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more to be guarded against, because, when it has grown into a habit, few errours are more difficult to be corrected. To pronounce with a proper degree of slowness, and with full and clear articulation, is necessary to be studied by all, who wish to become good readers ; and it cannot be too much recommended to them. Such a pronunciation gives weight and dignity to the subject. It is a great assistance to the voice, by the pauses and rests which is allows the reader more easily to make; and it enables the reader to swell all his sounds, both with more force and more harmony.
Propriety of Pronunciation. AFTER the fundamental attentions to the pitch and management of the voice, to distinct articulation, and to a proper degree of slowness of speech, what the young reader must, in the next place, study, is propriety of pronunciation; or, giving to every word which he utters, that sound which the best usage of the language appropriates to it; in opposition to broad, vulgar, or provincial pronunciation. This is requisite both for reading intelligibly, and for reading with correctness and ease. Instructions concerning this article may be best given by the living teacher. But there is one observation, which it may not be improper here to make. In the English language, every word which consists of more syllables than one, has one accented syllable. The accents rest sometimes on the vowel, sometimes on the consonant. The genius of the language requires the voice to mark that syllable by a stronger percussion, and to pass more slightly over the rest. Now, after we have learn. ed the proper seats of these accents, it is an important rule, to give every word just the same accent in reading, as in common discourse. Many persons err in this respect. When they read to others, and with solemnity, they pronounce the syllables in a different manner from what they do at other times. They dwell upon them and protract them; they multiply accents on the same word; from a mistaken notion, that it gives gravity and importance to their subject, and adds to the energy of their delivery. Whereas this is one of the greatest faults that can be committed in pronunciation : it makes what is called a pumpous or mouthing manner; and gives an artificial, affected air to read ing, which detracts greatly both from its agreeableness and its impression.
Sheridan and Walker have published Dictionaries, for ascertaining the true and best pronunciation of the words of our language. By attentively consulting them, particularly “ Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary," the young reader will be much assisted, in his endeavours to attain a correct pronúnciation of the words belonging to the English language.
Emphasis. By Emphasis is meant a stronger and fuller sound of voice, by which we dis tinguish some word or words, on which we design to lay particular stress, and to show how they affect the rest of the sentence. Sometimes the emphatick words must be distinguished by a particular tone of voice, as well as by a particular stress. On the right management of the emphasis depends the life of pronunciation. If no emphasis be placed on any words, not only is discourse rendered heavy and lifeless, but the meaning leit often ambiguous. If the emphasis be placed wrong, we pervert and confound the meaning wholly.
Emphasis may be divided into the Superiour and the Inferiour emphasis. The superiour emphasis determines the meaning of a sentence, with reference to something said before, presupposed by the author as general knowledge, or removes an ambiguity, where a passage may have more senses than one. The inferiour emphasis enforces, graces, and enlivens, but does not fix, the meaning of any passage. The words to which this latter emphasis is given, are, in general, such as seem the most important in the sentence, or, on other accounts, to merit this distinction. The following passage will serve to er. emplify the superiour emphasis :
u Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit “Of that forbidden trec, whose morta' taste
"Brought death into the world, and all our wo," &.
Sing heavenly Muse!" Supposing that originally other beings, besides men, had disobeyed the commands of the Almighty, and that the circumstance were well known to us, there would fall an emphasis upon the word man's in the first line ; and hence it would read thus :
“Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit," &c. But if it were a notorious truth, that mankind had transgressed in a peculiar manuer more than once, the emphasis would fall on first; and the line be read,
"Of man's first disobedience," &c. Again, admitting death (as was really the case) to have been an unheard of and dreadful punishment, brought upon man in consequence of his transgression; on that supposition the third line would be read,
“ Brought death into the world,” &c. But if we were to suppose that mankind knew there was such an evil as death in other regions, though the place they inhabited had been free from it till their transgression, the line would run thus :
"Brought death into the world," &c. The superiour emphasis finds place in the following short sentence, which admits of four distinct meanings, each of which is ascertained by the emphasis only.
“Do you ride to town to-day?" The following examples illustrate the nature and use of the inferiour em. phasis :
" Many persons mistake the love for the practice of virtue."
“Shall i reward his services with falsehood ? Shall I forget him who cannot forget me ?”
"I his principles are falsé, no apology from himself can make them right; if founded in truth, no censure from others can enake them wrong."
" Though deep, yet clear ; though gentle, yet not dull ;
“Strong âithout rage: without v'erflowing, full." “A friend exaggerates a man's virtues ; an enemy, his crimes." “The wise man is happy, when he gains his own approbation; the fool, when lie gains that of others.”
