Page images

Her edict exiles from her fair abode .
The clownish voice that utters road for road;
Less stern to him who calls his coat a coat,
And steers his boat believing it a boat.
She pardoned one, our classic city's boast,
Who said. at Cambridge, most instead of most:
But knit her brow, and stamp'd her angry foot,

To hear a teacher call a rõot a root.
6. Once more, speak clearly, if you speak at all;

Carve every word before you let it fall;
Don't, like a lecturer or dramatic star,
Try over-hard to roll the British R;
Do put your accents in the proper spot;
Don't - let me beg you — don't say “How?” for “What?"
And when you stick on conversation's burs,
Don't strew the pathway with those dreadful urs.” Ilolmes.

SYLLABICATION. A syllable is so much of a word as can be pronounced by one impulse of the voice; as con, in confess.

An interruption of the concrete, whether made wilfully by pause, or necessarily by the occurrence of an abrupt or an atonic element, is unavoidably the end of one syllable, and the preface to the beginning of another.

A Monosyllable is a word of one syllable; as, love.
A Dissyllable is a word of two syllables; as, lovely.
A Trisyllable is a word of three syllables; as, lovelines8.

A Polysyllable is a word of four or more syllables; as, unloveline88, illimitable.

The Ultimate is the last syllable of a word.
The Penult, or Penultimate, is the last syllable but one in a word.

The Antepenult, or Antepenultimate, is the last syllable but two of a word.

The Preantepenult, or Proantepenultimate, is the last syllable but three of a word.

“The various lengths of syllables depend on the nature and arrangement of their constituent elements, in the execution of the radical and vanish.” Rush.

Quantity is the time occupied in pronouncing a letter, syllable, or word. It also includes earnestness. (See page 54.)

An immutable syllable is one that cannot be prolonged but with deformed pronunciation; as vict, in the word convict.

A mutable syllable is one which admits a slight change in quantity, bu; which, with undue prolongation, has the same offensive

drawl perceived in the forced extension of the imn atable class; as, gratitude, destruction.

An indefinite syllable is one which seems to be the same under every degree of prolongation ; as, be-guile, si-lent.

ACCENT.* Accent is stress of the voice laid upon a syllable in a word, in order to distinguish it from the other syllables; as, on sist, in the word con-sisť.

With the exception of amen, every word in the English language of more than one syllable, has one of these syllables accented.

Accent is determined by custom or good use ; the standard of dictionaries being based on the practice of the best speakers. It may however be changed by emphasis ; as, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Harmony of versification may also require a change in the accent; as,

“To perséver
In obstinate condolement, is a course
Of impious stubbornness.”

· Queen to Hamlet.

The accent also varies according to the part of speech, and the meaning of the word; as, “I refuse the ref use.” “I will not desert! him even in the des'ert.”

Primary Accent is stress placed on the most important syllable in a word.

In trisyllables or polysyllables, Secondary Accent is inferior stress placed on one or two syllables besides that which receives primary accent, in order to promote distinctness and euphony.

“Correct accent is indispensable in reading and speaking; not merely as a convenience of intelligible expression, and as a result of education, but as an indication of intelligence and of taste, in regard to language, and as an element of all distinct and spirited expression. The accented syllable of every expressive word becomes the seat of life in utterance; and there can be no surer way of rendering the exercise of reading unmeaning and uninteresting, than to indulge the three prevalent faults of slighting the accent of words, unduly prolonging and forcing it, and distributing its effect over several syllables of a word, instead of confining it to one." Russell.

* Accent and Emphasis belong properly under the head of Stress, though they are here inserte l to meet the necessities of teaching.


Emphasis is the stress of the voice laid upon a word to distinguish it from the other words in the same sentence; as,

The repose of the soul is exercise, not rest. — Robertson.

Emphasis may also be defined as the expressive, but occasional distinction of a syllable, and thereby the whole word, or of several successive words, by one or more of the various forms and degrees of Time, Quality, Force, Abruptness, and Pitch.

“It is the manner of uttering emphatic words which decides the meaning of every sentence that is read or spoken. A true emphasis conveys a sentiment clearly and forcibly to the mind, and keeps the attention of an audience in active sympathy with the thoughts of the speaker; it gives full value and effect to all that he utters, and secures a lasting impression on the memory.” Russell.

Emphasis is determined by the sentiment. It is divided into Absolute Emphasis, or Emphasis of Specification, and Antithetic Emphasis.

Absolute Emphasis is that used to express strong emotion, or the peculiar permanence of a thought, solely, singly considered ; as,

“We judge of a man's wisdom by his hope, knowing that the perception of the inexhaustibleness of nature is an immortal youth.” — Emerson.

Antithetic Emphasis is emphasis placed on words expressive of contrast or comparison; as,

In reading, be careful to distinguish between a thought and a feeling - an idea and a sentiment.

When emphasis is placed on but one word in a phrase, it is called Simple Emphasis; when on more than one, it is named Compound Emphasis.

