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Emphasis. By Emphasis is meant the force or loudness of voice by which we distinguish the principal word or words in a sentence.
To emphasize a word, means to pronounce it in a loud or forcible
The meaning of a sentence, especially if it be a question, often depends upon the proper placing of the emphasis. Thus : in the sentence, Shall you ride to town to-day? if the emphasis be placed upon ride, the question will be, Shall you RIDE to town to-day?
and it may be answered, No, I shall not ride, I shall walk. If the emphasis be placed upon you, the question then becomes, Shall YOU ride to town to-day? and the answer may be, No, I shall not go myself, I shall send my son. If the emphasis be placed on town, the question then becomes, Shall you ride to TOWN to-day ? and the answer may be, No, I shall not ride to TOWN, but I shall ride into the country. If the emphasis be placed upon day, the question then becomes, Shall you ride to town TO-DAY? and the answer may be, No, I shall not go to-day, but I shall to
In reading the following sentences, the emphasis belongs on the words in capital letters.
You were paid to FIGHT against Alexander, not to RAIL at him.
Exercise and temperance strengthen even an INDIFFERENT constitution.
AGAIN to the battle, Achaians. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our STARS; but in OURSELVES, that we are underlings.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the BEAM that is in thine OWN eye?
And Nathan said unto David, THOU art the man.
The men whom Nature's works can charm, with GOD HIMSELF hold converse ; grow familiar day by day with his conceptions, ACT upon his plan, and form to HIS the relish of their souls.
Betrayest thou the Son of man with a KISS ?
And ÍHOU must sail upon this sea, a long, eventful voyage. The wise MAY suffer wreck the foolish MUST.
My ear is PAINED, my soul is SICK, with every y's report of wrong and outrage, with which earth is FILLED. There is no FLESH in man's obdurate heart, — it does not FEEL for man.
Primary and Secondary Emphasis.* In sentences where several words are to be emphasized, some words receive a stronger emphasis than others. This leads to a distinction, called primary and secondary emphasis. The primary emphasis is the stronger emphasis. The secondary emphasis is the weaker emphasis ; of which, there are several degrees.
In the following sentences, the words in LARGE CAPITALS are to receive the primary emphasis. Those in SMALL CAPITALS are to receive the secondary emphasis, and those in Italic an emphasis of less force than those in small capitals.
What STRONGER breast-plate than a heart untainted ? THRICE is he armed that hath his quarrel Just; and he but naked, though locked up in STEEL, whose conscience with INJUSTICE is corrupted. Boisterous in speech, in action prompt and bold,
He buys, he sells, - he STEALS, he KILLS, for gold. Yea, long as Nature's humblest child hath kept her temple undefiled by sinful sacrifice, earth's fairest scenes are all his OWN; he is a MONARCH, and his throne is built amid the skies.
Misses ! the TALE that I relate this LESSON seems to carry : Choose not alone a proper MATE, but proper TIME to marry.
Though you may THINK of a million strokes in a minute, you are required to EXECUTE but one.
Not thirty TYRANTS now enforce the chain, but every CARLE can lord it o'er thy land.
A THOUSAND YEARS scarce serve to FORM a state ; an HOUR may lay it in the dust.
What means this SHOUTING ? I do fear the people choose Cæsar for their KING.
Ay, do you FEAR it? Then must I think you would not HAVE it so.
I speak not to DISPROVE what Brutus spoke ; but here I am to speak what I do KNOW.
But YESTERDAY, the word of Cæsar might have stood against the WORLD. Now lies he there, and none so poor to do him
* Although emphasis generally requires a degree of loudness in the voice, yet it is frequently the case that strongly emphatic words should be uttered with a deeper rather than a louder tone of voice. This remark can be exemplified better by the living teacher than hy examples addressed to the eye.
He was my FRIEND, faithful and just to me: but BRUTUS says he was AMBITIOUS; and Brutus is an HONORABLE
He hath brought many captives home to Rome, whose ransoms did the GENERAL coffers fill : Did this in Cæsar seem AMBITIOUS ? When that the poor hath CRIED, Cæsar hath WEPT.
AMBITION should be made of STERNEŘ stuff. Yet Brutus
says he WAS ambitious; and Brutus is an honorable
You all did SEE, that on the Lupercal I THRICE presented him a kingly CROWN; which he did thrice REFUSE. Was THIS AMBITION ? Yet Brutus SAYS he was ambitious; and sure he is an honorable man.
Pitch of the Voice. EVERY person has three keys or pitches of the voice, called the high, the middle, and the low key.
The high key is that which is used in calling to a person at a distance. The middle key is that which is used in common conversation.
The low key is that which is used when we wish no one to hear, except the person to whom we speak; and is almost, but not quite, a whisper.
