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Both Inflections together

RULE I. When the disjunctive or connects words or clauses, it has the rising inflection before, and the falling after it.

Shall I come to you with a ród--or in lòve?

The baptism of John, was it from heaven,—or of men?

Will you gó-or stày?

Will you ride-or walk?

Will you go today—or tomorrow?

Did he travel for health,-or pleasure?

Did he resemble his father,—or his mother?
Is this book yours,—or mine?


RULE II. The direct question, or that which admits the answer of yes or no, has the rising inflection, and the answer has the falling.

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My lord, from head to foot.
O yès, my lord.

A countenance more in sòrrow
than in anger.

Này, very pale.—Shak. Hamlet.

Pále ?


Note 1. If I wish to know whether my friend will go on a journey within two days, I say perhaps, "Will you go today, or tomorrow? He may answer, yes,"-because my rising inflection on both words implies that I used the or between them conjunctively. But if I had used it disjunctively, it must have had the rising slide before it, and the falling after; and then the question is, not whether he will go within two days, but on which of the two;-thus, "Will you go today-or tomorrow? The whole question, in this case, cannot admit the answer yes or no, and of course cannot end with the rising slide.

Note 2. When Exclamation becomes a question, it demands the rising slide; as, “How, you say, are we to accomplish it? How accómplish it! Certainly not by fearing to attempt it.'


RULE III. When negation is opposed to affirmation, the former has the rising, and the latter the falling inflection.


I did not say a better soldier,—but an èlder.

Study not for amusement,—but for improvement.

He was esteemed, not for wealth,—but for wisdom.
He will not come today,—but tomorrow

He did not act wisely, but ùnwisely.

He did not call mé-but you.

He did not say pride,—but pride.

Note 1. Negation alone, not opposed to affirmation, generally inclines the voice to the rising slide, but not always, as some respectable Teachers have maintained. "Thou shalt not kill;" "Thou shalt not stèal;' -are negative precepts, in which the falling slide must be used; and the simple particle no, with the intensive falling slide, is one of the strongest monosyllables in the language.

Note 2. The reader should be apprised here, that the falling slide, being often connected with strong emphasis, and beginning on a high and spirited note, is liable to be mistaken, by those little acquainted with the subject, for the rising slide. If one is doubt which of the two he has employed, on a particular word, let him repeat both together, by forming a question, thus, "Did I say go, or go?" or a question and answer, thus, "Will you go,- -or stay? I shall gò." "Will you ride, or walk? I shall ride." This will give the contrary slides on the same word.

Will you

But as some may be unable still to distinguish the falling, confounding it, as just mentioned, with the rising inflection, or, on the other hand, with the cadence; I observe that the difficulty lies in two things. One is, that the slide is not begun so high, and the other, that it is not carried through so many notes, as it ought to be. I explain this by a diagram, thus:


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I shall go to

Will you go to


It is sufficiently exact to say, that in reading this properly, syllables without slide may be spoken on one key or monotone. From this key go slides upwards to its highest note, and from the same high note stay slides downwards to the key; and go does the same, in the answer to the question. In the second example, the case is entirely similar. But the difficulty with the inexpert reader is, that he strikes the downward slide, not above the key, but on it

and then slides downward, just as in a cadence. may be represented thus:

Will you go to-day'

The faulty manner

or to-morrow?

The other part of the difficulty, in distinguishing the falling inflection from the opposite, arises from its want of sufficient extent. Sometimes indeed the voice is merely dropped to a low note, without any slide at all. The best remedy is, to take a sentence with some emphatic word, on which the intensive falling slide is proper, and protract that slide, in a drawling manner, from a high note to a low one. This will make its distinction from the rising slide very obvious.

I shall go



Rising Inflection.

RULE IV. The pause of suspension, denoting that the sense is unfinished, requires the rising inflection.

