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MEASURE OF SPEECH.
It is the disposal of the accent which produces the measure of speech. No person can utter two accented syllables at one effort of the voice. Hence, each measure has one accented syllable.
A measure consists of one or more syllables, pronounced at one impulse of the voice. The first syllable of each measure is accented. The proper division of speech into measures, or bars, is important, both for the purpose of conforming the action of the lungs to the process of breathing, and to enable the mind of the speaker and hearers to grasp perfectly every distinct idea, before it is followed by another.
The bars are marked in the following examples, as in music; but it is not intended that every measure should be spoken in the same time. Where a measure, or part of a measure, is filled with a dash, it denotes a pause or suspension of the voice.
In the beginning | - | God -|- cre | ated the heavens | -- and the earth. In the be I ginning |
was the | Word 1- and the | Word was | with | God | — and the Word / was | God.
At the beginning of the last | war || - the colonies , with | out an | army, 1 — with | out a | treasury, 1 - and with out an ef | fective i government.
In the town of Ulster 1 — in the state of Pennsyl | vania | - I lived a | man — 1 — whose | name was Le | Fevre, | - | he was the / grandson of a | Frenchman | who was ob | liged to | flee his | country 1 - at the revo | cation of the | edict of Nantes.
- Ob | serve the | maiden |-|(innocently I sweet!) She's | fair | white paper! || an un | sullied | sheet ; | -| -On | which I – the | happy | man | — whom | fate or | dains / -May | write his , name, / -and | take her for his | pains. I -1-1 One | instance ( more, | - and | only | one I — I'll | bring! | 'Tis the great / soul | — who I scorns a | little thing; 1 - 1 - Whose thought, I whose | deeds, 1 — whose | maxims |
his I own; 1-1 Formed on the | feelings | — of his | heart a | lone ; .I 1-1 True, ' genuine, / royal | paper, | - is his / breast; 1 - 1 - Of all the | kinds | - | most | precious, | - | purest, I - | best !
1-1-1 A proper observance of the measure of speech will effectually break
up the jumbling, shuffling, hurrying method of reading, so much in vogue, by which words and ideas are run together in a confused mass, without distinctness or beauty. It will also do away the sing-song or pendulum style of reading poetry, so common among school-boys, and quite too frequent even in the pulpit and the legislative hall. The teacher will do well to mark sentences and paragraphs into
It is a useful exercise, also, for the pupils to mark the same lessons into measures, with a pencil. By this, and careful practice, a beautiful movement will be given to the style of reading. As much more will be gained in the distinctness and impressiveness of speech, when the speaker or reader delivers his sentences no faster than the mind of the hearer is able to grasp and store away the ideas.
SLIDES OF THE VOICE.
In speaking, the voice changes its pitch, not only by leaps, from note to note, between the syllables, but also by slides, upwards or downwards, in pronouncing the same syllable. These slides and skips are intermingled and diversified, in endless variety. In ordinary speaking or reading, the voice rarely leaps or slides more than a note at a time; excepting where a question is asked, when a slide of at least three notes is required, and in cases of strong feeling, sometimes a slide of a full octave on a single syllable.
If a person advanced in life were to be told that he might learn to sing, he would ask, with a tone of surprise, “ Do you say that I can learn to sing ?” beginning the sound of the “I” a little below the words before it, and sliding it rapidly up to some notes above. And if he were bantered until he had partly lost his patience, his voice would run up through the whole octave on that one syllable. And if he should afterwards tell the matter with a feeling of incredulous surprise and contempt, “ The man said that I could learn to sing," he would give a slide downwards of equal extent.
By this time, the slides upward and downward on the words my” and “your” would probably equal a full octave.
A PRETTY fellow, you are, to be sure.
Had I been his SLAVE, he could not have used me worse. “ Not think they'd SHAVE ?" quoth Hodge, with wondering eyes,
And voice not much unlike an Indian yell, “What were they made for, then, you dog?” he cries—
“Made ?" quoth the other, with a smile, “ to SELL?” To acquire a clear idea of the nature and importance of these slides, as well as a readiness in making and distinguishing them, the classes should be examined in the following table, repeating both together and separately. They should first make the slides very strong, and gradually come down to the simple slides of ordinary reading, that is, the slide of a third on every marked syllable.
