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§ 30. Inflection, Emphasis, 8c. Inflections are tones of speech produced either by an upward or a downward slide of the voice. In the question, “ Will you go' or stay'?” there is an upward slide of the voice at go and a downward slide at stay. These are called, one the Rising, the other the Falling Inflection. The former may be marked by the acute accent (TM), the latter by the grave accent ().
Besides these, there is the compound inflection, or circumflex, in which the two inflections are united in utterance; a falling or assertive tone being followed by a rising or querulous one, or the reverse taking place; as in uttering, with an ironical expression, such a passage as the following: “ Brade man – to strike a woman! courageous chief !” To indicate the Circumflex, this mark (^) may be used when the falling inflection follows the rising ; and this (v) to denote the reverse.
Direct questions, which can be answered by yes or no, generally take the rising infection; as “Can he read'?” The answers to such questions generally take the falling inflection; as, “He can.”
But questions of a positive character, where we anticipate or take for granted the answer, receive the falling inflection; as in “Is n't she beautiful"?” “Is n't this a lovely day'?”
Indirect questions, and those which cannot be answered by yes or no, generally take the falling inflection, as “ Where is he going?” The reason is, that, the main fact of the sentence being undoubted and taken for granted, there is an implied reference to this which dictates a fall in the tone.
The pause of suspension in incomplete sentences usually takes the rising inflection, while the termination of a sentence making complete sense requires the falling.
The rising inflection is thus associated with what is incomplete in sense, or dependent; with what is relative, doubtful, purely interrogative, or supplicatory; while the falling inflection is associated with what is complete or independent in sense, or intended to be received as such; with whatever is positive, dogmatic, or imperious.
$31. Continuative Tone. The continuative tone, by some writers called “The Slur," is formed by avoiding any marked inflection. It is used for the unemphatic pronunciation of the minor words of a sentence; of those passages which have little relation to the primary sense, or those with which the hearer may be supposed to be pre-acquainted.
A parenthesis, as it is a sentence within a sentence, inust be generally uttered in this continuative tone; that is, it must be kept as clear as possible from the principal sentence, by a lower tone of voice, by accents approaching a level, and generally by a quicker rate of utterance. The power of lowering the voice, and commencing a sentence or clause of a sentence in a different pitch from what preceded, is a qualification indis. pensable to a good reader, and the parenthesis affords the best opportunity for requiring it, because the rule is constant.
Let the learner imagine, in pronouncing the principal sentence, he is to make himself heard at a distance ; — reaching the parenthesis, let him utter it as to some one immediately at hand; and, at its conclusion, again address himself as to a distant auditor. The power of changing the key being thus acquired, it may be employed with propriety and effect, not only at the parenthesis, but wherever there is a manifest transition of thought in passing from clause to clause, or sentence to sentence, and frequently in passing from the suspensive member of long sentences to the conclusive.
$ 32. Monotone. The monotone is an emphatic prolongation of the continuative tone. This, though generally to be avoided, is sometimes appropriate and effective, especially in' sublime or solemn passages, like the following from Job: “In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, fear came upon me and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.”
$ 33. Emphasis. By emphasis is meant that stronger and fuller sound of voice, by which, in reading or speaking, we distinguish the accented syllable, or some word, on which we design to lay particular stress, in order to show how it affects the rest of the sentence. On the right management of the emphasis depend largely the life and spirit of every discourse.
If no emphasis be placed on any word, not only is discourse rendered 'heavy and lifeless, but the meaning left often ambiguous. If the emphasis be placed wrong, we pervert and confound the meaning wholly. In the following question, “Did Brutus kill Cæsar in the Senate?”- we give a different significance to the inquiry, according as we lay the emphasis on Brutus, kill, Cæsar, or Senate.
The only true guide to the proper use of emphasis must then obviously be the good sense of the reader, added to a thorough comprehension of the passage to be read. In earnest conversation even children and illiterate persons emphasize their words aright. Therefore study to make the words and thoughts of the writer your own, if you would bestow your emphasis in a way to bring out all his meaning.
$ 34. Modulation. Modulation is the regulation of the voice as to its pitch, pauses, quality, &c. The degrees of modulative pitch may, for practical purposes, be escimated at three: the Low, the Middle, and the High.
A change of modulation is always necessary to distinguish interrogations from answers ; to introduce quotations; to denote the commencement of a new subject; to express feeling, and changes of sentiment; to distinguish, what is subordinate or parenthetic from what is essential or emphatic.
The degree in which the modulation is changed, and often even the direction of the change, - whether to a higher or lower key, – must depend on the reader's judgment, taste, and temperament.
A good practical rule for the speaker is to begin in a level tone, from which he may easily rise. Some abrupt forms of speech, however, require a high pitch of voice even at the commencement; "as, “How far, O Catiline! wilt thou abuse our patience ?”
Any continued address in the same level of tone should be avoided. Monotony is spiritless. The commencement of a sentence or of a paragraph will afford opportunity for changing the modulation, generally to a lower, but it may be to a higher pitch.
Simple narrative generally requires a medium force and rate of utterance; animated description an increase of both ; violent passions, a greater increase; and tender emotions, a decrease. Pathos and solemnity require a slow movement. Subordinate clauses and sentences, parentheses, similes, &c., are generally pronounced with less force, and in quicker time than the principal members.
Every change of modulation is usually accompanied by a change of Force and Time. As a general principle, it may be stated, that a change to a low tone requires a slighter degree of Force, and a slower degree of Time ; changes to high tones usually require increased degrees of Force and Time.
