« PreviousContinue »
English Language EBSTER, jun. Author of Dissertations on the curing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the aur roing, by se
TO THE FIRST REVISED EDITION. THE “ AMERICAN SELECTION," though well received and much used in schools, has been thought susceptible of improvement : the compiler has, therefore, made some alterations, omitting some pieces, which are believed to be less adapted to interest young minds, and substituting others which cannot fail to be as interesting as useful. The present edition comprehends a great variety of sentiment, morality, history, elocution, anecdote and description; and it is believed, will be found to contain as much interesting matter, as any compilation of the size and price.
New Haven, September, 1804.
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT, ss. BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the thirteenth day of January, in the twenty-eighth year of the Independence of the United States of America, NoAH WEBSTER, jun. of said District, esq. hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, viz." An American Selection of Lessons iv Reading and Speaking, calculated to improve the minds and refine the taste of youth ; to which are prefixed, Rules in Elocution, and directions for expressing the principal passions of the by
Collection of Essays and Fugitive Writings, The Prompter," &c. In conformity to the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled An Act for the encouragement of prietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.”
Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
A true copy of record.
that it should be
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 utterance, 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 of ten depends on the emphasis; and is absolutely necessary
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 ciose of different sentences. *
But in interrogative sentences, the sense often requires the closing words or syllables to be pronounced with an elevated voice. This, however, is only when the last word is emphatical ; as in this question, “ Betrayest thou the
* We may observe, that good speakers always pronounce upon a certain key; for although they modulate the voice according to the various 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 the sentence, which syllable is actually pronounced with a lower tone of voice; but when words of several syl. lables c'ose a period, all the syllables but the last are pronounced on the same key as the rest of the sonTENGT