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HINTS TO READERS AND SPEAKERS.
Ine is pronounced with i as in vine, instead of i as in pin : engine, &c.; r at the end of a word is often pronounced like w. War, waw, &c. On the other hand, it is often put in where it ought not to be. Law, lor; draw, draw-r; idea, idea-r.
H after w is often omitted. What, wat; when, wen; whale, wale wheel, weel; whisper, wisper; white, wite; wheat, weat.
Ern in the middle of a word is changed to u Government, govu
The pupil should be careful not to make his pronunciation affected, by carrying this observance of the orthography too far, so as to trespass upon the settled usage of our language. Even, we pronounce ev'n; open, op'n; heaven, heav'n; but in some parts of the country they say, ev-un, op-un, heav-un, which is wrong, &c.
The habit of remarking these errors of pronunciation, is one of the surest methods of avoiding them.
3. Pay careful attention to the tone of your voice.
The importance of this suggestion can hardly be overrated. Sight is the most active of the senses, but the ear is the most common and ready instrument of exciting emotion. It is on this principle, that music acquires its power over us; a shriek or groan excites more immediate and deep interest than any spectacle whatever. The dying struggles of a fish move us but slightly, while the piteous bleating of a lamb reaches the heart at once. It is so even with animals; the cry of distress from any one of them seems to rouse the attention of all others, even of different kinds, while they look with indifference upon the dying agonies of one of their own race.
The reader or speaker, then, addresses himself to an organ which is a powerful instrument for moving the heart. The tone of his voice thus becomes a subject of the utmost importance. If it is disagreeable, harsh, nasal, whining, or in any other way offensive, it causes aversion in the listener, while the object is to win his attention. Nor is it enough merely to avoid a disagreeable tone. The speaker should so manage and modulate his voice as to excite feelings consonant to the sentiment addressed to his hearers ;-in other words, the tones of the voice should be so modulated as to suit the thought, passion, or feeling conveyed in the words he utters.
The common modifications of the voice in speaking are four, the monotone, the rising inflection, the falling inflection, and the circumflex.
4. The monotone is to be used in passages of . dignity, where the strain of sentiment is uniform.
MONOTONE is a sameness of sound, and in this application means a uniformity of voice. If you will read the following passage, from Milton, in this manner, you will see that it suits the subject, and imparts dignity to the verse.
"High on a throne of royal state, which far
Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,
5. The rising inflection may be noticed in the direct interrogative.
An inflection is a bending of the voice from a higher to a lower, or from a lower to a higher, key. When you ask the question, Who made this pen? you will observe that there is a rising of the voice at the end of the sentence. So in the following: Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? Is it not wrong to slan der another? Is it better to steal a man's purse than to steal his fair fame? Can this little bird sing?
6. The falling inflection is perceived in answering a question.
Suppose you answer one of the preceding questions; you will observe that the voice falls to a lower key at the end of the sentence, I made the pen. It is wrong to slander another. This little bird can sing.
7. The circumflex is an union of the rising and falling inflections.
This is chiefly used where the language is designed to express doubt or irony. Hume said he would go twenty miles to hear Whitefield preach. This was spoken in such a manner as to imply, that he would give himself no trouble to hear any other preacher. In order to do this, it was necessary to use the double inflection in speaking the word Whitefield, first bending the voice downward and then upward, upon that word. This mode of speaking implied a sneer at other preachers. If you ask a physician about your friend who is dangerously ill, and receive for an answer, He is better, you will understand his answer according to the manner in which the word better is spoken. If there is no bending of the voice in the expression of that word, the answer is decidedly favorable; but if the voice bends first downward upon the first part of the word, and upward upon the last, you understand the physician to express doubt, as if he were to say, He is better, but still dangerously ill.
8. Upon these inflections of the voice, much of the spirit and efficacy of speaking, depends.
It is hardly possible to give any rules which may teach the art of modulating the voice with skill and propriety. It is best acquired by observing good speakers, and seeking the society of well-educated people. It is important for the pupil, however, to have his attention drawn to the subject, and these rules are laid down with that view. At first, the pupil may hardly be able to distinguish these several mod ifications of the voice, but a little observation will enable him to trace them in others, and at last, in himself. To make what has been said more distinctly understood, the following examples are offered.
HINTS TO READERS AND SPEAKERS
Example in which the monotone is to be used.
Of the far western hills, and there lingering,
Examples, in which the rising and falling inflections are to be used; the first in the question, and the latter in the answer.
What would content you? Talent? No! Enterprise? No! Courage? No! Reputation? No! Virtue? No!
Are you ignorant of many things which it highly concerns you to know? The Gospel offers you instruction. Have you deviated from the path of duty? The Gospel offers you forgiveness. Do temptations surround you? The Gospel offers you the aid of heaven. Are you exposed to misery? It consoles you. Are you subject to death? It offers you immortality.
9. Beware of false modulation, monotony, and mannerism.
A raising or lowering of the voice improperly, is to be avoided, because either would mar the sense. Monotony deprives speaking of its spirit and interest. If the painter were to use but one color, his art would be entirely deprived of its power. In music, a constant drawling out of the same note would be intolerable. It is the same with reading or speaking. You must vary the voice according to the sentiment; but be careful not to run into the opposite extreme, a merely mechanical modulation, which may be called mannerism. This arises from thinking wholly or mainly of the enunciation of the words, without feeling or appreciating the ideas they convey. Keep in mind, therefore, that the thoughts and sentiments are what you wish to transfer to the breasts of your listeners, and the voice the vehicle by which they are to be conveyed.
