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called the acute accent, and falls from a higher to a lower tone upon the same word in the answer Nò, which may therefore be called the grave. But when the accented word or syllable is associated with unaccented words or syllables, the acute accent is louder and higher than the preceding, and louder and lower than the succeeding syllables, as in the question, Satis fáctorily did he say? and the grave accent both louder and higher than either the preceding or succeeding syllables in the answer He said satisfactorily. Those who wish to see this explained more at large may consult Elements of Elocution, page 183; or Rhetorical Grammar, 3d edit. page 77.
8. This idea of accent is so evident upon experiment, as to defy contradiction; and yet, such is the general ignorance of the modifications of the voice, that we find those who pretend to explain the nature of accent the most accurately, when they give us an example of the accent in any particular word, suppose it always pronounced affirmatively and alone* ; that is, as if words were always pronounced with one inflexion of voice,
* That excellent scholar Mr. Forster furnishes an additional instance of the possibility of uniting a deep and accurate knowledge of what is called the prosody of the ancients with a total ignorance of the accent and quantity of his own language. After a thousand examples to show how the English is susceptible of every kind of metre among the ancients, (though in all his examples he substitutes English accent for Greek and Latin quantity,) he proceeds to show the difference between the English, the Irish, and the Scotch pronunciation.
“ The English join the acute and long time together, as in li'běrty: y short. “ The Scotch observe our quantity, and alter our accent, līběrty' ; y short. When " I say they observe our quantity, I mean they pronounce the same syllable long " which we do, but they make it longer. In respect to the circumflex with which " their pronunciation abounds: it may be remarked, that it is not formed as the “ Greek, Latin, and English, of an acute and grave, but of a grave and acute, 66 vócs, rôs, róùnd, English ; ròúnd, Scotch. 66 The Irish observe our quantity and accent too, but with a greater degree of S
and as if there were no difference with respect to the nature of the accent, whether the word is in an affirmation or a question, in one part of the sentence, or in another : when nothing can be more palpable to a correct ear than that the accents of the
“ spirit or emphasis, which Scaliger calls aflatio in latitudine, giving to most syl“ lables an aspiration."-Essay on Accent and Quantity, page 75.
Mr. Forster falls exactly into the mistake of Mr. Sheridan, though he bas a quite different idea of accent. He supposes liberty always pronounced by an Englishman in one manner, and that as a single word, or at the end of a sentence : he has not the least notion of the different inflexion the same word may have accordingly as the accent is differently inflected, as we may plainly perceive in the following question: Is it liberty or licentiousness you plead for? where the Eng. lish raise the voice on the latter syllables, as the Scotch too frequently do. With sespect to the quantity of the first syllable, which Mr. Forster says the Scotch preserve in this word, I must dissent from him totally; for they preserve the accent, and alter the quantity, by pronouncing the first syllable as if written leeberty. If Mr. Forster calls this syllable long in the English pronunciation of it, I should be glad to be told of a shorter accented syllable than the first of liberty: if he says the accent being on it renders it long, I answer this subverts his whole system; for if accent, falling on any vowel, makes it long, the quantity of the Greek and Latin is overturned, and cano, in the first line of the Æneid, must be a spondee.
This is the consequence of entering on the discussion of a difficult point, without first defining the terms ;-nothing but confusion and contradiction can
But I must give this writer great credit for his saying the Scotch pronunciation abounds with the circumflex; for this is really the case ; and the very circumflex opposite to the Greek and Latins, beginning with the grave and ending with the
I am not, however, a little astonished that this did not show him how de. ficient the ancients were in this modification of the voice; which, though used too frequently in Scotland, is just as much in the human voice as the other cir. cumflex; and may be, and is often, used in England, with the utmost propriety. With respect to the common circumflex on Greek, Latin, and some French words, the accentual use of it is quite unknown, and it only stands for long quan
word voluntary in the following sentences are essentially different :
His resignation was voluntary.
