« PreviousContinue »
ciples of elocution. The most common fault in the cadence of bad speakers, consists in dropping the voice too uniformly to the same note. The next consists in dropping it too much. The next, in dropping it too far from the end of the sentence, or beginning the cadence too soon; and another still consists in that feeble and indian tinct manner of closing sentences, which is common to men unskilled in managing the voice. We should take care also to mark the difference between that downward turn of the voice which occurs at the falling slide in the middle of a sentence, and that which occurs at the close. The latter is made on a lower pote, and if emphasis is absent, with less spirit than the former ; As, “ This heavenly benefactor claims, not the homage of our lips, but of our hearts; and who can doubt that he is entitled to the homage of our hearts." Here the word hearts has the same slide in the middle of the sentence as at the close. Though it has a much lower note in the latter case than in the former,
It must be observed too that the final pause does not always require a cadence. When the strong emphasis with the falling slide comes near the end of a sentence, it turns the voice upward at the close; as, “ If we have no regard to our own character, we ought to have some regard to the character of others.” “You were paid to fight against Alexander, not to ráil at him.” This is a departure from a general rule of elocution ; but it is only one case among many, in which emphasis asserts its supremacy over any other principle that interferes with its claims. Indeed, any one who has given but little attention to this point, would be surprised to observe accurately,
how often sentences are closed, in conversation, without any proper cadence; the voice being carried to a high note, on the last word, sometimes with the falling, and sometimes with the rising slide.
17] Rule. XII. The circumflex occurs chiefly where the language is either hypothetical or ironical.
The most common use of it is to express indefinitely or conditionally some idea that is contrasted with another idea expressed or understood, to which the falling slide belongs; thus ;-Hume said he would go twenty miles, to hear Whitefield preach. The contrast suggested by the circumflex here is; though he would take no pains to hear a common preacher. You ask a physician concerning your friend who is dangerously sick, and receive this reply.--He is better. The circumflex denotes only a partial, doubtful amendment, and implies But he is still dangerously sick. The same turn of voice occurs in the following example, on the word importunity.
Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importūnily he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
This circumflex, when indistinct, coincides nearly with the rising slide ; when distinct, it denotes qualified affirmation instead of that which is positive as marked by the falling slide. This hint suggests a much more perfect rule than that of Walker, by which to ascertain the proper slide under the emphasis. See Emphatic Inflection, pp. 80–88.
18] Accent is a stress laid on particular syllables, to promote harmony and distinctness of articulation. The syllable on which accent shall be placed, is determined by custom; and that without any regard to the meaning of words, except in these few cases.
First, where the same word in form, has a different sense, according to the seat of the accent. This
be the case while the word continues to be the same part of speech, as des'ert, (a wilderness) desert', (merit)—to conjure, (to use magic) to conjure', (to entreat). Or the accent may distinguish between the same word used as a noun or an ajective; as com'pact, (an agreement) compact', (close) min'ute; (of time) minute', (small). Or it may distinguish the noun from the verb, thus : Ab'stract to abstract
ex'port to export' com'pound to compound'
ex'tract to extract' com'press to compress'
im'port to import' con'cert to concert'
in'cense to incense con'duct to conduct'
in'sult to insult' con'fine to confine'
ob'ject to object con'tract to contract
pres'ent to present con'trast to contrast'
to project con'vert to convert
reb'el to rebel con'vict to convict'
tor'ment to torment di'gest to digest'
trans'port to transport'
The province of emphasis is so much more important than that of accent that the customary seat of the latter is transposed in any case where the claims of emphasis require it. This takes place chiefly in words which have a partial sameness in form, but are contrasted in sense.
He must increase, but I must dècrease.
This corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality.
What fellowship hath righteousness with ùnrighteousness ?
Consider well what you have done, and what you have left undone.
He that ascended is the same as he that descended.
The difference in this case, is no less than betwixt décency and indecency; betwixt religion and irreligion.
In the suitableness or unsuitableness, the proportion or disproportion of the affection to the object which excites it, consists the propriety or impropriety of the consequent action. *
With those considerations respecting accent which belong especially to the grammarian, we have no concern. As connected with articulation, the influence of accent was briefly discussed,  page 28. As connected with inflection, an additional remark seems necessary here. The accented syllable of a word is always uttered with a LOUDER note than the rest. When the syllable has the rising inflection, the slide continues upward till the word is finished ; so that when several syllables of a word follow the accent, they rise to a higher note than that which is accented ; and when the accented syllable is the
In this last example, the latter accented word in each of the couplets, perhaps would be more exactly marked with the circumflex; the same case occurs often, as in p. 64, last paragraph.
last in a word, it is also the highest. But when the accented syllable has the falling slide, it is always struck with a higher note than any other syllable in that word. The reader may easily understand this remark by turning to the example, page 50, at the bottom; and then framing for himself other examples, with an accent in the middle of a long word; as,
Did he dare to propose such interrogatories ? Here the slide which begins on rog continues to rise on the three following syllables; whereas in the question, Will you go to dáy ? the same slide terminates with the syllable on which it begins. But no example can be framed with the falling inflection, (the cadence only excepted,) in which the accented syllable, where the slide begins, is not higher than any other syllable before or after it.* This remark furnishes another opportunity to correct the very common mistake of those who think the falling inflection to consist in a sudden dropping of the voice, whereas it consists in sliding it down, and that from a high note, whenever there is intensive stress.
*I dwell a little on the above distinction, because, in my opinion Walker, and Ewing after him, have stated it incorrectly.