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DIRECTIONS FOR READING.*
SECTION I. PRELIMINARY REMARKS. . In reading before a circle of auditors, the object to be accomplished is, to convey to the hearer, fully and clearly, the ideas and feelings of the writer. In order to do this, it is necessary that these should be thoroughly understood by the reader. This is an essential point. It is true, the words may be pronounced, as traced upon the page, and, if they are audibly and distinctly uttered, they will be heard, and in some degree
understood, and, in this way, a general and feeble idea of the • author's meaning may be obtained.
Ideas received in this manner, however, bear the same resemblance to the reality, that the dead body does to the living spirit. There is no soul in them. The author is stripped of all the grace and beauty of life, of all that expression and feeling, which constitute the soul of his subject.
Such readers, with every conceivable grace of manner, with the most perfect melody of voice, and with all other advantages combined, can never attain the true standard of excellence in this accomplishment. The golden rule here is, that the reader must be in earnest. The ideas and feelings of the author whose language is read, must be fully understood and realized, and then only, can they be properly expressed.
In accordance with this view, a preliminary rule of great importance is the following.
RULE.- Before attempting to read a lesson, the learner should become well acquainted with the subject, as treated of in that lesson, and endeavor to imbibe fully, for the time being, the feelings and sentiments of the writer.
For this purpose, every lesson should be well studied beforehand, and no scholar should be permitted to attempt to read any
These “ Directions for Reading” are taken, with some modification, from McGuffey's Eclectic Reader, for which they were prepared by the compiler of this work.
thing, until it is thoroughly understood. The best speakers and readers are those who follow the impulse of nature as felt in their own hearts, or most closely imitate it as observed in others. Let the reader, then, enter fully into the feelings and sentiments, which he is about to express in the language of another, and not only will that listlessness and heaviness which constitute a prominent fault in reading, disappear, but he will be prepared also to give the inflection, emphasis, and modulation most appropriate to the subject.
Questions. What is the chief design of reading? In order to do this, what is first necessary ? Suppose a person reads without understanding the subject, what is the consequence? When is a person qualified to read well? Repeat the Rule. For the purpose of being able to observe this rule, what must be done?
ARTICULATION. THE subject, first in order and in importance, requiring atten. tion, is ARTICULATION. The object to be accomplished, may be expressed by the following general direction.
Give to each letter (except silent letters), to each syllable, and to each word its full, distinct, and appropriate utterance.
For the purpose of avoiding the more common errors under this head, it is necessary to observe the following rules.
RULE I.-- Avoid the omission or improper sound of unaccented vowels, whether they form a syllable, or part of a syllable; as,
Sep’-rate for sep-a-rate;* met-ri-c'l for met-ri-cal; 'pear for ap-pear; comp'tent for com-pe-tent; p'r-cede for pre-cede; 'spe-cial for es-pe-cial; ev’dent for ev-i-dent; moun-t'n for mountain (pro. mount-in); mem’ry for memory; 'pin-ion for o-pin-ion; pr’pose for pro-pose ; gran'lar for gran-u-lar; par-tic'lar for par-tic-u-lar.
In the above instances the unaccented vowel is omitted: it may also be improperly sounded, as in the following examples ;
Sep-er-ate for sep-a-rate; met-ri-cul for met-ri-cal; up-pear for ap-pear; com-per-tunt for com-pe-tent; dum-mand for de-mand; ob-stur-nate for obsti-nate ; mem-er-y for mem-o-ry; up-pin-ion for O-pin-ion; prup-pose for pro-pose; gran-ny-lar for gran-u-lar; par-tic-er-lar for par-tic-u-lar.
*In these examples the italicized letters are those which are liable to be omitted, or sounded improperly
In correcting such errors in words of more than one syllable, it is very important to avoid a fault which is the natural consequence of an effort to articulate correctly. Thus, in endeavoring to sound correctly the a in met'-ri-cal, the pupil is very apt to say met-ri-cal, accenting the last syllable instead of the first. In correcting the sound of o, in pro-pose', it will perhaps be pronounced pro'-pose. This change of the accent and all undue stress upon the unaccented syllable, should be carefully avoided.
RULE II.-Guard particularly against the omission, or the feeble sound of the terminating consonant.
Upon a full and correct sound of the consonants, depends very much, distinctness of utterance. The following are examples of this fault; viz.
An' or un for and; ban’ for band; moun' for mound; morn-in' for morn. ing; dess for desk; moss for mosk; near-es' for near-est ; wep' for wept ; ob-jec' for ob-ject ; &c.
This omission is still more likely to take place, where several consonants come together; as,
Thrus' for thrusts; beace for beasts; thinks' for thinkst; weps' for wepłst; harms for harmst ; wrongs' for wrongd’st; twink-les' for twink-l'ds't ; black’ns' for black’n’dst, &c.
In all cases of this kind, these sounds are omitted, in the first instance, merely because they are difficult, and require care and attention for their utterance, although after a while, it becomes a matter of habit. The only remedy is, to devote that care and attention, which may be necessary. There is no other difficulty, unless there should be a defect in the organs of speech, which does not often happen.
RULE III.-Avoid uniting into one word, syllables which belong to different words.
This fault, when added to that last mentioned, forms perhaps the most fruitful source of error in articulation. The following lines furnish an example.
Here-- res-e-zed upon th’lapper verth,