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the successful thistle-sifter, in sifting a sieve full of unsifted thistles, thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb, see that thou, in sifting a sieve full of unsifted thistles, thrust not three thousand thistles through the thick of thy thumb. Success to the successful thistle-sifter.
When a twister, a-twisting, will twist him a twist,
2. EXPRESSION. Expression will be treated under four heads : 1. TONE; 2. INFLECTION; 3. RHETORICAL PAUSES ; 4. EMPHASIS.
Good reading is simply the natural expression of the ideas. This does not mean that reading should be like talking. Few people express themselves naturally in conversation.
Children readily fall into the mannerisms of their associates. These mannerisms are generally faulty grammatically and rhetorically in pitch, inflection, articulation, emphasis, time, volume, and quality). Even if children expressed their own ideas correctly, they should not read as they talk, except when the matter read represents them (or others) as talking. Reading is different from talking, though having elements in
In talking, one expresses his own ideas in his own words, with sentences adapted in length and form to his natural habit of speech. In reading, one expresses the ideas of the author, written in his own style. The choice of words, their combinations, and the length of sentences are all his own, and are generally different from the reader's natural form of thought and expression.
Reading matter is divided into two classes, (a) Conversational ideas and (6) Rhetorical ideas.
Conversational Ideas.-These should be read as the author would say them in talking, provided he talked naturally.
Unless his form of expression is the same as the reader would use, the latter has no natural way of reading, but must try to give the author's meaning as the author should naturally talk it.
A child stands before you with a lead pencil in his hand. You ask, “What have you in your hand ?" He replies naturally, “I have a lead pencil.” Now, if you insist that he shall reply, “I have in my hand an instrument used for writing and drawing, consisting of a strip of graphite enclosed in a small cylinder of wood,” do you expect him to say it naturally even after he has learned it? Certainly not. He never would have described a pencil in this way, and hence is not natural in his way of expression. He must be taught to express himself as the author naturally would or should.
Rhetorical Ideas.—These cannot be “talked," and, in order to read them well, the reader must understand the meaning, the surrounding circumstances, and the impressions the author seeks to convey. Then the reader will express the thought naturally in a true sense. The drill on the Common Elements of Reading and Talking is given to show what natural expression is, and to correct faults gained by association and example.
has a natural tone—that is, a tone in which he naturally speaks. This natural tone is the starting point from which to work.
If you notice different persons speaking, you will find that one speaks in a high tone, another in a low tone (called Pitch or Key); one speaks fast, another slowly called Movement, Speed, or Time); one speaks softly, another loud (called Force); one opens his mouth so that the words come out round and full, while another only half opens his mouth, and the voice is flat and thin (called Volume or Quality).
These personal peculiarities are often from force of habit, the result of imitation or of improperly trained vocal organs. These
organs should be carefully trained from the very beginning of the course, first by a system of breathings, second by constant drill on the Tables, and third by practice on the elements of expression.
There is a proper medium for pitch, movement, force, and volume in ordinary unexciting talking and reading. This is called middle pitch, moderate movement, medium force, and common volume. The variations of these modulations are called high and low pitch, slow and fast movement, soft and loud force, and full and slight volume.
If the matter read is not intended to arouse or to depress, but simply to please or to inform, it should be read with middle pitch, moderate time, medium force, and common volume. This is the natural way of expressing such thoughts.
When the mind is aroused by joy or indignation or defiance, the natural expression is in a higher pitch, louder tone, more rapid movement, and fuller volume; while pity, sorrow, affection, reverence, and awe generally require low pitch, slow movement, soft force, with common or full volume. Hate and terror may be so great as to be expressed with intensity, and yet almost in whispers, with slight volume, soft force, and either slow or rapid movement. The state of mind producing the expression is the key to its being naturally rendered.
EXERCISES IN BREATHING. 1. Attitude.—Perfectly erect, the weight on one foot, arms akimbo, diaphragm raised, head erect, with the chin drawn in as closely as possible to the neck.
2. Deep Breathing. In this position, draw in and give out the breath very fully and very slowly from five to ten times.
3. Effusive Breathing.Draw in a full breath, and give it forth in a prolonged sound of “h."
The teacher should be careful not to exact too much of young pupils. Their lungs are tender. The time occupied in a single breathing should be from fifteen seconds at first to about two minutes after three years' practice. All inspirations to be through the nose unless otherwise directed. Each exercise should be repeated from five to ten times, with long rests between the different exercises. Only two or three exercises should be tried at first.
4. Expulsive Breathing.–Draw in a full breath slowly, and force it out in about half the time of the last breathing.
5. Explosive Breathing.–Draw in a full breath slowly, and force it out in a sudden “h.”
6. Full Inspiration.—Draw in through the mouth a sudden and full inspiration, as in sighing, and force the breath out strongly through both nose and mouth.
7. The same as 6, except that the inspiration should resemble a series of prolonged sobs.
8. A full inspiration, like gasping, slowly breathed out.
9. Breathe in suddenly and fully, like panting, and let the air forth with less violence.
10. Draw in a full breath, and repeat in a whisper as much of the table on page xiï as you can, slowly, without taking a second breath.
11. Draw in a full breath, and whisper the same as in 10, expulsively.
12. Draw in a full breath, and whisper the same as in 10, explosively.
13. Draw in a full breath, give do softly, increase the sound, and then diminish to the end, thus :
doo 0 0 0 0 000
This should be prolonged from ten seconds at the start to about a minute after three years' practice.
14. Draw in a full breath, repeat do, beginning softly, and increasing and diminishing as before:
do, do, do, do, do, do, do. do, do.
15. Draw in a full breath, and repeat naturally this stanza without taking a second breath:
My country, 'tis of thee,
Of thee I sing.
Eet freedom ring.
Now repeat this stanza slowly, in the common pitch, moderate time, medium force, and common volume.
16. Draw in a full breath, and read this stanza with high pitch, rapid movement, loud force, and full volume:
Strike-till the last armed foe expires !
God, and your native land!
17. Draw in a full breath, and read this stanza with low pitch, slow time, soft force, and slight volume:
And now-farewell! 'Tis hard to give thee up,
NOTE.-If pupils fail to hold the breath sufficiently to give all of any exercise, let each stop when a single breath is used.
Inflections are slides or turns of the speaking voice from one pitch or key to another.
There are two kinds of inflection, SIMPLE and COMPOUND.
1. A Simple Inflection is a single slide of the speaking voice upward, called the Rising Inflection (marked '), or downward, called the Falling Inflection (marked ').