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ELEMENTS OF ELOCUTION,
ON THE INFLECTIONS OF THE VOICE.
I.—Preliminary Directions. 1. Avoid provincialisms, and all vulgarity and peculiarity of voice and expression.
2. Equally avoid a drawling, hurried, or rapid style of reading ; * also laying stress on unimportant words ; and everything approaching what is termed "mouthing" or "spouting" in reading,
3. Shun all kinds of affectation; and all pompousness of manner.
4. Use your natural or ordinary voice; remembering that to read well is to read naturally.
5. Read with careful articulation, distinctly and deliberately; so that every word may be properly heard.
6. Take your breath at pauses, silently.
7. Carefully avoid stress on little, unimportant words; as articles, prepositions, and copulatives.
8. SIMULTANEOUS EXERCISES must be read standing; but at all times, to read well, you must sit or stand easily, and must shew, in your position, a proper sympathy between body and mind.
* To avoid the multiplication of terms, it must be understood that where the word “reading" is used in this work, reciting and speaking are generally included.
II.—The Pronunciation of Letters. A dissertation on the powers of letters would here be out of place; but the attention of the pupils may be properly directed to this subject, and further investigation encouraged, by the following remarks and illustrations :
(1.) Vowel Sounds. Each of the vowels has different sounds, arising from the elongation or otherwise of its pronunciation. This requires, in reading, to be clearly marked. No. of
buy NOTE.— A passage may be selected in any reading book, for the pupils to find words in which vowels of various lengths occur.
(2.) The Letters l, r, s, &c. The pronunciation of l, r, s, w, and v, requires care; as sometimes from bad habit or defective utterance they are pronounced incorrectly.
Let the pupils be exercised in repeating the i following words, and others of a similar character which may be selected :
Sir, sands, sap, seals, sheaf, smelter, sleekness, submissiveness.
* All the exercises in this chapter, marked with an asterisk, must be repeated individually also.
Veal, weal; wine, vine; van, wan; west, vest; vigor, vitriol ; witness, waveless. The verdant west now wears again its varied hues.
(3.) The Letters c, 9, &c. The letters c, g, j, and k, before a vowel, are sometimes pronounced in such manner that they sound only as d or t. This generally arises from misplacing the tongue, and requires the teacher's careful attention.
It is found useful, in some cases, to write the word in which the mispronunciation occurs, upon a black board in two forms; first, correctly; and secondly, as pronounced ; and then requiring the pupil to pronounce both, and to point out the correct example.
SIMULTANEOUS EXERCISES.* Call, cares, cake, city, company, cellar. Gay, guess, gone, gate-keeper, genteel. Jay, James, John, joiner, jelly, joist. Kiss, keep, kind, kangaroo, kilt, koran. Other examples may be selected.
(4.) The Aspirate. The aspirate h should be indicated in a moderate but perceptible manner. Following the letters, C, s, t, or w,
it sometimes occasions a difficulty of pronunciation, which the teacher must endeavour to correct.
H is silent at the beginning of the wordsheir, honest, honour, hospital, hour, humble, humour; and words derived from them.
C before h is usually soft, sounding as tc. The exceptions are few and easily learned.
SIMULTANEOUS EXERCISES * on the Aspirate. Here, hear; † (ear, year ;) heel, heal; ho, hoe; hire, higher; herd, heard; hart, heart; hail, hale; hare, hair.
+ Let the pupils explain the meaning of the words here brought together.
EXERCISES on c, s, t, and w, before h. Chalk, chalice, * chaos, char, character, charcoal, cheerfulness, christmas, choler, choice, church, chrysalis, cherish.
Shrill, sheath, shrink, shrove, sheaves, shapelessness.
Their, there, the, thee; through, threw; thy, thigh; thronging, thwarted, thrill, thatcher.
Wheat, wheel, whiggish, whistle, whisper, wbig, wheeze, wholesome, whirred.
(5.) Vulgarisms. It is scarcely necessary to caution the teacher against passing unnoticed such vulgarisms as the following: that is, substituting
er for ow,-as, feller for fellow; winder for window : or for aw,-as, lor for law; sor for saw : oi for i,—as, voiolent for violent: oi for y, -as, moi for my :
i for u,-as, edication for education, &c. : or the use of an aspirate in an improper place, -as hoil for oil; hair for air, &c.
III.-Accentuation of Syllables. Accent is the force with which a syllable is uttered.
Much attention is necessary to ensure the correct accentuation of syllables; as in the absence of such correctness, reading is neither effectual nor agreeable.
Rules for right accentuation are not without use; but correctness will, in general, be best attained, by careful observation and attentive practice.
In the following exercises, and others which may be selected, the pupils should be required to explain on which syllable, numerically, the accent is placed.
The exercises may be usefully put in two forms ; first, reckoning the syllables from the beginning; as
* Ch in italics are hard (like k).