TABLE OF INFLECTIONS. 1. Did they act prop'erly, or im'. 17. They acted prop'erly, not improperly ?
properly'. 2. Did he go will'ingly, or un 'wil- 18. He went will'ingly, not unwillingly ?
lingly': 3. Was it done correct'ly, or in'- 19. It was done correct'ly, not incorrectly?
correctly'. 4. Did you say fame' or fame'? 20. I said fame', not fame'. 5. Did he ride' or walk'?
21. He rode', he did not walk'. 6. Did it produce pain' or pleas'. 22. It produced pain', not pleasure?
ure'. 7. Did it produce pleas’ure, or 23. It produced pleas'ure, not · pain'?
pain'. 8. Do they choose light', or dark'. 24. They choose light', not darkness?
ness'. 9. Do they love dark'ness or 25. They love dark'ness, not light'?
light. 10. Must we act accord'ing to law, 26. We must act accord'ing to law, or con'trary to it ?
not con'trary to it. 11. Do they act con'trary to law, 27. They act con'trary to law, not or accord'ing to it?
accord'ing to it. 12. Did you make this book'? 28. Who' made this book? I did No'.
not'. 13. You must not say fa'tal, but 29. You must sayfa'tal, not fa'ta
fa'tal. 14. They should not turn to the 30. They should turn to the right', right', but to the left'.
not to the left'. 15. They should not speak loud', 31. They should speak loud', not but low'.
low'. 16. We are weak', but ye are 32. Who' made this book'? strong!
EMPHASIS. Emphasis is the expressive distinction of an important word in a sentence. It is produced by a greater stress of voice on the accented syllable ; by prolonging the sound; by raising or lowering the pitch ; by a change in the quality of the voice; and by compound inflection, by aspiration, by monotone, and by pauses before and after the emphatic word.
There are four degrees of emphasis. The first is, when the sole object is to discriminate the meaning of a sentence; the second, when we would express the sentiments of animated conversation or earnest argument; the third, when we would express passion; and the fourth, when anger or other violent passion is intense.
The efficient employment of these various modes of emphasis requires a perfect command of the organs of speech, a clear understanding and just sense of the author's meaning, an unembarrassed mind, a refined taste, and a wakeful earnestness of feeling.
Common emphasis is an increase of accent, and is made like accent by prolonging the sound of long vowels, and increasing the sound of short ones.
To show the effect of a change of emphasis in changing the meaning of a sentence, let the pupils practise the following examples.
or, Will you ride to town to-day?
EXPLANATION. Here the remark of the husband is made without emphasis. The first response of the wife inquires as to his fixed determination to go, in spite of all persuasions to the contrary; and the reply would be, "I will."
The second inquires whether it is necessary for him to go in person, rather than send by some other messenger, and the husband might say, “No, I will send my son.”
The third refers to the mode of travelling, and might receive the reply, “No, I will walk."
The fourth points to the place, and intimates that he might better go some other way; and might be answered, “No, I will ride into the country.”
And the fifth respects the time of going, and might be answered, “ No, I will go to-morrow."
The pupils should be exercised on these examples, both singly and in class, until they can not only make the emphasis correctly, but speak it with an easy modulation of the voice.
He is as subtle as any Philadelphia lawyer.
The 'first form of expression fixes the attention strongly on the person spoken of, in distinction from others that have been before the mind.
The second form strongly affirms a fact, in opposition to the demerit or doubt of others.
The third presents subtleness as one of the distinguishing qualities pertaining to the person spoken of.
The fourth supposes him to be a Philadelphia lawyer, and asserts him to be equal to any one of them in this quality.
The fifth supposes him to belong to some other place, and affirms his equality with those of Philadelphia.
The sixth supposes the lawyers to be preëminent in subtlety among the people of Philadelphia, and asserts this person's equality even to that class of Philadelphians.
E X A M PLES. He who cannot bear a joke, should not give one. Never try to raise yourself by lowering the merit of others. It is not sufficient that you are heard; you must be heard with pleasure.
Little minds are crushed by misfortune, when great ones rise above it. Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck the flower, safety.
It is as natural to die as to be born: to an infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other.
Many mistake the love of virtue, for virtue.
Now the Egyptians are mer, and not gods ; and their horses flesh, and not spirit.
Opinions are free; conduct alone is amenable to law.
Must we in your person crown the author of the public calamities, or must we destroy him?
A good man will love himself too well to lose an estate by gaming, and his neighbor too well to win one.