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Unaccented vowels should be heard distinctly: As u in particular, regular, singular, ridiculous ; c in event, evince, evade; o in opinion; i in sensible, terrible, vissible, possible, &c.
Give to k, c, and g hard, before the vowels a and i, their fluent and liquid sound. Thus k-i-n-d should be pronounced as if written ke-ind; c-a-r-d, ke-ard; re-g-a-r-d, re-ge-ard, and g-u-i-d-e, gue-ide.*
That words of this description may be pronounced without the intervention of the liquid sound, we have daily proof; but with it, they are not only more melodious, but in the higher and more refined circles of English speakers, the most approved.
The sound of the final consonants should be given with the greatest care. In the neglect of this rule a-n-d is pronounced an; w-o-r-l-d worl; o-fo; and the sound of many other words is equally mutilated.+
The letter r should have the rough or vibratory sound when it begins a syllable or word, as in rome, river, rage and terror, and the smooth sound when it ends one, or is followed by a consonant in the same syllable, as in bar, bard, and card.
Diminish as much as possible the hissing sound of t-i-o-n, 8-c-i-o-n, and the like, in the termination of words. The converting of the sound of shun, into that of shen, in syllables of this description, is excessively offensive to a correct ear. Pronounce s, distinctly after st, and t after s.
To acquire a pleasant enunciation of these harsh and hissing letters, great care and frequent repetition are indispensable. I subjoin, for practice, in the margin, a list of words containing these letters.
The vowel e before l or n in a final unaccented syllable, by being sometimes sounded and sometimes not, is productive of great perplexity. And as custom only can be assigned for this variety, we should, in the use of every word of this description, refer to Walker's pronouncing dictionary,
E before n in a final unaccented syllable, and not preceded by a liquid, must generally be suppressed, as in often, heaven, fallen, stolen, &c. The following words, however, are exempt from the operation of this rule, viz: Sudden, mynchen, kitchen, hyphen, chicken, jerkin, aspen, platen, paten, marten, leaven and sloven.
* The words requiring this sound, are the following :-Sky, kind, guide, gird, girt, girl, guise, guile, card, cart, carp, carpenter, carpet, carbuncle, carnal, cartridge, guard, regard, and their compounds.
The frequent repetition of the following words, will be of great use--act, tact, &c.
Posts, hosts, mists, lost, cost, frost, accost, ghost, compost, coast, boast, toast, fists, lists, twists, wrists, assiste, consists, desists, exists, insists, persists, resists, subsists, alchemists, amethists, anatomists, an nalists, evangelists, eucharist, es ocists, herbolists, humorists, occulists, organists, satirists, vocalists.
The termination ed, unless immediately preceded by d or t, should be abbreviated, except in the language of holy scripture, and when it forms an adjective.
H after w, must be aspirated first, as in where, when and while.
You should be pronounced ye, and my me, when they are not emphatic; but b-y should never be sounded be, nor t-he th’.
Ån assiduous application to some approved standard of orthoepy, is the only effectual way to acquire a correct pronunciation,
CHAPTER II. Of PAUSES. Pauses in good reading, are at least seven.
At a comma, we should stop till we can count one ; a semicolon one, two; a colon one, two, three; a period one, two, three, four ; at a note of admiration, if not particularly emphatic, one, two, three; at a note of interrogation, of the same character, one, two, three ; and before or after a strong emphasis, perhaps longer.
But these are only general rules ; and the reader in the application of them, must depend chiefly on his own taste. În doing this, he may be often wrong, but his errors will be less offensive, than a stiff adherence to written rules, of which he understands nothing but the letter. It is only a clear perception of the author's meaning, and a wish to express it accurate ly, that will guide us safely
in our pauses.
CHAPTER III. Of EMPHASIS. Emphasis is that distinction which is given to certain words in a sentence, for the purpose of indicating more distinctly the sense and feeling of the author. To illustrate the nature of this subject, we will suppose (what indeed is the fact that composition is analagous to a picture. In a picture, many features are designed to be exhibited not only with prominence, but with different degrees of prominence; and to accomplish this, the painter applies shades of the same colour, to features of the same class, and opposing colours to features of different classes. Now these distinctions are to a picture, what emphasis is to reading. The reader having a leading object in view, pronounces words, and clauses, and sentences different from
others, in exact proportion to their expressiveness of that object. Instead of sounding all emphatic words in the same way, he adapts the sound to the sense, and gives to each idea its relative importance.
