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1. To be able to read well, is a valuable accomplishment. The art does not consist in giving a rapid utterance to words and sentences, as they occur on the printed page, but in expressing them with that distinctness, variety, and force, best calculated to convey the sentiments of the writer, to the un. derstanding of the hearer.
2. A good reader expresses, both in the tones of his voice and manner of delivery, all the feeling, zeal, and pathos, which sentiment and circumstances are adapted to inspire. Skill in the management of the voice, is as requisite in reading, as in singing. And, as rules and illustrations are essential in acquiring a knowledge of the science of music, they are equally so in acquiring a knowledge of the principles of good reading.
3. These principles will be considered, in their order, under the four following heads, viz. ARTICULATION, INFLECTION, EMPHASIS, and MODULATION.
QUESTIONS.—1. What can you say of the art of reading well? 2. What does a good reader express ? 3. What is as requisite in reading, as in singing? 4. What are essential in acquiring a knowledge of the principles of good reading? 5. Mention the four general heads, under thiet these principles are classed.
•ARTICULATION. ARTICULATION may be defined, distinctness of utterance.
1. Nothing can compensate, in Elocution, the want of a clear and distinct articulation. However well one may read or speak in every other respect, he will not be listeneil to with pleasure, unless every syllable uttered, can be fully understood, without the least effort on the part of thosna that hear.
2. We have all heard speakers, who, without endeavoring to speak loud, rendered themselves clearly understood by a large audience; while the remarks of others, although they screamed and vociferated so as to cause pain to their hearers, were wholly unintelligible. A clear and distinct articulation on the part of the former, and the want of it in the latter, are the causes of this difference.
3. The importance of a correct enunciation, will be better illustrated by the following examples:
1. The culprits ought to be punished.
3. The soldiers skilled themselves by practice. By an indistinct utterance of these sentences, they miglit be understood to mean as follows:
The culprit sought to be punished.
The soldiers killed themselves by practice. 4. To guard against a faulty Articulation, observe the following,
GENERAL RULE. Ev-e-ry syl-la-ble and word should be distinctly uttered, and every letter, not silent, should receive its appropriate sound.
5. The principal causes of a violation of this rule, arise, 1st. from reading too fast, or with indifference; and 2nd. from the difficulty of uttering consonant sounds and a succes. sion of similar sounds.
6. The principal faults, occasioned by these circumstances, are as follows:
1st. The suppression of a syllable ; as, in-trest for in-ter-esh, ev-ry for ev-e-ry, par-tic-lar for par-tic-u-lar, his-try fo. histo-ry, com-sid-ra-ble for con-sid-er-a-ble, ut-trance for ut-ter. ance, reg-lar for reg-u-lar.
2nd. The suppression of a vowel or consonant sound ; as, pr’vent for prevent, laťn for latin, readin' for reading, precincs for precincts, goverment for government, aford for afford, persis for persists, commanments for commandments.
3d. The change of a vowel sound ; as, und for and, seperate for separate, superintendunt for superintendent, hundurd for hundred, sizuble for sizable, uppear
appear. 4. The blending of the termination of one syllable or word with the beginning of another; as, sil-ky for silk-y, hel-per for help-er, dwar-fish for dwarf-ish, pos-tage for post-age. This especially occurs when the same consonant sound ends the former, and begins the latter of two words; as,
1. The blast still blew, and the ships sunk.
2. The steadfast stranger through the forest strayed. In all cases, the close of each word should be distinctly marked by the voice.
QUESTIONS.-1. What is Articulation? 2. What can you say of its importance? 3. Why are some speakers better understood than others who speak louder? 4. How is the importance of a correct enunciation illustrated ? 5. What general rule is given to guard against a faulty articulation? 6. What are the principal causes of a violation of this rule ? 7. How many faults are mentioned ? 8. Repeat the first, and its examples. 9. The second, third, &c. 10. How may the last fault be remedied?
LESSON II. ARTICULATION_continued. Note I.--The difficulty of giving a correct articulation in reading, arises chiefly from the utterance of consonant sounds.
1. Of these, the sounds of the mute consonants occasion the greatest difficulty. The vowel sounds are uttered with comparative ease. It is by swelling these vowel sounds that public criers are able to give that fullness to their voice, by which they are enabled to be heard at so great a distance. The same may be said in regard to singing. Every one knows that the entire sound must be expressed by dwelling on the vowel sounds, in pronouncing such words as end with a mute consonant, as, d, k, p, and the like—the voice being entirely interrupted by their intervention.