« 前へ次へ »
mal-ad-min-is-tra'-tion 2. The consonants. Consonants are the more closed elements of spoken language. The tone, instead of being allowed to pass out freely and with considerable resonance, as in making the vowels, is more or less obstructed or temporarily held in check by the action of tongue, teeth, or lips. The position of these organs in forming the different consonants need not be explained here. Such instruction is available in the best dictionaries.
Clear, accurate, and distinct utterance of the consonants requires free and nimble action of tongue and lips. Any one may acquire this, as the pianist, by long practice, gains agile, responsive action of fingers and hands. Distinctness of speech is a matter of diligence and patient effort.
While a good deal of benefit may be derived, no doubt from the repetition of difficult and more or less artificial tongue-twisting combinations of consonants, such as “ Theophilus Thistle, the successful thistle sifter,” such practice is apt to result in labored and conscious effort. Since consonants are combined with vowels to form syllables, the realization of the importance of uttering all syllables, whether stressed or unstressed, as illustrated in the list of words given above, will do much toward removing careless habits of enunciation. Tongue, teeth, and lips will be more ready to do their work when their duty is clear.
Combinations of different consonants and vowels, like sa-ta, ga-ga-ga, va-la, ta-la, fa-la, po-pa, practiced rapidly and with nimble action of tongue and lips, will be found helpful as exercises for control and agility of the organs of enunciation.
3. Pronunciation. In closing this brief consideration of some of the technical problems of speech, a word about pronunciation is not inappropriate. While the pronunciation of our language is continually undergoing change, there is, nevertheless, a certain usage or standard of utterance in accent, and sound, and quantity of the vowels, which passes as current and cultured speech everywhere. It is hardly necessary here to urge the importance of conforming to the accepted manner of pronouncing the words of our language. That is self evident to all who have ears to hear. But it may not be amiss to offer a suggestion or two which, it may be, will prove helpful to the reader.
Persons accustomed to much silent reading are sometimes embarrassed to find, when called on to read aloud, that they are unable to pronounce certain words, familiar to their vision and clear to their understanding, but unfamiliar to the tongue or the ear. Those whose sight knowledge of language is more accurate than their ear and speech knowledge, may increase the latter and gain accuracy of pronunciation by following the practice of frequently reading aloud, and, while doing so, of taking note of all words about which doubt is felt. It is also helpful to carry a notebook in which unfamiliar words met in one's reading, as well as those pronunciations one hears during the day and is uncertain about, may be jotted down. The pronunciation of words so listed should be looked up in the dictionary. Though authorities do not agree on the pronun. ciation of many common words, the dictionaries are the reliable records of current usages and should be freely consulted. About the best advice one can offer is, give attention to the language and pronunciation of agreeable speakers, watch your own speech, and when in doubt consult the dictionary.1
EXERCISES IN ENUNCIATION AND PRONUNCIATION The following selections offer good general practice for distinct and correct enunciation and pronunciation:
1. Nor ever yet had Arthur fought a fight
Like this last, dim, weird battle of the west.
upon the battle; and in the mist
for heaven, and only saw the mist; And shouts of heathen and the traitor knights,
Oaths, insult, filth, and monstrous blasphemies, 1 A useful and handy volume for reference in this connection is W. H. P. Phyfe's 12,000 Words Often Mispronounced, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York.
Sweat, writhings, anguish, laboring of the lungs
Tennyson: The Passing of Arthur. Hamlet. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue : but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently: for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of
your passion, you must are quire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwigpated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise : I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod : pray you, avoid it.
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action ; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 't were, the mirror up to nature ; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of the which one must in your allowance o’erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that neither having the accent of Christians nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
Shakespeare: Hamlet, III, ii.