In both, the accent is on the first syllable. In the first sentence, the accented syllable is higher and louder than the other syllables ; and in the second, it is louder and lower than the rest. The same may be observed of the following question :
Was his resignation voluntary or involuntary?
where the first syllable of the word voluntary is louder and lower than the succeeding syllables ; and in the word involuntaxy it is louder and higher. Those who have not ears sufficiently delicate to discern this difference, ought never to open their lips about the acute or grave accent, as they are pleased to call them; let them speak of accent as it relates to stress only, and not to elevation or depression of voice, and then they may speak intelligibly.
9. A want of this discernment has betrayed Mr. Forster into obscurity and contradiction. To say nothing of his asserting that the English, Irish, and Scotch accent differ, (where accent cannot possibly mean stress, for then English verse would not be verse in Ireland and Scotland,) what shall we think of his
tity; but both these circumflexes are demonstrably upon the human voice in speaking, and may be made as evident by experiment as the stress of an accented syllable by pronouncing the word on which it is placed.-See Rhetorical Grammar, 3d edit. page 80.
I must just take notice of the inaccuracy of Mr. Forster in saying the last syllable of liberty is short, and yet that it has the circumflex accent: this is contrary to all the prosody of antiquity, and contrary to the truth of the case in this instance ; for it is the length of the first syllable, arising from the circumflex on it, which distinguishes the Scotch from the English pronunciation.
telling us, that in England we pronounce the word majesty with an acute accent, and long quantity upon the first syllable, and the two last syllables with the grave accent and short quantity; and that in Scotland this word is pronounced with a grave accent, and long quantity on the first syllable, and with an acute accent and short quantity.on the last ? Now, if by accent is meant stress, nothing is more evident than that the English and Scotch, with the exception of very few words, place the accent on the same syllable; but if elevation be included in the idea of accent, it is as evident that the English pronounce the first syllable louder and higher than the two last, when they pronounce the word either singly, or as ending a sentence ; as,
He spoke against the king's majesty :
and louder and lower than the two last when it is the last aca cented word but one in a sentence, as,
He spoke against the majesty of the king :
or when it is the last word in asking a question, beginning with
a verb, as,
Did he dare to speak against the king's majesty ?
10. Where then is the difference, it will be asked, between the English and Scotch pronunciation? I answer, precisely in this; that the Scotch are apt to adopt the rising circumflex and long quantity where the English use the simple rising inflexion and short quantity Thus in the word majesty, as well as in
* Would not any one suppose, that, by Mr. Forster's producing this word as an example of the English accent, that the English always pronounce it one way, and that as if it ended a declarative sentence? This is exactly like the mistake of Priscian in the word Natura.-Sec sečt. 20, in the Notes.
every other of the same form, they generally adopt the rising inflexion, as in the two last sentences, whether it ends a question beginning with a verb, as, “Is this the picture of his májesty ?" or whether it ends an affirmative sentence, as,
This is the picture of his majesty." And it is the prevalence of this long quantity with the rising inflexion that forms the principal difference between the English and Scotch pronunciation.
11. Having thus endeavoured to ascertain the accent and quantity of our own language, let us next inquire into the nature of the accent and quantity of the ancients *.
12. The long quantity of the ancients must arise either from a prolongation of the sound of the vowel, or from that delay of voice which the pronunciation of two or more consonants in succession are supposed naturally to require. Now vowels
* So much are the critics puzzled to reconcile the tragic and comic verses of the ancients to the laws of metre, that a learned writer in the Monthly Review, for May 1762, speaking of the corrections of Dr. Heath, in his notes or readings of the old Greek tragedians, says
“ These Emendations are much more excusable than such as are made merely " for the sake of the metre, the rules of which are so extremely vague and va6 rious, as they are laid down by the metrical critics, that we will venture to say
any chapter in Robinson Crusoe might be reduced to measure by them. This “ is not conjecture; the thing shall be proved.
* As I was rummaging about her, lambicus dimeter bypercatalectus " I found several
Dochmaicus “ Things that I wanted,
Dactylicus dimeter • A fire-shovel and tongs,
Dochmaicus ex epitrito quarto et syllaba “ Two brass kettles,
Dochmaicus " A pot to make chocolate, Periodus brachycatalectus “ Some horns of fine glaz’d powder, Euripideus “ A gridiron, and seve
Dactylica pontbimimeris 6 Ral other necessaries,
Basis anapesticacum syllaba."