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THE NEW AMERICAN
PRINCIPLES OF ELOCUTION.
1. Pronunciation. By Pronunciation we understand the exact employment, in utterance, of the proper vowel and consonant sounds and accents; but in its broader sense Pronunciation also includes elocution and the right delivery of sentences.
2. Among the most common errors in the pronunciation of words is the omission of one or more elements; as in sen's for sends, fac's for facts, promp's for prompts, sof'ly for softly, histry for history, etc.
3. Do not substitute one sound for another; as in saying set for sit, jest for just, yit for yet, sullar for cellar, crik for creek, srill for shrill, wen for when, mornin' for morning, feller for fellow, heerd for heard, herth for hearth (the ea as in heart), etc.
4. Of words ending in -el, -en, -in or -on, those in which the unaccented vowel ought to be sounded, as in chicken, civil, tendon, etc., should be discriminated from those in which it ought to be silent, as in often (of'n), heaven (hev'n), soften (sof'n), even (e'vn), cousin (kuz'n), etc.
5. Do not interpose a vowel sound between or s and m in such words as elm, helm, chasm, etc., as if they were elum, chasum.
6. Smooth should not be trilled, as in saying for-r-rm for form; nor should it be suppressed, as in saying faw for for, nus for nurse, fust for first, wus for worse; nor sounded where it does not properly belong, as in saying lawr for law.
7. Words in which the digraph th has its aspirate sound, as in thin, should be discriminated from those where it has its vocal sound, as in breathe, beneath, with, etc.
8. Do not interpose the sound of e long after the consonants k and hard, preceding the sound of i, as if kind were ke-ind, or guide, gee-ide.
9. Do not pervert the sound of ou (as in bound, now) into ecow or aow, as if cow were kaow, and county, kaounty.
10. The pure sound of oi must not be changed into long i, as if joint were jint, or oyster, ister.
11. When a word ends with s, and the next begins with s, the sounds must be distinctly separated; as, "The hosts still fought"; "The mists seem gathering," etc.
12. Do not pervert the sound of aw into or; do not say drorring for drawing, sorring for sawing, etc.
13. Accent. By Accent we mean the stress of the voice on a certain syllable of a word of more than one syllable. We show this stress by a mark, thus ('); as, ex'ple-tive, mu-seʼum, con-tra-dict'.
14. Several words which are spelled alike, as nouns and verbs, and appear the same when written or printed, are distinguished, when spoken, by a difference of accent; as, a reb'el, to re-bel'; an in'sult, to in-sult'.
15. Emphasis. As accent is the stress of the voice upon a certain syllable of a word, so Emphasis is the stress on a certain word of a sentence. Thus the words in italic in the following passage should be emphasized: "I do not ask, I demand, your attention."
16. The sense of a sentence often depends on the right placing of the emphasis. Thus, in the sentence, "Did you give him a ripe orange?" the direct meaning may be taken in seven different ways. according as the emphasis is bestowed on the seven words separately. We sometimes indicate emphatic words in print by putting them in italic.
17. Pause. Pauses are suspension of the voice in delivery Slight pauses, in reading, must often be made at places where there are no punctuation marks, thus: "The general who commanded the army was slain." Here there should be a slight pause after army, although there is no punctuation mark.
18. Inflection. Inflection is the change of tone suitable for the expression of certain ideas. In the question, "Was it John, or was it James?" we perceive there is a very decided difference in the tone which we apply to the utterance of the two names. The one is the Rising inflection, the other the Falling inflection.
19. In every part of a discourse, this upward or downward slide of the voice suggests either that the speaker has not or has finished the
20. The upward or Rising inflection is usually indicated by an acute accent ('), and the downward or Falling inflection by the grave accent ().
21. The Rising inflection is that tone which we give to what is in
complete or suspended; as, "Did he say No'?" It is the tone of doubt or entreaty.
22. The pause of suspension, in incomplete sentences, denoting that the sense is unfinished, generally takes the Rising inflection; as, "The young', the healthy and the prosperous' should not presume on their advantages\."
23. The Falling inflection is the tone of completeness and determination. Whenever the sense is complete, whether at the close or any other part of a sentence, the Falling inflection should be employed; as, "Live well.” - “ As you value peace of mind, cultivate the love of truth; be always direct and consistent`."
