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It is important that these inflections should be familiar to the ear of the learner. In the following questions, the first member has the rising, and the second member, the falling inflection. Is he sick, or is he well?

Is he young', or is he old1?
Is he rich', or is he poor?
Did you say valor, or value?
Did you say statute', or statue?

Did he act properly', or improperly'?

In the following answers to these questions, the inflections are used in a contrary order, the first member terminating with the falling, and the second, with the rising inflection.

He is well, not sick'.
He is young', not old'.
He is rich', not poor'.
I said value', not valor'.

I said statue', not statute'.

He acted properly', not improperly'.

These slides of the voice are sometimes very slight, so as to be scarcely perceptible, but at other times, when the words are pronounced in an animated tone, and strongly emphasized, the voice passes upward or downward through several notes. This will readily be perceived, by pronouncing the above questions or answers with a strong emphasis.

Questions.-What are inflections? How does the voice slide in the rising inflection? How in the falling? Explain their use in the questions given as examples. What is the circumflex? Explain the difference between the rising and the falling circumflex. Explain the different inflections, in the questions commencing with "Is he sick, or is he well?" Explain them in the answers to these questions. Are these inflections always very plainly perceived? When are they most readily perceived?

2. Falling Inflection.

RULE I. The falling inflection is generally proper, wherever the sense is complete; as,

Truth is more wonderful than fiction'.

Men generally die as they live'.

By industry, we obtain wealth'.

The falling of the voice at the close of a sentence is sometimes called a cadence, and properly speaking, there is a slight difference between it and the falling inflection, but for all practi

cal purposes they may be considered as one and the same. It is of some importance, and requires attention to be able to close a sentence gracefully. The ear, however, is the best guide on this point.

Parts of a sentence often make complete sense in themselves, and in this case, unless qualified or restrained by the succeeding clause, or unless the contrary is indicated by some other principle, the falling inflection takes place, according to the rule; as, Truth is wonderful', even more so than fiction'.

Men generally die as they live', and by their lives we must judge of their character'.

By industry we obtain wealth', and persevering exertion will seldom be unrewarded'.

Exception 1. When a sentence concludes with a negative clause, or with a contrast or comparison, (called also antithesis,) the first member of which requires the falling inflection, it must close with the rising inflection. See Rule VIII.


No one desires to be thought a fool'.

I come to bury' Cæsar, not to praise' him.

If we care not for others', we ought at least to respect ourselves'.

He lives in England', not in France'.

In bearing testimony to the general character of a man, we


He is too honorable' to be guilty of a vile act'.

But if he is accused of some act of baseness, a contrast is, at once, instituted between his character and the specified act, and we change the inflection, and say,

He is too honorable' to be guilty of such' an act.

A man may say in general terms,

I am too busy' for projects`.

But if he is urged to embark in some particular enterprise, he will change the inflection, and say,

I am too busy for projects'.

In such cases, as the falling inflection is required in the former part, by the principle of emphasis, (as will hereafter be more fully explained,) contrast renders necessary the rising inflection at the close.

Sometimes also, emphasis alone, seems to require the rising inflection on the concluding word. See exception to Rule II.

Exception 2. As a sentence generally ends with the falling inflection, harmony seems to require, that the last but one should be the rising inflection. Such, in fact, is the very common custom of speakers, even though this part of the sentence, where the rising inflection would fall, should form complete sense. This principle may, therefore, be considered as sometimes giving authority for exception to the rule. This may be illustrated by the following sentence. According to the Rule, it would be read thus ;

Hearken to thy father who hath cherished' thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

But according to the principle stated in the exception, it would be read thus ;

Hearken to thy father who hath cherished' thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

If the two words only, "cherished" and "old," receive an inflection, the latter perhaps would be the correct reading, but let the word "mother" receive the rising inflection, and the two principles no longer conflict with each other. It would then be read as follows.

Hearken to thy father who hath cherished' thee, and despise not thy mother' when she is old'.

In many cases, however, it may be necessary that one or the other of these principles should give way. Which of them should yield, in any given case, must depend upon the construction of the sentence, the nature of the style and subject, and often, upon the taste of the speaker.