10. Be careful of the pitch of your voice.
The pitch of voice has relation to that high or low note which prevails in a spoken discourse. It is obvious, that, if this is too high, when the speaker has occasion to raise the pitch, his voice will become squeaking or will break; if too low, it will become disagreeable or inaudible. The proper pitch to adopt in reading or speaking, is that between the upper and lower, called the middle pitch. It is that which we adopt in earnest conversation.
It may be remarked, that low tones are the most solemn, and high ones the most animated. But the former are the least penetrating. When, therefore, you are speaking to a large audience, it may be necessary to raise the pitch of your voice in order to be heard. Regard must be always had, in speaking, to the circumstances in which you are placed. It is a safe rule, always to proportion your voice to the extent of the room and the number of your audience, so that each person may hear without effort
11. Be attentive to the transitions of the voice.
This rule requires attention in altering the voice, as the sentiment of what you are uttering, changes; and this change must be sudden or gradual, according to the sense.
12. Be careful to accent your words properly.
Accent is the stress laid upon a particular part of a word; as in Boston, the accent is upon the first syllable.
13. Be attentive to emphasis.
Emphasis is the stress laid upon certain words in a sentence. Its use is to press certain ideas forcibly upon the mind. It was formerly the custom to print many emphatic words in italic, but this is generally abandoned. The rules which govern emphasis are not arbitrary; they depend upon feeling, and must be left to the taste of the speaker. If you read or speak naturally, with a lively interest in what you utter, your emphasis will be correct. Children, in the ardor of their sports, are good models in this respect.
14. Be careful of your pauses.
The common grammatical pauses are denoted by the comma, semicolon, colon, period, &c. The common rule in respect to these is, to pause at the comma as long as to say one; at a semicolon, as long as to count one, two; at a colon, as long as to count one, two, three, &c.
This rule, however, is not inflexible, for the taste of the reader will sometimes point out the propriety of shorter or longer pauses. There are cases, indeed, in which, for rhetorical effect, the speaker will make much longer pauses than the common rule prescribes.
15. Make a proper distinction between narrative and representation.
There is a great difference between telling what was said by a man, and introducing that man to speak for himself. If you were to say, that "Jesus inquired of Simon, son of Jonas, whether he loved him," it would be narrative; but if you say that "Jesus said, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" it is representation. When, therefore, you represent another as speaking, you must alter your voice so that it may be adapted to the character. This rule applies also in reading dia logue or dramatic pieces. When you represent, or speak for, the seyeral characters, you must speak in a tone and manner suited to each.
16. Poetry must be read with a careful attention to punctuation, and with due regard to measure and rhyme.
The voice, too, must be adapted in its tone to the delicacy and elevation of sentiment, of which poetry is usually the vehicle. Empha
HINTS TO READERS AND SPEAKERS.
sis and accent, too, most be carefully regarded, in reading poetry, a view clearly to exhibit the sense.
17. Be attentive to action.
Rhetorical action includes attitude, gesture, and expression of face. These are important to the speaker. His attitude should be easy, natural, and graceful; his gestures free, but expressive; his countenance should be adapted to the sentiment of what he utters. The latter applies also to the reader. It would be ridiculous to read a gay and liveÎy piece with a long and solemn countenance, or a solemn piece with smiles upon the face. But the reader has occasion to make few or no gestures; he should, however, stand in an easy posture, with his breast thrown forward, so as to give free play to his lungs.
18. Make yourself master of the sense of everything you read.
The object of silent reading is to acquire ideas; of oral reading, to communicate them to others. If you pass a sentence without understanding it, in silent or oral reading, you miss the very object of reading in the first case, and in the latter have little chance of communicating well to others, the sense of that which you do not yourself comprehend. It is important to establish the inflexible, persevering habit, of mastering everything you read.
19. Study into the precise meaning of words.
It is well for a learner to make it a fixed principle, never to pass a word without knowing its meaning; and for this reason, he should always keep a Dictionary at hand.
But there is a simple and easy etymological analysis of words, tending to unfold their force and signification, which may be carried to a considerable extent by those who have no acquaintance with the several languages of which our English language is compounded. .It may not be convenient for all teachers to introduce these exercises into their schools; but, for the advantage of those who may be able to use them, I will insert a brief list of such exercises as I allude to. Oswald's "Etymological Dictionary " will enable the reader to pursue these studies thoroughly.
In the first place it must be perceived, that a large portion of our words are compounded of words which are called roots, and other words called prefixes or affixes. The root contains the main sense of the word, and the prefix or affix is used to modify its signification. Thus the word deject is composed of the root ject, from the Latin jacio, to throw, to cast, and the prefix de, which signifies down; together, the compound word deject signifies to cast down. This is the literal sense, though the word is applied metaphorically to the mind. Duckling consists of the root duck and ling, the latter affix being from the Saxon, and signifying young or little; the word duckling, therefore, signifies a young duck. So gosling signifies a young goose; birdling a young or little bird, &c. In the first place, I propose to give a list of