« ForrigeFortsett »
IN FLE CTIONS.
Description of Inflections. The absolute modifications of the voice in speaking are four; namely, monotone, rising inflection, falling inflection, and circumflex. The first may be marked to the eye by a horizontal line, thus, (–) the second thus, (') the third thus, (*) the fourth thus, (*). The monotone is a sameness of sound on successive syllables, which resembles that produced by repeated strokes on a bell. Unseemly as this is, where varied inflections are required, it more or less belongs to grave delivery, especially in elevated description, or where emotions of sublimity or reverence are expressed; as;– He rôde upon a chérub and did fly.—I saw a great white thröne, and him that sät on it. The rising inflection turns the voice upward, or ends higher than it begins. It is heard invariably in the direct question; as, Will you go today? The falling inflection turns the voice downwards, or ends lower than it begins. It is heard in the answer to a question; as, JNô; I shall go tomorrow.
As the whole doctrine of inflections depends on these two simple slides of the voice, one more explanation seems necessary, as to the degree in which each is applied, under different circumstances. In , most cases where the rising slide is used, it is only a gentle turn of the voice upward, one or two notes. In cases of emotion, as in the spirited, direct question, the slide may pass through five or eight notes. The former may be called the common rising inflection, the latter the intensive. Just the same distinction exists in the falling inflection. In the question, uttered with surprise, “..Are you going to-day?” the slide is intensive. But in the following case, it is common, “as fame is but bredth, as riches are transitory, and life, itself is uncértain, so we should seek a better portion.” To carry the rising slide in the latter case, as far as in the former, is a great fault, though not an Ullicomunon. One.
The circumflex is a union of the two inflections, sometimes on one syllable, and sometimes on several. It begins with the falling, and ends with the rising slide; as, I may go to-mârrow, though I cannot go today. “ They tell its to be moderate; but they, they, are to revel in profusion.” On the words marked in these examples, there is a significant twisting of the voice downwards, and then upwards, without which the sense is not expressed.
Besides these absolute modifications of voice, there are others which may be called relative, and which may be classed under the four heads of pitch, quantity, rate, and quality. These may be presented thus;
As these relative modifications of voice assume almost an endless variety, according to sentiment and emotion in a speaker, they belong to the chapter on modulation.
Classification of Inflections.
In order to render the new classification which I have given intelligible, I have chosen examples chiefly from cokloquial language; because the tones of conversation ought to be the basis of delivery, and because these only are at once recognised by the ear. Being conformed to nature, they are instinctively right; so that scarcely a man in a million uses artificial tones in conversation. And this one fact, I remark in passing, furnishes a standing canon to the learner in elocution. In contending, with any bad habit of voice, let him break up the sentence on which the difficulty occurs, and throw it, if possible, into the colloquial form. Let him observe in himself and others, the turns of voice which occur in speaking, familiarly and earnestly, on common occasions.
As the difficulty of the learner at first, is to distinguish the two chief inflections, and as the best method of doing this, is by compar.# them together, the following classification begins with cases in which the two are statedly found in the same connexion; and then extends to cases in which they are used separately; the whole being marked in a continued series of rules, for convenient reference.
Both Inflections together.
RULE I. When the disjunctive or connects words or clauses, it has the rising inflection before, and the falling after it.
RULE II. The direct question, or that which admits the
answer of yes or no, has the rising inflection, and the answer has the falling.
Note 1. If I wish to know whether my friend will go on a journe within two days, I say perhaps," Will you go today, or tomórrow " He may answer, “yes,”—because my rising inflection on both words implies that I used the or between them conjunctively. . But if I had used it disjunctively, it must have had the rising slide before it, and the falling after; and then the question is, not whether he will go within two days, but on which of the two;-thus, “Will you go toddy—or tomorrow?”. The whole question, in this case, cannot admit the answer yes or no, and of course cannot end with the rising slide,
Note 2. When Exclamation becomes a question, it demands the rising slide; as, “How, you say, are we to accomplish it? How accémplish it! Certainly not by Fo attempt it.”
RULE III. When negation is opposed to affirmation, the former has the rising, and the latter the falling inflection. Examplies.
I did not say a bétter soldier, but an elder.
Note 1. Negation alone, not opposed to affirmation, generally inclines the voice to the rising slide, but not always, as some respectable Teachers have maintained. “Thou shalt not kill; ” “Thou shalt not stěal;" —are negative precepts, in which the falling slide must be used; and the simple particle mo, with the intensive falling slide, is one of the strongest monosyllables in the language.
Note 2. The reader should be apprised here, that the falling slide, being often connected with strong emphasis, and beginning on a high and spirited note, is liable to be mistaken, by those little acquainted with the subject, for the rising slide. If one is in doubt which of the two he has employed, on a particular word, let him repeat both together, by forming a question, thus, “Did I say go, or go?” or a question and answer, thus, “Will you go, -or stay? I shall go.” “Will you ride, or walk 2 . I shall ride.” This will give the contrary slides on the same word.
But as some may be unable still to distinguish the falling, confounding it, as just mentioned, with the rising inflection, or, on the other hand, with the cadence ; I observe that the difficulty lies in two things. One is, that the slide is not begun so high, and the other, that it is not carried through so many notes, as it ought to be. I explain this by a diagram, thus:
It is sufficiently exact to say, that in reading this properly, the syllables, without slide may be spoken on one key or monotone.
rom this key go slides upwards to its highest note, and from the same high note stay slides downwards to #. key; and go does the same, in the answer to the question. In the second example, the case, is entirely similar. But the difficulty with the inexperi reader is, that he strikes the downward slide, not above the key, but on it,
and then slides downward, just as in a cadence. The faulty manner may be represented thus:
The other part of the difficulty, in distinguishing the falling inflection from the opposite, arises from its want g sufficient extent. Sometimes indeed the voice is merely dropped to a low note, without any slide at all. The best remedy is, to take a sentence with some emphatic word, on which the intensive falling slide is proper, and protract that slide, in a drawling manner, from a high note to a low one. This will make its distinction from the rising slide very obvious.
Rising Inflection. RULE IV. The pause of suspension, denoting that the sense is unfinished, requires the rising inflection. This rule embraces several particulars, more especially applying to sentences of the periodic structure, which consist of several members, but form no complete sense before the close. It is a first principle of articulate language, that in such a case, the voice should be kept suspended, to denote continuation of sense. The following are some of the cases to which the rule applies. 1. Sentences beginning with a conditional particle or clause; as, “If some of the branches be broken 6ff, and théu, being a wild olive-trée, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive trée; boast not against the branches.” “As face answereth to face in wāter, so the heart of man to man.” 2. The case absolute; as, “His father dying, and no heir being left except himself, he succeeded to the estate.” “The question having been fully discüssed, and all objections completely refuted, the decision was unanimous.” 3. The infinitive mood with its adjuncts, used as a nominative case; as, “To smile on those whom we should cénsure, and to countenance those who are guilty of bad actions, is to be guilty ourselves.” “To be pure in heart, to be pious and benévolent, constitutes human happiness.”