The superiour emphasis, in reading as in speaking, must be determined entirely by the sense of the passage, and always made alike : but as to the infericur emphasis, taste alone seems to have the right of fixing its situation and quantity.
Among the number of persons, who have had proper opportunities of learn. ing to read, in the best manner it is now taught, very few could be selected, who, in a given instance, would use the inferiour emphasis alike, either as to place or quantity. Some persons, indeed, use scarcely any degree of it; and others do not scruple to carry it far beyond any thing to be found in common discourse; and even sometimes throw it upon words so very trifling in themselves, that it is evidently done with no other view, than to give greater variety to the modulation.* Notwithstanding this diversity of practice, there are certainly proper boundaries, within which this emphasis must be restrained, in order to make it meet the approbation of sound judgement and correct taste. It will doubtless have different degrees of exertion, according to the greater or less degrees of importance of the words upon which it operates ; and there may be very properly sonie variety in the use of it: but its application is not arbitrary, depending on the caprice of readers.
* By modulation is meant that pleasing variety of voice, which is perceived in uttering a sentence, and which, in its nature, is perfectly distinct from emphasis, and the tones of emotion and passion. The young reader should be careful to render his modulation correct and easy; and, for this purpose, should form it upon the model of the most judicious and accurate speakers.
As emphasis often falls on words in different parts of the same sentence, so it is frequently required to be continued with a little variation, on two, and sometimes more words together. The following sentences exemplify both the parts of this position: “If you seek to make one rich, study not to increase his stores, but to diminish his desires." “ The Mexican figures, or picture writing, represent things, not words : they exhibit images to the eye, not ideas to the understanding."
Some sentences are so full and comprehensive, that almost every word is emphatical : as, “ Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains !" or, as that pathetick expostulation in the prophecy of Ezekiel, “ Why will ye die!"
Emphasis, besides its other offices, is the great regulator of quantity. Though the quantity of our syllables is fixed, in words separately pronounced, yet it is mutable, when these words are arranged in sentences; the long being changed into short, the short into long, according to the importance of the word with regard to meaning. Emphasis also, in particular cases, alters the seat of the accent. This is demonstrable from the following examples. “He shall increase, but I shall decrease." “There is a difference between giving and forgiving.” “In this species of composition, plausibility is much more essential than probability: In these examples, the emphasis requires the ac cent to be placed on syllables, to which it does not commonly belong.
In order to acquire the proper management of the emphasis, the great rule to be given, is, that the reader study to attain a just conception of the force and spirit of the sentiments which he is to pronounce. For to lay the emphasis with exact propriety, is a constant exercise of good sense and attention. It is far from being an inconsiderable attainment. It is one of the most decisive trials of a true and just taste; and must arise from feeling delicately ourselves, and from judging accurately of what is fittest to strike the feelings of others.
There is one errour, against which it is particularly proper to caution the learner; namely, that of multiplying emphatical words too much, and using the emphasis indiscriminately. It is only by a prudent reserve and distinction in the use of them, that we can give them any weight. If they recur too often; if a reader attempts to render every thing he expresses of high importance, by a multitude of strong emphases, we soon learn to pay little regard to them. To crowd every sentence with emphatical words, is like crowding all the pages of a book with Italick characters; which, as to the effect, is just the same as to use no such distinctions at all.
Tones. Tones are different both from emphasis and pauses; consisting in the notes or variations of sound which we employ, in the expression of our sentiments. Emphasis affects particular words and 'rhrases, with a degree of tone or inflexion of voice; but tones, peculiarly so called, affect sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes even the whole of a discourse.
To show the use and necessity of tones, we need only observe, that the mind, in communicating its ideas, is in a constant state of activity, emotion, or agitation, from the different effects which those ideas produce in the speaker. Now the end of such communication being, not merely to lay open the ideas, but also the different feelings which they excite in him who utters them, there must be other signs than words, to manifest those feelings; as words uttered in a monotonous manner can represent only a similar state of mind, perfectly free from all activity and emotion. As the communication of these internal feelings was of much more consequence in our social intercourse, than the mere conveyance of ideas, the A thor of our being did not, as in that conveyance, leave the invention of the language of emotion to man ; but impressed it himself upon our nature, in the same manner as he has done with regard to the rest of the animal world; all of which express their various feelings, by various tones. Ours, indeed from the perioar rank 194 ve held are in a high degree more comprehensive ; as there is not an act of the mind, an ex
Those that are engaged in the business of instruction, must have been impressed with the idea, that it is of the utmost importance for learners to become acquainted with the definition of words as they learn to read; the definition being retained much easier by referring to them as they occur in reading, than otherwise.
