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pause between each one, and giving positive expression to every sound in the word. Make no attempt during this practice to do more than pronounce. Do not try to read; your present purpose is to master articulation. Remember this, that there are very few words with letters in them actually mute. Such letters are not sounded separately, it is true, but for the most part they modify the sound of other letters. Give to each sound that goes to make up the word its full value ; do not omit to roll the “r's” and hiss the “s's ” while learning your lesson; there is no danger of your running into the extreme of expression. Having in this manner read a sentence very slowly, read it again somewhat less slowly, and so three or four times, increasing the speed of utterance, until you find that you read it with ease and readiness. An articulation so acquired is of infinite advantage, for it is thus that you make yourself distinctly heard afar off as well as near, and thus it is that you are enabled to express the most delicate shades of emotion by the most delicate inflections of sound.

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LETTER XII.

PRONUNCIATION-EXPRESSION.

Having, by slow reading and giving full expression to every sound, tutored yourself in articulation and subdued the habitual tendency of the tongue to drop letters, slur syllables, and dovetail words, you may gradually resume the proper speed in reading ; pausing, however, and repeating the lesson, whenever you find yourself returning to your old habits of speech. The time thus spent will be a gain to you in the end, for you cannot read well until this mechanical portion of the art is accomplished mechanically, without requiring the aid of the mind, which must be engaged upon other parts of your work. If you are considering how you shall pronounce your words, you cannot be thinking also what is the meaning of the author and how it should be conveyed to your audience—the only matters upon which the mind should be occupied while practising the art of reading. Therefore will it be necessary for you to exercise yourself in articulation for a very long time, and not to cease from practice, until you have so mastered it that you articulate well unconsciously, without thinking how you are to articulate.

When you can articulate your words well, turn your attention to the pronunciation of sentences. In learning to articulate, you have practised with single words, giving to each its full sound, without reference to its

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association with other words. You will now study how to pronounce many words placed together. In this process you have not, as before, to sound each word in full, but you must mould the pronunciation of each according to the meaning it is designed to convey, and also in accordance with certain conventional laws of speech by which, in a collocation of sounds, some are subordinated to others, and some modified so harmonise with those which precede or follow.

Here, again, teachers of elocution profess to prescribe rules for the guidance of the pupil, which may be correct in themselves, but the observance of which would certainly make the reader who tries to observe them an ungainly pedant and his reading a positive pain to his audience. Pronunciation is, in truth, a matter of taste and ear, and if you cannot learn it by help of these monitors within, you will never master it by rules prescribed from without.

I am treating now of pronunciation merely. The right expression to be given to sentences will be the subject for much more extended consideration presently.

Practice and patience are the only hints I can offer you for the acquirement of a correct and pleasing pronunciation. But it is almost certain that you will not be entirely free from defects acquired in early life, and especially from provincialisms, of which it is so very hard to rid yourself, because you are not conscious of their presence. The sounds of the first words written on your memory are hard to be obliterated and never can be corrected by your own unaided efforts. The simple remedy is to invite the assistance of a friend, who will be quite as efficient for the purpose as a master; ask him to listen while you read, and to detect any provincialisms, or faulty or slovenly pronunciations, of which you may be guilty. Direct him to stop you as the word is spoken and show you your error by uttering to you the word, first, as you spoke it, and then as it ought to have been spoken; and you should repeat it again and again until he ceases to find any fault with it. When you have thus completed a sentence and corrected every word that was imperfectly pronounced, read it again twice or thrice, rapidly but clearly, to be sure that you have caught the true sounds; then, after an interval of diversion of the ear by reading other things, return to the passages that were the most incorrectly read, and try them again, until you can read them rightly without reflection or pause. Scoring the imperfectly pronounced words with a pencil, as your listening friend, or your own ear, tells you of their faultiness, will assist you in the performance of this useful exercise.

Having thus acquired distinct articulation and correct pronunciation, you will address yourself to the third stage in the art of reading-expression. Not merely must single words be fully sounded, and collected words rightly sounded, but that which you read requires to be uttered in the proper tone and with correct emphasis.

I shall best explain to you what I mean by this, and convince you of its importance, by looking at the sources of it.

Speech is one, and the most frequent, of the media by which mind communicates with mind. When you address another person, it is your purpose either to convey to him some fact, or to excite in him some emotion, or to convince him by some argument. Strict philosophy would assign this third 'object to the former ones; but, as I am not writing a philosophical treatise, but merely telling you my experiences as to the best manner of learning an art, I prefer this threefold description as most intelligible. Whatever the mind desires to convey it expresses, naturally and unconsciously, in a manner of its own.

You will instantly recognise this natural language in the expression of the more powerful emotions-joy, grief, fear. Each has its proper tone, the meaning of which is recognised by all human beings, whether the emotion be or be not shaped into speech. But the finer emotions have their own appropriate expression also, which you may discover if you observe closely, diminishing by delicate shades until they can be caught only by the refined ear, and from which we may conclude that whatever the mind desires to express in speech is naturally and unconsciously uttered in a tone appropriate to itself, and which tone is adapted to excite the corresponding emotion in the mind to which it is addressed. You feel alarm-your voice, without effort on your part, sounds the note of alarm; it falls upon the ear and passes into the mind of another man, and instantly excites the same emotion in him.

You are oppressed with grief-you give utterance to your grief in tones of sadness; the mind that hears them feels sad too; the same emotion is awakened in that mind by the faculty which is called sympathy. Words that come from the mind are but the mind made audible and therefore must vary with every wave of thought or feeling. This is what I mean by expression in reading.

We have not always expression when we speak, because sometimes we talk almost mechanically, without the mind being engaged; or rather with no purpose to convey any state of our own mind to the minds of others. That kind of talk you will readily recognise. There is

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