Слике страница
PDF
ePub

who fail in this particular. Some persons have natural impediments, which render the utlerance of certain sounds quite difficult; but as indistinct articulation more frequently arises from a want of care to avoid it, and from a too much indulged (lisposition in children when learning to read, to hurry over their lessons with a rapidlity which renders them unable to articulate, distinctly, the unaccented syllables. And it may here be observed, that teachers canno: too sedulously guard their pupils against this practice-a practice which, if tolerated in the young reader, will soon biccone a confirmed habit-an uncon promising barrier to a good delivery.

Those who have been accustomed to converse with persons partial. ly deaf, can well appreciate the importance of distinct utterance. A moderate voice with a clear artis klation, is nuch more readily heard by such persons, than an indistinct one lowever loud; and it is írom the same cause that a man with but a feble voice, canguake himself better understood by a large assensbily, than the possesser of a powerful one without an obzeriance of a just articulatic..-!t was to a dofect in his articulation th:t Lemosihenes attributed the failure which attended his first efforts in public speaking; and to his success in surmounting this difficulty, we may attribute his elevation from an unirteresting speaker, to one of the most renowned crators of any age.

One of the sources of an indistinci articulation, may be traced an inattention in giving the proper sounds to the unaccented rores. In many words, by a careless artisaltinu one vowel is substituted for another ; thus,- fur cilucate, we hear eil-e cate; for calculate, cu! kelate; for populous, pop e-louis; de. In some words the vowel is niear. ly or quite suppressed; as, for the word. preval, we hear pr-rail; for predict, pr dict; for propose pr poss; for provile. pr. ride, de. The accented vowels, too, in words which are followed by the sar:e or si milar sounds, are often but indistinctly uttered, as may be scen by the following example:

“Tho oft the ear the open vovels fire." But the greatest source of detective articulatio:1, lies in the circuit stance that it depends mostly upon the consonant sounds, many of which require soilie effort to articulate. The vowel sounds are easily expressed; but many of the consonants, under certain arrangements nf letters, are hard of utterance, and are often net articulated at all. This is particularly the crise where the torn ination of one word or ByHalle, with one or more consonants, is succeeded by a similar arrangement in the svllablc or werd next following, as was the case with the vowels in the above example. Tlius,-in syilables;--;:ttempt, abempi ; aftlict, af lict; ennoble, en-oble; tyranny, lij-ran-y; appeal ep-cal, &c. In words,

The youth hates study.

The yorith lates andy.
The steadfast stranger in the forrsis strayed.

The steadfis triinger in the pures drayed.
Not only aro words often mutilated hy a careless articulation, but the
meaning of ivhole sentrucox is ellen reridered oliseure er perverter
For instance, let the follox.. sentence le read indistir.ctly;--"His

Peaclicts ought to prove his work ; "--and whether to understand that * his teachers ought to prove;" or, “ his teacher sought to prove;" or, * his teachers ought to approve;" might le a subject of unsatisfied anxiety. In the toilowing, the sense is entirely perverteừ by anot uition ing a consonant distinctly :

The horse perforins well on either side.

The horse perforws well on either side. Tcachers seldom pay sufficient attention to tais branch of elocution, in instructing their puiis

. It is the basis, upon which all the other pro zerties of a good delivery rest; and it will be in vain to press pupils forward, in the hope of their brcoming good readers, until they firsi form a habit of distinct utterance. Those who have acquired a habit of indistinct articulation, should be made to read slow, and with a reference solely to this defect; and this practice should be continues. until a correct habit lc forired.

Whoever will listen to the reading or speaking of others, may con serve that a bad articulatijn is not untrequent. Letters, words, and polretirnes parts of sentences, are often so nearly suppresseul, or blended together, as almost to batile all eliort to apprehend the meaning To prevent this, rcquires nothing more than practice upon the elementary sounds of the language; and a daily exercise upon them, exclusively, in reading and conversation, would be attended with the most profitable results to all who are defective in this important attainment. The following exercises present some of the most difficult sentences to articulats :-In reading them, let every word be separately and distinctly articulated :-

The finest street in Naples.
Artists' works and natire's gifts seduce.
Divers strises craseth their rage.
The battle lasts still.
The hosts stul stood.
Up the high hill he leaves a huge ronad stone.

She authoritatively led us, and disinterestedly labored for us; and we un hesitatingly adinitieil her reasonableness.

