Sivut kuvina

the crue harinony of utterance, and affords ease to the reader, and pleasure to the audience. This unnatural i pitch of the voice, and disagreeable monotony, are

most observable in persons who were taught to read in large rooms; who were accustomed to stand at too great a distance, when reading to their teachers; whose instructers were very imperfect in their hearing; or who were taught by persons that considered loud expressions as the chief requisite in forming a good read. er. These are circumstances, which demand the serious attention of every ore to whom the education of youth is committed.



In the next place, to being well heard and clearly understood, distinctness of ariculation contributes more than ipere loudness of sound. The quantity of sound necessary to fail even a large space, is smaller than is commonly imagined ; and, with distinct are ticulation, a person with a weak voice will make it reach farther than the strongest voice can reach without it. To this, therefore, every reader ought to pay great attention. He must give every sound which he utters, its due proportion ; and make every syllable, and even every letter in the word which he pronounces, be heard distinctly ; without slurring, whispering, or suppressing, any of the proper sounds. .

An accurate knowledge of the siirple, elementary sounds of the language, and a facility in expressing them, are 80 necessary to distinctness of expression, that if the learner's attainments are, in this respect, imperfect, (and many there are in this situation, it will be incumbent on his teacher to carry him back to these primary articulations, and to suspend his prog. rese, till he become perfectly master of then. It will, be in vain to press him forward, with the hope of for. ming a good reader, if he cannot completely articu late every elementary sound of the language.


Due degree of slowness. In order to express ourselves distinctly, moderation is requisite with regard to the speed of pronouncing. Precipitancy of speech confounds all articulation, and all meaning. It is scarcely necessary to observe, that there may be also an extreme on the opposite side. It is obvious that a lifeless, drawling manner of reading, which allows the minds of the hearers to be always outrunning the speaker, must render every such performance insipid and fatiguing. But the extreme of reading too fast is much inore cominon : and requires the more to be guarded against, because, when it has growni into a habit, few errors are more difficult to be correi ted. To pronounce with a proper degree of slowness, and with full and clear articulation, is necessary to be studied by all, who wish to become good readers ; and it caonot be too much recommended to them. Such a pronunciation gives weight and dignity to the subject. It is a great assistance to the voice, by the pa"ses and rests, which it allows the reader more easily to make ; and it enables the reader to swell all his sounds, both with more force and more harmony.


Propriety of pronunciation. AFTER the fundamental attentions to the pitch and management of the voice, to distinct articulation, and to a proper degree of slowness of speech,what the young "reader must, in the best place, study, is propriety of pronunciation ; or, giving to every word which he utters, that sound which the best usage of the language appropriates to it; in opposition to broad, vulgar, or provincial pronunciation. This is requisite both for reading intelligiblv, and for reading with correctness and ease. Instructions concerning this article may be best given by the living teacher. But there is one

observation, which it may not be improper here to make. In the English language, every word which consists of more syllables than one, bas one accented syllable. The accents rest sometimes on the vowel, sometimes on the consonant. The genius of the language requires the voice to mark that syllable by a stronger percussion, and to pass more slightly over the rest. Now, after we have learned the proper seats of these accents, it is an important rule, to give every word just the same accent in reading, as in common discourse, Many persons err in this respect. When they read to others, and with solemnity, they pronounce the syllables in a different manner from what they do at other times. They dwell upon them, aod protract them ; they moltiply accents on the same word; from a mis. taken motion, that it gives gravity and importance to their subject, and adds to the energy of their delivery. Whereas this is one of the greatest faults that can be committed in pronunciation : it makes what is called a pompous or mouthing anner; and gives an artificial, affected air to reading, which detracts greatly, both from its agreeableness, and its impression.

Sheridan anil Walker have published dictionaries, for ascertaining the true and best pronunciation of the words of our language. By attentively consulting them, particularly “ Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary," the young reader will be much assisted, in his endeavors to attain a correct pronunciation of the words belonging to the English language.


Emphasis. By emphasis is meant a stronger and fuller sound of voice, by which we distinguish some word or words, on which we design to lay particular stress, and to show how they affect the rest of the sentence. Sometimes the emphatic words must be distinguished by a particular tone of voice, as well as by a particular stress. On the right management of the emphasis d.

pends the lite of pronunciation. If no emphasis be placed on any words, not only is discourse rendered heavy and lifeless, but the meaning left often ambigu. ous. If the emphasis be placed wrong, we pervert and confound the meaning wholly.

Emphasis may be divided into the superior and inferior emphasis. The superior emphasis determines the meaning of a sentence, with reference to something said h: fore, presupposed by the author as general knowledge, or removes an ambiguity, where a passage unay have more senses than one. The inferior ein phasis enforces, graces and enlivens, but does not fix the. meaning of any passage. The words to which this latter emphasis is given, are, in general, such as seem the most important in the sentence, or, on other accounts, to merit this distinction. The following passage will serve tu exemplify the superior emphasis ;

“Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
“Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
“ Brought death into the world, and all our wo," &c.

“ Sing heavenly Muse !" Suprosing that originally other beings besides men, had disobeyed the commands of the Almighty; and that the circumstances were well known to us, there would fall an emphasis upon the word man's in the first line; and hence, it would read thus :

"Of man s first disobedience, and the fruit,” &c. But if it were a notorious truth, that mankind had · transgressed in a peculiar manuer more than once, the emphasis would fall on first ; and the line be read,

“ Ot man's first disobedience," &c. :: Again, admitting death, [as, was really the case] to have been an unheard-of and dreadful punishment, brought upon man in consequence of his transgression; on that supposition the hird line would be read,

" Brought death into the world,' &c. Bui if we were to suppose, that enankind knew there was such an evil as death in other regions, though the place they inhabited had been, free from it till their transgression, the line would run thus :

" Brought death into the world." &c. The superior eninta:is tin place in the following short sentence, which admits of tour distinct mean.

ings, each of which is ascertained by the emphasis only,

os Do you ride to town to-day !" The following examples illustrate the nature and use of the inferior emphasis,

« Many persons mistake the love, for the practice of virtue."

16 Shall I reward his services with falsehood ? Shall I forget him who cannot forget me ?"

“ If his principles are false, no apology fro.n himself can make them right; if founded in truth, no censure from others can make them wrong."

Though deep, yet clear : though gentle yet not dull, Strong, without rage : without o'erflowing, full.

A friend exaggerates a man's virtues , an enemy, his crimes.

- The wise man is happy, when he gains his own approbation; the fool, when he gains that of others."

The superior emphasis, in reading as in speaking, must be determined entirely by the sense of the passage, and always made alike, but as to the inferior emphasis, taste alone seems to have the right of fising its situation and quantity.

Ainong the number of persons who have had proper opportunities of learning to read, in the best manner it is now taught, very few rould be selected, who, in á given instance, would use the inferior emphasis alike, either as to place or quantity. Some persons, indeed, usc scarcely any degree of it: and others do not scruple” to carry it far beyond any thing to be found in common discourse ; and even sometiines throw it upon words so very trifling in themselves, that it is evidently done with no other view, than to give variety to the modulation.* Notwithstanding this diversity

*By modulation is meant, that pleasing variety of voice, which is perceived in uttering a sentence, and which, in its nature, is perfectly distinct from emphasis, and the tones of emotion and passion. The young reader should be careful to render his inodalation correct and easy ; and for this purpose should form it upon the model of the most judicious and accurate speakers.

в ,

« EdellinenJatka »