« AnteriorContinuar »
Note 1. That emphasis is chiefly a peculiar force of accents will be apparent from the following illustration. Pronounce the word, Begone! in the tone of familiar and good-humoured expression: then repeat it in the tone of vehement or indignant command. In either case the first syllable of the word is nearly the same as to force. In the former state of feeling, the second syllable has very little more than the usual proportion of accent; but in the latter, the last syllable becomes vastly more energetic in comparison with the first. The result will be found similar in kind, though less in degree, in sentences which contain the emphasis of distinction or contrast. That emphasis should be to the ear merely a relative force of accent, is a natural consequence of the state of mind which gives rise to this modification of voice. The immediate mental cause of emphasis is earnestness, or intensity of thought or feeling, which necessarily leads to forcible utterance, or energetic articulation. The emphatic word is that which embodies and concentrates this state of mind, for the purpose of expression; and the accented syllable of such a word, as the determining and significant one, necessarily absorbs the energy of voice.
Note 2. Emphasis may be termed absolute, when it expresses strong emotion, or an idea which does not imply contrast. * Of the former we have examples in all sudden and forcible or emphatic exclamations, as in the following: “Gòds! can a Roman senate long debate which of the two to choose, slavery or death? Of the latter, (in which from the absence of emotion the force of utterance is of course much more moderate,) we may select the tone used in designating, announcing, or particularizing a subject: “It is my design in this paper to deliver down to posterity a faithful account of the Italian òpera, and of the grad
Emphasis is of two kinds, absolute and relative.” 66 Absolute emphasis takes place, when the peculiar eminence of the thought is solely-singly considered.” Knowles.
This wider view of emphasis, (and it ought, perhaps, to be extended still more,) seems more just than the restricted application of it, as given by Walkera
See farther on this subject Dr. Porter's Analysis.
ual progress which it has made upon the English stage."
Emphasis may be called relative, when a comparison of things unequal, or a contrast indicating a preference or preponderance, is implied or expressed. Thus,
My voice is still for war." "A countenance more in sorrow than in anger."
Emphasis may be termed correspondent or antithetic, when there is a comparison of objects strictly equal, or a contrast not implying preference or preponderance. Thus, "As is the beginning so is the end." “In the òne we most admire the mán; in the other, the work.”
Emphasis is called single, when a contrast is restricted to two points; as in the following example: “We can do nothing against the truth, but fòr the truth.”
Double and triple emphases are merely double and triple contrasts. Thus, "Custom is the plague of wise men, and the idol of fools.” “A friend cannot be known in prospérity, and an enemy cannot be hidden in advèrsity."
“Emphatic phrase,” is the designation of a clause in which there are several peculiarly significant or expressive words. “There was a time, then, my fellow-citizens, when the Lacedemonians were sovereign masters both by sea and land; while this state had not one ship-no, NÒT-ONE-WÀLL.” " One of the most eminent mathematicians of the age, has assured me that the greatest pleasure he took in reading Virgil, was in examining Æneas's voyage by the map; as I question not but many a modern compiler of history, would be delighted with little moremin that divine áuthor-than the bàre mátters of fàct."*
RULE. Pronounce emphatic words with a clear and decided force, sufficient to render them distinctly prominent, and to impart full energy of feeling, peculiar meaning, or marked discrimination.
* An unnecessary distinction is sometimes made in books on elocution between the above classes of examples; the former being termed "emphatic phrases,' the latter instances of 'harmonic inflection.' The difference obviously lies in the inflected emphasis applying in the former case to words singly, while, in the latter, it extends to clauses. The difference is that which exists between the simple and the compound series.
ERRORS. The prevailing fault, as regards emphasis, is the omission or slighting of it.
Hence arises a feebleness of expression, or a general monotony, in consequence of which the oice fails in giving those distinctions, or conveying that force of feeling, which are inseparable from a distinct and animated manner.
