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it is an attempt to form a precise idea of what has hitherto been left in obscurity; and that, if such an attempt should fail, it may at least induce some curious inquirer to show where it fails, and to substitute something better in its stead.
If these observations are just, they may serve to show how illfounded is the opinion of that infinite variety of voice of which speaking sounds consist. That a wonderful variety may arise from the key in which we speak, from the force or feebleness with which we pronounce, and from the tincture of passion or sentiment we infuse into the words, is acknowledged :' but speak in what key we will, pronounce with at force or feebleness we please, and infuse whatever tincture of passion or sentiment we can imagine into the words, still they must necessarily be pronounced with one of the foregoing modifications of the voice. Let us go into whatever twists or zig-zags of tone we will, we cannot go out of the boundaries of these inflexions. These are the outlines on which all the force and colouring of speech is laid; and these may be justly said to form the first principles of speaking sounds.
Exemplification of the different Modifications of the Vice :
The Monotone, the Rising Inflexion, the Falling Inflexion, the Rising Circumflex, and the Falling Circumflex.
Though we seldom hear such a variety in reading or speaking as the sense and satisfaction of the ear demand, yet we hardly ever hear a pronunciation perfectly monotonous. In former times we might have found it in the midnight pronunciation of the Bell-man's verses at Christmas; and now the Towncrier, as Shakespeare calls him, sometimes gives us a specimen of the monotonous in his vociferous exordium-This is to give notice!” The clerk of a court of justice also promulgates the will of the court by that barbarous metamorphosis of the old
French word Oyez! Oyez! Hear ye ! Hear ye ! into O yer! O yes ! in a perfect sameness of voice. But however ridiculous the monotone in speaking may be in the above-mentioned characters, in certain solemn and sublime passages in poetry it has a wonderful propriety, and, by the uncommonness of its use, it adds greatly to that variety with which the ear is so much delighted.
This monotone may be defined to be a continuation or sameness of sound upon certain words or syllables, exactly like that produced by repeatedly striking a bell: such a stroke may be louder or softer, but continues in exactly the same pitch. To express this tone, a horizontal line may be adopted; such a one as is generally used to signify a long syllable in verse. This tone may be very properly introduced in some passages of Akenside's Pleasures of Imagination, where he so finely describes the tales of horror related by the village matron to her infant audience
Breathing astonishment ! of witching rhymes
If the words of shapes that walk at dead of night” are pronounced in a monotone, it will add wonderfully to the variety and solemnity of the passage.
The rising inflexion is that upward turn of the voice we generally use at the comma, or in asking a question beginning with a verb, as, Nó, say you ; did he say Nó? This is commonly called a suspension of voice, and may not improperly be marked by the acute accent, thus (').
The falling inflexion is generally used at the semicolon and
colon, and must necessarily be heard in answer to the former question: He did; he said Nò. This inflexion, in a lower tone of voice, is adopted at the end of almost every sentence, except the definite question, or that which begins with the verb. To express this inflexion, the grave accent seems adapted, thus ().
The rising circumflex begins with the falling inflexion, and ends with the rising upon the same syllable, and seems as it were to twist the voice upwards. This inflexion may be exemplified by the drawling tone we give to some words spoken ironically; as the word Clodius in Cicero's Oration for Milo. This turn of voice may be marked in this manner (v):
“But it is foolish in us to compare Drusus Africanus and ourselves with Clodius; all our other calamities were tolerable, but no one can patiently bear the death of Clodius."
The falling circumflex begins with the rising inflexion, and ends with the falling upon the same syllable, and seems to twist the voice downwards. This inflexion seems generally to be used in ironical reproach ; as on the word you in the following example :
So then yoû are the author of this conspiracy against me? It is to yoû that I am indebted for all the mischief that has befallen me.”
If to these inflexions we add the distinction of a phrase into accentual portions, as
Prospèrity | gáins friends and advérsity I tries them, I and pronounce friends like an unaccented syllable of gains , and like an unaccented syllable of adversity; and them like an unaccented syllable of tries; we have a clear idea of the relative forces of all the syllables, and approximate closely to a notation of speaking sounds.
For farther information respecting this new and curious analysis of the human yoice, see Elements of Elocution, second edition, page 62; and Rhetorical Grammar, third edition, page 143.
GREEK AND LATIN ACCENT, &C.
1. In order to form an idea of the Accent and Quantity of the dead languages, it will be necessary first to understand what we mean by the accent and quantity of our own language * : and as quantity is supposed by some to regulate the accent in
* It is not surprising that the accent and quantity of the ancients should be so obscure and mysterious, when two such learned men of our own nation as Mr. Forster and Dr. Gally differ about the very existence of quantity in our own language. The former of these gentlemen maintains, that “the English have both
accent and quantity, and that no language can be without them ;” but the latter asserts, that, "in the modern languages, the pronunciation doth not depend upon
a natural quantity, and therefore a greater liberty may be allowed in the placing “ of accents.” And in another place, speaking of the northern languages of Europe, he says, that " it was made impossible to think of establishing quantity “ for a foundation of harmony in pronunciation. Hence it became necessary to
lay aside the consideration of quantity, and to have recourse to accents. In " these and some other passages, that writer," says Forster,
seems to look