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QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES

1. Name four methods for destroying monotony and gaining power in speaking.

2. What are the four special effects of pause?

3. Note the pauses in a conversation, play, or speech. Were they the best that could have been used? Illustrate.

4. Read aloud selections on pages 50-54, paying special attention to pause.

5. Read the following without making any pauses. Reread correctly and note the difference:

Soon the night will pass; and when, of the Sentinel on the ramparts of Liberty the anxious ask: | "Watchman, what of the night?" his answer will be | "Lo, the morn appeareth."

Knowing the price we must pay, | the sacrifice | we must make, | the burdens | we must carry, | the assaults | we must endure, | knowing full well the cost, | yet we enlist, and we enlist | for the war. | For we know the justice of our cause, | and we know, too, its certain triumph. |

Not reluctantly, then, | but eagerly, | not with faint hearts, | but strong, do we now advance upon the enemies of the people. | For the call that comes to us is the call that came to our fathers. | As they responded, so shall we.

"He hath sounded forth a trumpet | that shall never call retreat,


He is sifting out the hearts of men | before His judgment seat.
Oh, be swift | our souls to answer Him, | be jubilant our feet,

Our God | is marching on."

Albert J. Beveride, From his speech as temporary chairman of Progressive National Convention, Chicago, 1912.

6. Bring out the contrasting ideas in the following by using the pause:

Contrast now the circumstances of your life and mine, gently and with temper, Æschines; and then ask these people whose fortune they would each of them prefer. You taught reading, I went to school: you performed initiations, I received them: you danced in the chorus, I furnished it: you were assembly-clerk, I was a speaker: you acted third parts, I heard you: you broke down, and I hissed: you have worked as a statesman for the enemy, I for my country. I pass by the rest; but this very day I am on my probation for a crown, and am acknowledged to be innocent of all offence; while you are already judged to be a pettifogger, and the question is, whether you shall continue that trade, or at once be silenced by not getting a fifth part of the votes. A happy fortune, do you see, you have enjoyed, that you should denounce mine as miserable!

Demosthenes.

7. After careful study and practice, mark the pauses in the following:

The past rises before me like a dream. Again we are in the great struggle for national life. We hear the sounds of preparation—the music of the boisterous drums, the silver voices of heroic bugles. We see thousands of assemblages, and hear the appeals of orators; we see the pale cheeks of women and the flushed faces of men; and in those assemblages we see all the dead whose dust we have covered with flowers. We lose sight of them no more. We are with them when they enlist in the great army of freedom. We see them part from those they love. Some are walking for the last time in quiet woody places with the maiden they adore. We hear the whisperings and the sweet vows of eternal love as they lingeringly part forever. Others are bending over cradles, kissing babies that are asleep. Some are receiving the blessings of old men. Some are parting from those who hold them and press them to their hearts again and again, and say nothing; and some are talking with wives, and endeavoring with brave words spoken in the old tones to drive from their hearts the awful fear. We see them part. We see the wife standing in the door, with the babe in her arms—standing in the sunlight sobbing; at the turn of the road a hand waves—she answers by holding high in her loving hands the child. He is gone—and forever.

Robert J. Ingersoll, to the Soldiers of Indianapolis.

8. Where would you pause in the following selections? Try pausing in different places and note the effect it gives.

The moving finger writes; and having writ moves on: nor all your piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it.

The history of womankind is a story of abuse. For ages men beat, sold, and abused their wives and daughters like cattle. The Spartan mother that gave birth to one of her own sex disgraced herself; the girl babies were often deserted in the mountains to starve; China bound and deformed their feet; Turkey veiled their faces; America denied them equal educational advantages with men. Most of the world still refuses them the right to participate in the government and everywhere women bear the brunt of an unequal standard of morality.

But the women are on the march. They are walking upward to the sunlit plains where the thinking people rule. China has ceased binding their feet. In the shadow of the Harem Turkey has opened a school for girls. America has given the women equal educational advantages, and America, we believe, will enfranchise them.

We can do little to help and not much to hinder this great movement. The thinking people have put their O.K. upon it. It is moving forward to its goal just as surely as this old earth is swinging from the grip of winter toward the spring's blossoms and the summer's harvest.[1]

9. Read aloud the following address, paying careful attention to pause wherever the emphasis may thereby be heightened.


THE IRREPRESSIBLE CONFLICT

... At last, the Republican party has appeared. It avows, now, as the Republican party of 1800 did, in one word, its faith and its works, "Equal and exact justice to all men." Even when it first entered the field, only half organized, it struck a blow which only just failed to secure complete and triumphant victory. In this, its second campaign, it has already won advantages which render that triumph now both easy and certain. The secret of its assured success lies in that very characteristic which, in the mouth of scoffers, constitutes its great and lasting imbecility and reproach. It lies in the fact that it is a party of one idea; but that is a noble one—an idea that fills and expands all generous souls; the idea of equality of all men before human tribunals and human laws, as they all are equal before the Divine tribunal and Divine laws.