Each one of these keys or pitches of the voice has different degrees of loudness and it is important that the voice should be exercised in all of these keys, both with mildness and with force.
Let the following sentence be read in each of the different keys. They have rushed through like a hurricane ; like an army of locusts they have devoured the earth ; the war has fallen like a water-spout, and deluged the land with blood.
[Read the following in the high key.]
Next Anger rushed; — his eyes on fire, in lightnings owned his secret stings ; in one rude clash he struck the lyre, and swept with hurried hands the strings.
Read the following in the low key.]
With woful measures wan Despair— low, sullen sounds his grief beguiled :—a solemn, strange and mingled air :-—'t was sad by fits, by starts 't was wild.
[Read the following in the middle key.]
But thou, oh Hope! with eyes so fair, what was thy delighted measure ? Still it whispered promised pleasure, and bade the lovely scenes at distance hail ! [Read with the high key] But, with a frown, Revenge impatient rose. He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down; and, with a withering look, the war-denouncing trumpet took, and blew a blast so loud and dread, were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe. And ever and anon he beat the doubling drum, with furious heat: [Low key, very slowly.] and though, sometimes, each dreary pause between, dejected Pity, at his side, her soul-subduing voice applied, [High key, rapidly.] yet still he kept his wild, unaltered mien, while each strained ball of sight seemed bursting from his head.
[It is important that the reader should practice a change or transition of the voice from loud and forcible utterance to a softer and lower tone ; and from rapid to slow pronunciation. In this lesson he is presented with a few examples in which such a change of manner is required.]
[Softly and slowly.) An hour passed on. The Turk awoke. That bright dream was his last. [More loudly.] He woke to hear the sentry's shriek, [Very loud and rapid.] “To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!” [Slowly and softly.] He woke to die midst flame and smoke, and shout, and groan, and sabre stroke, and [Faster and louder.] death-shots falling thick and fast, as lightnings from the mountain cloud ; [Still louder.] and heard, with voice as trumpet loud, Bozzaris cheer his band; [Very loud, rapidly, and with much animation.] Strike — till the last armed foe expires! - Strike -- for your altars and your fires! Strike for the green graves of your sires! - God and your native land !
[In a softer and slower manner.] They fought, like brave men, long and well, — they piled that ground with Moslem slain, - they conquered – [Very slowly, and in a mournful manner.] but Bozzaris fell, bleeding at every vein.
[Slowly and with feeling.] O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! Then I, and you, and all of us fell down, [Loudly and with emphasis.] while bloody treason flourished
[Softly and slowly.] 0, now you weep, and I perceive you feel the dint of pity: — these are gracious drops. Kind souls! [Quickly, louder, and with strong emphasis.] What, weep you
when you but behold our Cæsar's VESTURE wounded ? [Very loudly and earnestly.] Look ye here ! - here is HIMSELF marred, as you see, by traitors !
[In an animated manner.] The combat deepens -- [Very loud, rapidly, and with much energy.) On, ye brave, who rush to glory, or the grave! Wave, Munich, all thy banners wave; and charge with all thy chivalry.
[In a slow, solemn and mournful manner.] Ah, few shall part where many meet! The snow shall be their windingsheet, and every turf beneath their feet shall be a soldier's sepulchre.
Elliptical Sentences. An Ellipsis means an omission ; and when anything is omitted, or purposely left out, it is said that there is an ellipsis in the sentence, and the sentence is called an elliptical sentence.
Elliptical sentences occur very frequently ; and it is necessary, in reading such sentences, to supply, in our minds, all that is omitted, in order to give the proper tone, accent, emphasis, and expression. Thus, in the following questions, — “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind ?” - there is an ellipsis or omission of the words “ did you go out to see ;” and when these words are supplied, the questions will be, “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? Did you go out to see a reed shaken by the wind ?”
Elliptical sentences must always be read in the same manner, with the same emphasis, tone, accent and expression, that they would be if the ellipses were supplied.
In every elliptical sentence, a pause should be made, at every ellipsis, long enough to pronounce, or rather to think over, the words which are omitted.
In the following sentences, the ellipsis is supplied in Italic letters, in the form of a parenthesis. Let them first be read as they stand, and then with the omission of those parts which are in Italic letters.
What sought they thus afar? (Did they seek) Bright jewels of the inine? (Did they seek) The wealth of seas ? (or) the spoils of war? (No, they did not seek either of these, but) They sought a faith's pure shrine.
What, then, would it be reasonable to expect from the fanciful tribe, from the musicians and poets, of such a region ? (Would it be reasonable to expect) Strains expressive of joy, tranquillity, or the softer passions ? No; their style must have been better suited to their circumstances.