Austin, a modern writer on delivery, says: " In just articulation the words are not to be hurried over, nor precipitated, syllable over syllable; nor, as it were, melted together in a mass of confusion. They should neither be abridged, nor prolonged; not swallowed, nor forced; they should not be trailcu, nor draw!ed, nor let to slip vut carelessly, so as to drop unfinished. They are to be delivered out from the lips as beautiful coins, newly issued from the mint; deeply and aceurately impressed; pertectly finished; neatly struck by the proper organs; distinct; in due succession, and of due weight."

• II. Accent. ALTHOUGH under the head of articulation we have urged the distinct utterance of all the syllables of a sentence, yet every word of more than ane syllable, requires a greater stress of the voice upon some one of its syllables than ujjon the rest, which stress is denominated accent. The syllable on which the accent is placed, is in most words established by custo:n, and the sense is not dependent upon it: but in some few worils the meaning is established by the accent. This mav he the case while the word is the same part of speech; as, desert, (a wilderness)-desert,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

(merit)--to conjure, to conjure, &c. The accent also distinguishes between the same word useil as a noun and an adjective; as, minute, minute ; compact, anupact ; and it also distinguishes between the noun and the verb; as, conduct, to conduct; insult, to insult, ein Accent is sometimes controiled by emphasis; and in words which have a sameness of forin, but are contrasted in se:se, it frequently falls upon syllables, to which, did not the emphasis require it, it woull not be long; as, He shall increase, hut I shall decrease; there is a difference between giving, and forgiving. Although the incaning of comparatively but few words is allected by the accent, its proper use tends to promote the harmony of utterance, and should be governed by the most approved usage and taste.

III. Emphasis. EMPILSIS is the forcible, and peculiar utterance of those words of a mpotence, upon which the meaning depends. On the right use of uniplasis, rest the whole beauty and intelligence of delivery. When it is not used at all, discourse becomes heavy and insi, id; and if it bo used wrong, it must be at the expense of the meaning of the authur, whose ideas it is the object of reading to attain.

To give rules by which the proper use of emphasis may be içarned, without entering into the meaning and spirit of the composition, is not possible. It is governed by the sentiment, and is inseparably associated with thought and emotion. The right use of emphasis indeed requires, not only an understanding of the author's meaning, but a corresponding feeling on the part of the reader: for, although by an understanding of the meaning of a sentence we may be able to point out the emphatic words, yet without entering, to a certain extent, into the same feeling which dictated the sentimient, that peculiar modulation of emphasis which constitutes the beauty of delivery, and which alone can express the true ineaning, and the whole meaning of the author, can not be exercised.

Stroug emphasis is sometimes required upon words in consideration of their absolute importance; but its principal use is to enforce particular ideas, in contradistinction from others, which are supposed to have been hitherto entertained, or which, it is frarell, may be at present reccived. The learner will observe that in almost every case, where a word requires emphasis, there is some other idea suggested in opposition to that expressed by the woril emphasized, and from which the emphasis invites the particular distinction. In some sentences this opposite or antithetic idea is expressed in words, but more frequently it is not. When it is expressed, the words forining both parts of the antithesis receive the einphasis, and there can be no difficulty in discovering them, -as in the following couplet from Pope:

'Tis hard to say is greater want of skill

Appear in writing, or in judging ill. But when the word or words in opposition are not expressed, reliance is placed upon the understanding to supply thein. Brutus, in Slakspeare's Julius Cesar, says to Cassius, – You wronged yourself to write in such a case."--Here but one part of the antithesis is express ed, and the judgment of the reader just discover the other lov the sense, or the emphasis will not be rightly placed. Let us look for the

meaning. Brutus, in making this assertion, did it under the impression that Cassius thought himself injured by some other person. Taking this, then, for the antithetic idea, and the one which Brutus wished to controvert, the emphasis is involuntarily thrown upon yourself, and this makes the sentence express its true meaning,—thus:

You wronged yourself to write in such a care. The following short sentence may be the appropriate answer to either of five dilierent questions; and consequently be made to express so many different ideas by the emphasis alone

Thomas will walk to Geneva fo-day. If the question be, icho will walk to Geneva to-day, it is determined by placing the emphasis in this sentence on Thomas. If it is deultrul whether any one go, it is decided by placing the emphasis on will. - If the question be how will he go, it is answered by placing the en; hasis on walk; and, in the same manner, it will be seen that the emphasis, placed upon either of the remaining words of the sentence, makes iš the appropriate answer to the question touching place, or time.

