If Toby, the learned pig, had been desired to say his alphabet in Latin, he would have done it by taking away the W from the English alphabet. Indeed, this is what he is said to have actually done. The Latin letters, therefore, remind us of the greatest age that a fashionable lady ever confesses she has attained to,—being between twenty and thirty.
Six of these letters are called what Dutchmen, speaking English, call fowls—vowels; namely, a, e, i, o, u, y.
A vowel is like an Æolian harp; it makes a full and perfect sound of itself. A consonant cannot sound without a vowel, any more than a horn (except such an one as Baron Munchausen’s) can play a tune without a performer.
Consonants are divided into mutes, liquids and double letters; although they have nothing in particular to do with funerals, hydrostatics, or the General post office. The liquids are, l, m, n, r; the double letters, j, x, z; the other letters are mutes.
“Hye dum, dye dum, fiddle dumb—c.” —Sterne.
A syllable is a distinct sound of one or more letters pronounced in a breath, or, as we say in the classics, in a jiffey.
(from The Comic Latin Grammar, by Percival Leigh)