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RULES

FOR

READING AND SPEAKING.

A

JUST delivery confifts in a diftinct articulation of words, pronounced in proper tones, fuitably varied to the fenfe, and the emotions of the mind; with due attention to accent; to empbafis, in its feveral gradations; to refls or pauses of the voice, in proper places and well measured degrees of time; and the whole accompanied with expreffive looks, and fignificant geflures. That the pupil may be affifted in forming a correct method of reading and fpeaking, a few rules fhall be laid down, pointing out a proper ufe of each of thofe neceffary parts of a just delivery. And first of

ARTICULATION.

RULE I.

Let your articulation be diftina, flow, and forcible.

A GOOD articulation confifts in giving every letter in a syllable, its due proportion of found, according to the most approved custom of pronouncing it; and in making fuch a diftinction between the fyllables, of which the words are composed, that the ear fhall without difficulty acknowledge their number; and easily perceive to which fyllable each letter belongs. Inattention to these points occafions an indiftinct, quick, and weak articulation.

The faults of articulation, fuch as fluttering, hesitation, lifping, and inability to pronounce certain letters, can never be cured by precept alone; these must be remedied by a perfon skilled in the caufes of those faults; who by teaching each individual how to use the organs of fpeech rightly, and by fhewing him the proper pofition of his tongue, lips, &c. may gradually bring him to a juft articulation.

Diflindness is the moft effential point in articulation. Indiftinctnefs, the greatest fault, is occafioned by too great a

precipitancy of speech. To this hafty delivery which drops fome letters, and pronounces others too faintly; which runs fyllables into each other, and clusters words together; is owing that thick, mumbling, cluttering utterance which fo much prevails. Demofthenes laboured under many natural defects, but by his diligence and exertion, he corrected them, and became the greatest orator in the world. (1) This truth is a happy encouragement to all, who have any natural imperfections in utterance, to exhibit the fame example of diligence, to perfect themselves in a just delivery.

The best method to correct too quick an utterance, is to read aloud paffages chofen for that purpose, (fuch as abound with long and unufual words,) and to read, at certain ftated times, much flower than the fenfe and just fpeaking would require. (2)

Learn to speak slow, all other graces
Will follow in their proper places.

PRONUNCIATION.

RULE II.

Let your pronunciation be bold and forcible.

PRONUNCIATION means the giving to every word that found which the most polite ufage of the language appropriates to it,. in oppofition to broad, vulgar, and affeated pronunciation.

Moderation in pronouncing is effential to juft delivery. Precipitancy of fpeech confounds all articulation, and alt meaning. Where there is an uniform rapid utterance, there cannot be any strong emphafis, natural tones, or juft elocution. In order to acquire a forcible pronunciation, read aloud in the open air, and with all the exertion you can command; let all confonant founds be expreffed with a full percuffion of the breath, and a forcible action of the organs employed in forming them; and let all the vowel founds have a full and bold utterance. Practise these rules till you have acquired strength and energy of speech.

(1) See Chapter XIII. (2) See Chapter VIII.

B

In obferving this rule, care must be taken, left the extreme be adopted. A lifelefs, drawling pronunciation renders every performance infipid, flat, and languid, and fhould be avoided. A fpeaker without energy, is like a lifeless ftatue. But the extreme of fpeaking too fast and too loud must be avoided, as offenfive to all elegance and propriety of utterance.

ACCENT.

RULE III.

Let every Word, confifting of more than one Syllable, be pronounced quith its proper Accent.

ACCENT is the laying of a peculiar stress of the voice on a certain letter or fyllable in a word, that it may be better heard than the rest, or distinguished from them.

Every word of more than one fyllable has one accented fyllable. When the accent is on the confonant, the fyllable fhould be pronounced with a quick and forcible percuffion; as, battle, hab'it, pulpit. When the accent is on the wowel, the percuffion fhould be lefs forcible, and the syllable fhould be lengthened; as, father, boly, glory. Monofyllables are also accented; as, add', led, bid', red.

In accenting words, the general custom and a good car are the best guides; obferving at the fame time, that accent should be regulated by the number and nature of fimple founds, and not by any arbitrary rules of quantity. The effence of English words confifts in accent; as that of fyllables, in articulation. We know that there are as many fyllables as we hear articulate sounds, and as many words as we hear accents.

