« AnteriorContinuar »
GRAMMAR OF ELOCUTION.
THE subject under consideration in this volume, is divided into three several branches or heads. The first of these is ARTICULATION; and by it is meant the clear and distinct utterance of language. This, it will be perceived, is mainly important; as a habit of distinct enunciation of words and syllables must lie at the bottom of all excellence in delivery. And no superstructure can have value which is built upon any other basis than this.
The second division of our subject will embrace all that relates to the pitch and inflections of the voice in uttering words, language, and audible sound. And this branch we call INTONATION. The song or musical effect which characterizes the utterance of language, whether it regards the pitch* of
* Elevation on the musical scale.
voice in which sentences are uttered, or the inflection of single syllables, belongs to the subject of Intonation.
The third division we call MEASURE. And it relates to the rhythm of language-the movement of words or syllables according to certain groups. The utterance of metrical lines will display a rhythmical movement of the voice, and give an idea of measure. But it is not only poetry which admits of measure; as we shall show that the most harmonious and agreeable utterance of all language is performed in accordance with a law of our nature, which requires an apportionment of syllables that we call measure of speech.
ANALYSIS OF LANGUAGE.
ELEMENTS OF SPEECH-VOCALITY-VOWELS-SUB-VOWELS-ASPIRATES
LANGUAGE is made up of sentences; sentences are composed of words; words consist of syllables; and syllables may be still further resolved into the ultimate sounds which we call ELEMENTS OF SPEECH. The short word man,' is clearly resolvable into the three several elements represented in our language by the letters 'm,' “a,' and 'n. The names given to these letters do not give a correct idea of the province which they fulfil in the spelling of words.
The sound represented by the letter 'm,' has no open vowel sound like the syllable 'em ;' it is merely a smothered sound made while the mouth is closed; the second sound is that of "a’ in the word 'at;' and the third sound is that represented by 'n' in the word “now.'
Now these elements differ more or less widely in their nature; the middle one, that represented by our óa, possessing in abundance a property which we call VOCALITY, by virtue of which it is susceptible of very loud utterance, is called a vowEL; but the first and last elements entering into the composition of this syllable, and represented by the letters 'm' and `n,' being smothered sounds having but little vocality, are therefore called SUB-VOWELS.
In the words “pin,'' time, cape,' &c., we have yet another kind of element. The sound represented by the letters 'p;' ot,' and 'c,' has no more vocality than a whisper, and is therefore called ASPIRATE. We have then elements of three kinds, distinguished from one another by the different degrees of their vocality; and every element which enters into our language may be classed accordingly. They are either VOWELS, SUB-VOWELS, or ASPIRATES. The vowels having this property (vocality) in abundance, the sub-vowels having but little of it, and the aspirates being merely whispered sounds.
These elements are represented in our language, each by one or more letters.
In a perfect alphabet there would be a sign or letter for every element, and no element would have two signs. Neither of these conditions is fulfilled by our alphabet. In that we use the same sign to represent several elements; as the same letter a' stands for one sound in the word ale,' for another in the word “arm,' for a still different element in the word all,' and for yet another in the word “man.'
On the other hand the same element is often represented by different signs, letters, or combinations of letters. Thus the