In Compound Emphasis, the stress upon the most important of the emphatic words is called Superior Emphasis; that on the inferior, or least important of these, is called Inferior Èmphasis.

A word, unless repeated for the purpose of more strongly expressing the same idea, should not be made emphatic more than once in the same connection.

“Care should be taken to avoid the two extremes of omitting or slighting emphasis, a: d of evinciug an excessive anxiety with regard to it by the

unnecessary and formal marking of it by studied force of expression. A great defect in reading is the use of the circumflex upon inost of the emphatic words; the wave, it should be remembered, belongs properly to

icule, -- to the peculiar significance of words and phrases embodying logical and grammatical niceties of distinction, - or to the studied and peculiar emphasis which belongs to the utterance of a word intended to convey a pun.”

A very useful exercise is that of requiring of the pupils, previous to reading a sentence, a statement of the sentiment in his own words; the object being to attain a clear and accurate conception of the meaning, the true preparation for right emphasis.

The emphasis of emotion may in part be communicated from the teacher's own reading; there may also be conversation upon the passage to be read, until from sympathetic and vivid interest in the idea, the pupils may express the emotion as their own.

The faulty emphasis of the circumflex must be removed by repeated practice of examples, and by expedients adapted to individual cases. Mutual correction by the pupils will be very important here, as in all other departments of elocution.

“Next to those whose elocution is absorbed in action, and who.converse chiefly with their arms and legs, we may consider the professed speakers, and, first, the emphatical, — who squeeze, and press, and ram down every syllable with excessive vehemence and energy. These orators are remarkable for their distinct elocution and force of expression; they dwell on the important particles of and the, and the significant conjunction and, which they seem to hack up with much difficulty, out of their own throats, and to cram —with no less pain — into the ears of their auditors. These should be suffered only to syringe (as it were) the ears of a deaf man through a hearing-trumpet; though I must confess I am equally offended with the whisperers, or low speakers, who seem to fancy all their acquaintance deaf, and come up so close to you, that they may be said to measure noses with you. I would have these oracular gentry obliged to talk at a distance through a speaking-trumpet, or apply their lips to the walls of a whispering-gallery. The wits, who will not condescend to utter

g but a bon-mot, and the whistlers, or tune-hummers, who never talk at all, may be joined very agreeably together in a concert; and to these tinkling cymbals 'I would also add the sounding-brass,' the bawler, who inquires after your health with the bellowing of a town-crier.” The Spectator.


“In all ages Love is the truth of life. Men cannot injure us except so far as they exasperate us to forget ourselves. No man is really dishonored except by his own act. Calumny, injustice, ingratitude, — the only harm these can do us is by making us bitter, or rancorous, or gloomy; by shutting our hearts, or souring our affections. We rob them of their power, if they only leave us more sweet and forgiving than before. And this is the only true victory. We win by love. Love transmutes all curses, and forces them to

* In reading, the pupil should remember to observe the proper standing position, - holding the book in the left hand, opposite the chest, a short distance fron the body.

rain down blessings.* Our enemies become unconsciously our best friends, when their slanders deepen in' us heavenlier graces. Let them do their worst; they only give us the Godlike victory of for. giving them.” Rev. F. W. Robertson.

“If men lived like men indeed, their houses would be temples temples which we should hardly dare to injure, and in which it would make us holy to be permitted to live. When men do not love their hearths, nor reverence their thresholds, it is a sign that they have dishonored both, and that they have never acknowledged the true universality of that Christian worship, which was indeed to supersede the idolatry, but not the piety of the pagan. Our God is a household God, as well as a heavenly one. He has an altar in every man's dwelling; let men look to it when they rend it lightly and pour out its ashes.” John Ruskin.

“There is a sacredness in individuality of character; each oneborn into this world is a fresh, new soul intended by his Maker to develop himself in a new, fresh way. We are what we are; we cannot be truly other than ourselves. We reach perfection not by copying, much less by aiming at originality; but by consistently and steadily working out the life which is common to us all, according to the character which God has given us. There is one universe in which each separate star differs from another in glory; one Church, in which a single Spirit, the life of God, pervades each separate soul; and just in proportion as that life becomes exalted, does it enable every one to shine forth in the distinctness of his own separate individuality, like the stars of heaven.” Robertson.

“ Nature, that great missionary of the Most High, preaches to us forever in all tones of love, and writes truth in all colors, on manuscripts illuminated with stars and flowers. If we were in harmony with the whole, we might understand her. Here and there a spirit, less at discord, hears semi-tones in the ocean and wind, and when the stars look into his heart, he is stirred with dim recollection of a universal language, which would reveal all, if he only remembered the alphabet.” — Mrs. L. M. Child.

* When the article the precedes a word beginning with a consonant, it should be pronounced thể; when it precedes a word beginning with a vowel, it should be pronounced the

The article a should be pronounced å -- like the a in an. When made emphatic, a should be pronounced å — and the, the; as, Did you say à country or the country?

The pronoun my, except in serious discourse, or when made emphatic, is usually prinounced mi.

« PreviousContinue »