I know, and you know, that a revolution has begun. I know, and all the world knows, that revolutions never go backward. Twenty senators and a hundred representatives proclaim boldly in Congress to-day sentiments and opinions and principles of freedom which hardly so many men, even in this free State, dared to utter in their own homes twenty years ago. While the government of the United States, under the conduct of the Democratic party, has been all that time surrendering one plain and castle after another to slavery, the people of the United States have been no less steadily and perseveringly gathering together the forces with which to recover back again all the fields and all the castles which have been lost, and to confound and overthrow, by one decisive blow, the betrayers of the Constitution and freedom forever.—W.H. Seward.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] From an editorial by D.C. in Leslie's Weekly, June 4, 1914. Used by permission.


CHAPTER VII



EFFICIENCY THROUGH INFLECTION

How soft the music of those village bells,


Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence sweet; now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on!
With easy force it opens all the cells
Where Memory slept.

William Cowper, The Task.

Herbert Spencer remarked that "Cadence"—by which he meant the modulation of the tones of the voice in speaking—"is the running commentary of the emotions upon the propositions of the intellect." How true this is will appear when we reflect that the little upward and downward shadings of the voice tell more truly what we mean than our words. The expressiveness of language is literally multiplied by this subtle power to shade the vocal tones, and this voice-shading we call inflection.

The change of pitch within a word is even more important, because more delicate, than the change of pitch from phrase to phrase. Indeed, one cannot be practised without the other. The bare words are only so many bricks—inflection will make of them a pavement, a garage, or a cathedral. It is the power of inflection to change the meaning of words that gave birth to the old saying: "It is not so much what you say, as how you say it."

Mrs. Jameson, the Shakespearean commentator, has given us a penetrating example of the effect of inflection; "In her impersonation of the part of Lady Macbeth, Mrs. Siddons adopted successively three different intonations in giving the words 'We fail.' At first a quick contemptuous interrogation—'We fail?' Afterwards, with the note of admiration—'We fail,' an accent of indignant astonishment laying the principal emphasis on the word 'we'—'we fail.' Lastly, she fixed on what I am convinced is the true reading—We fail—with the simple period, modulating the voice to a deep, low, resolute tone which settles the issue at once as though she had said: 'If we fail, why then we fail, and all is over.'"

This most expressive element of our speech is the last to be mastered in attaining to naturalness in speaking a foreign language, and its correct use is the main element in a natural, flexible utterance of our native tongue. Without varied inflections speech becomes wooden and monotonous.

There are but two kinds of inflection, the rising and the falling, yet these two may be so shaded or so combined that they are capable of producing as many varieties of modulation as maybe illustrated by either one or two lines, straight or curved, thus:

Sharp rising

Long rising

Level


Long falling

Sharp falling

Sharp rising and falling

Sharp falling and rising

Hesitating

These may be varied indefinitely, and serve merely to illustrate what wide varieties of combination may be effected by these two simple inflections of the voice.

It is impossible to tabulate the various inflections which serve to express various shades of thought and feeling. A few suggestions are offered here, together with abundant exercises for practise, but the only real way to master inflection is to observe, experiment, and practise.

For example, take the common sentence, "Oh, he's all right." Note how a rising inflection may be made to express faint praise, or polite doubt, or uncertainty of opinion. Then note how the same words, spoken with a generally falling inflection may denote certainty, or good-natured approval, or enthusiastic praise, and so on.

In general, then, we find that a bending upward of the voice will suggest doubt and uncertainty, while a decided falling inflection will suggest that you are certain of your ground.

Students dislike to be told that their speeches are "not so bad," spoken with a rising inflection. To enunciate these words with a long falling inflection would indorse the speech rather heartily.

Say good-bye to an imaginary person whom you expect to see again tomorrow; then to a dear friend you never expect to meet again. Note the difference in inflection.

"I have had a delightful time," when spoken at the termination of a formal tea by a frivolous woman takes altogether different inflection than the same words spoken between lovers who have enjoyed themselves. Mimic the two characters in repeating this and observe the difference.

Note how light and short the inflections are in the following brief quotation from "Anthony the Absolute," by Samuel Mervin.

At Sea—March 28th.

This evening I told Sir Robert What's His Name he was a fool.

I was quite right in this. He is.

Every evening since the ship left Vancouver he has presided over the round table in the middle of the smoking-room. There he sips his coffee and liqueur, and holds forth on every subject known to the mind of man. Each subject is his subject. He is an elderly person, with a bad face and a drooping left eyelid.

They tell me that he is in the British Service—a judge somewhere down in Malaysia, where they drink more than is good for them.