24. Indirect questions, or those commencing with an adverb or pronoun, and which cannot be grammatically answered by a simple yes or no, generally take the Falling inflection; and so do the answers to such questions, as, "Where is he going?"-"I don't know`."
25. When exclamatory sentences become questions, or are expressive of tender emotions, they usually take the Rising inflection; as, "They planted by your care'?"”—“O my son Absalom'!" But passion and emphasis break through all the rules that can be laid down for inflection.
26. When the indirect question is not understood, and a repetition is required, it takes the Rising inflection; as, "Whose book is it?"66 Mine."—" "Whose, did you say?"
27. Language of deep emotion, of authority, surprise, denunciation or terror, generally takes the Falling inflection; as, "Me miserable!" "What a piece of work is a man`!"
28. Words and clauses connected by the disjunctive or generally require the Rising inflection before and the Falling after them; as, "Shall we go' or stay?"
29. Circumflex. The Circumflex is a combination of the two inflections. The Falling, followed by the Rising, may be indicated to the eye thus (~); the Rising, followed by the Falling, thus (^). These tones are used in the language of irony and derision, or of contrast. We have examples of both in the following: "Hear him, my lord; he is wondrous côndescênding."
30. Monotone. When no inflection is used, a monotone, or sameness of tone, is produced. This, though generally to be avoided, is sometimes appropriate, especially in sublime or solemn passages.
31. Parenthesis. Parenthetical sentences require the tone to be somewhat monotonous, and the rate of utterance rather more rapid than in the principal sentence. The parenthesis also requires a slight pause both before and after it; as, "He said (and I believed him) the enemy were ten thousand strong."
EXAMPLES OF EMPHASIS.
1. Shall we walk to-day, or ride?
2. You are here to fight, not to rail.
3. What they learn in books, I learn in action.
4. I said an older soldier, not a better.
5. 'Tis easier to preach than to practice.
6. Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?
7. They, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder and extended rule; we, for our country, our altars and our homes.
8. Gone to be married? Gone to swear a peace?
False blood to false blood joined? Gone to be friends?
9. You say that you have bought the country. Bought it! Yes. Of whom? Of the poor trembling natives, who knew refusal would be vain. 10. Must we but weep o'er days more blest? Must we but blush ?-Our fathers bled.
11. Hereditary bondmen, know ye not
Who would be free THEMSELVES must strike the blow?
12. An hour passed on-the Turk awoke;
That bright dream was his last;
He woke to hear his sentry's shriek,
To arms! They come! The Greek! The GREEK!
13. If thou dost slander her, and torture me,
Never pray more; abandon all remorse;
Do deeds to make Heaven weep, all earth amazed.
14. When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
15. Did not the Sibyl say a fool should set Rome free? I am that fool. Brutus bids Rome be free! On, Romans, on! The fool shall set you free.
16. Here, soldiers, you must either conquer or die. There is nothing left to us but our swords. There is no alternative but victory or death; and if it must be death, who would not rather encounter it in battle than in flight?
17. Is't death to fall for Freedom's right?—
And murder sullies, in Heaven's sight,
What can alone ennoble fight?
A noble cause!
18. Let the consequences be what they will, I am careless. No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer or if he fall in defense of the liberties and constitution of his country.
19. Without Union, our independence and liberty would never have been achieved; without Union, they can never be maintained.
20. Let him go. I remain. I am where I ever have been, and ever mean to be. Here, standing on the platform of the general Constitution -a platform broad enough and firm enough to uphold every interest of the whole country-I shall still be found.
21. I go; but not to leap the gulf alone.
I go; but, when I come, 'twill be the burst
22. We must forget all feelings save the one;
23. With dying hand, above his head
He shook the fragment of his blade,
"Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on !”
24. A day, an hour of virtuous liberty
Is worth a whole ETERNITY in bondage.
25. He that trusts you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you
EXAMPLES OF INFLECTION.
1. Have ye not known'? Have ye not heard'?
2. Hath it not been told you from the begin'ning?
3. Where shall we go? What shall we do?
4. Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in the shape of a camel'?
5. Officers', soldiers', friends', Americans', our country must be free'.
6. Does the President deserve praise' or blame?
7. Can youth', or strength', or honor', or pleasure', satisfy the soul'?