« ZurückWeiter »
an emphatick word, are pronounced with as much less force than the accented syllable, as the unaccented syllables of an accented word, are less forcible than the accented syllable of an unemphatick word. These observations are exemplified in the pronunciation of the following sentences :
Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitution.
Exercise and temperance strengthen eveo an indifferent cone stitution.
In the first of these sentences, the particles and and the are pronounced like unaccented syllables of temperance and constitution : in the last sentence, the word constitution is pronounced with the same feebleness as the particles and and the ; and the two last syllables of the emphatick word indifferent are as much below the second syllable in force, as the particles and unaccented syllables are below those which have an accent.
By this threefold distinction we are enabled to make very considerable advances in the methods of conveying instruction in reading; we can not only mark the emphatick words as usual, but distinguish them from the accented : these again may be distinguished from the unaccented, and by these means we make a nearer approach to the sense of composition, and to a method of conveying our delivery of it to others. But a still greater advance remains to be made by another distinction, a distinction which, to the former advantages of marking the different degrees of force on words,adds the still more striking difference of inflection of voice. This distinction, though obvious and palpable, is perfectly new ; and it is hoped it has been so explained in the first part of this work, as to be readily comprehended by the reader ; for when it is once comprehended, we may strongly presume that it cannot fail to add greatly to instruction in speaking, as. these two different inflections of voice are the most marking and significant distinctions of speech.
As a specimen of the utility of these distinctions of emphasis and inflection, we may observe, that a difference of character may express the different degrees of force with which every word is pronounced, and a different accent may show what inflection each of these forces must adopt. Thus in the following example:
Exercise and temperance strengthen éven án INDIFFERENT constitution.
Here we see a threefold distinction of force : the word indifferent is emphatical, and has the greatest stress; the words exercise, temperance, and strengthen, have a lesser degree of force ; and the words and, even, an, and constitution, have a still smaller degree of stress, and may be said to be absolutely feeble: and these different forces are diversified by the difference of inflection, as marked in the example. But although, in certain critical cases, where the sense of an author is difficult to point out, all these three distinctions may greatly assist us in conveying the exact pronunciation ; yet, in general, it will be quite sufficient to mark the emphatick word with small Italicks, and the rest with Roman letters, without entering into the distinction of the feeble words from those that have a secondary force: which feeble words, if necessary to be pointed out, may be denoted by the snhall Roman letter, and their different inflections by a different accent.
Those who wish to see this notation more distinctly delineated, may consult the RHETORICAL GRAMMAR; where, it is presumed, they will find the fullest satisfaction respecting the relative force of unaccented words.
Theory of Emphatick Inflection.
HAVING thus endeavoured to give a clear and distinct idea of the two different kinds of emphasis, and attempted to prove, that emphasis, properly so called, always supposes contradistinction or antithesis, either expressed or understood; it will now be necessary to show that every emphatick word, properly so called, is as much distinguished by the inflection it adopts, as by the force with which it is pronounced.
We have seen already, that where there is no emphasis, the most significant words in a sentence adopt a different inflection of voice for the sake of variety and harmony : for, provided the sentence reads well, it is of no consequence on which words the different inflections are placed. Thus in the following sentence:
Exercise and témperance strengthen the constitution.
In this sentence, I say, the words temperance and strengthen have the rising, and exercise and constitu. tion the falling inflection; but if this sentence were lengthened by the addition of another member, we should find the inflections shift their places. Thus in the following sentence :
Exercise and temperance strengthen the constitútion and sweeten the enjoyments of life.
Here, I say, the words exercise and constitution have the rising, and temperance and strengthen the falling inflection, as most agreeable to the harmony of the whole sentence: but if a word really emphatical had been in the first sentence, no additional member would have obliged it to alter its inflection, Thus in the following sentence : In pronouncing this passage, we shall find every reader lay the falling inflection on men, and the ris. ing on beasts, as giving them a contrary position, that is, pronouncing men with the rising, and beasts with the falling infection, would soon convince us that the former arrangement is precisely what the sense demands.
Exercise and temperance strengthen even an indifferent constitution.
Here the word indifferent, which is really empha. tical, has the falling inflection; and this inflection it will still preserve, though we lengthen the sentence in imitation of the former by an additional member. For example:
Exercise and temperance strengthen even an indifferent constitútion, and supply' in some measure the imperféctions of nature.
Here we find that, however the inflection may change place on the rest of the words, the word in. different must always have the falling inflection, or the sense of the sentence will not be brought perfecta ly out. In the same manner we may observe, that the same word in another sentence, when it requires the rising inflection, cannot alter that inflection to the falling, without injuring the sense. Thus in the following sentence :
He that has but an indifferent constitution ought to strength. en it by exercise and temperance.
Here the word indifferent must necessarily have the emphasis with the rising inflection, whatever may be the inflection on the other words.
As a farther proof that emphatick words cannot alter their inflection, we need only attend to the pro. nunciation of a line in Milton, where two emphatick words are opposed to each other; speaking of Nimrod, he says
Hunting (and mèn not béasts shall be his game.) B. xii. 0. 30
From these observations this maxim arises, that as the emphasis of a word depends on the sense of a sentence, so the inflection of voice which this emphatick word adopts, depends on the sense likewise, and is equally invariable : from whence it will evidently follow, that where there are two emphatick words in the same sentence, the sense alone can decide which is to have the rising, and which the falling inflection of voice.
It has been already proved, that emphasis always implies antithesis ; and that where this antithesis is agreeable to the sense of the author, the emphasis is proper ; but that where there is no antithesis in the thought, there ought to be none on the words : because, whenever an emphasis is placed upon an improper word, it will suggest an antithesis, which either does not exist, or is not agreeable to the sense and intention of the writer. Here some new light seems to be thrown on the nature of emphasis, and a line drawn to distinguish emphatick words from others; but still we are at a loss for the reason why one emphatick word should adopt the rising inflection, and another the falling : from the foregoing examples, it appears, that every emphatick word requires either the one or the other of these inflections, and that the meaning of an author entirely depends on giving each emphatick word its peculiar inflection. It does not seem therefore entirely useless, so far to inquire into the nature, or specifick quality, if I may be allowed to call it so, of these two emphatick inflections, as to be able to decide which we