« AnteriorContinuar »
deficient without threr. Corld every school in the country be under the instruction of a master of Elocution, the necessity would in a measure cease to exist. But this, unhappily, is not the case. Many of those who engage in the instruction of youth, require themsebring the instruction they are expected to give, and have perhaps nu athcr means of acquiring it, than from these elementary books from which is would be withheld.
In this stereotype cdition, some few alterations have been made; but the hook contains as much matter as the former edition, and its use with it will not be found very inconvenient. It is not offered to the pul·lic ir a ninanent shape; and from the very favorable reception of the first nicion, it will, I trust, continue to receive a patronage como mensja.d winea Ita value.
UPOX TIIE PRIXCIPLES OF GOOD READING.
Ax ability to read in a correct an interesting manner, has become indispensabiy requisite for all who would hold a respectable station in sxiety; and not only should iis acquisition be considerou as a pulite accociplishinent, but as a talent, subscrvicnt to the purposes of business, and of rativnal enjoyment.
There are indeed but few persons in this country, who are unable to rear with some degree of correctness; yet those who may be Cullel good readers, are less frequently met with than is generally imapined. Perfection in the art of reading, requires a natural talent, joined to the most persevering industry; and although it is a point to which few if any are ever able to arrive, yet every approach to it is of cuniparative value, and worth the effort required for its attainment.
Perhaps there cannot be a more uncrring standard fixou for realmng, than to adopt the same easy and natural mode that we would in
MUTUKIn conversation. In the latter our object is to cominunicate our wn thoughts; in the former to communicate the thourhts of others;-.
ned in both we wish to do it in the manner calculated to make us bert understood. By this remark we do not desiyn to recommend to those', who have adopted a careless manner of conversation, the allojition of similat onc in reading; but the salne rules which serve to improve ir one, inay, lov their application, hare the saine haww effect upon je other. But let it be distinctly understool, that no rules can be iven for the management of the voice in mading, which, independent : .feeling, can insure the object desired. “Emotion," says a clistina uished writer, " is the thing. One tiush of passion on the cheek, nne beam of feeling from the eve, one thrilling note of sensibility frorn de tongue, have a thousand times more value than any exemplification of merr rules, where feeling is abscht."
The olservations which we shall make upon the principles of roadig, or manner vi Jelivery, will be comprised under the following beads : ARTICULATION, ACCENT, EMPHASIS, INFLECTION, MONOTONE, and MODULATION, with a few remarks upon the READING OF Verse.
1. Articulation. A good articulation consists in a clear and distinct utterance of the diferent suunds of the language; and is one of the most impurtant articulars to be considered. No matter upon what subject, or upon vhat (ccasion a man may read or speak to his fellow men, he never i'l be listened to for any length of time, unless he be distinctly heare), nd that without effort on tlie part of his learers. No interest of the ubjoct can escusa a rapid and indistinct utterance. Many there are
who fail in this particular. Some persons have natural impediments, which render the utterance of certain sounds quite difficult; but an indistinct articulation more frequently arises from a want of care to avoid it, and from å too much indulged disposition in children when learning to read, to hurry over their lessons with a rapidity which renders them unable to articulate, distinctly, the unaccented syllables.And it may here be observed, that teachers cannot too sedulonely guard their pupils against this practice a practice which, if toleratel in the young reader, will soon become a confirmed habit--an uncom promising barrier to a good delivery.
Those who have been accustomed to converse with persons partially deaf, can well appreciate the importance of distinct" utterance. A moderate voice with a clear articulation, is much moro readily hear:/ by such persons, than an indistinct one however loud; and it is from the same cause that a man with but a feeble voice, can make himself better understood by a large assembly, than the possessor of a powerful one without an observance of a just articulation.-It was to a de fect in his articulation that Demosthenes attributed the failure which attended his first efforts in public speaking; and to his success in surmounting this difficulty, we may attributc his elevation from an uninteresting speaker, to one of the most renowned orators of any age.
