Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

elementary vocal sounds, therefore are produced by or in the larynx; these are modified by the pharynx, mouth, and nose, such modification being distributed into the great variety of consonants. This then, shortly, is the speaking apparatus : the wind power in the lungs, the larynx acting upon the vocal cords for the production of the elementary voice, the consonant system transforming that voice into words by the modifications of it rendered possible by the pharynx, the mouth, and the nose.

ARTICULATION.

The first and perhaps the most important department of Elocution is that which concerns Articulation. This may be taken, for present purposes, to mean the clear and exact rendering by the voice of the sounds indicated by the collection of signs contained in a word. The object of speech is the conveyance of thought; the first thing to be desired, therefore, is that the speaker should be understood, that the sound of his voice should be recognized as words. An audience must clearly hear his words and perceive his meaning before their feelings can be moved by his expressive delivery; consequently, all the various sounds which are combined in a word must be properly articulated in order that the word may be recognized. A word contains a number of sounds blended into one or more characteristic sounds. Articulation concerns two thingsfirst, audibility; second, distinctness. Audibility consists in the force with which the vowel sounds are uttered; distinctness, in the clearness and accuracy of the consonant

sounds and influences, for consonants often have no sound. The test of audibility is the distance at which the voice can be heard; that of distinctness, the distance at which the words can be recognized.

A word is a collection of letters. To each letter, or sign, a certain sound is attached, which is modified with great variety when letters are placed in combination with each other and form words. A practical knowledge of these elementary sounds, or an ability to produce them (perfection in which is often rather acquired than natural), is the basis of Elocution. The alphabet is divided into vowels and consonants. A vowel is a pure vocal sound-an exertion of the voice proper.

A consonant is dependent upon a vowel, and cannot be named or described without its aid. A consonant does not so much represent a distinct sound itself, but its function consists in influencing the pronunciation of vowels. Thus in the word bar the consonants govern the pronunciation, although taken separately they have no articulate sound. Consonants stand as signs for some particular formation of the lips, teeth, tongue, &c.-in some cases for a simple aspiration of the breath. Vowels may be considered the raw material of speaking, consonants the means of moulding that material into an infinite variety of form.

Each syllable in a word, and of course each word in a sentence, however unimportant or unemphatic, must be distinctly and clearly pronounced. The common habit of slurring unaccented syllables must be avoided.

If a word begins with the same consonant as that with which the previous word closes, the two distinct sounds

must be given the first word must be fully pronounced before the second is commenced; as, for instance, found drowned instead of foun-drowned. If there is any difficulty in preventing these two sounds from being merged into one, a slight pause must be made between them. This pause, if properly made, need not cause the speaking to appear either formal or disjointed.

The following are some of the principal sounds in accented and unaccented syllables; the difference between long vowels, as in bate, and short, as in bat, will be noticed: :

VOWELS.

a, as in bar, card, balm, palm, father, bare, bat, bate, occasion, quantity, ward, taught, inveigh, courage, ball, talk.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

mete, theme, met, mercy, haven, batten, few.

pin, pine, sir, smile, guile, hostile, type.

dome, ghost, Tom, form, move, prorogue.

must, shut, fur, tune, hull, bull, pull, duke, comfort, glove.

pool, poor, too, soothe, noon, rue, rude, who.

boil, joy, poise, soil, voice.

hound, ounce, hour, thousand, mouth.

SUCCESSIVE VOWELS.

poetry, fiery, hiatus, aerial, quiescent, aorist.

Practice in the above representative sounds with a full inspiration of the breath before each, will strengthen the

voice and enable the student to discover whether he has at command the elements of spoken English.

CONSONANTS.

The title of this element of speech coming from a Latin word meaning "to sound together," suggests the dependence of consonants upon vowels. A clear rendering of the consonants is absolutely essential to good speech. They are the means by which mere tones are made into words. They are like the stops and keys of an organ, which distribute the elementary tones and give variety, character, recognizability to them. The success of speaking does not depend upon the mere force of the vowel sounds, but upon an union between this force and a perfect articulation of consonants. A man may speak very loudly and yet his words remain unrecognized at a certain distance; but with a much less force and volume of voice, and a better rendering of the consonants, his words may be understood at a greater distance. The preachers under the dome of St. Paul's strain their voices with painful exertion, and yet their words do not travel. When occasionally they drop their voices, or rather restrict the volume of their vowel sounds, the consonants have a better chance of showing their influence, and the words are heard and recognized. Singers are apt to allow their vocal sounds to overpower the consonants altogether; hence the words sung are not recognized, and the meaning of the singer is unintelligible. No one requires a careful training in consonants more than the singer; and the strength and volume of the speaker's voice can only be properly utilized for an intelligent expression of ideas by the

elementary vocal sounds, therefore are produced by or in the larynx; these are modified by the pharynx, mouth, and nose, such modification being distributed into the great variety of consonants. This then, shortly, is the speaking apparatus: the wind power in the lungs, the larynx acting upon the vocal cords for the production of the elementary voice, the consonant system transforming that voice into words by the modifications of it rendered possible by the pharynx, the mouth, and the nose.

ARTICULATION.

The first and perhaps the most important department of Elocution is that which concerns Articulation. This may be taken, for present purposes, to mean the clear and exact rendering by the voice of the sounds indicated by the collection of signs contained in a word. The object of speech is the conveyance of thought; the first thing to be desired, therefore, is that the speaker should be understood, that the sound of his voice should be recognized as words. An audience must clearly hear his words and perceive his meaning before their feelings can be moved by his expressive delivery; consequently, all the various sounds which are combined in a word must be properly articulated in order that the word may be recognized. A word contains a number of sounds blended into one or more characteristic sounds. Articulation concerns two things— first, audibility; second, distinctness. Audibility consists in the force with which the vowel sounds are uttered; distinctness, in the clearness and accuracy of the consonant

« AnteriorContinua »