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FIRST-CLASS STANDARD READER.
PRINCIPLES OF ELOCUTION.
ON READING POETRY.
** The Lessons of this Part contain much that the memory should be repeatedly refreshed with ; and they have been constructed and arranged to serve as Reading Exercises, either after some of the simpler Exercises of Part II., or before, according to the capacity of pupils.
1. The ability to read aloud in an easy and agreeable manner ought to rank first among the physical and intellectual accomplishments of the young. Apart from the service it may enable us to render to others, is the benefit to health which the habit of exercising the voice, under proper restrictions, may afford. “Reading aloud, and recitation,” says Dr. Combe,“ are more useful and invigorating muscular exercises than is generally imagined.”
2. To attain a good elocutionary delivery, the articulation must be firm and complete, the pronunciation correct, the modulation or management of the voice appropriate, and the expression animated and sympathetic. In proportion as these conditions are complied with, the delivery will be distinct, significant, and impressive. Audibleness depends less on & loud voice than on a clear and faithful articulation.
3. It will thus be seen that there are three stages of advancement for the pupil. In the first, his attention is confined to the mechanical effort of uttering letters, syllables and words, with precision and ease ; in the second, which presupposes the first, he utters sentences according to their grammatical significance ; and in the third, which presupposes the first and second, he imparts the highest degree of expression and effect to what he delivers.
4. Orthoëpy, a word derived from the Greek orthon (upright) and èpo (I speak), signifies the right utterance of words. Orthoëpy determines words, and deals with language as it is spoken; orthography determines the correct spelling of words, and deals with language as it is written. Orthography addresses itself to the eye, Orthoëpy to the ear. Orthoëpy includes Articulation.
5. An articulate sound, from articŭlus, a Latin word for joint, is properly a sound which is preceded or followed by the closing of the organs of speech, or bringing some parts of the mouth in contact. A Consonant is, in the strict sense, an Articulation, or an Articulate Sound ; but, in use, the term is extended to Vowel sounds.
6. In anatomy the term articulation signifies the connection of the bones of the skeleton by joints. In Orthoëpy it may signify, in addition to its more extended meaning, the proper connection, in utterance, of the joints or syllables of words. Thus, in the words ap-pe-tite, gov-er-nor, we are directed by Articulation to pronounce every syllable distinctly, instead of fusing the second into the first, and pronouncing the words as if they were written thus : aptite, govnor. Articulation regulates the enunciation of letters also ; thus it directs us to give its proper sound to the h in such words as whale, what, which, shriek, shrunk, shrill, &c., where the sound of the italicized letter is often improperly dropped.
7. “In just articulation,” says Austin,“ the words are not hurriel over, nor melted together ; they are neither abridged nor prolonged ; they are not swallowed, nor are they shot from the mouth ; neither are they trailed, and then suffered to drop unfinished ; but they are delivered from the lips as beautiful coins are issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, sharp, perfectly finished.”
8. Without a clear and accurate articulation, no person can give proper effect to language in the delivery. Precipitancy in speech, which drops some syllables and pronounces others too faintly, is the most common cause of a defective articulation. It must not, however, be supposed that a proper rapiility of utterance is inconsistent with distinctness. A habit of undue precision and deliberation in enunciating is quite as offensive as the haste which confounds syllables and words. But the extreme of speaking too fast is the more common fault. To pronounce with accuracy and completeness, even though it be slowly, is the first thing to be studied.
9. An indistinct articulation is often the result of mere indolence or inattention. There must be energetic muscular action of the vocal organs, or your utterance will become inanimate and ineffective. A full inhalation of the breath, a vigorous expulsion of it, a steady exercise of the muscles called into play, are all essential to the attainment of a good delivery.
10. In commencing a course of reading exercises, it will be well to revive our recollections of the first principles of elocution. In doing this, we will consider, first, the simple elementary sounds produced for the utterance of the English language. These sounds must be thoroughly understood, and correctly practised, before the complicate sounds flowing from them into speech can be enunciated with ease, propriety, and force.
QUESTIONS.-2. What is necessary to a good elocution ? 4. What is the distinction between Orthoepy and Orthography ? 5, 6. What is an Articulate Sound ? Explain the derivation of the word articulate. 8. What is the most common cause of a bad articular tion! 9. Mention another cause.
SOUNDS AND LETTERS.
11. The primary division of our articulate sounds is into Vowels and Consonants. The Vowels, that is, the Vowel Letters, are a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w and y, which last two are called Semi-Vowels or Half-Vowels. A, o, u, and w, represent the broad Vowel Sounds ; e, i, and y, the small Vowel Sounds.
12. The Consonants, that is, the Consonant Letters, are pb, fv, td, kg, sz; h; l, m, n, r;j, c, 9, X, and sometimes w and y. Here we have, first, the representatives of those consonant sounds allied in the manner of formation or utterance, and called Cognate, from two Latin words, con and nascor, signifying related by birth. These sounds are arranged in pairs, because of their relationship. Then we have the Aspirate h, which simply represents a breathing sound, as in hap, hold. Thirdly, we have the Liquids l, m, n, r; and lastly, the double letter j, with the redlundant signs C, 1, and r.
13. There is another classification of Consonants, sometimes adopted. It has reference to the organs by which they are uttered, whether chiefly by the lips, the teeth, or the palate. B, p, f, v, and m, have been called Labials. D, 1, 3, 2, j, and g (this last when equivalent to j), and c when equivalent to s, have been called Dentals. K, S, r, l, and c (this last when equivalent to k), have been called Palatals. Kand g are sometimes called Gutturals, from the Latin worl guttur, the gullet or throat. S and z are also sometimes called Sibilants, from the Latin word sibilans hissing), in consequence of the hissing sound attending their production. M and n are also callel Nusals, from their relations to the nose ; I and T, Linguals, from their relations to the tongue.
14. In Dr. Rush's classification, there are, I. Twelve Tonic sounds, ag represented in the Vowels and Diphthongs of the following words · A-11, z-rt, a-n, a-le, ou-r, i-sle, 0-ld, ee-1, 00-ze, e-rr, e-nd, i-n. These twelve