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afford profitable lessons for the exercise of young and inex perienced readers, it may be reserved for them, with undiminished value, when in a greater state of advancement.
Several modern writers on the subject of school education, whose opinions are entitled to much regard, have expressed their belief that no rules for the management of the voice in reading can be of any value. This opinion, so far as it relates to the younger classes of learners, is undoubtedly correct: but as many of the first principles of elocution can be clearly illustrated, and applied to practical use by a little effort on the part of the more advanced learner, it appears to me that books of this kind, designed for the benefit of schools, must be deficient without them. Could every school in the country be under the instruction of a master of Elocution, the necessity would in a measure cease to exist. But this, unhappily, is not the case. Many of those who engage in the instruction of youth, require themselves the instruction they are expected to give, and have perhaps no other means of acquiring it, than from these elementary books from which it would be withheld.
In this stereotype edition, some few alterations have been made; but the book contains as much matter as the former edition, and its use with it will not be found very inconvenient. It is now offered to the public in a permanent shape; and from the very favorable reception of the first edition, it will, I trust, continue to receive a patronage commensurate with its value.
UPON THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD READING
An ability to read in a correct and interesting manner has becorne indispensably requisite for all who would hold a respectable station in society; and not only should its acquisition be considered as a polite accomplishment, but as a talent subservient to the purposes of business, and of rational emjoyment.
There are, indeed, but few persons in this country, who are unable to read with some degree of correctness; yet those who may be called good readers are less frequently met with than is generally ima. gined. Perfection in the art of reading, requires a natural talent, joined to the most persevering industry : and although it is a point to which few if any are ever able to arrive, yet every approach to it is of comparative value, and worth the effort required for its attainment.
Perhaps there cannot be a more unerring standard fixed for reading than to adopt the same easy and natural mode that we would in common conversation. In the latter our object is to communicate our own thoughts; in the former to communicate the thoughts of others; -and in both we wish to do it in the manner calculated to make us best understood. By this remark we do not design to recommend to those, who have adopted a careless manner of conversation, the adoption of a similar one in reading; but the same rules which serve to improve the one, may, by their application, have the same happy effect upon the other. But let it be distinctly understood, that no rules can be given for the management of the voice in reading, which independent of feel. ing, can insure the object desired. "Emotion," says a distinguished wriler, “is the thing. One flush of passion on the cheek, one beam of feeling from the eye, one thrilling note of sensibility from the tongue, have a thousand times more value than any exemplification of mere rules, where feeling is absent."
The observations which we shall make upon the principles of reading, or manner of delivery, will be comprised under the following heads : ARTICULATION, ACCENT, EMPHASIS, INFLECTION, MONOTONE, and MODULATION, with a few remarks upon the READING OF Verse
1. Articulation. A good articulation consists in a clear and distinct utterance of the different sounds of the language; and is one of the most important particulars to be considered. No matter upon what subject or upon what occasion a man may read or speak to his follow men, he never will be listened to for any length of time, unless he be distinctly heard, and that without effort on the part of his hearers. No interest of the subject can excuse a rapid and indistinct utterance. Many there are
who fail in this particular. Some persons have natural impediments, which render the utierance of certain sounds quite difficult; but an indistinct articulation more frequently arises from a want of care 10 droid it, and fiorna too much indulged disposition in children when seaining to read, to hůrry over their lessons with a rapidity which renders them unable to arsicutate, distinctly, the unaccented syllables.Any ito inay hore pe oyserted, that teachers cannot too sedulously guard their pupilo against otius practice-a practice which, if tolerated in the young reader, will soon become a confirmed habit-an uncompromising barrier to a good delivery.
Those who have been accustomed to converse with persons partially deaf, can well appreciate the importance of distinci utterance. moderate voice with a clear articulation, is much more readily heard by such persons, than an indistinct one however loud : and it is from the same cause that a man with but a feeble voice, can make himself better understood by a large assembly, than the possessor of a powerful one without an observance of a just articulation. It was to a defect in his articulation that Demosthenes attributed the failure which attended his first efforts in public speaking ; 'and to his success in surmounting this difficulty, we may attribute his elevation from an uninteresting speaker to one of the most renowned orators of any age.
One of the sources of an indistinct articulation, may be traced to an inattention in giving the proper sounds to the unaccented rovels. In many words by a careless articulation one vowel is substituted for another; thus,--for educate, we hear ed-e-cate ; for calculate, cal-ke.ate; for populous, pop-e-lous; &c. In some words the vowel is pearty or quite suppressedl ; as, for the word, prevail
, we hear, pr-rail ; for vredici, pr-dict; for propose, pr-pose; for provide, pr-vide, &c. The accented vowels, 100, in words which are followed by the same or simdar sounds, are often but indistinctly uttered, as may be seen by the following example :
" Tho oft the ear the open vowels tire."
But the greatest source of defective articulation, lies in the circumstance that it depends mostly upon the consonant sounds, many of which require some effort to articulate. The vowel sounds are easil expressed; but many of the consonants, under certain arrangements of letters, are hard of utterance, and are often hot articulated at all. This is particularly the case where the termination of one word or syllable, with one or more consonants, is succeeded by a similar arrangement in the syllable or word next following, as was the case with the vowels in the above example. Thus--in syllables, -attempt, atempt ; afflict, af-lict; ennoble, en-oble ; tyranny, ty-ran-y; appeal, ap.eal, &c.
