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and nature will generally teach him to read thern cor rectly,-and among other things, to make the proper pauses and inflections. If anything farther be require ed, let the instructer read each sentence just as he would talk it, and require the pupil to imitate his manner.
Still, however, as nature itself is frequently perverted, and many fall unconsciously into the habit of reading in a mechanical manner, a few directions relative to emphasis and inflection, those grand essentials of good reading, may be of use to some instructers, which are accordingly given; directions, which it is confidently believed, will, on a careful examination, be found to accord with the usual modes of conversation among the learned and unlearned, the vulgar and polite.
There are two simple inflections, the rising and the falling inflection. The rising inflection is that which is heard in the word well, in the following question, and is marked with the character, which is there observed over the vowel e, and is called the rising, or the acute accent. Are you wéll ? The falling inflection is that which is heard in the word do, in this question, "What shall we dò ?' and is marked with the grave or falling accent, as the reader may see. These two inflections are sometimes united in the same syllable, and are called a circumflex, in which there is first a moderate fall and then a rise, and which may be well denoted by the character, which is placed over the vowel e in the wu. east, in the following example : « The sun sets in the west, not in the čast.' In pronouncing the word east, we first fall, and then rise ; and the same should be ohserved in all the lessons in this book, where the character occurs. When the word consists of more than one syllable, unless the accent be on the last, the circumflex is changed, or separated into the two simple inflections, viz, the falling inflection, on the accented syllable, and the rising inflection, on the last syllable of the word; thus, 'He lives in Boston, not in Cambridge.'
When, therefore, this character' is seen over a word, the voice should be raised ; that is, it should slide upward. Where this character is observed, there
should be a fall, or downward slide. Where this char acter occurs, we should first fall and then rise. In all cases, however, we should be cautious not to rise or fall too much. This would produce what is called a tone or a whine, and is extremely vulgar. In a definite question, or one which can be answered by yes, or no, the most emphatic word, as well as the last word, requires the rising inflection; as, We ought to love our enemies; and dó we love them ? In all other sentences the most emphatic words have the falling inflection; as,
Blessed are the mèrciful, for they shall obtain mercy:' What reward have ye?' Accordingly, all words in definite questions, which in this book are marked with the rising accent, and all in other sentences, which are marked with a falling accent, are to be pronounced em phatically. Those words, too, which are marked with a circumflex, require a moderate emphasis. The emphatical words, however, are not all marked, but only a few, for the purpose of suggesting the modes of reading, which are to be observed in all similar cases.
The leading design of this compilation, is to introduce the child, by an easy and gradual progress, to an a quaintance with the most important words; to an acquaintance with their meaning, as well as their visible forms, that he may early acquire a taste for reading and be incomparably more capable of oral instruction, than he would otherwise be. With this view the ex ercises in general have been so selected and arranged. as to bring forward a moderate number of new words. in each lesson. These words are defined and illustrated with all convenient simplicity; and the definitions should be made familiar to learners, before they read the following lessons, and afterward they should be reviewed again and again, till they are permanently fixed in their minds.
In some of the conversations, the principal subject is the right use of words; but in these, it is hoped. the sentences will be found so constructed, as to afford a good exercise for the voice in reading.
Other lessons, while they illustrate the use of words, and train the eye and the voice to reading, are calculat
ed to correct and form the manners, to inculcate moral sentiments, or to store the mind with a variety of interesting and useful information.
The author pretends to no great originality, either in ! the design, or the execution. He hopes, however, that some material improvements have been made on the best books of the kind before extant.
In conclusion of this preface, the author would devoutly commend this little book, such as it is, to the blessing of that God, whose benevolent design it is humbly intended to promote.
September 15, 1827.
Conversation between a Mother and her Son, by the name of
Mother. I hope, my son, you have been very happy at school to day.
Philo. Not quite so happy, my dear mother, as if I had understood my lèsson better. You have often told me, that when I read or hear a word, which I do not understand, I should ask the meaning of it, or else look for it in the dictionary.
I wish I could remember one half of the hard words, I had in my lesson to dáy. •One such word makes such nonsense of all the rest, that I cannot bear it. I hate such lessons. I am sick of them.
If I look in the dictionary, the meaning is often harder, than the word itself; and