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which an emphasis on it would suggest : if, when these words are supplied, we find them not only agreeable to the meaning of the writer, but an improvement of his meaning, we may pronounce the word emphatical; but if these words we supply, are not agreeable to the meaning of the words expressed, or else give them an affected and fanciful meaning, we ought by no means to lay the emphasis upon them: Let us take an example of both these kinds of emphasis.
Mr. Addison, in one of his Spectators, showing the advantages of good taste, says,
A man of a polite imagination is let into a great many pleasures that the vulgar are not capable of receiving; he can converse with a picture, and find an agreeable companion in a statue.
Spectator, No 411. We shall find but few readers lay any confiderable stress upon the word pieture, in this sentence; but if we examine it by the former rule, we shall find a stress upon this word a considerable embellishment to the thought; for it hints to the mind that a polite imagination does not only find pleasure in converfing with those objets which give pleasure to all, but with those which give pleasure to such only as can converse with them; here then the emphasis on the word piclure, is not only an advantage to the thought, but in some measure necessary to it. This will appear still more evidently by reading the passage both ways, as in the last example.
But if emphasis does not improve, it always vitiates the sense; and, therefore, should be always avoided where the use of it is not evi. dent: this will appear by placing an emphasis on a word in a sentence which does not require
I have several letters by me from people of good sense, who lament the depravity or poverty of taste the town is fallen into with relation to plays and public spectacles. Speat. No 208.
Now, if we lay a considerable degree of emphafis upon the words good sense, it will strongly suggest that the people here mentioned are not common or ordinary people, which, though not opposite to the meaning of the writer, does not seem necessary either to the completion or embellishment of it; for as particularly marking these people out as persons of good sense, seems to obviate an objection that they might possibly be fools, and as it would not be very wise to suppose this objection, it would show as little wisdom to endeavour to preclude it by a more than ordinary stress; the plain words of the author, therefore, without any emphasis on them, sufficiently show his meaning.
From these observations, the following definition of emphasis seems naturally to arise: Emphasis, when applied to particular words, is that stress we lay on words which are in contradistinction to other words either expressed or underfood. And hence will follow this general rule: Wherever there is contradiftin&tion in the sense of the words, there ought to be emphasis in the pronunciation of them; the converse of this being equally true, Wherever we place emphasis, we suggest the idea of contradiftin&tion.
Emphasis thus investigated and defined, we may observe, that all words are pronounced either with emphatic force, accented force, or unaccented force; this last kind of force we may call by the name of feebleness; or, in other words, where the words are in contradistinction to other words, or to some sense implied, we may call them emphatic; where they do not denote contradiftinction, and yet are more important than the particles, we may call them accented, and the particles and lefler words we may call unaccented or feeble; for if we observe the pronunciation of these latter words, we shall find they have exaclly the same feebleness as the unaccented syllables of a word whose accented syllable is pronounced with some degree of force: we shall see likewise, that an accented word, which has a degree of force, when compared with unaccented words; when it is joined with an emphatic one, and pronounced immediately before or after it, finks into a feebleness equal to the unaccented words ; and that the unaccented syllables, even of an emphatic word, are pronounced with as inuch less force than the accented syllable, as the unaccented syllables of an accented word, are less forcible than the accented syllable of an unemphatic word. These observations are exemplified in the pronunciation of the following fentences :
Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution.
ftitution. In the first of these sentences, the particles and and the are pronounced like unaccented fyllables of temperance and constitution: in the laft sentence, the word constitution is pronounced with the same feebleness as the particles and and the; and the two last syllables of the emphatic word indifferent, are as much below the second syllable in force, as the particles and
unaccented syllables are below those which have an accent.
By this threefold distinction we are enabled to make very considerable advances in the me. thods of conveying instruction in reading ; we can not only mark the emphatic words as usual, but distinguish them from the accented: these again may be distinguished from the unaccented, and by these means we make a nearer approach to the sense of composition, and to a method of conveying our delivery of it to others. But a still greater advance remains to be made by another distinction: a distinction, which, to the former advantages of marking the different degrees of force on words, adds the still more striking difference of inflexion of voice. This distinction, though obvious and palpable, is perfectly new; and it is hoped it has been fo explained in the first part of this work, as to be readily comprehended by the reader; for when it is once comprehended, we may strongly presume that it cannot fail to add greatly to instruction in speaking, as these two different inflexions of voice are the most marking and fignificant distinctions of speech.
As a specimen of the utility of these distinctions of emphasis and inflexion, we may observe, that a difference of character may express the different degrees of force with which every word is pronounced, and a different accent may show what inflexion each of these forces must adopt. Thus in the following example: exercise and temperance strengthen éven án INDIFFE
the word indifferent is emphatical, and has the greatest stress; the words exercise, temperance, and strengthen, have a lesser degree of force; and the words and, even, an, and conflitution, have a ftill smaller degree of stress, and may
be said to be absolutely feeble: and these different forces are diversified by the difference of inflexion, as marked in the example. But although, in certain critical cases, where the sense of an author is difficult to point out, all these three distinctions may greatly assist us in conveying the exact pronunciation; yet in general, it will be quite sufficient to mark the emphatic , word with small Italics, and the rest with Roman letters, without entering into the distinction of the feeble words from those that have a fecondary force; which feeble words, if necessary to be pointed out, may be denoted by the small Roman letter, and their different inAexions by a different accent.
Those who wish to see this notation more diftinctly delineated, may consult the RHETORICAL GRAMMAR; where, it is presumed, they will find the fullest satisfaction respecting the relative force of unaccented words,