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Though each of the above marks always indicates an inflection of the same kind, yet the slides differ greatly in the degree, or extent of their rise or fall. In some the voice has a very slight, and in others, a very marked upward or downward movement, depending on the nature of what is expressed. We do not give definite rules touching these shades of difference in the degree of inflection, as they would rather perplex than aid the learner. In a few examples, however, this difference is indicated by the use of italics and CAPITAL LETTERS.

2. THE RISING INFLECTION is the upward bend or slide of the voice; as, Do you love your home'? 3. THE FALLING INFLECTION is the downward bend or slide of the voice; as, When will you go home'?


The rising inflection carries the voice upwards from the general pitch, and suspends it on the highest tone required; while the falling inflection commences above the general pitch, and falls down to it; as, Did you say orfall At the end, or final close, of a declarative sentence, when the falling slide commences on the general pitch, and falls below the key, it is sometimes called the Cadence, or falling slide of termination; as, God is


4. THE CIRCUMFLEX is the union of the two inflections of the voice on the same syllable or word, either commencing with the rising and ending with the falling, or commencing with the falling and ending with the rising, thus producing a slight wave of the voice; as, Mother, you have my father much offended.

Inflection, or the slide, is one of the most important divisions of elocution, because all speech is made up of slides, and because the right or wrong formation of these gives a pervading character to the whole delivery. It is to the graceful formation of the slides that we are chiefly indebted for that easy and refined utterance which prevails in polished society; while the coarse and rustic tones of the vulgar are commonly owing to some early and erroneous habit in this respect. Most of the schoolboy

faults in delivery, such as drawling, whining, and a monotonous singing sound, result from a wrong formation of the slide, and may be anticipated or corrected by a proper course of practice on this element of speech.

A slide consists of two parts, viz.: the opening sound, and the vanish, or gradual diminution of force, until the sound is lost in silence. Three things are necessary to the perfect formation of a slide.

1st. The opening sound must be struck with a full and lively impulse of voice.

2d. The diminution of force must be regular and equablenot more rapid in one part than another, but naturally and gracefully declining to the last.

3d. The final vanish must be delicately formed, without being abrupt on the one hand, or too much prolonged on the other. Thus, a full opening, a gradual decrease, and a delicate termination are requisite to the perfect formation of a slide.

Let the pupils pronounce the following words with contrasted inflections, using great pains to form the slides in the manner just indicated :

1. Call', call; far', far`; fame', fame'; shame', shame'; air', air; scene', scene'; mile', mile'; pile', pile'.

2. Roam', roam'; tool', tool; school', school'; pure', pure'; mule', mule'; join', join'; our', our'.

3. Land', land'; barb', barb`; made', made'; tribe', tribe'; road', road; mood', mood'; tube', tube'; loud', loud.

4. Will', will; right', right`; hope', hope'; love', love'; prosper', prosper'; higher', higher`; safety', safety'; power', power'; talents', talents'; wisdom', wisdom'; virtue', virtue'.


1. Direct questions, or those that can be answered by yes, or no, usually require the rising inflection; but their answers, the falling.


1. Do you love that laughing child'? I do`.

2. Are those purple plums and red-cheeked peaches ripe'! Yes'.



3. May I eat some of the sweet grapes that hang in clusters by the wall'? Yes'.

4. Has any one sailed around the earth'? Yes', Captain Cook' 5. Will you forsake us'? and will you favor us no more'?

6. Is not this the carpenter's son'? and is not his mother called Mary'? and his brethren, James', and Joses', and Simon', and Judas'? and his sisters, are they not all with us'?

EXCEPTIONS. The falling inflection is required when the direct question becomes an earnest appeal, and the answer is anticipated; and when a direct question, not at first understood, is repeated with marked emphasis.


1. Are you, my dear sir, willing to forgive?

2. James, can you ever forget the kindness of your mother`? 3. Was the lady that first visited us as beautiful as the one that just left the house?

4. Will her love survive your neglect? and may not you expect the sneers, both of your wife', and of her parents`?

5. Do you reside in the city'? What did you say, sir'? Do you reside in the city`?

6. Do you think peace and honor sweet words'? I beg your pardon, sir. Do you think peace and honor sweet words?

2. Indirect questions, or those that can not be answered by yes, or no, usually require the falling inflec tion, and their answers the same.


1. Who can reward you for your kindness?

2. Who will pay for those beautiful flowers'? My mother`. 3. Where can you see such rivers and lakes'? In America`. 4. Whose watch is this? and what do you suppose it might be bought for?

5. Whither have you led me'? and to whom do these beauti ful creatures belong?

6. Who aid, "A wise man is never less alone than wher. he is alone?"


EXCEPTIONS. The rising inflection is required when an indirect question is used to ask a repetition of what was not at first understood; and when the answers to questions, whether direct or indirect, are given in an indifferent or careless manner.


1. What bird did you say that is'?

2. Whither did you say you would lead me'?

3. Where did you find those young birds? In the meadow. Where did you say'?

4. Shall I send James and Henry to visit you'? As you please'. 5. Will you be displeased if your friends desert you'? Not much'.

6. How many scholars did you see in the yard`? Some fifteen or twenty'

3. Questions, words, and clauses, connected by the disjunctive or, usually require the rising inflection before, and the falling after it; though, when or is used conjunctively, it takes the rising inflection after, as well as before it.


1. Did you do that kind act on the Sabbath day', or on Monday?

2. Does that beautiful lady deserve praise', or blame'?

3. It was large' or small', ripe' or unripe', sweet' or sour`. 4. You saw an old' man or a young man, a tall' man or a short' man.

5. Can youth', or health', or strength', or honor', or pleasure' satisfy the soul' ?

6. Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea'? or hast thon walked in search of the depths'? Hast thou an arm like

God' or canst thou thunder like him'?



4. When words or clauses are contrasted or compared, the first part usually has the rising, and the last the falling inflection; though, when one side of the contrast is affirmed, and the other denied, generally the latter has the rising inflection, in whatever order they



1. I have seen the effects of love' and hatred`, joy' and grief`, hope' and despair`.

2. A wise son maketh a glad father'; but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother'.

3. Men's words' are like leaves', and their deeds' like fruits. 4. We should judge of others, not by our' light, but by their


5. The first object of a true zeal is that we may do right`, not that we may prosper'.

6. The supreme law of a State is not its safety', its power', its prosperity': there is a higher law, even Virtue', Rectitude, the Will of God'.

5. Familiar address, and the pause of suspension, denoting condition, supposition, or incompleteness, usually require the rising inflection.


1. Officers', soldiers', friends', Americans', our country must be free.

2. If thine enemy hunger', give him bread to eat; if he thirst', give him water to drink.

3. To sit up late at night', to use intoxicating drinks', and to indulge evil passions', are things not permitted in this school.

4. Consider (and may the consideration sink deep into your heart'!) the fatal consequences of a wicked life.

5. The sun being risen', and the discourse being ended', we resumed our march.

6. His adventures', his toils', his privations', his sufferings', his hair-breadth escapes', and his struggles for victory and liberty', are all remembered.

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