$ 35. Imitative Modulation. Very frequently, in descriptive reading or speaking, much expressive beauty may be gained by making the sound seem “an echo to the sense.” In all passages where noise or motion is described, where sublime or awful objects are alluded to or represented, or where barshness or gentleness, beauty or deformity, is portrayed, the voice should adopt that peculiar modulation which approaches nearest to the nature of the object represented. To glide, to drive, to swell, to flow, to skip, to whirl, to turn, to rattle, &c., all partake of a peculiar modification of voice.
Read the description of the opening of the gates of hell and of heaven, from Milton:
On a sudden open fly
Heaven opened wide
On golden hinges moving. Abstractedly from the sense, the sound in these two passages speaks their different meaning. Every well-disciplined ear immediately perceives the grating harshness of the former, and the harmonious moving of the latter.
The articulative construction of the most expressive words is often strikingly imitative of the objects they denote, so that the words not only bear, but seem to require, this illustrative effect by the voice.
$36. Force. Force is the volume or loudness of voice used on the same key or pitch, when reading or speaking. Though the degrees of force are numerous, elocutionists generally reduce them to three : loud, moderate, gentle.
No direction can be given for the proper employment of the various degrees of Force : their use is dependent on the meaning of the words spoken, the situation of the supposed speaker, the relative positions and distances of the speaker and hearer, and, principally, on taste and judgment.
$ 37. Time. Modulation includes the consideration of the timo which is proper in the pronunciation of certain passages. Time then treats of sounds with respect to their duration. Solemn discourse requires a slow movement; simple narrative, a medium rate of utterance; animated description, as well as all language expressive of quick or sudden passion, a rapid rate of utterance, varying, however, with the intensity of the emotion; clauses or sentences which are very emphatic should be pronounced in small and distinct emphatic portions ; clauses or sentences which convey a flow of uniform meaning, should have a uniform flow of sound.
$ 38. Pause. There are two kinds of pauses, namely, Grammatical pauses and Rhetorical pauses. Grammatical pauses are denoted by the marks of punctuation, such as the comma, semicolon, colon, period, &c.; but ordinary punctuation is no guide for oratorical pausing. The Rhetorical pauses are those stops made by a reader or speaker, which, though frequently not marked, serve to embellish delivery and give expressiveness to meaning. The effective reader will make many more stops than typography allows.
“Pauses,” says Knowles, "are essential only where the omission would obscure the sense. The orator who, in the act of delivering himself, is studiously solicitous about parceling his words, is sure to leave the best part of his work undone. He delivers words, not thoughts. Deliver thoughts, and words will take care of themselves. Mind is the thing."
Rules for the pause are more likely to embarrass than to help; but the following few hints may prove of some use :
Pause after the nominative, when it consists of more than one word.
Or a pause may be made after a nominative, when consisting only of one word, if it be a word of importance.
2. The fool – hath said in his heart, There is no God. 3. And Nathan said unto David, Thou - art the man.
When a member of a sentence comes between a nominative and a verb, it must be separated from both of them by a short pause.
1. Trials — in this state of being — are the lot of man. 2. Honest endeavors — if persevered in — will finally be successful.
Who, which, when in the nominative case, and the pronoun that, when used for who, or which, require a short pause before them.
1. Death is the season - which brings our affections to the test.
2. A man can never be obliged to submit to any power, unless he can be satisfied — who is the person that has a right to exercise it.
In an elliptical sentence, pause where the ellipsis takes place.
to knowledge — temperance; and to temperance— patience; and to pa. tience — godliness; and to godliness — brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness - charity. Words placed in opposition to each other must be distinguished by a pause.
Some place their bliss in action, some — in ease;
Those – call it pleasure, and contentment — these. Pausing is one of the chief means of expressing emphasis. The hearer's attention is excited, and curiosity awakened for the word which the speaker pauses to introduce; especially when the syntactical construction is such as to admit of no break in ordinary delivery, as in the following passages :
“0, Sir, your ... honesty – is — remarkable.”
Are much condemned to have — an ... itching palm.”
There can be no good reading without frequent, and, sometimes, long pauses. They convey an effect of spontaneity, which rivets the attention; while unbroken fluency, especially in the reading of complex sentences, will never sustain attention, because it is manifestly accompanied with little or no thought on the part of the reader.
Perhaps the readiest mode of acquiring a correct idea of Rhetorical Punctuation, is to consider and pronounce every cluster of words, so intimately connected as to admit of no separation, as one oratorical word. Each oratorical word must be separated from every other, by pauses in speech of greater or less duration. .
8 39. Quality. Quality has reference to the kinds of tone used in reading and speaking. They are the Pure Tone, the Orotund, the Aspirated, the Guttural, and the Trembling.
The Pure Tone is clear, smooth, flowing, accompanied with a middle pitch; and is used to express peace, cheerfulness, and all agreeable, though not vehement, emotions.
The Orotund (from the Latin os, oris, the mouth, and rotundus, round) notes a manner of uttering the elements of speech which conveys them with a fullness, clearness, strength, smoothness, and a ringing or musical quality, rarely heard in ordinary speech. It is the Pure Tone deepened, expanded, and intensified. It is used in energetic and bold forms of speech, and in giving utterance to sentiments grand and dignified. .
The Aspirated Tone is an expulsion of the breath more or less strong. the words being all in a half whisper. It is used to express amazement, fear, caution, terror, horror, revenge, loathing, and remorse.
The Guttural is a deep under-tone, used to express hatred, contempt, and loathing. It usually occurs on the emphatic words.
The Trembling Tone, or Tremor, consists of a trembling iteration or a number of impulses of sound of the least assignable duration. It is used