspirates.* Vowels and diphthongsare vocals.
Consonant are subvocals, or aspirates.
W and y, as vowels, are vocals; as consonants, subvocals.†
Vocals or vowels are letters whose elementary sounds can be perfectly articulated.
*Should any teacher choose to retain the more common names, divisions and definitions ordinarily found in spelling books, there can be no particular objection.
†W and y are subvocals, only when they begin a word or syllable.