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quently accompanied by the rising inflection, as in the following sentence :
If Cæsar deserves blame, he ought to have no fame. Here we find the word blame, marked with a comma, has exactly the same inflection of voice as the same word in the interrogative sentence immediately prečeding ; the only difference is, that the rising infection slides higher at the interrogation than at the comma, especially if it be pronounced with emphasis.
The three other points, namely, the semicolon, tolon, and period, adopt either the rising or falling inflection, as the sense or harmony requires, though in different degrees of elevation and depression. But : these different degrees of rising or falling on the slide which ends the word, are by no means so essential as the kind of slide we adopt. Thus in the following šentences :
As we cannot discern the shadow moving along the dial. plate, so the advances we make in knowledge are only per. ceivable by the distance gone over.
As we perceive the shadow to have moved, but did not perceive it moving ; so our advances in learning, consisting of insensible steps, are only perceivable by the distance. .
As we perceive the shadow to have moved along the dial, but did not perceive it moving ; and it appears that the grass. has grown, though nobody ever saw it grow : so the advan: cės we make in knowledge, as they consist of such minute steps, are only perceivable by the distance.
Here, I say, the words dial-plate, moving, and grow, marked with a commi, semicolon, and colon, must necessarily end with the upward slide ; and, provided this slide be adopted, it is not of any very great consequence to the sense whether the slide be raised much or little ; but if the downward slide be given to any of these words, though in the smallest degree, the sense will be materially affected.
The same points, when the sentence is differently constructed, adopt the other inflection.
Thus the inflection of voice which is adopted in a series of emphatick particulars, for the sake of force and precision, though these particulars are marked by commas only, is the falling inflection : we have an example of this in the true pronunciation of the fol. lowing sentence.
I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an angel from heaven, were to affirm the truth of it, I could not believe it.
That this is the proper inflection on each of these particulars, will more evidently appear by repeating them with the opposite inflection of voice, or that sus. pension usually given to the comma :
I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an angel from heaven were to affirm the truth of it, I could not believe it.
In pronouncing this sentence, therefore, in order to give force and precision to every portion, the falung inflection ought to be adopted on you, world, and heaven ; and for the sake of conveying what is meant by this inflection, we may call each of these words emphatical, and print them in Italicks; not that all emphasis necessarily adopts the falling infection, but because this inflection is generally annexed to em. phasis, for want of a just idea of the distinction of inflection here laid down :
I tell you, though you, though all the world, though an an-, gel from heaven, were to affirm the truth of it, I could not beá lieve it.
The falling inflection annexed to members of sentences generally marked with the semicolon and co. · lon, may be seen in the following example :
ande period in e points in
Persons of good taste expect to be pleased, at the same time they are informed ; and think that the best sense always de.. serves the best language : but still the chief regard is to be had to perspicuity.
In this example, the word informed is marked with the semicolon, and the word language with the colon; and from the sense and structure of the sentence, both require the falling inflection, contrary to that annex. ed to the same points in the preceding sentences, The period in each sentence has the falling inflection, and in the last sentence is pronounced in a lower tone of voice than the same inflection on the colon and semicolon. :
Thus we see, that whatever variety of another kind, such as loudness or softness, highness or lowness, swiftness or slowness, or whatever other variety we may accompany the points with, they must necessari. ly adopt either the rising or falling inflection, or be pronounced in a monotone. These inflections, therefore, which are the most marking differences in reading and speaking, perhaps, are not improperly pitched upon to serve as guides to an accurate pro. nunciation; but as so much depends upon a just no. tion of this real though delicate distinction, if the reader is not yet made sufficiently acquainted with it, he will not think it superfluous to peruse the following attempt to render it still clearer.
Another Method of explaining the Inflections of the
EVERY sentence consisting of an affirmation and negation directly opposed to each other, has an appro.. priated pronunciation, which, in earnest speaking, ev. ery ear adopts without any premeditation. Thus in the following sentence :
Cæsar does not deserve fame, but blame.
Here the word fame has the rising, and blame the falling inflection ; and we find all sentences constructed in the same manner, have, like this, the rising inAlection on the negative, and the falling inflection on the affirmative member. The word blame, therefore, in this sentence, has not the falling inflection on it because it is the last word, but because affirmation, opposed to negation, naturally adopts this inflection.
Thus far choice has been made of words different in sense, though similar in sound, that the sentence might appear to carry some meaning with it, and the reader be led to annex those inflections to the words which the sense seemed to demand ; but, perhaps, the shortest method of conveying the nature of these inflections, would be to take the same word, and place it in the interrogative and declarative sentences, in opposition to itself : Thus it is certain, that every speaker, upon pronouncing the following phrases, would give the first fame in each line the rising, and the last fame in each line the falling inflection :
Does he say fame, or fame?
But here an ear which cannot discern the true difference of sound in these words, will be apt to suppose that what difference there is, arises from the last fame being pronounced in a lower tone than the first; but this, it may be observed, makes no essential differ. ence : Let us pronounce the last word in as high å key as we please, provided we preserve the proper inflection, the contrast to the former word will appear ; as a proof of this, let us pronounce the last word of the last phrase with a strong emphasis, and we shall find, that though it is in a higher key than the first word fame, the voice slides in a contrary direction, Accordingly we find, that if we lay the strong em. phasis upon the first fame in the following sentence, the last fame will take the rising inflection ;
He says fame, and not fame. So that the inflections on the first and last fame, in this sentence, are in an opposite order to the same inflections on the same words in the two former phrases,
But, perhaps, by this time, the reader's ear is puz. zled with the sounds of single words, and it may not be amiss to try it with the same inflections, terminating members of sentences : This, perhaps, will not only convey the nature of these two inflections better than by sounding them upon single words, but give us, at the same time, a better idea of their importance and utility. And, first, let the reader try over the following passage of Mr. Addison in the Spectator, by reading it so as to place the rising inflection, or that in. flection commonly marked by a comma, on every particular of the series :
The descriptive part of this allegory is likewise very strong, and full of sublime ideas : The figure of Death, the regal crown upon his head, his menace of Satan, his advancing to the combat, the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too no. ble to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to this king of terrours.
Then let him practise it over by reading it so as to place the falling inflection, or that inflection commonly marked by a colon, on every particular of the series but the last; to which let him give the rising inflection, marked by the comma:
The descriptive part of this allegory is likewise very strong, and full of sub ime ideas : The figure of Death, the regal crown upon his head, his menace of Satan : his advancing to the combat: the outcry at his birth, are circumstances too nobie to be passed over in silence, and extremely suitable to this king of terrours.