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ASTOR, LENOX ANDREFACE.
THE HE design of this Third Part of the Grammatical Institute of the English Language is to furnish Schools with a variety of exercises for Reading and Speaking. Colleges and Academies are already supplied with many excellent collections for this purpose: among which, the Art ef Speaking, Enfield's Speaker, Enfield's Exercises, the Preceptor, the Young Gentleman and Lady's Monitor, and Scott's Lessons, are used with great reputation. But none of these, however judicious the selections, is calculated particularly for American schools. The essays, respect distant nations or ages; or contain general ideas of morality. In America, it will be useful to furnish schools with additional essays, containing the history, geography, and transactions of the United States. Information on these subjects is necessary for youth, both in forming their habits and improving their minds. A love of our country and an acquaintance with its true state, are indispensible--they should be acquired in early life.
In the following work, I have endeavored to make such a collection of essays as should form the morals as well as improve the knowledge of youth.
In the choice of pieces, I have been attentive to the political interest of America. I consider it as a capital fault in all our schools, that the books generally used contain subjects wholly uninteresting to our youth; while the writings that marked the revolution, which are not inferior in any respect to the orations of Cicero and Demosthenes, and which are calculated to impress interesting truths upon young minds, lie neglected and forgotten. Several of those masterly ad dresses of Congress, written at the commencement of the late revolution, contains such noble sentiments of liberty an patriotism, that I cannot help wishing to transfuse the into the breasts of the rising generation.
RULES FOR READING AND SPEAKING.
Let your articulation be clear and distinct.
A GOOD articulation consists in giving every letter and syllable its proper pronunciation of sound.
Let each syllable and the letters which compose it, be pronounced with a clear voice, without whining, drawling, hsping, stammering, mumbling in the throat, or speaking through Avoid equally a dull drawling habit, and too much rapidity of pronunciation; for each of these faults destroys a distinct articulation.
Observe the stops, and mark the proper pauses, but make no pause where the sense requires none.
The characters we use as stops are extremely arbitrary and do not always mark a suspension of the voice. On the contrary, they are often employed to separate the several members of a period, and show the grammatical construction. Nor when they are designed to make pauses, do they always determine the length of those pauses; for this depends much on the sense and nature of the subject. A semicolon, for example, requires a longer pause in a grave discourse, than in a lively and spirited declamation. However, as children are incapable of nice distinctions, it may be best to adopt at first some general rule with respect to the pauses,* and teach them to pay the same attention to these characters as they do to the words. They should be cautioned likewise against pausing in the midst of a member of a sentence, where the sense requires the words to be closely connected in pronunciation. RULE III.
Pay the strictest attention to accent, emphasis, and cadence. Let the accented syllables be pronounced with a proper stress of voice; the unaccented with little stress of voice but distinctly.
The important words of a sentence, which I call naturally emphatical, have a claim to a considerable force of voice; but particles, such as, of, to, as, and, &c. require no force of utter
See the first part of the Institute, where, the proportion of the comma, semicolon, colem and period, is fixed at one, two, four, six.
ance, unless they happen to be emphatical, which is rarely the case. No person can read or speak well, unless he understands what he reads; and the sense will always determine what words are emphatical. It is a matter of the highest consequence, therefore that a speaker should clearly comprehend the meaning of what he delivers, that he may know where to lay the emphasis. This may be illustrated by a single example. This short question, Will you ride to town to-day? is capable of four different meanings, and consequently of four different answers, according to the placing of the emphasis. If the emphasis is laid upon you, the question is, whether you will ride to town, or another person. If the emphasis is laid on ride, the question is, whether you will ride, or go on foot. If the emphasis is laid on town, the question is, whether you will ride to town or to another place. If the emphasis is laid on to-day, the question is, whether you will ride to-day or some other day. Thus the whole meaning of a phrase often depends on the emphasis; and it is absolutely necessary that it should be laid on the proper words.
Cadence is a falling of the voice in pronouncing the closing syllable of a period.* This ought not to be uniform; but different at the close of different sentences.
