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We are — all — well. Weareallwell.
for — hope. Thereisnolongeranyroomforhope.
Practice the lines quoted below, applying the principles of pause, change of pitch, and uninterrupted tone in the voicing of each phrase. 1 The moan of doves in immemorial elms
and the murmur of innumerable bees.
that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard Scrooge said often afterwards these were the blithest to
8. Causes of faulty grouping Two frequent sources of faulty grouping are (1) haphazard breathing, and (2) punctuation.
1. Grouping and breathing. In normal speech the rhythm 1 To prove the validity of these principles the lines may be read again with the omission of the modulations, first without pause, then in a monotone, and, finally, with each word spoken separately. Indeed, the value and function of any expressive variation of the voice may be tested by deliberately eliminating it in the utterance of a particular sentence
of breathing is controlled by the rhythmic progress of thought. When we have an idea to express, we instinctively take the breath and retain it in preparation for speech. The breath is naturally replenished during pauses between ideas. The thoughtless reader is prone to hasten over words, pronouncing them as fast as breathing and articulation permit. But the breathing of the reader who thinks clearly, and whose breath is controlled by his thinking, does not interrupt the utterance of word groups. Gasping and catching of breath during the utterance of phrases prevent the easy and clear rendering of thought, make listening difficult, and indicate failure on the part of the speaker to think clearly or to coördinate the action of the mind and the voice. Read the following lines aloud, taking breath only at the points indicated by dashes, and observe the peculiar and chaotic effect produced by the lack of correspondence between thinking and breathing. Then re-read the lines, allowing the breath to be governed by the thought.
The dealer stooped once more this time to replace - the glass upon the shelf his thin blond hair falling
over his eyes as he did so. Markheim moved - a little nearer with one hand - in the pocket of his great coat.
The dealer stooped once more, — this time to replace the glass upon the shelf, — his thin blond hair falling over his eyes as he did so. Markheim moved a little nearer with one hand in the pocket of his great coat.
Stevenson: Markheim." 2. Grouping and punctuation. Punctuation cannot be relied on as a guide to grouping. It often happens that pauses coincide with punctuation marks; often they do not. Punctuation helps to indicate the structure of the sentence to the eye. Grouping is not determined by gram
1 Used with the kind permission of the publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons.
matical structure, but by ideas and images. It is for the ear and the mind of the auditor. The sense of the unpunctuated passage may be clear to the eye, while the same passage, if read aloud without pauses, would be difficult to understand. A sentence from Tennyson's In Memoriam illustrates this:
As dear to me as sacred wine
Conversational usage observes no pause in “Yes, sir," though the structure requires a comma. We write, “ He said that, if the rain stopped, he would resume his journey”; but we speak the sentence thus : • He said that if the rain stopped — he would resume his journey.” “ He said " is one idea; what he said another, in fact, two others. The lack of coincidence between grouping and punctuation is further illustrated in the following quotations :
It was felt that the loyal element in the border states ought to be recognized — and, therefore it was — that, for the vice-presidency - was named a man — who began life in the lowest station.
This is the very coinage of your
Shakespeare: Hamlet, in, iv.
3. Examples of faulty grouping. Knowledge of the author's meaning is the only guide to correct and clear grouping. The following illustrations represent actual classroom errors. Correct the grouping.
Silas Marner decided to keep the child — who was frozen one evening - outside his house in the snow.
George Eliot : Silas Marner.
And then, the chasm
veins Yet shrinks the vital current.
Dante: The Inferno, Canto XXIV.
The roaring camp-fire with rude humor painted —
The ruddy tints of health
Bret Harte: Dickens in Camp.
I quote as a specimen some words of a living poet himself closely akin to Shelley in the character of his genius.
And beneath from the pebbles - in passing a spark
Longfellow : Paul Revere's Ride.
Hounds are in their couples --- yelling
Merrily, merrily, mingle they,
Scott: Hunting Song.
A frequent fault of inexperienced readers is the breaking up of the thought of a phrase into its smallest details, setting out each particular phase of the whole idea as a distinct and important thought-unit. But one cannot emphasize everything. The minor aspects of a thought must be combined and subordinated in such a way as to give unity and prominence to the complete image. This overinsistence upon details is illustrated in the following extract. Read it aloud as phrased, then read it with such grouping as shall give whole images, unbroken by pauses or hesitations.
If ever man was formed — to sit — on a log – it was -Old Phelps. He was essentially — a contemplative — person. Walking on a country road or anywhere - in the “open”. irksome — to him. He had a shambling — loose-jointed gaitnot unlike — that of the bear; his short legs — bowed out if — they had been more — in the habit — of climbing trees than of walking
If ever man was formed to sit on a log, – it was Old Phelps. He was essentially a contemplative person. Walking on a coun
or anywhere in the “open,”. was irksome to him. He had a shambling, loose-jointed gait, - not unlike that of the
his short legs bowed out, - as if they had been more in the habit of climbing trees - than of walking.
Charles Dudley Warner: In the Wilderness.
PROBLEMS IN GROUPING
1. General Problems The various aspects of the problem of grouping are illustrated in the examples appended to this chapter. Practice on these problems should be continued until the habit is acquired of taking a phrase or sentence with the eye and the mind before its words are spoken, until transitions from phrase to phrase and thought to thought are marked, as in conversation, by pauses and change of pitch, until breathing is regulated by the demands of the thought and phrasing becomes smooth, rhythmical, and easy. 1. Right expression is a part of character. As somebody has
said, by learning to speak with precision, you learn to think with correctness, and the way to firm and vigorous speech lies through the cultivation of high and noble senti
ments. John Morley : On the Study of Literature. 2. The pavilion in which these personages were had, as be
came the times as well as the personal character of Richard, more of a warlike than a sumptuous or royal character.