RULE II. The language of emphasis inclines to the use of the falling inflection.

1. Imperative Mood.


The combat deepens: On', ye brave,
Who rush to glory or the grave!

Wave', Munich, all thy banners wave `!

Did ye not hear it? - No; 'twas but the wind,

Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
On' with the dance! let joy be unconfined'.

Charge, Chester, charge', On', Stanley, on'!
Were the last words of Marmion.

Now set the teeth, and stretch' the nostril wide;
Hold hard the breath, and bend' up every spirit

To its full hight! On', on', you noble English,
Whose blood is fetched from fathers of war-proof!

REMARK. When the imperative mode is used to express gentle entreaty, the ri sing inflection is sometimes used; as, Let him come back'; Leave me not' in this extremity. So also, desire is often expressed by the rising inflection; as, O that they understood this', that they would consider their danger'!

2. Emphatic Exclamation.

Thou slave! thou wretch'! thou coward!

Thou little valiant, great in villainy!

Oh, ye Gods! Ye Gods'! must I endure all this?

Hark! hark' the horrid sound

Hath raised up his head.

3. Emphatic Repetition.

And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, thus he said; O my son Absalom'! my son', my son Absalom'! would to God I had died for thee, O Absalom', my son', my son'!

4. Simple emphasis.

Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side?

Been sworn my soldier'? bidding me depend
Upon thy' stars, thy fortune, and thy' strength'?

Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes', see not, and having ears', hear not'?

For exception to this principle, see Exception to Rule.

5. Series.

A series is a number of particulars, immediately following one another. When a series begins a sentence, but does not end it, it is called a commencing series; where it ends the sentence, whether it begins it or not, it is called a concluding series.

In a commencing series, the last member must have the rising inflection, and all the others the falling inflection: In a concluding series, the last member but one must have the rising inflection; all the others, the falling inflection.

The falling inflection is given on the principle of emphasis, and the rising, to one member of the series, for the sake of harmony.

Examples of commencing series.

Wine', beauty, music', pomp', are poor expedients to heave off the load of an hour from the heir of eternity'.

Absalom's beauty', Jonathan's love,' David's valor, Solomon's wisdom,' the patience of Job', the prudence of Augustus', the eloquence of Cicero, and the intelligence of all, though faintly amiable in the creature, are found in immense perfection in the Creator'.

War', famine', pest', volcano', tempest', storm',

Intestine broils', oppression with her heart
Wrapped up in triple brass, besiege mankind'.

Examples of concluding series.

They passed o'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp;

Rocks, caves, lakes', fens', bogs', dens', and shades of death'.

They, through faith, subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness', obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions', quenched the violence of fire', escaped the edge of the sword', out of weakness were made strong', waxed valiant in fight', turned to flight the armies of the aliens'.

Inspiring rites! which stimulate fear', rouse hope, kindle zeal', quicken dullness', sharpen discernment', exercise memory', and inflame curiosity'.


When the emphasis on these words or members, is not very decided, they take the rising inflection according to Rule IV; as,

They are the offspring of restlessness', vanity', and idleness'.
Love', hope, and joy' took possession of his breast.

Exception to the Rule. While the tendency of emphasis is decidedly to the use of the falling inflection, sometimes a word to which the falling inflection naturally belongs, changes this, upon its becoming emphatic, for the rising inflection; as,

Three thousand ducats'; 'tis a good, round sum'.

It is useless to point out the beauties of nature to one who is blind'.

Here sum and blind, according to Rule I, would take the falling inflection, but as they are emphatic, and the object of emphasis is to draw attention to the word emphasized, this is here accomplished, in part, by giving an unusual inflection. Some speakers would give these words the circumflex, but it would be the rising circumflex, so that the sound would still terminate with the rising inflection.

RULE III.—Questions which cannot be answered by yes or no, together with their answers, generally require the falling inflection; as,

Where has he gone?
What has he done?
Who did this?
When did he go?

Ans. To New York'.
Ans. Nothing'.
Ans. I know not'.
Ans. Yesterday'.

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