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An elementary sound is a sound produced by a single impulse of the organs of speech.
Phonologists generally agree that there are fortyfour elementary sounds in the English language.
These sounds are represented by letters and charac
The sounds are divided into vocals, sub-vocals, and aspirates; the letters into vowels and consonants.
CHART OF THE ELEMENTARY SOUNDS.
In beginning a course of lessons in Elocution the attention of the student should first be directed to the subject of position. It is the position of the body that first attracts attention. If it be easy and natural, the impression will be favorable; if stiff and awkward, it will be unfavorable. Again, an easy position promotes freedom of thought and smoothness of expression, while a restrained manner hinders speech and embarrasses utterance.
POSITIONS OF THE HEAD, BODY, HANDS, AND FEET.
Stand with the head and body erect, the chest fully expanded, the shoulders well thrown back-not rigid and formal, but easy and natural. Let the arms hang easily by the side, or, if there be a table or desk near, let one hand rest gently upon it. If a book or manuscript is used, hold it in the left hand, the thumb and fourth finger in front, the other three fingers back.
POSITIONS OF THE FEET.
FIRST POSITION.-Place the feet so that they will form an angle of nearly ninety degrees, the right a little in advance, and about three or four inches from the left, the weight of the body resting principally on the left, the center of the heel of the right foot opposite the center of the hollow of the left.
SECOND POSITION.-The second position is just the converse of the first-the weight of the body rests upon the right foot, the left a little in advance and
about three or four inches from the right, the feet forming an angle of nearly ninety degrees.
THIRD POSITION.-In the third position the right foot is about six or eight inches obliquely to the right, in advance of the left, and supports the weight of the body; the toe or ball of the left foot gently rests on the floor, and balances the body, the heel being raised about an inch. The feet in this position should also form a right angle.
FOURTH POSITION.-In the fourth position the weight of the body rests upon the left foot, which is about six or eight inches obliquely to the left, in advance of the right, the toe or ball of the right gently resting on the floor, the heel raised about an inch, the feet forming a right angle.
EXERCISES IN POSITION.
Class rise and take the first position.
1. Change from the first to the second position by placing the right foot back of the left, and turning the left out a little.
2. Change from second to first position by placing the left foot back of the right, and turning the toe of the right out a little.
3. Change from first to third position by stepping forward about six or eight inches with the right foot, inclining the body a little forward, and balancing it with the toe or ball of the left foot-the heel of the left raised about an inch from the floor and inclined in toward the heel of the right.
4. Change from the third to the first position by bringing up the left foot to within about three inches of the right, and allowing the weight of the body to the left.
Repeat these changes several times, until the class is perfectly familiar with them.
Class may sit.
The next exercise to which attention should be directed is breathing. 'Excellence in expression is largely dependent upon appropriate respiration. Without a sufficient supply of breath the vocal organs cannot perform their functions properly. In ordinary tranquil breathing the process is involuntary and unconscious; but when strength and force of voice are required, the vocal chords must be swept with a greater volume of air, and art must be called in to the assistance of nature.
To inhale skillfully and exhale properly, to keep the lungs constantly supplied with breath so that they can furnish to the larynx instantly the requisite supply of air, constitutes the art of breathing, and can be acquired only by practice. Incorrect breathing not only affects the vocal utterance, but produces bronchial trouble and pulmonary diseases.
The process of respiration includes both inhalation and expiration. In the act of inhaling great care should be taken to fill the lungs quickly and quietly, and at such times as will least inconvenience yourself and least attract the attention of an audience. Always inhale before beginning a sentence or phrase, before every animated or impassioned expression, before and after every emphatic word, and at all pauses. 1!
In exhaling give out the breath as economically as possible, using no more than is necessary to produce the required tone.