Billeder på siden


of the influence of the Concrete Movement, in the produc

tion of the various phenomena of Syllables.

The foregoing history of elementary sounds and of the radical and vanishing function, will enable us to lay open the doctrine of Syllabication.

What are the operations of the voice that produce the characteristics of syllables ?

What determines their length ?

Why are syllables limited in length, otherwise than by the term of expiration : and what produces the ordinary length of them, where there is no obstruction to the further continuation of the sound of tonic and subtonic elements ?

And, finally, what prescribes the rule which ordains but one accent to a syllable ?

I shall endeavour to answer these questions concisely and in their order.

Those portions of voice which, alone or as constituent parts of words, are called syllables, are the effects of the radical and vanishing movement: and I shall aim to show that every syllable, consisting of one or more elementary sounds, derives its character of length and singleness of impulse, from the concrete movement, and from the different properties of tonic, subtonic, and atonic elements. As I can not give the reader vocal exemplification of this subject, the argument contained in the following inferences must be illustrated by his own experimental trials.

If the concrete movement of the voice through a tone or other interval, is the essential function of a syllable, it follows that each of the tonic sounds may by itself make a syllable : since these can not be pronounced singly, without going through the radical and vanishing movement. Now the tonics, either in the form of words or as interjective particles, are often employed as mono-literal syllables.

It follows also from the assumed causation of a syllable, that two tonics can not be united into one vocal impulse. For each having by nature its own radical and vanish, they must produce two syllables. Consistently with this, we find that whenever two elementary tonics are in sequence, they always belong to separate syllables in pronunciation.

If the concrete function of the voice alone constitutes a syllable, it follows that the atonics, from being incapable of that function, can not make a new and distinct impulse when joined with the tonics. The word “speaks' exhibits the meaning of this inference. For the syllabic function, as I suppose it to be, is here made on the tonic ee-l, whilst s, p, k and s, add to the time, but do not destroy the monosyllabic character of that word. The sound is not indeed so gliding and equable as on a single tonic, which shows a syllable in its purest form : yet the slight obstruction to the singleness of impulse is very different from the threefold emphatic division heard in the word • Ohio'-For if this be properly pronounced, that is, if each of the three tonics receive its radical and vanish, it will be impossible to condense them into one impulse or syllable. In answer to the first question, then,–It is the concrete movement of the elementary sounds, or the radical and vanishing function of the voice, which produces the characteristics of those successive impulses of speech called syllables.

Syllables are of different lengths. Is this an arbitrary variation: or is it the unavoidable product of the properties of the elementary sounds ?

This question is not asked in reference to prosodial quantities; nor to those abridgments and prolongations of voice that appropriately mark the force and solemnity of oratorical expression. It regards especially the variation of length in syllables, which is unalterably created by their literal constituents; for it will be shown that their limits are determined by the arrangement of these.

In order to render this subject perspicuous, let us take a synthetic view of the literal series in words.

Several of the tonics individually form English syllables : and these exhibit the syllabic impulse of the radical and vanish in its most simple condition. But elements can not be compounded, with a view to lengthen a syllable, by the addition of one tonic to another; for this would produce a new and separate impulse.

If to the element a-le the atonicóf' be prefixed, the syllable fa' will be formed, with the concrete rise on 'a' preceded by the aspiration. If to these the atonic c' be subjoined, the word "face' will be longer than the element "a;' still the triple compound will be but one syllable, since it can have only one concrete rise. For though these two atonics may be clearly heard, as part of the length of the syllable, yet being incapable of the concrete function, the transition through the given interval is made altogether on a,' as if the word consisted of that element alone. The addition of atonics to tonics, is then the first mode of increasing the length of a syllable, without destroying its singleness of impulse.

