« PreviousContinue »
The rising slide, on the contrary, as it occurs in an emphatic series of direct questions, rises higher on each particular, as it proceeds.
RULE X. Emphatic repetition requires the falling slide.
Whatever inflection is given to a word, in the first instance, when that word is repeated with stress, it demands the falling slide. Thus in Julius Cæsar, Cassius says;
You wròng ine every way, you wròng me, Brutus. The word wrong is slightly emphatic, with the falling slide, in the first clause; but in the second, it requires a double or triple force of voice, with the same slide on a higher note, to express the meaning strongly. But the principle of this rule is more apparent still, when the repeated word changes its inflection. Thus I ask one at a distance, Are you going to Boston? If he tells me that he did not hear my question, I repeat it with the other slide, Are you going to Bòston? *
Rule XI. The final pause requires the falling slide.
That dropping of the voice which denotes the sense to be finished, is so commonly expected by the ear, that the worst readers make a cadence of some sort, at the close of a sentence. In respect to this, some general faults may be guarded against, though it is not possible to tell in absolute terms what a good cadence is, because, in different circumstances, it is modified by different principles of elocution. The most common fault in the cadence of bad speakers, consists in dropping the voice too uniformnly to the
out too much risk of an artificial habit, unless it be this one, that the voice should rise at the last pause before the cadence; and even this may be superseded by emphasis.
* In colloquial language, the point I am illustrating is quite familiar to every ear. The teacher.calls a pupil by name in the rising inflection, and not being heard, repeats the call in the falling.
The answer to such a call, if it is a mere response, is “ Sir ;”—if it expresses doubt, it is “ Sir." A question that is not understood is repeated with a loud: er voice and a change of slide : “ Is this your book? Is this your boòk ?" Little children with their first elements of speech, make this distinction perfectly.
same note. The next consists in dropping it too much. The next, in dropping it too far from the end of the sentence, or beginning the cadence too soon; and another still consists in that feeble and indistinct manner of closing sentences, which is common to men unskilled in managing the voice.
We should take care also to mark the difference between that downward turn of the voice which occurs at the falling slide in the middle of a sentence, and that which occurs at the close. The latter is made on a lower note, and if emphasis is absent, with less spirit than the former; As, “ This heavenly benefactor claims, not the homage of our lips, but of our hearts; and who can doubt that he is entitled to the homage of our hcàrts.” Here the word hearts has the same slide in the middle of the sentence as at the close. Though it has a much lower note in the latter case than in the former.
It must be observed too that the final pause does not always require a cadence. When the strong emphasis with the falling slide comes near the end of a sentence, it turns the voice upward at the
If we have no regard to our own character, we ought to have some regard to the character of others.” “You were paid to fight against Alexander, not to ráil at him.” This is a departure from a general rule of elocution; but it is only one case among many, in which emphasis asserts its supremacy over any other principle, that interferes with its claims. Indeed, any one, who has given but little attention to this point, would be surprised to observe accurately, how often sentences are closed, in conversation, without any proper cadence; the voice being carried to a high note, on the last word, sometimes with the falling, and sometimes with the rising slide.
close ; as,
Circumflex. Rule XII. The circumflex occurs chiefly where the language is either hypothetical or ironical.
The most common use of it is to express, indefinitely or conditionally, some idea that is contrasted with another idea, expressed or understood, to which the falling slide belongs; thus;-Hume said he would go twenty miles, to hear Whitefield preach. The contrast suggested by the circumflex here is; though he would take no pains to hear a common preacher.
You ask a physician concerning your friend who is dangerously sick, and receive this reply.—He is bětter. The circumflex denotes only a partial, doubtful amendment, and implies But he is still danger. ously sick. The same turn of voice occurs in the following example, on the word importunity.
“ Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth."
This circumflex, when indistinct, coincides nearly with the rising slide; when distinct, it denotes qualified affirmation instead of that which is positive as marked by the falling slide.
Accent is a stress laid on particular syllables, to promote harmony and distinctness of articulation. The syllable on which accent shall be placed, is determined by custom; and that without any regard to the meaning of words, except in these few cases.
Where the same word in form, has a different sense, according to the seat of the accent; as, des'ert, (a wilderness) desert', (merit).—Or the accent may distinguish between the same word used as a noun or an adjective; as com'pact, (an agreement) compact', (close). Or it may distinguish the noun from the verb, thus: Abstract to abstract
ex'port to export The seat of accent may be transposed by emphasis; as, He must increase, but I must decrease. This corruptible must put on incorruption. What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ?
The accented syllable of a word is always uttered with a LOUDER note than the rest. When the syllable has the rising inflection, the slide continues upward till the word is finished; so that when several syllables of a word follow the accent, they rise to a higher note than that which is accented ; and when the accented syllable is the last in a word, it is also the highest. But when the accented syllable has the falling slide, it is always struck with a higher note than any other syllable in that word.
Thus ;-rising slide.
Did he dare to propose such interrog
Here the slide which begins on róg, continues to rise on the three fol. lowing syllables ; but, in the question, Will you go today? the same slide terminates with the syllable on which it begins.
In the falling slide, thus;
Emphasis is governed by the laws of sentiment, being inseparably associated with thought and emotion. It is the most important principle, by which elocution is related to the operations of mind. Hence when it stands opposed to the claims of custom or of harmony, these always give way to its supremacy.
Now I presume that every one, who is at all accustomed to accurate observation on this subject, must be sensible how very little this grand principle is regarded in forming our earliest habits of elocution; and therefore how hopeless are all efforts to correct what is wrong in these habits, without a just knowledge of emphasis.
What then is emphasis? It is a distinctive utterance of words, which are especially significant, with such a degree and kind of stress, as conveys their meaning in the best
1 According to this definition, I would include the whole subject under emphatic stress and emphatic inflection.
Sect. 1.-Emphatic Stress. This consists chiefly in the loudness of the note, but includes also the time in which important words are uttered. A good reader or speaker, when he utters a word on
which the meaning of a sentence is suspended, spontaneously dwells on that word, according to the intensity of its meaning. The significance and weight which he thus attaches to words that are important, is a very different thing from the abrupt and jerking emphasis, which is often witnessed in a bad delivery.
It is generally true that a subordinate rank belongs to particles, and to all those words which merely express some circumstance of a thought. And when a word of this sort is raised above its relative importance, by an undue stress in pronunciation, we perceive a violence done to other words of more significance. Thus;
Show pity, Lord, O Lord, forgive,
Let a repenting rebel live. But to show that emphasis attaches itself not to the part of speech, but to the meaning of a word, let one of these little words become important in sense, and then it demands a correspondent stress of voice; as:
“ Then said the high priest, are these things so ?” Again;
" Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus." This sentence, with a moderate stress on Ephesus, implies that the Apostle meant to stop there; just as a common phrase, “the ship is going to Holland by Liverpool,”-implies that she will touch at the latter place.
But an emphatic stress on by expresses the true sense, namely that he did not mean to stop there, thus; “ Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus.”
In the case that follows too, we see how the meaning of a sentence often depends on the manner in which we utter one short word. of the servants of the high priest, (being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off,) saith, did not I see thee in the garden with him?” Now if we utter this, as most readers do, with a stress on kinsman, and a short pause after it, we make the sentence affirm that the man whose ear Peter cut off was kinsman to the high priest, which was not the fact. But a stress upon his, makes this servant, kinsman to another man, who received the wound.