Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

With some difficulty these lines may be deciphered to mean as follows;

Here rests his head upon the lap of earth,

A youth to fortune and to fame unknown,
Fair science frowned not on his humble birth,

And melancholy marked him for her own.
The learner will recollect, that in correcting a fault, there is
always danger of erring in the opposite extreme. Now, pro-
perly speaking, there is no danger of learning to articulate too
distinctly, but there is danger of contracting a habit of drawl-
ing, and of pronouncing unimportant words with too much pro-
minence. This should be carefully guarded against. It is a
childish fault, but is not always confined to children.

Questions. - What subject is first in importance to the reader? Repeat the general direction. Repeat the first Rule. Give some examples in which the vowel is left out. Give some in which is improperly sounded. In correcting these errors, what fault is it necessary to guard against? What is the second Rule ?

SECTION III.

[ocr errors]

INFLECTIONS.

1. Definitions and Examples. INFLECTION is a bending or sliding of the voice either upward or downward.

The upward or rising inflection is marked by the acute accent, thus, ( 0); and in this case the voice is to slide upward; as, Did you

call'? Is he sick'? The downward or falling inflection is marked by the grave accent, thus, (1); and indicates that the voice is to slide downward; as, Where is London'? Where have

you

been'? Who has come!?

Sometimes both the rising and falling inflection are given to the same sound. Such sounds are designated by the circumflex, thus, (-), or (-). The former is called the rising circumflex, because it ends with the rising inflection; the latter the falling circumflex, because it ends with the falling inflection.

When several successive syllables are uttered without either the upward or downward slide, they are said to be uttered in a monotone, which is marked thus, (-).

EXAMPLES.

Does he read correctly', or incorrectly? In reading this sentence, the voice should slide somewhat as represented in the following diagram:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Did he do it voluntarily', or involuntarily'?
To be read thus:

[blocks in formation]

He did it voluntarily', not involuntarily'.
To be read thus :

[blocks in formation]

involuntarily.

He did it

It is important that these inflections should be familiar to the ear of the learner. In the following questions, the first member has the rising, and the second member, the falling inflection.

Is he sick, or is he well!?
Is he young', or is he old' ?
Is he rich', or is he poor' ?
Did you say valor, or value' ?
Did you say statute', or statuel ?

Did he act properly', or improperly'? In the following answers to these questions, the inflections are used in a contrary order, the first member terminating with the falling, and the second, with the rising inflection.

He is well!, not sick'.
He is young', not old'.
He is rich', not poor'.
I said value', not valor'.
I said statue', not statute'.

He acted properly', not improperly'. These slides of the voice are sometimes very slight, so as to be scarcely perceptible, but at other times, when the words are pronounced in an animated tone, and strongly emphasized, the voice passes upward or downward through several notes. This will readily be perceived, by pronouncing the above questions or answers with a strong emphasis.

Questions.-What are inflections? How does the voice slide in the rising inflection? How in the falling? Explain their use in the questions given as examples. What is the circumflex? Explain the difference between the rising and the falling circumflex. Explain the different inflections, in the questions commencing with • Is he sick, or is he well ?" Explain them in the answers to these questions. Are these inflections always very plainly perceived? When are they most readily perceived ?

2. Falling Inflection. RULE I.-The falling inflection is generally proper, wherever the sense is complete; as,

Truth is more wonderful than fiction'.
Men generally die as they live!

By industry, we obtain wealth'. The falling of the voice at the close of a sentence is sometimes called a cadence, and properly speaking, there is a slight difference between it and the falling inflection, but for all practical purposes they may be considered as one and the same. It is of some importance, and requires attention to be able to close a sentence gracefully. The ear, however, is the best guide on this point.

Parts of a sentence often make complete sense in themselves, and in this case, unless qualified or restrained by the succeeding clause, or unless the contrary is indicated by some other principle, the falling inflection takes place, according to the rule; as,

Truth is wonderful', even more so than fiction!

Men generally die as they live', and by their lives we must judge of their character'.

By industry we obtain wealth', and persevering exertion will seldom be unrewarded!

Exception 1. When a sentence concludes with a negative clause, or with a contrast or comparison, (called also antithesis,) the first member of which requires the falling inflection, it must close with the rising inflection. Se Rule VIII. Examples. No one desires to be thought a fool'.

I come to bury' Cæsar, not to praise him.
If we care not for others', we ought at least to respect ourselves'.

He lives in England', not in France'. In bearing testimony to the general character of a man, we say,

He is too honorable to be guilty of a vile act'. But if he is accused of some act of baseness, a contrast is, at once, instituted between his character and the specified act, and we change the inflection, and say,

He is too honorable' to be guilty of such' an act. A man may say in general terms,

I am too busy' for projects'. But if he is urged to embark in some particular enterprise, he will change the inflection, and say,

I am too busy for projects'. In such cases, as the falling inflection is required in the former part, by the principle of emphasis, (as will hereafter be more fully explained,) contrast renders necessary the rising inflection at the close.

Sometimes also, emphasis alone, seems to require the rising inflection on the concluding word. See exception to Rule II.

Exception 2. As a sentence generally ends with the falling inflection, harmony seems to require, that the last but one should be the rising inflection. Such, in fact, is the very common custom of speakers, even though this part of the sentence, where the rising inflection would fall, should form complete sense. This principle may, therefore, be considered as sometimes giving authority for exception to the rule. This may be illustrated by the following sentence. According to the Rule, it would be read thus;

Hearken to thy father who hath cherished' thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old'.

But according to the principle stated in the exception, it would be read thus;

Hearken to thy father who hath cherished thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old!

If the two words only, “cherished” and “old,” receive an inf ction, the latter perhaps would be the correct reading, but let the word “mother” receive the rising inflection, and the two principles no longer conflict with each other. It would then be read as follows.

Hearken to thy father who hath cherished thee, and despise not thy mo ther' when she is old'.

In many cases, however, it may be necessary that one or the other of these principles should give way. Which of them should yield, in any given case, must depend upon the construction of the sentence, the nature of the style and subject, and often, upon the taste of the speaker.

RULE II. The language of emphasis inclines to the use of the falling inflection.

EXAMPLES. 1. Imperative Mood.

The combat deepens : On', ye brave,
Who rush to glory or the grave!
Wave', Munich, all thy bann wave!!
Did ye not hear it? — No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street ;
On' with the dance ! let joy be unconfined'.
Charge', Chester, charge', On', Stanley, on'!
Were the last words of Marmion.

« AnteriorContinuar »