This rule embraces several particulars, more especially applying to sentences of the periodic structure, which consist of several members, but form no complete sense before the close. It is a first principle of articulate language, that in such a case, the voice should be kept suspended, to denote continuation of sense.

The following are some of the cases to which the rule applies.

1. Sentences beginning with a conditional particle or cluuse; as, "If some of the branches be broken óff, and thou, being a wild olive-trée, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive trée; boast not against the branches." "As face answereth to face in water, so the heart of man to


2. The case absolute; as,

"His father dying, and no heir being left except himself, he succeeded to the estate." "The question having been fully discussed, and all objections completely refuted, the decision was unanimous."

3. The infinitive mood with its adjuncts, used as a nominative case; as,

"To smile on those whom we should censure, and to countenance those who are guilty of bad áctions, is to be guilty ourselves." "To be pure in heart, to be pious and benévolent, constitutes human happiness."

4. The vocative case without strong emphasis, when it is a respectful call to attention, expresses no sense completed, and comes under the inflection of the suspending pause; as,

"Friends, Rómans, coun

Mén, brethren, and fathers,-hearken.” trymen !-lend me your ears.'


5. The parenthesis commonly requires the same inflection at its close, while the rest of it is often to be spoken in the monotone; as,

Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?


An exception may apply to the general principle of this rule, whenever one voice is to represent two persons, thus;

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the bódy; what doth it pròfit?

Here the sense is entirely suspended to the close, and yet the clause introduced as the language of another, requires the falling slide.

Another exception, resting on still stronger ground, occurs where an antithetic clause requires the intensive falling slide on some chief word, to denote the true meaning: as in the following example,

"The man who is in the daily use of ardent spirit, if he does not become a drunkard, is in danger of losing his health and character." In this periodic sentence, the meaning is not formed till the close; and yet the falling slide must be given at the end of the second member, or the sense is subverted; for the rising slide on drunkard would imply that his becoming such, is the only way to preserve health and character.

RULE V. Tender emotion generally inclines the voice to the rising slide.

Grief, compassion, and delicate affection, soften the soul, and are uttered in words, invariably with corresponding qualities of voice.

Hence the vocative case, when it expresses either affection or delicate respect, takes the rising slide; as,

"Jesus saith unto her, Máry." "Jesus saith unto him, Thómas.” 'Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet."-" Sírs, what must I do to be saved?"

The same slide prevails in pathetic poetry.

Thus with the year,

Seasons return; but not to me returns

* I use this term as better suiting my purpose than that of our grammarians,―nominative independent.

Dáy, or the sweet approach of év'n or mórn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's róse,
Or flócks, or hérds, or human face divine,
But cloud instead, and ever during dark
Surround me

So in the beautiful little poem of Cowper, on the receipt of his mother's picture.

My mother! when I learn'd that thou wast dead,
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed?
Hover'd thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing són,
Wretch even thén, life's journey just begún?
I heard the bell toll'd on thy burial day,

I saw the hearse, that bore thee slow away,
And, turning from my nurs'ry windów, drew
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adièu.

RULE VI. The rising slide is commonly used at the last pause but one in a sentence. The reason is, that the ear expects the voice to fall when the sense is finished; and therefore it should rise for the sake of variety and harmony, on the pause that precedes the cadence.-Ex.

"The minor longs to be at àge, then to be a man of businèss, then to make up an estàte, then to arrive at honórs, then to retire." "Our lives, (says Seneca,) are spent either in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do."

Falling Inflection.

So instinctively does bold and strong passion express itself by this turn of voice, that, just so far as the falling slide becomes intensive, it denotes emphatic force. The VIII. IX. and X. rules will illustrate this remark.

RULE VII. The indirect question, or that which is not answered by yes or no, has the falling inflection; and its answer has the same. As,

What, Tubero, did that naked sword of yours mean, in the battle of Pharsàlia? At whose breast was its point aimed? What was the meaning of your àrms, your spìrit, your eyes, your hands, your ardour of soul?

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