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TO read with propriety is a pleasing and important attainment; productive of improvement both to the understanding and the heart. It is essential to a complete reader, that he minutely perceive the ideas, and enter into the feelings of the author, whose sentiments he professes to repeat: for how is it possible to represent clearly to others, what we have but faint or inaccurate conception of ourselves? If there were no other benefits resulting froin the art of reading well, than the necessity it lays us under, of precisely ascertain. ing the meaning of what we read; and the habit thence acquired, of doing this with facility, both when reading silently and aloud, they would constitute a sufficient compensation for all the labour we can bestow upon the subject. But the pleasure derived to ourselves and others, from a clear communication of ideas and feelings; and the strong and durable impressions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience, are considerations, which give additional importance to the study of this necessary and useful art. The perfect attainment of it doubtless requires great attention and practice, joined io extraordinary natural powers; but as there are many degrees of excellence in the art, the student whose ains hort of perfection will find himself amply rewarded for every exertion ink proper to make. To give rules for the managem

e in reading, by which the necessary pauses, emphasis, and

iscovered and put in practice, is not possible. After all the ano. an be offered on these points, much will remain to be taught by the living instructor; much will be attainable by no other means, than the force of example, infuencing the imitative) powers of the learner. Some rules and principles on these lieads will, how. ever, be found useful, to prevent erroneous and vicious modes of utterance; tout give the

young reader some laste for the subject; and to assist him in acquir! ing a just and accurate mode of delivery. The observations which we have to make, for these purposes, may be comprised under the following heads: Proper Loudness of Poice;

Distinctness; Slowness; Propriety of Pronunciation : Emphasis ; Tones ; Pauses ; and Mode of Reading Verse.


Proper. Loudness of Voice. THE first attention of every person who reads to others, doubtless, must ** De to meke himself heard by all those to whom he reads. He must endeavour to fill with his voice, the space occupied by the company. This power of voice, it may be thought, is wholly a natural talent. It is, in a good measure, the gift of nature; but it may receive considerable assistance from art. Much depends, for this purpose, on the proper pitch and management of the voice. Every person has three pitches in his voice; the high, the middle, and the low one. The high, is that which he uses in calling aloud to some per.

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NOTE. For many of the observations contained in this preliminary tract, the author is indebted to the writings of Dr. Blair, and to ihe Encyclopedia Britannica.

son at a distarce. The low, is when he approaches to a whisper. The middle, is that which he employs in common conversation, and which he should generally use in reading to others. For it is a great mistake, to ima. gine that one must take the highest pitch of his voice, in order to be well heard in a large company. This is confounding two things which are different, Loudness or strength of sound, with the key or note in which we speak. There is a variety of sound within the compass of each key. A speaker may therefore render his voice louder, without altering the key: and we shall always be able to give most body, most persevering force of sound, to that pitch of voice to which in conversation we are accustomed. Whereas, by setting out on our highest pitch or key, we certainly allow ourselves less compass, and are likely to strain our voice before we have done. We shall fatigue ourselves, and read with pain ; and whenever a person speaks with pain to himself, he is also heard with paia by his audience. Let us therefore give the voice full strength and swell of sound; but always pitch it on our ordinary speaking key. It should

be a constant rule never to utter a greater quantity of voice thay we caii afford without pain to ourselves, and without any ex. traordinary effort. As long as we keep within these bounds, the other organs of speech will be at liberty to discharge their several offices with ease; and we shall always llave our voice under command. But whenever we transgress these bounds, we give up the reins, and have no longer any management of it. It is a useful rule, 100, in order to be well heard, to cast our eyo on soine of the most distant persons in the company, and to consider ourselves as reading to them. We naturally and mechanically utter our words with such a degree of strength, as to make ourselves be heard by the person whom we address, provided he is within reach of our voice. As this is the case in conversation, it will hold also in reading to others. But let us remember, that iu reading as well as in conversation, it is possible to offend by speaking 100 loud. This extreme hurts the ear, by making the voice come upon it in rumhling, indistinct niasses.

By the habit of reading, when young, in a loud and vehement manner, the voice becomes fixed in a strained and unnatural key; and is rendered incapable of that variety of elevation and depression which constituies the true harmony of utterance, and affords the reader, and pleasure to the audience. This unnatural pitch o ce, and disagreeable monotony, aro most observable in persons who were taught to read in large rooms; who were accustoined to stand at too great a distance, when reading to their tea. chers; whose instructors were very imperfect in their hearing; or who were taught by persons who considered loud expression as the chief rcquisite in forming a good reader. These are circumstances, which demand the seri. ous attention of every one to whom the education of youth is committed.


