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“To command the applause of listening senates," requires, it must be acknowledged, a combination of natural and acquired abilities which
It is a matter of rejoicing, that there are some such orators in the United States, orators, who have the power of instructing and delighting their audiences, and to whom, the poet's lines apply in all their force and beauty :
Like fabled gods, their mighty war
the noblest of the land." But the voices of our distinguished orators and statesmen, will, ere long, cease to be heard in the councils of the nation. When their career is terminated, who shall succeed them? The question is submitted to the decision of American young
Shall we permit railroad, bank, and land speculations, to occupy our whole time? Is money the only thing worthy of the attention of mortal and immortal man ? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Our cry is,-give us knowledge,—valuable knowledge. We want, too, that kind of knowledge, which, while it increases our own happiness, enables us to be useful to others.
Elocution is a powerful engine of operation upon public opinion. It is the mirror of the mind of man. It is, moreover, an emendation of morals. A taste for it, prompts an individual to occupy his leisure moments in imparting sound and useful knowledge to the people; and in that manner, he aids in elevating the standard of morais.
Elocution is also essential to the cause of liberty. When Cicero's eloquence shook the forum, Rome was recognized as the “mistress of the world.” In vaiu, then, did Cataline lift up his traitorous arm against her. But when Cicero was murdered, " the eternal city," jostled over the precipice of faction, and her sun went down in blood. The eloquence of Demosthenes animated the Greeks, to stretch out the mighty arm of freedom, against the usurpations of Philip. When Demosthenes was put to death, the fetters of tyranny were fastened upon the citizens. If
, then, we would perpetuate the existence of our country's freedom, let us put forth our utmost energies, to restore elocution to that elevated position in the United States, which it occupied in Greece and Rome, during the flourishing ages of those republics.
THE ELEMENTARY SOUNDS OF THE ENGLISH
The number of elementary sounds in the English language is forty. They are represented by single letters, and by combinations of two letters. C, Q, and X, have no sounds which are not represented by other letters. In the word
C. is the representative of the sound of K, in vice, of S.
There are fifteen vocals, fifteen sub-vocals, and ten aspirates.
The vocals consist of a distinct and pure vocality, and have a much more musical quality than the other elements.
The sub-vocals possess qualities similar to the vocals, being like them, contradistinguished from aspirate or whispering sounds, but their vocality is inferior.
The aspirates are mere whispers. The elements are heard in the capital letters of the following Phonological Table. Individuals or classes, by practising only ten or fifteen minutes a day, will soon acquire a knowledge of Phonology, together with a correct and elegant articulation, and also render their voices smooth, flexible, and powerful. In schools, or when classes in Elocution are organized, the elements may be given in concert.
It is convenient and desirable in teaching, or hearing the elementary sounds, to have a Phonological Chart, on a large scale, like a map.
Mr. Wyse, of the British Parliament, in his work on popular education, insists upon the importance of obtaining a knowledge of the elements. He justly observes, that “it is preposterous to use signs for sounds, before we first
the sounds for which the signs are to be used.” He also says, that “alphabetic teaching, as it is generally practised, is a complication of useless and difficult absurdities." My opinion is, that the names and sounds of the letters, should be taught simultaneously. In common schools, the elements are seldom taught; and consequently, a large majority of mankind pass through life, without learning them.
It should be borne in mind, that the elementary exercise, fortifies the pulmonary organs against the invasion of discase.
To enable an individual the more easily and readily to analyze words, the “ Vocals," excepting, OU; and, TH, which is “Sub-vocal” and “ Aspirate," are numbered.
1. A, as heard in ale, day, fate. 2. A,
arm, farm, harm.
“ all, orb, Lord. 4. A,
man, and, bare. 1. E
" eel, imitate, see. 2. E,
“ end, met, let. 1. I,
isle, fly, pine. 2. 1,
" in, England, been. 1.
" old, no, oats. 2.
ooze, lose, too, to. 3. O,
on, lock, not. 1. U
tube, few, pupil. 2. U 3. U
“ füll, pull, wolf.
our, flour, flower.
up, her, hurt.
If the voice be cultivated by exercise upon the elements, and in recitation, it will, as is believed, take such inflections and intonations as sentiment requires, naturally and spontaneously. It is true, as Lord Kames says, that “ certain sounds are by nature, allotted to each passion, for expressing it externally."
A reader or speaker ought to be so familiar with elocution, as to display its graces without any effort. So surely as an individual thinks of his elocution, at the time he is speaking, just so surely, he will fail of producing any other effect upon his hearers, than to convince them that he takes no interest in his subject. As a bird, when taken from the illimitable fields of nature, and deprived of the air and foliage of the forest, loses the brilliancy of its plumage; so, the slightest appearance of being governed by rules, is fatal to eloquence. No professor of elocution can describe, in so many words, what is the mysterious power in which true and genuine eloquence consists. He can only say, that, to be truly eloquent, a man must well understand the subject upon which he speaks; he must have complete control over the modulations of his voice; his gestures must be natural and graceful; and he must speak under the influence of deep feeling, emanating from its appropriate fountain, the heart. His articulation, too, must be correct and elegant.
As a correct articulation consists in the distinct utterance of the elements, it may be advantageous to exhibit a table of the analysis of words, in which there are both easy and difficult combinations of elements. The first column contains words as they are usually spelled; the second, their elements. To know how our language is composed, it is necessary to decompose it
. According to the system of teaching spelling which obtains in our schools
, the pupil is obliged to mention the name of the letters which compose words. He ought also to be required to spell words by uttering, separately, each element. As there are many silent letters in words, and as words themselves are not always spelled in accordance with the sounds of the letters of which they are composed, the best means of making a person a good reader, or an eloquent speaker, is, to teach him the sounds which single letters or combination of two letters, actually have; and the adoption of this method will enable the pupil to give them as Phonology requires.
TABLE OF THE ANALYSIS OF WORDS.
WORDS, ale day flew crew laugh Lord lamb sky oak once ciear wool eye dare vein shrine shrink pause nature whelmou stretch whisps rythm pray beneath months twists
ELEMENTS, 1. f-a-m 2. k-a-r-t 3. a-r-b-z 3. a-f-u-1 4. f-a-r 3. a 4. t-a-s-k2. m-u-l-k-t-a 2. b-u-r-s-t-s 2. d-r-e-u-j-2 4. a-k-t-s 2. ch-u-r-ch 3. J-3-n 3. J-a-r-j 2. m-i-k-s 1. s-t-r-a-n-j 2. t-i-z-i-k 3. wh-o-t 3. l-a 2. e-k-s-ch-e-k-1 2. S-f-i-n-k-s
m-ou-th-z 2. s-u-s-p-e-k-t-e 2. f-r-e-n-d-sh-i-p 1. w-i-v-Z 2. k-w-e-s-ch-n
ARTICULATION, OR EXAMPLES IN SOME OF
ITS MOST DIFFICULT COMBINATIONS. The faults of readers and speakers in articulation, may be attributed, either to the entire omission of some of the elementary sounds which belong to words, to the introduction of supernumerary elements into them, or to the exchanging of one element for another.
For example, a portion of the elementary sounds are frequently omitted in the following words, thus: months is incorrecily called, munce ; purse, pus; priests, pries's; ghosts, ghos's ; Christs, Chris's; basks, bas's.
Supernumerary elements are sometimes introduced, thus : heav'n is improperly called heaven ; little, littel.
Exchanging one element for another, as in the following