INTRODUCTORY NOTE  pp. vi-vi

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

By James Dawson

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As it has been found almost impossible to represent the correct sounds of the Australasian languages by adhering to the rules of English orthography, these rules have been necessarily laid aside, together with the signs of accentuation. Double consonants are used to express emphasis, and double vowels to express prolongation of the sound. People who are unacquainted with the difficulty of communicating in writing the pronunciation and sound of foreign words may cavil at the employment of so many double letters, but this mode has been adopted, after very careful consideration, as the most suitable for the purpose.

The following examples will fully illustrate what is meant. The English word ‘car’ would be ‘kaar,’ ‘can’ would be ‘kann,’ ‘rain’ would be ‘rææn,’ ‘rainy’ would be ‘ræægnæ,’ ‘meat’ would be ‘meet,’ ‘met’ would be ‘mett,’ ‘life’ would be ‘liif,’ ‘live’ would be ‘livv,’ ‘tome’ would be ‘toom,’ ‘torn’ would be ‘tomm,’ ‘boot’ would be ‘buut,’ ‘cut’ would be ‘kutt,’ ‘one’ would be ‘wunn,’ ‘magpie’ would be ‘magpii,’ ‘pussy cat’ would be ‘puusæ katt.’ The k and g which appear before consonants in the syllables of many aboriginal words represent sounds barely perceptible, yet indispensible to right pronunciation. The nasal sound of ‘gn’ or ‘ng’ often occurs at the beginning of syllables in the aboriginal languages. As it is found at the beginning of, and only occurs in words like poignant and poignard, derived from a foreign source, it is somewhat difficult for English people to pronounce it.