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pose, on the proper pitch and management of the voice. Every perfon has three pitches in his voice; the high, the MIDDLE, and the low one.' The high, is that which he uses in calling aloud to fome person at a diftance. The low is, when he approaches to å whisper. The middle is, that which lie employs in common conversation, and which he Mhould generally ufe in reading to others. For it is a great mistake, to imagiire that one mist take the higheft pitch of his voice, in order to be well heard in a large company: This is confounding two things which are different, loud. nefs or firength of found, with the key or note on which we speak. There is a variety of found within the compass of each key. A fpcaker may therefore render his voice louder, without altering the key: and we shall always be able to give molt body, most perfevering force of found, to that pitch of voice, to which in converfation we are accuftomed. Whereas, by setting out on our highest pitch or key, we certainly allow ourselves less compass, and are likely to firain our voice before we have done. We Mall fatigue ourfelves, and read with pain; and whenever a person (peaks with pain to himself, he is always heard with pain by his auclience. Let us therefore give the voice full firength and swell of found; but always pitch it on our ordinary speaking key. It should be a confiant rule, never to utter a greater quantity of voice, than we can afford without pain to ourselves, and without any extraordinary effort. As long as we keep within these bounds, the other organs of speech will be at liberty to discharge their several offices with ease; and we shall always have our voice under command. But whenever we tranfgress these bounds, we give up the reins, and have no longer any management of it. It is a useful rule too, in order to be well beard, to fix our eye on fome of the most distant persons in the company, and to confider ourselves as reading to them. We naturally and mechanically utter our words with such a degree of strength, as to make ourselves be heard by the perfon whom we address, provided he is within the reach of our voice. As this is the case in conversation, it will hold also in reading to others. But let us remember, that in reading as well as in conversation, it is possible to offend by speaking too loud. This extreme hurts the ear, by making the voice come upon it in rumbling indistinct masses.
By the habit of reading, when young, in a loud and vehement manner, the voice becomes fixed in a strained and unnatural key; and is rendered incapable of that variety of elevation and depression, which confiitutes the true hārmony of utterance, and affords ease to the reader, and pleasure to the audience. This unnatural pitch of the voice, and disagreeable monotony, are most observable in perfons who were taught to read in large rooms; who were accuftomed to stand at too great distance, when reading to their teachers ; whose instructers were very imperfect in their hearing; or who were taught by persons, that considered loud expression as the chief requisite in forming a good reader. These are circumstances which demand the serious attention of every one to whom the education of youth is com mitted.
Distinctness. In the next place, to being well heard and clearly understood, distinctness of articulation contributes more than mere loudness of found. The quantity of sound necessary to fill even a large space, is smaller than is commonly imagined : and, with distinct articulation, a person with a weak voice will make it reach farther, than the strongest voice can reach without it. To this, therefore, every reader ought to pay great attention. He must give every sound which he utters,' its due proportion; and make every syllable, and even every letter in the word which he pronounces, be heard diftinctly; without flurring, whispering, or suppressing any of the
proper sounds. An accurate knowledge of the simple, elementary founds of the language, and a facility in expressing them, are so necessary to distinctness of expression, that if the learner's attainments are, in this respect, imperfect, (and many there are in this situation,) it will be incumbent on his teacher, to carry him back to these primary articulations; and to fufpend his progress, till he become perfectly master of them. It will be in vain to press him forward, with the hope of forming a good reader, if he cannot completely articulate every elementary found of the language.
Due Degree of Slowness. In order to express ourselves distinctly, moderation is requisite with regard to the speed of pronouncing. Precipitancy of speech confounds all articulation, and all meaning. It is scarcely necessary to observe, that there may be also an extreme on the opposite side. It is obvious that a lifeless drawling manner of reading, which allows the minds of the hearers to be always outrunning the speaker, must render every such performance insipid and fatiguing. But the extreme of reading too fast is much more common; and requires the more to be guarded against, because, when it has grown up into a habit; few errors are more difficult to be corrected. To pronounce with a proper degree of
Nowness, and with full and clear articulation, is necesary to be fludied by all, who wish to become good readers; and it cannot be too much recommended to thein. Such a pronunciation gives weight and dignity to the subject. It is a great assistance to the voice, by the pauses and relis which it allows it more easily to make; and it enables the reader to fwell all his founds, both with more force and more harmony.
Propriety of Pronunciation.
After the fundamental attentions to the pitch and management of the voice, to distinçt articulation, and to a proper degree of Downess of speech, what the young reader must, in the next place, fiudy, is propriety of pronunciation; or, giving to every word which he utters, that found 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. Infiructions concerning this article may best be 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 coulisis of more syllables than one, has one accented syllable. The accent rests fometimes on the vowel, foinetimes on the confonant. The genius of the language, requires the voice to mark that fyllable by a fironger percussion, and to pass more Bightly over the rest. Now, after we have learned the proper seats of these accents, it is an important rule, to give every word just the same accent in reading, as in common discourfe. Many perfons err in this respect. When they
read to others, and with folemnity, 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 pompous or mouthing manner;
and gives an artificial affected air to reading, 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 assified, in his endeavours to attain a correct pronunciation of the words belonging to the English language,
Emhafis. By Emphasis is meant a fironger and fuller found of voice, by which we distinguish some word or words, on which we design to lay particular firess, and to how how they arfect the rest of the sentence. Sometimes the emphatic words must be distinguished by a particular tone of voice, as well as by a particular firefs. On the right mavagement of the emphalis depends the life of pronunciation. If no emphasis be placed on any words, not only is difcourse rendered heavy and lifeless, but the meaning left often anbiguous. If the empliasis be placed wrong, we pervert and confound the meaning wholly.