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The second modification of stress has been stated to be, the giving to the vanish a greater degree of force than to the radical. It is in fact just the reverse of the natural, or unemphatic pronunciation of the syllable. In common speaking, we begin loud and end faintly; in this element, we begin more faintly, and end loud.
Vanishing stress may be most commonly heard in the speech of the lower orders among the Irish. 'And sure your honor will be knowing it.' It is heard also in the sound which we make in sobbing.
It ought only to be used at the end of the emphatic slides of the voice. When it is added to the slide of the tone, it gives nothing more than the jerk we so often hear on the unemphatic words in Irish pronunciation. When properly combined with an emphatic slide, it gives a more hasty and earnest expression than the radical stress. In this way it is very frequently used by young children, 'I wont, I tell you.'
In order to give vanishing stress to a syllable, it is also necessary that it be one which is capable of receiving a pretty long sound. It need not indeed be a very long one, but it must not, like those syllables to which we give radical stress, be very short.
Two tables are subjoined for practice on this element. The first contains the eight long tonics; the second, a few words on which vanishing stress may be easily exhibited. Each of the emphatic slides and waves may as well be given in their turn, in combination with it. Great care has to be taken, however, that the whole of the stress be thrown on to the end of the
slide or wave, and none of it to the beginning. If the sound be forcible at the opening, as well as at the close of the syllable, it will produce compound and not vanishing stress.
It may be observed here, that any degree of general loudness may be made to accompany the use of vanishing stress. This is indeed the case with all the four kinds of stress. They should therefore all of them be practised not only in a loud and energetic tone, but also in a more moderate, and even in a low and muffled voice.
TABLES FOR PRACTICE.
ee, oo, a, a', a", o, ou, i.
II. he, you, may, dare, past, will, bound, bite, gone, done, shall.
It will not be necessary to enter very minutely into the examination of this form of stress. It has all the earnestness of the vanishing stress, combined with. much more gravity and dignity. It consists in giving comparative force to both ends of the syllable, leaving the faint sound of the voice only on the middle. It may be given on the word 'all' in the following example.
The boat upset, and they were all lost."'ALL lost?'
Compound stress may be practised with advantage on the last two tables.
This last species of stress differs considerably from any of those which have been already described. In exhibiting it, the voice opens at the beginning of the syllable with moderate force-it then gradually increases or swells till the middle, after which it dies away again to the end. Of course, all this can be done only on syllables which are of very considerable length, such as all, hail, wo. It should be heard in the sentence, 'Wo unto thee, Chorazin, wo unto thee, Bethsaida.' Its expression is always that of great solemnity.
Median stress can be given much more perfectly on the equal waves of the voice, than on the simple slides. The reason of this is, that the speaking voice, when it is made to dwell long on one syllable, naturally assumes the form of an equal wave, and median stress can be only given on very long syllables. In using the subjoined tables, therefore, each example should be sounded successively, with median stress on one or more of the equal waves, direct or indirect.
It will require great practice to obtain a full command over this element, and great care after it has become familiar to us, to use it judiciously in speaking.
TABLES FOR PRACTICE.
ee, oo, a, a', a", o, ou, i.
II. aid, save, all, heal, old, fair, praise, wo, move, know, arm, hail, bear, roll, lord, thine, lone-ly, roy-al, glo-ry, hol-y, un-known, con-ceal.
THE third of the elements of expression is quantity, or the length of time taken up in pronouncing a syllable. The great rule which must be always borne in mind in using this element, is this. On solemn subjects we speak slowly, on more lively ones we commonly speak quickly. Read the words, Our Father, who ǎrt în heaven,' with a rapid utterance, or a pretty fellow you are!' with a slow one, and the inconsistency will be at once apparent to every one.
This would perhaps seen to be almost enough to say on this subject, and it would be so in reality, if every body could only give long or short quantity, without losing the proper sound of the syllables on which he would show it. We find that most people, when they try to speak rapidly, clip their words so as to make them hardly intelligible to persons near them, and quite inaudible to any one who may be a little way off. So, too, when they try to speak slowly, we are almost sure to find, in their delivery, either what we call singing, or else drawling. It is therefore necessary, in a book on Elocution, to show how, by practice, all these common faults may be got rid of.
The common fault, then, into which people fall in giving short quantity, is that of not pronouncing their words correctly. To avoid this, it will be necessary for the pupil to practise diligently on all the vocal elements, as they have been explained in the first chapter, till he can sound them all with perfect ease and accuracy.
He must then combine them together in difficult words, such as those contained in the tables, (see page 29) till he feels confident, that he is able to sound them or any others easily, without altering in the least their proper pronunciation. He should then begin to sound them one after another, as quickly as he can, still taking care that no sound whatever, which should be heard in them, be suffered to escape him. A great part of this practice has been already directed to secure a distinct articulation. It must now be repeated, as far as may be necessary to insure the power of articulating, not only well, but also quickly.
In giving long quantity, again, we have said most persons either sing or drawl. How are these faults to be avoided? To answer this question, it will be only necessary to repeat a part of what has been already said on the subjects of pitch and force.
First, then, the voice in speaking, ought never to rest for a single instant on the same pitch. In every syllable after it has once begun, it must be all the while either rising or falling. If we neglect this rule, we shall make a sound like that which is heard in singing. Every one, who, in trying to read slowly, sings his long syllables, will be found to make this mistake. He will have run along a part at least of the sound on the same pitch, instead of making it rise or fall throughout. Το get rid of this fault, therefore, we must persevere in practising the different slides and waves, till it becomes unnatural to us, even when making them as long in their sound as possible, not to sound them correctly. The second fault is drawling. This must be corrected by the proper use of the element of force.