Distinctness. IN the next place to being well beard and clearly urderstood, distinctness of articulation coatributes more than mere loudness of suund, The quantity of sound necessary to fill even a large space, is smailer than is commonly imagined; and, with distinct articulation, a person with a weak' voice will make it reach further than the strongest voice can rcach without it. To this, therefore, every reader ought to pay great attention. He must give every sound which he utters, its due proportion; and make every syllable, and even every letter in the word which he pronounces, be heard distinctly; without slurring, whispering, or suppressing, any of the proper sounds.

An accurate knowledge of the simple, eleinentary sounds of the language, and a facility in expressing them, are so necessary to distinctness of expres. sion, that if the learner's attainments are, in this respect, imperfect, (and many there are in this situation,) it will be incumbent on his teacher to car. *ry him back to these primary articulations; and to suspend his progress, till ne become perfectly master of them. It will be in vain to press him forward, with the hope of forming a good reader, if he cannot coinpletely krticulata erory elementary sound of the language.


Due degree of Slowness IN order to express ourselves distinctly, moderation is requisite w in regard to the speed of pronouncing. Precipitancy of speech confounds all articula tion, and all meaning. It is scarcely necessary to observe, that there may be also an extreme on the opposite side. It is obvious that a lifeless, drawling inanner of reading, which allows the minds of the hearers to be always outrunning the speaker, must render every such performance insipid and fatiguing. But the extreme of reading too fast is much more common; and requires the more to be guarded against, because, when it has grown into a habit, few errors are more difficult to be corrected. To pronounce with a proper degree of slowness, and with full and clear articulation, is necessary to be studied by all who wish to become good readers; and it cannot be too much recommend. ed to them. Such a pronunciation gives weight and dignity to the subject. It is a great assistance to the voice, by the pauses and rests which it allows the reader more easily to make ; and it enables the reader to swell all his sounds, both with more force and more harmony.


Propriety of Pronunciation. AFTER the fundamental attentions to the pitch and management of the Foice, to distinct articulation, and to a proper degree of slowness of speeci), what the young reader must, in the next place, study, is propriety of pronunciation; or, giving to every word which he utters, that sound which the best usage of the language appropriates to it; in opposition to broad, vulgar, or provincial pronunciation. This is requisite both for reading intellig.. bly, and for reading with correctness and ease. Instructions concerning this article may be best given by the living teacher. But there is one observation, which it may not be improper here to make. In the English language, every word which consists of inore syllables than one, has one accented syllable.The accent rests sometimes on the vowel inmetimes on the consonant. The genius of the language requires the

ark that syllable by a stronger percussion, and to pass more slighti The rest. Now, after we have learned the proper seats of these accents, is an important rule, to give every word just the same accent in reading, as in common discourse. Many per. sons err in this respect. When they read to others, and with solemnity, they pronounce the syllables in a different manner from what they do at other times. They dwell upon them, and protract them; they multiply accents on the same words from a mistaken notion, that it gives gravity and impottance to their subject, and adds to the energy of their delivery Whereas this is one of the greatest saults that can be committed in pronounciation; it makes what is called a pompous cr mouthing manner; and gives an artificial, affected air to reading, which detractsgreatly both from its agreeableness and its impression.

Sheridan and Walker have published dictionaries, for ascertaining the true and best provunciation of the words of our language. By attentively consulting them, particularly “Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary," the young reader will be much assisted, in his endeavours to attain a correct pronuncia. tion of the words belonging to the English language.


Emphasis. BY emphasis is meant a stronger and fu'ler sound of voice, by which vo distinguish some word or words, on which we design to lay particular stress, and to show how they affect the rest of the sentence. Soinetimes the empha tic words must be distinguished by a particular tone of voice, as well as by a particular stress. On the right management of the emphasis depends the life of pronunciation. If no emphasis be placed on any words, not only is discourse rendered heavy and lifeloss, but ihe meaning lest often ambiguous. lli the emphasis be placed wrong, we pervert and coufound the neaning wholly.

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Emphasis may be divided into the superior and the inferior emphasis. The superior emphasis determines the meaning of a sentence, with reference lo something said before, presupposed by the author as general knowledge, or removes an ambiguity, where a passage may have more senses than one. The inferior emphasis enforces, graces, and enlivens, but does not fix, the meaning of any passage. The words to which his laiter emphasis is given, are in general, such as seem the most important in the sentence, or on other accounts, to merit this distinction. The following passage will serve to exemplify the superior emphasis :

“Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our wo," &c

Sing, heavenly Muse !" Supposing that originally other beings besides men, had disobeyed the commands of the Almighty, and that the circumstance were well known to us, there would fall an emphasis upon the word man's in the first line; anu hence, it would read thus :

* Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit,” &c. But if it were a notorious truth, that mankind had transgressed in a peculiar manner more than once, the emphasis would fall on first ; and the line be read,

