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analyzed, and the scholars should be required to say what intonation they think the precise idea to be conveyed demands. When this point is decided, let the sentence be read, and repeated till its intonation has become familiar; and then, when every sentence in the piece has been thus gone over, the whole may be taken up together with advantage. The old mode of school reading and declaiming is perhaps worse than useless.

In all these exercises, whether on the elements and their combinations, or on the reading of sentences, it is important that the teacher should lead the class in every step of their progress, by repeating or reading whatever he requires of them, before calling upon them to do it. This he must continue to do, till he finds them fully competent to perform their exercises without his leading. The farther he can place himself from his class during their exercises, the more complete will be the effect of the exercises in giving clearness and distinctness to the pupils' utterance.

On these principles the author of this little work has uniformly conducted his instruction. Perhaps he may be authorized, without undue presumption, to recommend the adoption of his course to others.






By the word element we mean anything which cannot be subdivided. Thus, in chemistry, any substance which is simple, and cannot be divided into others, is called an element.

In Elocution we mean by elements, sounds, or qualities of sound, which we cannot divide or render simpler. These are of different kinds. There are the simple sounds, of which words are made up, and which we call vocal elements; and there are also those simple sounds, or qualities of sound, by which expression or meaning is given to our words, and which are called the elements of expression.

The first kind of elements are those which we call the vocal elements. In order to speak well, it is first of all necessary to pronounce correctly. Now there is only one effectual way of learning to pronounce distinctly every word in a language; and that is, to acquire by practice the power of giving every

simple sound, of which these words may be made up.

Suppose we take the word 'matter,' to explain what we mean by these simple sounds. Most persons perhaps would think it was made up of only two sounds—mat,' and 'er.' These, however, are not either of them simple sounds, because, as may be easily shown, they can be themselves divided. In the syllable' mat,' the first sound heard is 'm,' produced by closing the lips in a particular manner; the second is that of 'a' in the word 'a-t:' the third is that oft in the word 't-ake.' In the second syllable, er,' we have two sounds, 'e,' as in the word 'u-nder,' and 'r' as in the word 'oa-r.'



In this word it so happens that the vocal elements are almost the same in number with the letters. This is not, however, always the case. In the word 'straight,' the vocal elements are 's' (as in hi-ss'), 't,' 'r,' (as in 'r-ow '), 'a' (as in 'a-le'), and 't'. The letters 'igh' have no corresponding sounds.


The same letter in different words often stands for very different vocal elements. The sounds heard at the beginning of the words, 'a-le,' 'a-ll,' ' a-rm,' and 'a-t,' are all represented by the letter 'a.' In like manner, one element is often represented by different letters. The sound at the beginning of the words, ea-rl,' 'I-rving,' and 'u-nder,' is exactly the same, though it is written in three different ways. In a perfect alphabet, every sound would have its own letter, and every letter its own sound; but as ours is not a perfect alphabet, we must be content to remember the difference between a vocal element,


or simple sound, and an alphahetic element, or letter.

If now we look back again to the first example, ' mat,' we shall see that the three elements which compose it are very unlike one another. The sound 'a' is made with the mouth and throat open, and may therefore be pronounced as loud and full as the voice will admit. The element 'm' has the lips closed, and the sound confined. We cannot give it as much force or fulness as the other. The last element, 't,' has a sound like that which we should use in whispering either of the others.

Those elements, which like 'a' may be sounded with the mouth and throat entirely open, are called 'tonic elements.' The alphabetic elements, or letters, used to represent them, are called 'vowels.' Those elements, which like 'm' are sounded with any part of the mouth closed, are called subtonics.' Those which like 't' have in addition the whispering sound, are called 'atonics.' The subtonic and atonic elements are represented by those letters which we call consonants.

The tonic elements used in the English language are 14 in number. Of these, 8 may be sounded long, the other 6 must be pronounced short.


3 a,

4 a',

5 a",

The 8 long tonics are,

1 ee, as in the words ee-l, m-e, ca-t, bel-ie-ve

oo-ze, m-o-ve, tr-ue, l-u-te
a-le, ai-r, pr-ay

a-ll, l-au-d, l-o-rd, aw-ful
a-rm, l-au-nch, a-fter

o-ld, n-o, oa-k, ow-n
ou-r, v-ow
i-sle, l-ie, th-y-me, beautif-y,


6 0, 7ou,

8 i,


The six short tonics are,

1 ', as in the words i-t, w-i-ll, beaut-y

2 u,

3 e, 4 0, 5 a


6 e',

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p-u-ll, f-oo-t, w-o-lf
e-dge, m-e-t, h-ea-d
o-bject, n-o-t, o-live
a-t, m-a-n [u-nder, mann-a
h-e-r, h-ea-rd, f-i-rm, w-o-rd


It may be observed that the first four of the long tonics answer very nearly, if not exactly, to the first four of the short ones. The word 'eat,' (ee-t) shortened, becomes 'it,' ('-t). The sound of ooze' (00-z) becomes that of foot,' (f-u-t) ; ' age' (a-dzh) is changed to edge,' (e-dzh), and 'all' (a ́-I) into 'ol,' (o'-1).



Of the eight long tonics, only two are really monothongs, i. e. only two end with the same sound as that on which they begin. These two are placed at the head of the list; ee ' and 'oo.'

The other six are diphthongs; i. e. they begin on one sound, and end on another; thus,

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These diphthongal elements are to be distinguished from the diphthongs, as they are commonly reckoned in grammar. They consist, it is true, of two sounds; but then the first of them cannot be given without the second, though the second may be sounded apart from the first. The sounds 'ay,''oy,' or 'eu," as in 'feudal,' (f-eu-dal) which might be called diphthongs in grammar, are not to be so considered in elocution, because they consist each of them of two

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