One of the sources of an indistinct articulation, may be traced to an inattention in giving the proper sounds to the unaccented rovel: In many words, by a careless articulation one vowel is substituted !ir another ; thus,-for educate, we hear ed-e-cate; for calculate, cal-lie late; for populous, pop-c-lous ; &c. In some words the vowel is near ly or quite suppressed; as, for the word, prevail, we hear pr-rail; fi firedict, pr-dict; for propose, pr-pose; for provide, pr-ride, &c. Th: aconted vowels, too, in words which are followed by the same or s milar sounds, are often but indistinctly uttered, as may be seen by thas following example:
“Tho oft the ear the open vowels tire." But the greatest source of detective articulation, lies in the circuni stance that it depends mostly upon the consonant sounds, many «. which require some effort to articulate. The vowel sounds arc casil expressed; but many of the consonants, under certain arrangenen of letters, are hard of utterance, and are often not articulated at al This is particularly the case where the termination of one word i syllable, with one or more consonants, is succeeded by a similar a rangement in the syllable or word next following, as was the case wil the vowels in the above example. Thus,-in syllablos,-atteinpt, ai empt; afflict, af-lict; ennoble, en-oble ; tyranny, ty-ran-y; appeal ap-cal, &c. In words,
The youth hates study.
The youth lates tudy.
The steadfas tranger in the iuies irayed.
leacliers ought to prove his work;"--and whether to understand that * his teachers ought to prove;" ur, "his teacher sought to prove;" or, * his teachers ought to appruve;" nught le a subject of unsatisfied anxiety. In the following, the sense is entirely perverted by not utterng a consonant distinctly :
The horse performs well on neither side.
The !018c performs well on either side. Teachers seldom pay sufficient attention to this branch of clocution in instructing their pupils. It is the basis, upon which all the other properties of a good delivery rest; and it will be in vain to press pupils forward, in the hope of their becomin: good readers, until they first forin 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 deféct; and this practice should be continuod, until a correct habit ve formed.
Whoever will listen to the realing or speaking of others, may on serve that a bad articulation is not unfrequent. Letters, words, and sunnetimes parts of sentences, are often so nearly suppressed, or blendod together, as alınost to baftie all eliort to apprehend the meaning. To prevent this, requires nothing inore 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 prutitable results to all who are detective in this important attainment.
The following exercises present some of the most difficult sentences to articulate :- In reading them, let every word be separately and distinctly articulated :-
Tlie finest strect in Naples.
slle authoritatively led us, and disinterestedly labored for us; and we un liesitalingly adiniited her roasonableness.
Austix, 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; nor swallowed, nor forced; they should not be trailed, nor drawled, 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 accurately impressed; perfectly finished; neatly struck loy 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 one syllable, requires a greater stress of the voice upon some one of its syllables than upon the rest, which stress is denominated accent. The syllable on which the accent is placed, is in most words established by custon, and the sense is not dependent upon it: but in some few words the meaning is established by the accent. This may be the case while the word is the game part of speech; as, desert, (a wilderness desert, (inerit) to conjure, to conjure, &c. The accent also distinguishe. between the same word uscu as a noun and an adjective; as, minute ininute ; conipact, rompact ; and it also distinguishes between the noun and the verb; as, conduct, to conduct; insult, to insult, &c. Accent is sometimes controlled by emphasis; and in words which have a sameness of form, but are contrasted in sense, it frequently falls upon syllables, to which, did not the emphasis require it, it would not be long; as, He shall increase, but I shall decrease; there is a difference between giving, and forgiving. Although the meaning of comparatively but few words is affected 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. EMPAsis is the forcible, and peculiar utterance of those words of a wntence, upon which the meaning depends. On the right use of emphasis, rest the whole beauty and intelligence of delivery. When it is not used at all, discourse becomes heavy and insipid; and if it be 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 liy which the proper use of emphasis may be learned, without entering into the meaning and spirit of the composition, is noi 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 worus, yet withont entering, to a certain extent, into the same feeling which dictated the sentiment, that peculiar modulation of emphasis which constitutes the beauty of delivery, and which alone can express the true meaning, and the whole meaning of the author, can not be exercised.
Strong emphasis is sometimes required upon words in consiileration of their absolute iinportance; 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 feared, may be at preSe'nt received. The learner will observe that in almost every case, where a word requires emphasis, there is some other idea suggericdl ini opposition to that expressed by the word 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 expres.-:d, the words forming both parts of the antithesis receive the emphasis, and there can be no ditlicully in discovering them, -as in the following couplet from Pope:
'Tis hard to sny ir greater want of skill
Appear in uriling, or in judging ill. But when the word or words in opposition are not expressed, reliance is placed upon the understanding to supply them. Brutus, in Shaks. peare's Julius Cesar, says to Cassius, -"You wronged yourself to write in such a casc."--Here but one part of tlie antithesis is express ed, and the jwgment of the reader inust discover the other hy the siinse, or the emphasis will not be rightly placed. Let us look for the