Emphasis, accordingly, is expressed not only with a variety of intensity in the same form, but likewise, in many forms :By pitch and stress of voice-by long quantity or prolongation of sound—by a depressed monotone-by a pause preceding or succeeding the emphatic wordsmand by changing the seat of accent.
1st. By pitch and stress of voice.
We should here remark, that notwithstanding stress of voice necessarily attaches to an increased elevation of pitch ; the former is often laid upon words without the latter. In the following lines, both stress of voice, and increased elevation of pitch, are given to the last syllable in the word annoy; but on the term most, there is stress only. That quarter most the skilful Greeks an
noy, Where yon wild fig-tree guards the walls of Troy. In the following lines, stress only should be given to the words eternity and day ; and both stress and higher pitch to the word hour. . A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty,
Is worth a whole eternity in bondage. In the following passage, stress simply is given to the em phatic words:
Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come,
on Cassius ;
This distinction between stress and pitch ; there intimate connection in some instances, and total separation in others, should constantly be borne in mind.
2. By long quantity or prolongation of sound.
In pronouncing emphasis of this kind, we should bear upon the emphatic words, with a slow and adhesive movement, as if unwilling to part with them. In the enunciation of tender and pathetic pieces, it is alike beautiful and effective. Thus in Eve's lament:
Must I thus leave the paradise ? thus leave thee, native soil, these happy walks, fit haunts of God?
And also in the morning hymn. Join all ye creatures to extol Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end.
Hail/universal Lord! Be bounteous still to give us only good, and if the night have gather'd aught of evil, or conceald, dis. perse it as now light dispels the dark.
3. By a depressed monotone.
A monotone, is a continuation of the voice in the same pitch, with but little or no variety of modulation. In reading solemn and sublime passages, this kind of emphasis often has a fine effect. If in pronouncing the following apostrophe, the voice assumes a high pitch and rapid movement, and continues thus with increasing force, till it reaches the word extirpated, and then falls into a depressed monotone on the clause, a and thou O holy Jupiter,” the impression of emphasis is distinctly felt; and felt in a manner much more agreeable than if the voice were to assume a higher pitch in the enunciation of those words.
I appeal to, I call to witness, you, O ye hills and groves of Alba! You the demolished Alban altars! ever accounted holy by the Romans, and coeval with our religion, and which, Clodius, in his mad fury, having first cut down and levelled the most sacred groves, had sunk under heaps of common buildings ; I appeal to you, I call you to witness, whether your altars, your divinities, your powers, which he had polluted with all kinds of wickedness, did not avenge themselves when this wretch was extirpated And thou, O holy Jupiter! from the height of this sacred moun, whose lakes, and groves, and boundaries, he had so often contaminated, &c.
4. By a pause immediately precoding or succeeding the em phatic words. This pause in the first instance, awakens curiosity, and excites expectation; and in the second, it rolls backthe mind, as it were, upon what was last said, and gives it time to reflect upon its importance.
And now my race of terror run,
Then sinks at once and all is night. If in reading this fine passage, a pause is made immediately before the last clause, and that clause is pronounced in a deep monotone, it adds greatly to its beauty and grandeur.
And in the following lines, a pause immediately before the word God, has a powerful emphatic effect.
But mercy is above this scepter'd sway,
It is an attribute to God himself. So also in the reproof of David, when made immediately before thou. And Nathan said unto David Thou art the man.
Nor is the emphatic pause used only for embellishment and impressiveness, but often for the exhibition of the author's meaning. If it is not introduced immediately after the word green in the following passage, and the word one emphasised, the meaning is totally lost.
Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
hands? Northese my hands will rather, The multitudinous sea incarnardine,
Making the green-one red. Macbeth here means, that his hands are so deeply stained with blood, that should he wash them in the wide ocean, it would make it one sea of red. And this sense can be indicated only by pausing after green and emphasising red.
The following line-Put out the light and then put out the light -if pronounced without pausing, amounts to nothing; but if after the word then a pause is made, and the article the is emphasised, it conveys the true meaning of Othello. Put out the light and then-put out the light. That is, put out the taper, and then-kill Desdemona.
If in reading the following lines of Tamerlane we lay a stress upon the pronoun thee, and sinking the voice to a monotone