The youth hates study.
The steadfast stranger in the forests strayed.
Not only are words often mutilated by a careless articylation, but the meaning of whole sentences is often rendered obscure or perverted. For mstance, let the following sentence be read indistinctly; -"His
teachers ought to prove his work ;"—and whether to understand that " his teachers ought to prove ;" 01, "his teacher sou ght to prove;" ur, “his teachers ought to approve ;' might be a subject of unsausfied anxiety. In the following, the sense is entirely perverted by not uttering a consonant distinctly :
The horse perforins well on neither side.
Teachers seldom pay sufficient attention to this branch of elocution, in instructing their pupils. It is the basis, upon which all the other properties of a good delivery rest; and it will be in vain to press pupuis forward in the hope of their becoming good readers, until they tirs! form a habit of distinct utterance. Those who have acquired a habis of indistinct aruculation, should be made to read slow, and with a reference solely to this defect; and this practice should be continued, until a correct habit be formed.
Whoever will listen to the reading or speaking of others, may observe that a bad articulation is not unfrequent. Letters, words, and sometimes parts of sentences, are often so nearly suppressed, or blend. od together, as almost to baffle all effori to apprehend the meaning. To prevent this, requires nothing more than practice upon the elemen tary sounds of the language; and a daily exercise upon them, exclu. sively, in reading and conversation, would be attended with the most profitable results to all who are defective in this important attainment The following exercises present some of the most difficult sentences 10 articulate:--In reading then, let every word be separately and distincily articulated :
The finest street in Naples.
She authoritatively led us and disinterestedly labored for us; alid we un. hesitatingly admitted her reasonableness.
AUSTIX, a modern writer on delivery, says: “In just articulation the words are not to be hurried over, nor precipitatea, syllable over syllable; nor, as it were, melted together in a mass of confusion. They should neither be abridged, nor prolonged ; nor swallowed, nor forced, they should not be trailed, nor drawled, nor let to slip out carelessly, só as to drop unfinished. They are to be delivered out from the lips as beautiful coins, newly issued from the mint ; deeply and accurately inapressed ; perfectly finished ; neatly struck by the proper organs; distinct; in due succession, and of due weight."
II. Accent. ALTHOUGH under the head of articulation we have urged the distinct utterance of all the syllables of a sentence, yet every word of more than one syllable, requires a greater stress of the voice upon some one of its syllables than upon the rest, which stress is denominated accent, The syllable on which the accent is placed, is in most words established by custom and the sense is not dependent upon it: but in some few words the meaning is established by the accent. This may be the case while the word is the same part of speech; as, desert, (a wilderness) desert, (merit)—to conjure, to conjure, &c. The accent also distinguishes between the same word used as a noun and an adjective ; as, minu'e, minute; compact, compact ; and it also distinguishes between the noun and the verb); as, conduct, to conduct ; insuli, lo insult, &c. Accent is sometimes controlled by emphasis; and in words which have a sameness of form, but are contrasted in sense, it frequently falls upon syllables to which did not the emphasis require it, it would not belong; as, He shall increase, but I shall decrease; there is a difference between giving, and forgiving. Although the meaning of comparatively but few words is affected by the accent, its proper use tends to promote the harmony of utterance, and should be governed by the most approved usage and taste.
EMP! Asis is the forcible, and peculiar utterance of those words of a sentence, upon which the meaning depends. On the right use of emphasis rest ihe whole beauty and intelligence of delivery. When it is not used at all, discourse becomes heavy and insipid ; and if it be used wrong, it must be at the expense of the meaning of the author, whose ideas it is the object of reading to attain.
To give rules by wbich the proper use of emphasis may be learned, without entering into the meaning and spirit of the composition, is not possible. It is governed hy the sentimeni, and is inseparably associated with thought and emotion. The right use of emphasis indeed requires, not only an understanding of the author's meaning, but a corresponding feeling on the part of the reader: for, although by an understanding of the meaning of a sentence we may be able to point out the emphatic words, yet without entering, to a certain extent, into the same feeling which dictated the sentiment, that peculiar modulation of emphasis which constitues the beauty of delivery, and which alone can express the true meaning, and the whole meaning of the author, cannot be exercised.
Strong emphasis is sometimes required upon words in consideration of their absolute importance; but its principal use is to enforce particular ideas, in contradistinction from others, which are supposed to have been hitherto entertained, or which, it is feared, may be at present received. The learner will observe that in almost every case, where a word requires emphasis, there is some other idea, suggested in opposition to that expressed by the word emphasized, and from which ihe emphasis invites the particular distinction. In some sentences this opposite or antithetic idea is expressed in words, but more frequently it is not. When it is expressed, the words forming both parts of the antithesis receive the emphasis, and there can be no difficulty, in discovering them, -as in the following couplet from Pope :-
'Tis hard to say if greater want of skill
But when the word or words in opposition are not expressed, reliance is placed upon the understanding to supply them. Brutus, in Shakspeare's Julius Cesar, says to Cassius, -"You wronged yourself to write in such a case."--Here but one part of the antithesis is expressed, and the jndgment of the reader must discover the other hy the sense, or the emphasis will not be rightly placed. Let ne lank for the mean