All perfons who pronounce words properly, of courfe lay the accent right, as that is part of pronunciation; and never fail to do fo in converfation. But when they come to read or fpeak in public, tranfgrefs the rules of accent. Let this fimple and eafy rule be adopted by those who read or speak in public, to lay the accent always on the same fyllable, and the fame letter of the fyllable, which they usually do in common difcourfe, and to take care not to lay any accent or ftrefs, upon any other syllable. (1) (1) See Chapter VIII.

OF EMPHASIS.

RULE IV.

Let the moft fignificant Words in a Sentence be markių by a natural, forcible, and varied Emphafis.

EMPHASIS discharges the same office in sentences, as ascent does in words. An accent connects fyllables togeth er, and forms them into words; so emphafis unites words together, and forms them into fentences, or members of a fentence. Accent dignifies fyllables, emphafis ennobles words, and prefents them in a ftronger light to the under. ftanding. Were there no accents, words would he resolved into their original fyllables; were there no emphafis, sentences would be refolved into their original words; and confequently the bearer would be under the neceffity of first making out the words, and afterwards their meaning.

The neceffity of obferving propriety of emphafis is fo great, that the true meaning of words cannot be conveyed without it. For the fame individual words, arranged in the fame order, may have feveral different meanings, according to the placing of the emphaûs. The following fentence may have as many different fignifications, as there are words in it, by varying the emphofis. "Shall you walk abroad to-day ?" By placing the emphafis on fl!, as, ball you walk abroad to-day? It implies that the perfon addreffed had an intention, but a doubt in the questioner, whether he be determined, or not, and the answer may be, Certainly, or, I am not fure. If the emphasis be on you, as, fhall you walk abroad to day? The answer may be, No, but my wife will. If on walk, as, fhall you walk abroad to day? The anfwer may be, No, but I fhall ride. If on abroad, as, fhall you walk abroad to-day? the answer may be, No, 1 must be about home. If the emphafis bet placed on to day, as, fhall you walk abroad to-day? The aofwer may be, No, but I' fhall to-morrow.

So alfo in this fentence, "Judas, betrayeft thou the Son of Men with a kifs ?" Betrayeft thou, makes the reproach upon the infamy of treachery. Betrayeft thou, turns the difgrace upon the connexion of Judas with his Mafter. Betrayelt thou the Son of Man, refts it on the character and eminence of our Saviour. Betrayeft thou the Son of Man with a kiss? places the reproach upon Judas' proftituting the token of love and friendship, to the purpose of a mark

of deftruction. Such is the importance of rightly placing the emphafis, that the whole life and fpirit of reading and fpeaking depend upon it.

If no emphafis be placed on any words, every performance will be heavy and lifelefs, and the meaning unintel ligible. Should the emphafis be placed wrong, the fenfe will be entirely confufed. (1) Emphafis is either fimple or complex. Simple, when it points out the plain meaning; complex, when, befides the meaning, it marks alfo fome af. fection or emotion of the mind. Simple emphafis belongs to the calm and compofed underflanding; complex, to the fancy and paffions. The following fentence contains an example of fimple emphafis; "and Nathan said unto David, thou art the man." The emphafis on thou ferves only to point out the meaning of the fpeaker. But in the following fentence, which contains the complex emphafis, we perceive an emotion of the fpeaker, fuperadded to the fimple meaning; "Why will ye die ?"

The emphafis often lies on the word that asks the queftion; as, Who faid fo? When will he' come? What shall I do? Why dost thou weep? and when two words are fet in contraft, or in oppofition to one another, they are both emphatic; (2) as, Washington is the father, not the tyrant, of the people; he was the faviour, not the traitor, of America.

In order to know which is the emphatica! word in a fentence, confider the whole defign; the reader or fpeaker muft ftudy to attain a juft conception of the force and fpirit of the fentiments, which he is to pronounce. To lay the emphasis with exact propriety, is a conftant exercife of good fenfe, and attention. It requires a true and just tafte, and will arife from feeling delicately ourfelves, and from judging accurately, what will beft ftrike the feelings of others.

Care fhould be taken not to ufe emphatical words too. often. It is only a prudent use of them, that will produce their proper effect.

Let the reader or fpeaker obferve ftrictly the manner which he uses to diftinguish one word from another in converfation; for in familiar difcourfe we feldom fail to

(1) See Chapter VIII

(2) See Chapter II, for Examples,

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