An omission of emphasis leaves the sense of whole passages obscure; and an error in the application of it, may cause an entire subversion of the meaning intended to be expressed. A sentence read without just emphasis, is an inert mass of sound, like a body destitute of life : the same sentence read with the discrimination and significance of true emphasis, becomes, as it were, a living and active being, exerting its appropriate energies.
The opposite fault is that of excessive anxiety about emphasis, and an unnecessary and formal marking of it, by studied force of expression.
This obtrusive tone is carefully to be avoided, as savouring of fastidiousness and pedantry, and indicating the presumption that the audience are so dull in intellect as not to appreciate the force of the speaker's language, unless he remind them of it by peculiar and pointed distinctions of voice.
A fault of local usage, prevailing throughout NewEngland, is that of giving all emphasis with the tone of the circumflex.
This peculiarity was mentioned under the head of inflection, and perhaps sufficiently explained to be clearly understood. It is a tone incompatible with simplicity and dignity of expression, and belongs properly to irony or ridicule,-to the peculiar significance of words and phrases embodying logical or grammatical niceties of distinction,-or to the studied and peculiar emphasis which belongs to the utterance of a word intended to convey a pun. This fault would be avoided by giving emphasis with simple inflection, instead of the circumflex.. See “Errors in Inflec
SUGGESTIONS FOR PRACTICE.
Pupils who fail in force of emphasis, may derive great assistance from an exercise founded on Walker's classification of emphasis, as expressed by the phrases "unaccented,' accented,' and 'emphatic' force. The first of these distinctions applies to the degree of force with which we naturally utter particles and other less significant words in a sentence such as the following: “Exercise and temperance strengthen even an indifferent constitution.” The words which in this sentence have only the unaccented' force, “and," "even,
" "an.” The words which possess the second degree of force, or that which is called 'accented,' are "Exercise,"' " temperance," "strengthen," "constitution." This force they naturally receive as being more significant than the words mentioned above. The highest, or "emphatic" force, belongs to the distinctive word " indifferent," as containing the peculiar meaning of the sentence. These three degrees of force, if expressed to the eye, in type, would be represented thus: Exercise and temperance strengthen even an INDIFFERENT constitution.
The exercise founded on these comparative degrees of force, is the following. Let the pupil first be permitted to read a whole sentence with his usual and perhaps monotonous utterance; then let him be required to repeat the sentence, using the second, or accented, degree of force on all words but particles; and, lastly, repeating the sentence once more, let him add the highest or emphatic force on the word or words to which it belongs. This exercise should be repeated till the learner has acquired not only the power of discrimination as to these degrees of force, but the habit of expressing them fully and correctly. Mechanical as this exercise may seem, it has a peculiar intellectual value in securing the attention and exercising the judgment of young pupils.
* The Rev. Dr. Porter's work on elocution, excellent as it is in other respects, seems to sanction this tone in a few instances. See Analysis, p. 84.
The rising circumflex, however, in the cases alluded to, will be found by an attentive observer to constitute the distinguishing accent of New England, -not only as differing from the prevailing mode of emphasis in England, but from the current style of expression in other parts of the United States, and imparting to the voice a peculiar and habitual turn of overdone emphasis.
An exercise more strictly mental in its character, will be still more useful,—that of requiring of each pupil, previous to his reading a sentence, a statement of the sentiment in his own words. The object of this exercise is to aid in attaining a clear and accurate conception of the meaning,—the true preparation for right emphasis.
The emphasis of emotion may, in part, be communicated from the teacher's own reading, or, to still better advantage, by conversing with the pupils on the piece or passage which is read, so as to bring their minds into the right mood of feeling, by an interest in the subject.
The faulty emphasis of circumflex may be removed by the discipline of repeated practice on the examples given under the head of inflection, and by expedients adapted to individual cases. Mutual correction by the pupils, will be very important here, as in all other departments of elocution.
EXERCISES ON EMPHASIS.
Absolute emphasis in emotion : 1. WÒ! wò! to the riders that trample them down ! 2. Oh! joy for her whene'er in winter
The winds at night had made a rout,
And many a rotten bough about ! 3. In the deep stillness of the night,
When weary labour is at rest,