This example will further illustrate the sulject, by so transposing it as to make it interrogative. The character of the answer will de pend wholly upon the emphasis.

Will Thomas walk in Geneva to-day ?

Ansicer-No; he will not
Will Thomas walk to lieneva to-day ?

Ans. No; but John will.
Will Thomas walk to Geneva to-day?

Ans. No; lip will ride.
Will Thomas walk 10 Genera to day ?

Ans. No. He will go to Lyons.
Will Thomas walk to Geneva Ivorlay?

Ans. No; but he will lo-nworrow, Although the emphasis more commonly falls upon the more important words of a sentence, the following example is one, in which it is required upon a succession of small werds. Bassanio, in Shakspeare's Merchant of Venice, had received a ring from his wife, which he had promised never to part with, but which, forgetting liis pron ise, he gave to an officer as a reward for the preservation of his friend's life. The example is his apology to liis wife; but without the proper emphasis is is hardly intelligible :

“If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
And wild concrive for what I gave the iing
And how unwillingly I left the rivg,
When nought would be accepted but the ring,

Yon would abate the sirength of your displeasure." Thus far our remarks upon emphasis have been confined to what may be called single emphasis; that is, where the emphasis is alsolute, and arises from the importance of the word in it:elf considered; or, where the two words in antithesis are expressed; or, where but one is expressed and the other understood—the most common case. There are also instances where two emphatic words are opposed to two others; and sometimes where three words are opposed to three others in the saine sentence. We will give an example of each of these cases.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Ist. “ Were-nnd eral art thou, prerradle shape ?"

Arn! warriors, arm for fight!"
"Wn into you, Phisees!"**

"Angels, and iniisiis of grace, defend us !" (In the above examples the emphasis is absolute, there being no antiteets expressed or necessarily implied.)

211. "[that denied thee gold, will give my hearl." [In this sentence the antithesis is expressed ; and we can hardly do other wise than place live einphu8.€ upon both golil and heart.)

31. " Exercise and temperance strangihen even an indiferent constitution.

[In this the antihelic idler is understail:--it is, that not a good constitution #nerely, is strengthened by cxercise and reperance, but even an indifferent one.)

4th. "The pleasures of the un'igination are not go gr083 as those of sensa, por s'i refineil i46 those of the undersinnding."

[Here are two aniithP809; gross and infined for ning one, and sense and um derstanding the otiler:)

5th. " ! liis principios are false, no apology from himse!f can make thers righ:; if founded in truth, no censure froin others can anake the wrong."

fiu this ex!ınple, Jalse stands opposed to truth, hinselj to others, and right to W10

" In order to acquire the proper management of the emphasis," says Murray, the great rnle to be givea is, that the reader study to attain a just conception of the force ani sirit of the sentiments which he is to pronounce. For to lay the emphasis with exact propriety, roquires a constant exercise of gooil serue and attention. It is one of the most decisive trials of a tru. and just taste, and must arise from Treling delicately ourselves, and from judging accurately of what is fittest to strike the feelings of others."

IV. inflections. IVELECTIONS are bendings or slides of the voice from one ker to another. Thev may be divided into the rising inflection, the falling? inflection, and the circumflex. In the use of the rising intection, we strike the worst to which it belongs, upo: a note, on the scale of musical sounds, a little below the general key uron which we are speaking, and terminate upon a note about as much higher, turning the word with our voice in this direction, (7). The falling inflection is the reverse of this, (\) striking the word upon a key a little above, and terziinating a little below the general speaking key.--By the goneral key we mean that sound of the voice which preponderates, and wiich would be heard at a distance too great to distinguish one word fro:n another.--The circumflex is a lending of the voice downward, an:l returning with it in a curve, thus, (u) to the same key upon the sante word.

Although the infections are a distinct property of elocution, they are yet so intimately connected with emphasis, that in our remarks we shall consider them mostly as but a quality of it. The rising inflection is indeed often used without any emphasis : as at the suspending pause which occurs in compound sentences, to denote the sentence is unfinished :—the falling is used at the close of sentences and both the risins and filling often occur where there should he but little or no emphasis, and contribute in no small degree to the beauty of deli

[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »