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INFLECTIONS.

[Under Pitch we may consider Inflections.]

STATE OF MIND IN WHICH THE READER MAY BE.

I. He may feel sure of the truth of some proposition, and wish to declare it.

This declaration, though positive in character, may be either positive or negative in form.

But, in either case, the voice falls in uttering the proposition.

Examples: “Washington was a pàtriot." "Men are not always wise.”

Positive command, demand, entreaty, and exhortation, come under the same head. Examples: John, shut the door.” “I insist that this shall be done.” “Hèlp me, Cassius, or I sink." "Be sõber, and hope to the end."

II. The reader may be in a doubtful or inquiring state of mind, and his speech may be an expression of such doubt or inquiry. This requires the rising inflection, or slide, and may take many forms.

1. Direct inquiry : as, “ Are you síck, Hubert ?

2. The expression of incredulity in regard to some statement made by another: as, “Twenty bears ! I think there were only ten."

3. The repetition of another's words that are not understood : as, “If you be out, I can mend you.” “Ménd

sauicy

féllow ?" 4. All parts of a statement preceding the positive point; that is, the point in it at which the mind reaches the essence of the positive declaration : as,

“ One day, at table, flushed with príde and wine,

His Honor, proudly freé, severely mérry,
Conceived it would be vastly fine

To crack a jöke upon his secretary.”
The positive statement here culminates in the word
“joke.” “ Secretary” had been previously spoken of.
Joke is now first introduced.

5. The expression of a condition that may or may not be fulfilled : as, “If I talk to him he will awake my mercy.”

III. It will often require great care to determine whether the clause we are considering is essentially posi

me, thou

comes.

tive or negative. In doubtful cases, let the question be asked, whether the clause adds to, or takes away from, the force or extent of the main proposition. If the former, it is positive; if the latter, it is negative.

IV. Negative sentences require the rising inflection when the denial does not apply to the main verb, but to some adjunct : as,

“Not as the conqueror comes,

They, the true-hearted, cáme.” It is not intended here to deny that they came, but only that they came in that particular way,--as the conqueror

Such an inflection implies that the denial made would become an affirmation under different circumstances. If we substitute “humble worshipers” for “conqueror” in the above, the proposition, in order to be true, must become affirmative. They did come as humble worshipers. “It is not a hórse” implies that it is something else.

V. The inflection upon negative sentences is frequently changed by a repetition of the sentence for the sake of emphasis. Example: “ John, are you going to town?” John does not hear, and the question is repeated : “ Jòhn, are you going to town ?” “ James, what do you see?” James himself repeats the inquiry, "What do I sée ?”

VI. In questions that may be answered by "yes" or

" the mind is evidently in an inquiring state, as shown in II. (1); but in other questions, usually called indirect, the assertion in the main verb is taken for granted, and some condition only, is in doubt. 66 Whence come wars ?” Here it is taken for granted that wars come, and the only question is as to their origin,-one of the conditions of their coming. Hence the main element in such questions is positive, and the voice falls upon them. .

VII. Direct questions are often used to express a strong affirmation, and when so used, are often spoken with the falling inflection. In a series of such questions, all after the first have the falling inflection.

VIII. The terms of an address in colloquial language should have the rising inflection, because it is merely introductory, and expresses no positive assertion or command. Formal addresses, however, as in gravely addressing the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly,—which is cquivalent to announcing an intention to speak,-re

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quire the falling inflection. Examples : “ Jóhn, shall we go to school ?” “Friends and fellow-citizens: the hour has come.”

IX. Irony, mockery, words used with a double meaning, pity, &c., require the circumflex, or wave, which is a combination of both inflections. The circumflex is called the rising or falling, according to its terminal element. The circumflex beginning with the rising and ending with the falling inflection, is called the falling circumflex, and the opposite is called the rising: as," I've câught you then at lăst.” “And though heavy to weigh as a score of fat sheep,

He was not by any means heavy to sleep." “If you said so, then I said sô."

They tell ús to be moderate, but they revel in profüsion.' “And this man is now become a gôd.

X. Clauses making concessions, and adversative clauses, are negative in character, because their purpose is to take away from the extent or force of the statement to which they are attached. They usually require, therefore, the rising inflection. “Cicero was ambitious, but he loved his country.” In this example, the statement, “Cicero was ambitious," is a concession, and takes away from the general effect of the sentence, the object of which is to speak well of Cicero. This statement has, therefore, a negative character, and takes the rising infection. The Duke of Wellington is reported to have said of the young men of London who were in his army, “ They are foppish and frivolous, but the puppies fight well.” The last clause, which is adversative, requires the rising inflection. The Duke had, on the whole, a low opinion of these Londoners, but their courage diminished his dislike.

XI. In speaking, we utter all words not requiring the falling inflection with a very slight rise at the end. This is the case even in what we call the monotone. In reading or speaking there is no absolute monotone; only in singing is such monotone possible. Let this be carefully tested. This slight rise constitutes what is called the suspensive slide. It is often required on clauses that leave a thought incomplete.

XII. Inflections vary greatly in intensity, or in the number of degrees of the musical scale through which the voice passes in giving them. Much care is necessary in graduating the intensity of the inflection to the requirement of the thought.

XII. It will be noticed that the inflection in any clause comes upon the emphatic word of that clause. Let this principle be fully tested.

XIV. À correct use of inflections is exceedingly important. An unskillful application of them often effectually conceals the meaning. “He does not hålf perform his work," means that he performs it well. “He does not half perform his work,” means that he does it very imperfectly. “Edward would run the greatest risks to please his făvorite.” Here the circumflex implies that he would do very little to please others. The following is frequently quoted: “A man who is in the daily use of ardent spirits, if he does not become a drunkard, is in danger of losing his health and character.” The falling circumflex on“ drunkard” gives the correct meaning. The opposite declares that only by being a drunkard can one preserve his health and character. “The dog would have died if they had not cut off his head.” The rising circumflex on “ died” makes good sense here. The opposite makes cutting off his head necessary to saving his life.

In endeavoring to escape monotony, many readers fall into the habit of excessive inflection, that is, of frequent and sharp turns of the voice. Too much of this makes the reading harsh and angular.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS.

In order that one may adequately express what he is reading, the vocal organs must be trained. These organs, like all the other organs of the body, require exercise to impart to them the highest efficiency. Every class should, therefore, have a daily exercise in vocal gymnastics. For the strengthening of the voice, the exercises on the preceding pages are admirably adapted. But in order to be efficient they must be engaged in earnestly, vigorously, and persistently. The voice must be tasked to its utmost, for a short time, every day. Only thus can its power bé increased. During this exercise the lungs should be kept filled with pure air. Indeed, a part of the exercise should consist in vigorous breathing. Sound is made of air or breath, and there should be a large supply of the material kept constantly on hand.

But undue and sudden violence should be carefully avoided, and those exercises requiring the highest force should be practised only a little while at a time. The vocal organs are often permanently injured by too severe a strain upon their power, caused either by entering too suddenly upon violent exercise, or continuing it too long. Great vocal power can not be suddenly acquired.

THE USE OF BOOKS FOR REFERENCE.

Among the things in which every pupil in our schools ought to be instructed is the use of books of reference. Of these, the unabridged dictionary is the first in rank. Every child should become acquainted with the notation of Webster and Worcester, and be able to consult either of them intelligently.

Pupils need also to acquire a power over books,-the ability to select from them whatever is requisite to the purpose in hand. Independence of thought is promoted by the habit of consulting books as the information they contain is wanted. To read a treatise on any topic, even if it is understood, is only to follow out another's thought; but to gather up the facts contained in books, and to put them into new relations, is to think for one's self.

The Reader, if properly used, will require much practice in consulting books on history, language, and science. Of course, such work, like all other, should be done thoroughly and understandingly. At first, the teacher should indicate the topics on which the pupil is to inform himself in this way. But the latter ought soon to acquire the power of determining for himself the points that need to be cleared up, and of selecting the material for that purpose.

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