The English Reader is very properly considered a useful school-book ; the Reading Lessons are judiciously selected, and well calculated to impress upon the youthful mind the love of piety aud virtue, and to form a taste for reading : but it contains many words that are not easily understood by the young learner , which difficulty is now obviated, by the addition of a Vocabulary of all the words therein contained, being annexed to the work. The words in the Vocabulary, are arranged in Alphabetical order, and adapted to the Orthography and Pronunciation of Walker; the part of speech is likewise annexed, and the Definition given in plain and concise terms. Thus the pupil, while studying his lesson, can refer to the vocabulary, (the words being placed Alphabetically,) and ascertain the correct pronunciation, part of speech, and definition, of any word that occurs : which will enable him to understand what he reads. "The Vocabulary will likewise answer for exercising pupils in Spelling and Defining words; as it is a selection of the most important words in the Language.
Some objections may be made to the plan of inserting all the words con. tained in the Reader, in the Vocabulary-as part of them are familiar and easily understood; but there are many learners who cannot define some of the most simple words; those that understand the most common words, will not need refer to them, but only such as they do not understand.
The English Reader having passed through so many different editions, has, in several instances, become very incorrect. The Orthography of many words is erroneous-some Sentences are carelessly altered, and the punctuation in many instances is very imperfect. These errours are carefully corrected in the present edition ; every part of the work having been thoroughly examined.
The.present edition of the English Reader, will class with others of different editions, as the Reading Lessons are not altered in any respect, except being corrected.
Southern District of New York, to wit :BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the eighteenth day of November, A. D. 1826, in the fifty first year of the Independence of the United States of America. Rensselaer Bentley of the said District, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following to wit :-"The English Reader, or, pieces in Prose and Poetry, selected from the best writers. Designed to assist young persons to read with propriety and effect ; to improve their language and sentiments; and to inculcate some of the most important principles of piety and virtue. With a few preliminary observations on the principles of good reading. By Lindley Murray, author of an English Grammar, &c. To which is added a Vocabulary of all the words therein contained; divided, accented, defined, and the part of speech annexed; arranged in alphabetical order; adapted to the orthography and pronunciation of Walker. To which is prefixed a key representing the different sounds of the vowels referred to by the figures. By RENSSELAER BENTLEY, author of the English Spelling-Book, Ameri
&."In States, entitled, " An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps.charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned :” and also to an Act, entitled." An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled, An Act for the encouragement of learning by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical, and other prints."
Clerk of the Southern District of Nero-York.
MANY selections of excellent matter have been made for the benefit of young persons. Performances of this kind are of so great utility, that fresh productions of them, and new atiempts to improve the young mind, will scarcely be deemed superfluous, if the writer make his compilation instructive and interesting, and sufficiently distinct from others.
The present work, as the title expresses, aims at the attainment of three objeets: to improve youth in the art of reading ; to meliorate their language and sentiments; and to inculcate some of the most important principles of piety and virtue.
The pieces selected, not only give exercise to a great variety of emotions, and the correspondent tones and variations of voice, but contain sentences and members of sentences, which are diversified, proportioned, and pointed with accuracy. Exercises of this nature are, it is presumed, well calculated to teach youth to read with propriety and effect. A selection of sentences, in which variety and proportion, with exact punctuation, have been carefully observed, in all their parts as well as with respect to one another, will probably have a much greater effect, in properly teaching the art of reading, than is commonly imagined. "In such constructions, every thing is accommodated to the understanding and the voice; and the common difficulties in learning to read well are obviated. When the learner has acquired a habit of reading such sentences, with justness and facility, he will readily apply that habit, and the improvements he has made, to sentences more complicated and irregular, and of a construction entirely different.
The language of the pieces chosen for this collection has been carefully regarded. Purity, propriety, perspicuity, and, in many instances, elegance of diction, distinguish them. They are extracted from the works of the most correct and elegant writers. From the sources whence the sentiments are drawn, the reader may expect to find them connected and regular, sufficiently important and impressive, and divested of every thing that is either trite or eccentrick. The frequent perusal of such composition | naturally tends to infuse a taste for this species of excellence; , and to produce a habit of thinking, and of composing, with judgement and accuracy.*
* The learner, in his progress through this volume and the Sequel to it, will meet with numerous instances of composition, in strict conformity to the rules for promoting perspicuous and elegant writing contained in the Appendix to the Author's English Grammar: By occasionally examining this conformity, he will be confirmed in the utility of those rules; and be enabled to apply them with ease and dexterity.
It is proper further to observe, that the Reader and the Sequel, besides teaching to read accurately, and inculcating many important sentiments, may be considered as auxiliaries to the Author's English Grammar; as practical illustrations of the principles and rules contained in that work,