But in interrogative sentences, the sense often requires the closing word or syllable to be pronounced with an elevated voice. This, however, is only when the last word is emphatical, as in this question: "Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" Here the subject of enquiry is, whether the commch token of love and benevolence is prostituted to the purpose of treachery; the force of the question depends on the last word, which is therefore to be pronounced with an elevation of voice. But in this question, "Where is boasting then?" the emphatical word is boasting, which of course requires an elevation of the voice.
* We may observe that good speakers always pronounce upon a cer tain key for although they modulate the voice according to the varius ideas they express, yet they retain the same pitch of voice. Accent and emphasis require no elevation of the voice, but a more forcible expression on the same key. Cadence respects the last syllable only of a sentence; which syllable is actually pronounced with a lower tone of voice; but when words of several syllables close a period, all the syllables but the last are pronounced in the same key as the rest of the sen
The most natural pitch of voice is that in which we speak in ordinary conversation. Whenever the voice is raised above this key, pronunciation is difficult and fatiguing. There is a difference between a loud and an high voice. A person may speak much louder than he does in ordinary discourse, without an elevation of voice; and may be heard distinctly upon the same key, either in a private room or in a large assembly, RULE IV.
Let the sentiments you express be accompanied with proper tones, looks and gestures.
By tones are meant the various modulations of voice by which we naturally express the emotions and passions. By looks we mean the expression of the emotions and passions in the coun
Gestures are the various motions of the hands or body, which correspond to the several sentiments and passions which the speaker designs to express.
All these should be perfectly natural. They should be the same which we use in common conversation. A speaker should endeavor to feel what he speaks; for the perfection of reading and speaking is, to pronounce the words as if the sentiments
were our own.
If a person is rehearsing the words of an angry man, he should assume the same furious looks, his eyes should flash with rage, his gestures should be violent, and the tone of his voice threatening. If kindness is to be expressed, the countenance should be calm and placid, and wear a smile-the tone should be mild, and the motion of the hand inviting. An example of the first, we have in these words: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Of the last in these words: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." A man who should repeat these different passages with the same looks, tones and gestures, would pass with his hearers for a very injudicious speaker.
The whole art of reading and speaking, all the rules of eloquence may be comprised in this concise direction: Let a reader or a speaker express every word as if the sentiments were his own. General directions for expressing certain passions or sentiments, [From the AR'y of SpeakinG.]
Mirth or laughter opens the mouth, crisps the nose, lessens the aperture of the eyes, and shakes the whole frame.
Perplexity draws down the eye-brows, hangs the head, casts down the eyes, closes the eye-lids, shuts the mouth, and pinches the lips-then suddenly the whole body is agitated, the person walks about busily, stops abruptly, talks to himself, &c. Vexation adds to the foregoing complaint, fretting and lamenting.Pity draws down the eye-brows, opens the mouth and draws together the features. Grief is expressed by weeping, ing up the eyes to heaven, &c.
stamping with the feet, lift
Melancholy is gloomy and motionless, the lower jaw falls, the eyes are cast down and half shut, words few and interrupted with sighs.
Fear opens the eyes and mouth, shortens the nose, draws down the eye-brows, gives the countenance an air of wildness; the face becomes pale, the elbows are drawn back parallel with the sides, one foot is drawn back, the heart beats violently, the breath is quick, the voice weak and trembling. Sometimes it produces shrieks and fainting.
Shame turns away the face from the beholders; covers it with blushes, casts down the head and eyes, draws down the eye-brows, makes the tongue to faulter, or strikes the person dumb.
Remorse casts down the countenance and clouds it with anxiety. Sometimes the teeth gnash and the right hand beats the breast.
Courage, steady and cool, opens the countenance, gives the whole form an erect and graceful air. The voice is firm, and the accent strong and articulate.
Boasting is loud and blustering. The eyes stare, the face is red and bloated, the mouth pouts, the voice is hollow, the arms akimbo, the head nods in a threatening manner, the right fist sometimes clenched and brandished.
Pride assumes a lofty look, the eyes open, the mouth pouting, the lips pinched, the words slow and stiff, with an air of importance, the arms akimbo, and the legs at a distance, or taking large strides.
Authority opens the countenance, but draws down the eyebrows a little, so as to give the person an air of gravity. Commanding requires a peremptory tone of voice and a severe look.
Inviting is expressed with a smile of complacency, the hand with the palm upwards, drawn gently towards, the body.