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“Behold, what fire is in his eye, what fervor on his cheek! That glorious burst of winged words !-how bound they from his
tongue ! The full expression of the mighty thought, the strong, triumphant
argument, The rush of native eloquence, resistless as Niagara, The keen demand, the clear reply, the fine, poetic image, The nice analogy, the clinching fact, the metaphor bold and free, The grasp of concentrated intellect wielding the omnipotence of truth, The grandeur of his speech, in his majesty of mind !”-TUPPER.
THEORY OF ELOCUTION.
Elocution consists in the utterance or expression of thought.
As a true Artist imitates Nature, not as she is, but as she should be,-so it is the aim of the Elocutionist to give to thought its highest mode of expression.
Thought may be conveyed by Voice or Gesture; the latter reaching the hearer through the eye-the former, through the ear.
The Voice is the principal agent by which thought is conveyed; hence, it is the basis of elocution.
ARTICULATION. Articulation consists in a distinct and correct utterance of the elementary sounds. These sounds, formed by the organs of speech, are forty-six in number, and they are divided into Vocal Sounds, Aspirate Sounds and Combined Sounds.
Vocal Sounds are those having vocality. They are twenty-one in number, viz. : å, ate. ē, earn.
NOTE.—Care should be taken to give ă, è, i, o and ů very short; to pronounce á (which is a sound between å and ä) as clearly as possible, in order to obtain its pure, ringing sound; and to preserve the distinction between å or ã and a, ē and ů, å and o, and 4. These sounds approach each other very nearly, but a careful ear will readily perceive the fine distinctions existing.
Aspirate Sounds are those produced by the breath only. They are ten in number, viz. : f, fur. k, kid.
ch, chat. th, thin.
sh, she. wh, when.
Combined Sounds are those which are produced by both voice and breath. They are fifteen in number, viz. : b, bay. 1, lay. V, vane.
NOTE.-R may be slightly and delicately trilled when it precedes a vowel. In the word “roar” the second r is much softer and lighter than the first,—the two may be distinguished as hard and soft.
The following subdivisions are also made : Labial : B-ay, P-ay, M-ay, W-ay, V-ane, Four. Palatal: C-a-k-e, G-ay, Y-ea. Pure Aspirate : H-er. Nasal : N-ay, lo-ng. Lingual : L-ay, R-oa-r. Dental: D-ay, T-en, Th-in, TH-ey, A-z-ure, Sh-e, C-ea-s-e, Z-one;
NOTE.— The above lists of words and sounds should be practiced often, always taking care to give them correctly and forcibly. After the vowel sounds are thoroughly mastered, and ease and accuracy are acquired in the use of the consonant combinations, the voice will have received a polish and a degree of refinement that will command attention and respect wherever it may be heard.
Too much attention cannot be given to the subject of Articulation, for on this depend correct pronunciation and the ability to speak in such a manner as to be readily understood. Frequent practice on difficult combinations will give facility in articulation. Always be careful to give every letter correctly, especially when the letter has its short sound, as i in ability-e in solemn. Do not say “ solum" “abilăty.” Always be on the alert for errors in your own pronunciation,
the dictionary should be freely consulted.
The following exercises will be found useful in training the vocal organs to readily adapt themselves to difficult pronunciation:
TABLE OF EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION.
1. Pronounce forcibly :
1. Bubble, blst, bld, bldst, blz (Bubbl'st, bubbled, etc.)
Handle, dlst, dld, dldst, dlz.
II. Practice the following sentences until absolute correctness and a reasonable degree of rapidity are acquired:
When thou shoutedst the sixth time, I was saying to the hosts, “What whimpering coward is there among you who would not lay down his life to suppress slavery !”
2. Thou turnedst, graspedst, countedst, rushedst forth and disappearedst.
3. Amidst the mists, and coldest frosts,
With stoutest wrists, and loudest boasts,
And still insists he sees the ghosts.
Some shun sunshine; do you shun sunshine ?
5. Theophilus Thistle, the successful thistle sifter, in sifting a sieve full of unsifted thistles, thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb; now, if Theophilus Thistle, the successful thistle sifter, in sifting a sieve full of unsifted thistles, thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb, see that thou, in sifting a sieve full of unsifted thistles, thrust not three thousand thistles through the thick of thy thumb. Success to the successful thistle sifter.
III. Practice the long and short vowels, in this order: 4-4, X-a, e-ē, -ě, 1-1, 1-1, 5-7, -, ū-ū, -u, -, oo-oo, oi-oi, ou-ou.
Then prefix b and p, thus: ba-pă, bå-på, etc.
Prefix d and t, thus : dā-tā, dă-tă, etc.
Prefix g and k, thus : gã-kā, gă-kă, etc.
Prefix j and ch, thus: jā-chă, ja-chă, etc.
Prefix v and f, thus: vā-fā, vă-få, etc.
This exercise may be varied and extended at pleasure by increasing the number of syllables, changing the accent and introducing the following sounds: 1, n; w, y; gs, ks; th, TH, dr, bl, pl, dw, gr, kr, etc.
NotE.—Excellent practice in articulation is obtained by reading aloud, slowly and distinctly, taking care (1) that the body of sound (the sound of the vowels) is correct, (2) that all the consonants not necessarily silent are properly enunciated, and (3) that all short' vowels have their proper sound.
The selections Samuel Short's Success and the Cataract of Lodore furnish a rich field for this practice.
Reading in a pure whisper, throwing the sound to a great distance, will give strength and flexibility to the organs of speech.