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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, has 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 percussions, 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 and protract them; they multiply accents on the same word; from a mistaken notion, 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 manner; and gives an ar
tificial, affected air to reading, which detracts greatly both from its agreeableness and its impression.
Sheridan and Walker have published Dictionaries, for ascertaining the true and best pronunciation of the words of our language. By attentively consulting them, particularly “Walker’s PronouncAng Dictionary,” the young reader will be much assisted, in his endeavours to attain a correct pronunciation of the words belonging to the English language.
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 he right management of the emphasis depends the life of pronunciation. If no emphasis be placed on any words, not only is discourse rendered heavy and lifeless, but the meaning left often amdiguous.” If the emphasis be placed wrong, we pervert" and confound the meaning wholly.
Emphasis may be divided into the Superior and the Inferior emphasis. The superior emphasis determines the meaning of a sentence, with reference to something said before, presupposed" by the author as general knowledge, or removes an ambiguity where a passage may have more senses than one. The inferior emphasis enforces, graces, and enlivens, but does not fir, 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 fol.owing passage will serve to exemplify” the superior emphasis.
“Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Supposing that originally other beings, besides men, had disobeyed the commands of the Almighty, and that the circumstance 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 sruit,” &c.
But if it were a notorious truth, that mankind had transgressed in a peculiar manner more than once, the emphasis would fall on first; and the line be read, “Of 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 con©
sequences of his transgression; on that supposition the third line would be read, “Brought death into the world,” &c. Hut if we were to suppose that mankind 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 emphasis finds a place in the following short senlence, which admits of four distinct meanings, each of which is ascertained by the emphasis only. “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.” “Shall I reward his services with falsehood? Shall I forget him who cannot forget me?” “If his principles are false, no apology from himself can make them right: if founded in truth, no censure" from others can make Jhem wrong.” “Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull; “Strong without rage; without o'erflowing, full.” “A friend craggerates 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 fixing its situation and quantity. Among the number of persons, who have had proper opportu, nities of learning to read, in the best manner it is now taught, very few could be selected," who, in a given instance, would use the inferior emphasis alike, either as to place or quantity. Some persons, indeed, use 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 sometimes throw it upon words so very trifling in themselves, that it is evidently done with no other view, than to give greater variety to the modulation.* Notwithstanding this diversity’ of practice, there are certainly proper boundaries, within which this emphasis must be restrained," in order to make it
*By modulation is meant that pleasing variety of voice, which is perceivcd 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 modulation correct and easy; and "or this purpose, should form it upon the model of the most judicious and accurate speakers.
meet the approbation of sound judgment and correct taste. It wil. doubtless have different degrees of exertion, according to the great. er or less degrees of importance of the words upon which it oper. ates; and there may be very properly some variety in the use of it; but its application is not arbitrary," depending on the caprice of readers. . As emphasis often falls on words in different parts of the same sentence, so it is frequently required to be continued with a little yariation, on two, and sometimes more words togetker. The following sentences exemplify both the parts of this position: “If you seek to make one rich, study not to increase his stores, but to diminish his desires.” “The Mexicanv figures, or picture writing, represent things, not words: they exhibit images to the eye, not ideas to the understanding.” Some sentences are so full and comprehensive," that almost every word is emphatical; as, “Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains!” or, as that pathetic expostulation” in the prophecy of Ezekiel, “Why will ye die!” Emphasis, besides its other offices, is the great regulator of quantity. Though the quantity of our syllable is fixed, in words separately pronounced, yet it is mutable, when these words are arranged in sentences: the long being changed into short, the short into long, according to the importance of the word with regard to meaning. Emphasis also, in particular cases, alters the seat of the accent. This is demonstrable” from the following examples. “He shall increase, but I shall decrease.” “There is a difference between giving and forgiving.” “In this species of composition, plausibility" is much more essential than probability.” In these examples, the emphasis requires the accent to be
-placed on syllables, to which it does not commonly belong.
In order to acquire the proper management of the emphasis the great rule to be given, is, that the reader study to attain a Just conception of the force and spirit of the sentiments which he is to pronounce. For to lay the emphasis with exact propriety, is a constant exercise of good sense and attention. It is far from being an inconsiderable attainment. . It is one of the most decisive trials of a true and just taste; and must arise from feeling delicately ourselves, and from judging accurately of what is fittest to strike the feelings of others.
There is one error, against which it is particularly proper to caution the learner; namely, that of multiplying emphatical words too much, and using the emphasis indiscriminately." It is only by a prudent reserve and distinction in the use of them, that we can give them any weight. If they recur" too often; if a reader attempts to render every thing he expresses of high importance, by a multitude of strong emphasis, we soon learn to pay little regard to them. To crowd every sentence with emphatical words, is
like crowding all the pages of a book with Italic" characters which, as to the effect, is just the same as to use no such distinc
tions at all.
w An-i-mate, án'-è-mate, to make alive, living. * In-di-cate, **te, to show point out. TO NES. ToNEs are different both from emphasis and pauses; consisting
in the notes or variations of sound which we employ, in the ex
pression of our sentiments. Emphasis affects particular words and phrases, with a degree of tone, or inflexion"f of voice; but tones peculiarly" so called, affect sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes even the whole of a discourse. To show the use and necessity of tones, we need only observe, that the mind, in communicating its ideas, is in a constant state of activity, emotion, or agitation," from the different effects which those ideas" produce in the speaker. Now the end of such com munication being not merely to lay open the ideas, but also the different feelings which they excite in him who utters them, there must be other signs than words, to manifest" those feelings; as words uttered in a monotonous manner can represent only a similar state of mind, perfectly free from all activity and emotion. As the communication of these internal feelings was of much more consequence in our socials intercourse, than the mere conveyances of ideas, the Author of our being did not, as in that conveyance,