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This sentence, it is presumed, will, at first sight, be pronounced with the proper inflexions of voice, by every one that can barely read; and if the reader will but narrowly watch the sounds of the words fame and blame, he will have an example of the two inflexions here spoken of: fame will have the rising, and blame the falling inflexion : But, to make this diftinction still clearer, if, instead of pronouncing the word fame slightly, he does but give it a strong emphatic force, and let it drawl off the tongue for some time before the sound finishes, he will find it slide upwards, and end in a rifing tone ; if he makes the same experiment on the word blame, he will find the sound side downwards, and end in a falling tone: and this drawling pronunciation, though it lengthens the sounds beyond their proper duration, does not alter them essentially; the same inflexions are preserved as in the common pronunciation; and the distinction is as real in one mode of pronouncing as in the other, though not so perceptible.
Every pause, of whatever kind, must necefsarily adopt one of these two inflexions, or continue in a monotone : Thus, when we ask a question without the interrogative words, we' naturally adopt the rising inflexion on the last word ; às,
Can Cæsar deserve blame ? Impossible ! Here blame, the last word of the question, has the rising inflexion, contrary to the inflexion on that word in the former instance; and imposible, with the note of admiration, the falling: The comma, or that suspension of voice gene
rally annexed to it, which marks a continuation of the sense, is most frequently accompanied by the rising inflexion, as in the following sentence :
If Cæsar deserves blame, he ought to have no fame. Here we find the word blame, marked with the comma, has exactly the same inflexion of voice as the same word in the interrogative sentence immediately preceding; the only difference is, that the rising inflexion slides higher at the interrogation than at the comma, especially if it be pronounced with emphasis.
The three other points, namely, the semi- . colon, colon, and period, adopt either the rising or falling inflexion as the sense or harmony requires, though in different degrees of elevation and depression. But these different degrees of rising or falling on the side which ends the word, are by no means so essential as the kind of side we adopt. Thus in the following sentences :
As we cannot discern the shadow moving along the dialplate, so the advances we make in knowledge are only perceived by the distance gone over. • As we perceive the Madow to have moved, but did not perceive it moving ; so our advances in learning, consisting of in. sensible steps, are only perceivable by the distance.
As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial, but did not perceive it moving; and it appears that the grass has grown, though nobody ever saw it grow : so the advances we make in knowledge, as they consist of such minute steps, are only perceivable by the distance.
Here, I say, the words dial-plate, moving, ' and grow, marked with the comma, femicolon, and colon, must necessarily end with the upward side ; and provided this Nide be adopted,
it is not of any very great consequence to the sense whether the side be raised much or little ; but if the downward slide be given to any of these words, though in the smallest degree, the sense will be materially affected.
The same points, when the sentence is differently constructed, adopt the other inflexion.
Thus the inflexion of voice which is adopted in a series of emphatic particulars, for the sake of force and precision, though these particulars are marked by commas only, is the falling inflexion: we have an example of this in the true pronunciation of the following sentence:
I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an angel from heaven, were to affirm the truth of it, I could not believe it.
That this is the proper inflexion on each of these particulars, will more evidently appear by repeating them with the opposite inflexion of voice, or that suspension usually given to the comma :
I tell you though you, though all the world, though an angel from heaven were to affirm the truth of it I could not believe it.
In pronouncing this sentence, therefore, in order to give force and precision to every portion, the falling inflexion ought to be adopted on you, world, and heaven; and for the sake of conveying what is meant by this inflexion, we may call each of these words emphatical, and print them in Italics; not that all emphasis ne. cessarily adopts the falling in Hexion, but be. cause this inflexion is generally annexed to emphafis, for want of a just' idea of the distinction of infexion here laid down :
I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an angel from heaven, were to affirm the truth of it, I could not believe it. The falling inflexion annexed to members of sentences generally marked with the semicolon and colon, may be seen in the following example:
Persons of good taste expect to be pleased, at the same time they are informed ; and think that the best serfe always deserves the best language: but still the chief regard is to be had to per. spicuity.
In this example, the word informed is marked. with the semicolon, and the word language with the colon; and from the sense and structure of the sentence, both require the falling inflexion, contrary to that annexed to the same points in the preceding sentences. The period in each sentence has the falling inflexion, and in the last sentence is pronounced in a lower tone of voice than the same inflexion on the colon and semicolon.
Thus we see, that whatever variety of another kind, such as loudness or softness, highness or lowness, swiftness or slowness, or whatever other variety we may, accompany the points with, they must necessarily adopt either the rising or falling innexion, or be pronounced in a monotone. These inflexions, therefore, which are the most marking differences in reading and speaking, perhaps, are not improperly pitched upon to serve as guides to an accurate pronun-, ciation; but as so much depends upon a just notion of this real though delicate distinction, if the reader is not yet made sufficiently acquainted with it, he will not think it superflu. ous to peruse the following attempt to render it still clearer.
Another Method of explaining the Inflexions of
the Voice. Every sentence consisting of an affirmation and negation directly opposed to each other, has an appropriated pronunciation, which, in earnest speaking, every ear adopts without any premeditation. Thus in the following sentence:
Cæsar does not deserve fame, but blame. Here the word fame has the rising, and blame the falling inflexion; and we find all sentences constructed in the same manner have, like this, the rising inflexion on the negative, and the falling inflexion on the affirmative member. The word blame, therefore, in this sentence, has not the falling inflexion on it because it is the last word, but because affirmation, oppofed to negation, naturally adopts this inflexion.
Thus far choice has been made of words dif. ferent in sense, though similar in sound, that the sentence might appear to carry some meaning with it, and the reader be led to annex those inflexions to the words which the sense seemed to demand ; but, perhaps, the shortest method of conveying the nature of these inflexions, would be to take the same word, and place it in the interrogative and declarative sentences, in opposition to itself: Thus it is certain, that every speaker, upon pronouncing the following phrases, would give the first fame in each line the rising, and the last fame in each line the falling inflexion :
Does he say fame, or fame?