Further, if to the tonic 'a' the subtonic • be prefixed, the syllable 'la' will be longer than a' but will still have but one function of the radical and vanish. For I said formerly, that when a subtonic is uttered before a tonic, the vanish of the subtonic does not occur : its radical continuing on a level line of pitch, till the tonic opens on that line with a more emphatic radical, and immediately carries up the concrete of the syllable. Now in the syllable •la,'' l' doesbegin the impulse with its yocality, and without perceptibly rising, joins the vocality of a which forms the full emphatic radical, and then vanishes on the 'e' of that diphthongal element. If to'la' the subtonic'v' be subjoined, the compound • lave' will be much longer than “a;' and its syllabic character will still be preserved, by the singleness of its radical and vanishing movement. In the pronunciation of "lave,' the intonation of 'sand a' will be as before, except that 'a' will not now rise quite so far through the concrete : for a subtonic having all the properties of a vanish, 'v' will in this case fall in with 6 a' before it reaches the top of the interval, and thus complete the vanish of the syllable. The junction of subtonic elements to tonics, is therefore a second mode of adding to the length of syllables, without destroying the unity of the radical and vanishing concrete.

Moreover, if the abrupt element 't be prefixed to "a'the syllable ta,' so formed, will be but a single impulse. be subjoined, the word tag will still exhibit only one radi

If'g' cal and vanish. If in this manner two abrupt atonics, are joined with the short tonics, as in "cut,' pet,' tik,' they produce the shortest syllables in the language : in which the concrete movement, however short, is still performed. This union of abrupt elements with tonics, is a third mode of preserving the singleness of a syllable, with the variation of its length.

The three different sorts of combination enumerated above, produce their various lengths, in the manner represented by the examples under each head. But none of them can be much extended beyond the instances given, whilst they are restricted to the kind of elements noted in their respective cases.

A fourth mode of combining elements is by a union of all the four kinds in one syllable. For the illustration of this, it is necessary to bear in mind, that whenever there is a pause after a subtonic, consequently whenerer it is uttered singly or at the end of a syllable, it unavoidably takes on the concrete movement: and that the same condition occurs if it is followed by an atonic; for in this case there is a termination of vocality. If we analyze the words strange,' (properly strandzh) and strength,' and the imaginary syllable .sglivzd,' we shall find that but one radical and vanishing movement is performed on each of them : and that the singleness of impulse is made by the peculiar arrangement of all the kinds of elements. They consist of seven sounds, which is the greatest number that the nature of the elements admits of, even with the best contrived mode of combination. The radical and vanish of these syllables are made on "ange,' “eng' and `ivzd,' and the principle of the vocal management of the other elements is analogous in each : for «rand • l' being subtonics respectively before the tonics a-le, e-nd, and i-sle, do not take on the concrete. T' being an abrupt atonic, adds nothing to the vocality of 'r,' and the preceding atonic 'g' having no concrete function, the three elements 's' ' and 'r,' together with th' in strength,' and the 'g' and 'l in the imaginary syllable, increase the length of the several words without destroying the unity of their impulses. The constituents in each of the above words may be combined into one syllable, in other series : but in all cases, the atonics must be on the extremes. If it is otherwise, as in the arrangement rstange,' the whole can not be pronounced as one syllable. For since the vocality

of ór,' ceases on account of the subsequent atonics,' this or must take on the concrete movement, and thus become a syllable. The reader may remember that it was said, the subtonics are capable of the radical and vanish when uttered separately : and the termination of their sound by an atonic, amounts to this condition.

I have thus endeavoured to show, that the various lengths of syllables depend on the nature of the constituent elements, and the disposition of them, as regards the execution of the radical and vanish.

The following notation may serve to illustrate the preceding account of the structure of syllables. I here represent the movement of a third ; but the mode is the same, in all intervals. The dotted line represents the atonic sound. The thick black line united to the radical denotes the pitch of the subtonic, when it precedes a tonic : and the full black point, with its appendage, signifies the tonic alone, or the tonic in combination with the vanishing subtonic.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

In this notation, the atonic sounds are represented by the dotted lines, as if they had a certain place in pitch ; but being mere aspirations, their place is in no appreciable relation to the tonics and subtonics : and I beg that the reader may so understand the notation, where the atonic symbols are used to show the presence of the aspirated voice.

If the principle of syllabication consists in a simple pause of the voice, or any other mode of sound than that which I have insisted on, a syllable might contain an indefinite number of

« ForrigeFortsæt »