“Of man's first disobedience,” &c. Again, admitting death (as was really the case) to have been an unheard of and dreadful punishment, 'brought upon man in consequence of his transgression; on that supposition the third line would be read,

Brought death into the world,” &c. But if we were to suppose, that mankind knew there was such an evil ag death in other regions, though the place they inhabited had been free from it till their transgression, the line would run thus:

“ Brought death into the worlì,&c. 'The superior emphasis finds place in the following short sentence, which adr.is of four distinct meanings eachtof which is ascertainēd by the emphasis only,

“Do you ride to town to-day?" The following examples illustrate the nature and use of the inferior em. phasis :

Many persons mistake the love; iur the practice of virtue." "Shall I reward his services with fulsehood? Shall I forget him who can not forget me.

“If his principles are false, no apology from himself can make them right, is founded in truth, 110 censure from others can make thein wrong."

“Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull,

Strong, without rage; wití.out o'erflowing, full.
A friend, exaggerates a man's virtues ; an cnemy, his crimes.

The wise man is happy, when he gains his own approbation ; the fool, when, he gains that of others."

The superior emphasis, in reading as in speaking, must be determined entirely by the sense of the passage, and always made dlike; but as to the-inferior emphasis, taste alone seems to have the right of fixing its situation and quantity.

Among the number of persons, who have had proper opportunities of learn. ing to read, in the best manner it is now laught, very few couid be selected, who, in a given instance, would use the inferior emphasis alike, either as to place' or quantity. Some persons, indeed, use scarcely any degree of it: and others do not scruple to carry it far beyond any thing to be found in common discourse; and even sometives throw it upon words so very trisling in them

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rect taste.

ye die!"

selves, that it is evidently done with no other view, than to give a greater variety to the modulation.* Notwithstanding this diversity of practice, there are certainly proper boundaries, within which this emphasis must be restrained, in order to make it meet the approbation of sound judgment and cor.

It will doubtless have different degrees of exertion, according to the greater or less degree of importance of the words upon which it operates; and there may be very properly some variety in the use of it: but its application is not arbitrary, depending on the caprice of readers.

As emphasis often falls on words in different parts of the same sentence, so it is frequently required to be continued, with a little variation, on two, and sometimes more words together. The following sentences exemplify both the parts of this position : " If you seek to make one rich, study not to increase as his stores, but to diminish his desires.” “The Mexican figures, or picture " writing, represent things, not words; they exhibit images to the eye, not ideas " to the understanding."

Some sentences are so full and comprehensive, that almost every word is emphatical: as, “ Ye hills-and dales, ye rivers, woods, and “plains!" or as that pathetic expostulation in the prophecyk of Ezekiel, “Why will

Esophasis, besides its other offices, is the great regulator of quantity. Though the quantity of our syllables is fixed, in words separately pronounced, yet it is muitable, when these words are arranged in sentences; the long being changed into short, the short into long, according to the importance of the word with regard to meaning. Emphasis also, in particular cases, alters the seat of the accent. This is demonstrable from the following examples: "He shall increase, but I shall decrease.” “There is a difference between giving and forgiving.” “In this species of composition, plausibility is much more essential than probability.". In these examples, the emphasis requires the accent to be placed on syllables to which it does not commonly belong.

In order to acquire the proper management of the emphasis, the great rule to be given is, that the reader study to attain a just conception of the force and spirit of the sentiments which he is to pronounce. For to lay the emphasis with exact propriety, is a constant exercise of good sense and attention. It is far from being an inconsiderable attainment. It is one of the most decisive trials of a true and just laste ; and must arise from feeling delicately ourselves, and from judging accurately of what is fittest to strike the feelings of others.

There is one error, against which it is particularly proper to caution the learncr; nainely, thal of inultiplying emphatical words too much, and using the emphasis indiscriminately. It is only by a prudent reserve and distinction in the use of them, that we can give them io y weight. If they recur too often ; if a reader attempts to render cvery thing he expresses, of high importance, by a multitude of strong emphasis, we soon learn to pay little regard to them. Tu crowd every sentence with emphatical words, is like crowding all the pages of a book with Italic characters: which, as to the effect, is just the same as to use no such distinctions at all.

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Tones. TONES are different both from emphasis and pauses; consisting ... mo notes or variations of sound which we employ, in the expression of our sentiments. Emphasis affects particular words and phrases, with a degree of tone, or inflexion of voice ; but tones, peculiarly so called, affect sentences, paragraphs, and some times the whole of a discourse.

* By modulation is meant, tha! pleasing variety of voice, which is perceived in uttering a sentence, and which in its nature, is perfectly distinct froir emphasis, and the tones of emotion and passion. The young reader should be careful to render his inodulation correct and easy; and, for this purpose, should form it upon the model of the most judicious and accurate speakers.

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