27. And now, said the teacher, you see that I was right when I told you that I had a hard question to ask you, when I asked What is a bird?
28. Now, if you will join all of these things which belong to a bird in the description which you give in answer to my question, What is a bird, you will then give a correct definition of a bird,—that is, you will tell exactly what a bird is, and no more, and no less.
29. A bird is an animal covered with feathers, having two legs, two wings, and a hard, glossy bill.
30. When you are asked what anything is, recollect what I have told you about a bird, and try to recall everything that you ever knew about the thing, and in this way you will be able to give a satisfactory answer.
31. This will also teach you to think, and that is one of the most important objects for which you go to school. It will enable you also to understand what you read; and you can always read those things best which you understand well.
Reading and Spelling.
1. Another important thing for which you go to school is to learn how to spell. It is not always very easy to spell, because there are so many different ways in which the same letters are pronounced in different words.
2. That you may understand what I mean, I shall give an example, to show you how many different ways the same letters are pronounced in different words; and also another example, to show you how many different ways there are of spelling the same syllable.
3. To show you, first, in how many different ways the same letters are pronounced in different words, I shall take the letters o, u, g, h.
4. The letters o, u, g, h, are sounded or pronounced like the letter o alone, in the word though. The letters o, u, g, h, are pronounced like uf, in the word tough.
5. In the word cough, the letters o, u, g, h, are pronounced like off. In the words slough and plough, the letters o, u, g, h, are pronounced like ow; and in the word through, they are pronounced like ew, or like u.
6. In the word hiccough the letters ough are pronounced like up—and in the word lough, the letters are pronounced like lok.
7. There are many words which end with a sound like shun; and this syllable is spelled in many different ways, as you will see in the following example.
8. In the words ocean, motion, mansion, physician, halcyon, Parnassian, Christian, and many other such words, the last syllable is pronounced as if it were spelled shun.
9. You see, then, that in some words a syllable sounding very much like shun is spelled