are : omitting the aspirate k where it ought to be ufed, and inserting it where there should be none; confounding and interchanging the v and w; pronouncing the diphthong ou like au or like 00, and the vowel ė like si ore; and cluttering many consonants together without regarding the vowels. These faults, and all others of the fame nature, must be corrected in the pronunciation of a gentleman who is supposed to have seen too much of the world, to retain the peculiarities of the district in which he was born.

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

Pronounce every word consisting of more than onze

Syllable with its proper ACCENT.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

T HERE is a necessity for this direction, be

1 cause many speakers have affected an unusual and pedantic mode of accenting words, laying it down as a rule, that the accent Ihould be caft as far backwards as possible; a rule which has no foundation in the eonstruction of the Eng. lish language, or in the laws of harmony. In accenting words, the general custom and a good car are the best guides: only it may be observed


ESSAY ON that accent should be regulated, not by any arbitrary rules of quantity, but by the number and nature of the simple sounds.


In every sentence distinguish the more significant

words by å natural, forcible, and varied EMPHASIS.

DMPHASIS points out the precise meaning

of a sentence, shews in what manner one idea is connected with, and rises out of another, marks the several clauses of a sentence, gives to every part its proper sound, and thus conveys to the mind of the reader the full import of the whole. Yt is in the power of emphasis to make long and complex sentences appear intelligible and perspicuous. But for this purpose it is neceffary, that the reader should be perfectly acquainted with the exact construction and full meaning of every sentence which he recites. Without this it is impossible to give those infections and variations to the voice, which nature requires : and it is for want of this previous study, more perhaps than from any other cause, that we so often hear


persons read with an improper emphasis, or with no emphasis at all, that is, with a stupid monotony. Much study and pains are necessary in acquiring the habit of just and forcible pronunciation; and it can only be the effect of close attention and long practice, to be able, with a mere glance of the eye, to read any piece with good emphasis and good discretion.

It is another office of Emphasis to express the opposition between the several parts of a sentence, where the style is pointed and antithetical. : Pope's Effay on Man, and his Moral Efsays, and the Proverbs of Solomon, will furnish many proper exercises in this species of speaking. In some sentences the antithesis is double, and even treble; these must be expressed in reading, by a very distinct emphasis on each part of the opposition, The following instances are of this kind :

Anger may glance into the breast of a wise man; but rests only in the bosom of fools.

An angry man who suppresses his pallion, thinks worse than he speaks: and an angry man that will chide, speaks worse than he thinks.

Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.

He rais'd a mortal to the skies ;
She brought an angel down.



[ocr errors]

Emphasis likewise serves to express some particular meaning not immediately arising from the words, but depending upon the intention of the speaker, or some incidental circumstance. The following short fentence may have three different meanings, according to the different place of the Emphasis: Do you intend to go to London this summer ?


In order to acquire a habit of speaking with a just and forcible emphasis, nothing more is necessary, than previously to study the construction, meaning, and spirit of every sentence, and to adhere as nearly as possible to the manner in which we distinguish one word from another in conversation ; for in familiar discourse we scarcely ever fail to express ourfelves emphatically, and seldom place the emphasis improperly. With respect to artificial helps, such as distinguishing words or clauses of sentences by particular characters or marks; I believe it will always be found, upon trial, that they mislead instead of assist the reader, by not leave ing him at full liberty to follow his own voderstanding and feelings.


The most common faults respecting emphasis are, laying so strong an emphasis on one word as to leave no power of giving a particular force to other words; which; though not equally, are in a certain degree emphatical; and placing the greatleft stress on conjunctive particles, and other words of secondary importance. These faults are strongly characterised in Churchill's censure of Moffop.

With studied improprieties of speech
He soars beyond the hackney critic's reach.
To epithets allots emphatic itate,
Whilst principals, ungrac’d, like lacquies wait;
In ways first trodden by himself excels,
And stands alone in indeclineables ;
Conjunctioři, prepofitiori, adverb, join
To stamp new vigour on the nervous line;
In monofyllables his thunders roll,
HE, SHE, IT, AND, WE, YE; THBÝ, fright the soul.

Emphasis is often destroyed by an injudicious attempt to read melodiously: Agreeableinflexions and easy variations of the voice, as far as they arise from, or are consistent with just speaking; are deserving of attention. But to substitute one unineaning tunë, in the room of all the proprieties and graces of good elocution, and then to applaud this manner; wnder the appellation of musical

B 2


« ForrigeFortsett »