Deliver the two following selections with great earnestness, and note how the inflections differ from the foregoing. Then reread these selections in a light, superficial manner, noting that the change of attitude is expressed through a change of inflection.

When I read a sublime fact in Plutarch, or an unselfish deed in a line of poetry, or thrill beneath some heroic legend, it is no longer fairyland—I have seen it matched.—Wendell Phillips.

Thought is deeper than all speech,

Feeling deeper than all thought;
Souls to souls can never teach
What unto themselves was taught.

Cranch

It must be made perfectly clear that inflection deals mostly in subtle, delicate shading within single words, and is not by any means accomplished by a general rise or fall in the voice in speaking a sentence. Yet certain sentences may be effectively delivered with just such inflection. Try this sentence in several ways, making no modulation until you come to the last two syllables, as indicated,


And yet I told him dis-










--------------------------










(high)

|










|

tinctly.










-------------------------










(low)










tinctly.










-------------------------







|

(high)




And yet I told him dis-

|







-------------------------










(low)










Now try this sentence by inflecting the important words so as to bring out various shades of meaning. The first forms, illustrated above, show change of pitch within a single word; the forms you will work out for yourself should show a number of such inflections throughout the sentence.

One of the chief means of securing emphasis is to employ a long falling inflection on the emphatic words—that is, to let the voice fall to a lower pitch on an interior vowel sound in a word. Try it on the words "every," "eleemosynary," and "destroy."

Use long falling inflections on the italicized words in the following selection, noting their emphatic power. Are there any other words here that long falling inflections would help to make expressive?

ADDRESS IN THE DARTMOUTH COLLEGE CASE

This, sir, is my case. It is the case not merely of that humble institution; it is the case of every college in our land. It is more; it is the case of every eleemosynary institution throughout our country—of all those great charities founded by the piety of our ancestors to alleviate human misery and scatter blessings along the pathway of life. Sir, you may destroy this little institution—it is weak, it is in your hands. I know it is one of the lesser lights in the literary horizon of our country. You may put it out. But if you do you must carry through your work; you must extinguish, one after another, all those great lights of science which, for more than a century, have thrown their radiance over our land!

It is, sir, as I have said, a small college, and yet—there are those who love it!

Sir, I know not how others may feel, but as for myself when I see my alma mater surrounded, like Cæsar in the senate house, by those who are reiterating stab after stab, I would not for this right hand have her turn to me and say, And thou, too, my son!

Daniel Webster.

Be careful not to over-inflect. Too much modulation produces an unpleasant effect of artificiality, like a mature matron trying to be kittenish. It is a short step between true expression and unintentional burlesque. Scrutinize your own tones. Take a single expression like "Oh, no!" or "Oh, I see," or "Indeed," and by patient self-examination see how many shades of meaning may be expressed by inflection. This sort of common-sense practise will do you more good than a book of rules. But don't forget to listen to your own voice.



QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES

1. In your own words define (a) cadence, (b) modulation, (c) inflection, (d) emphasis.

2. Name five ways of destroying monotony and gaining effectiveness in speech.

3. What states of mind does falling inflection signify? Make as full a list as you can.

4. Do the same for the rising inflection.

5. How does the voice bend in expressing (a) surprise? (b) shame? (c) hate? (d) formality? (e) excitement?

6. Reread some sentence several times and by using different inflections change the meaning with each reading.

7. Note the inflections employed in some speech or conversation. Were they the best that could be used to bring out the meaning? Criticise and illustrate.

8. Render the following passages:

Has the gentleman done? Has he completely done?

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

9. Invent an indirect question and show how it would naturally be inflected.

10. Does a direct question always require a rising inflection? Illustrate.

11. Illustrate how the complete ending of an expression or of a speech is indicated by inflection.

12. Do the same for incompleteness of idea.

13. Illustrate (a) trembling, (b) hesitation, and (c) doubt by means of inflection.

14. Show how contrast may be expressed.

15. Try the effects of both rising and falling inflections on the italicized words in the following sentences. State your preference.

Gentlemen, I am persuaded, nay, I am resolved to speak.

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.

SELECTIONS FOR PRACTISE

In the following selections secure emphasis by means of long falling inflections rather than loudness.

Repeat these selections, attempting to put into practise all the technical principles that we have thus far had; emphasizing important words, subordinating unimportant words, variety of pitch, changing tempo, pause, and inflection. If these principles are applied you will have no trouble with monotony.

Constant practise will give great facility in the use of inflection and will render the voice itself flexible.


CHARLES I

We charge him with having broken his coronation oath; and we are told that he kept his marriage vow! We accuse him of having given up his people to the merciless inflictions of the most hot-headed and hard-hearted of prelates; and the defence is, that he took his little son on his knee and kissed him! We censure him for having violated the articles of the Petition of Right, after having, for good and valuable consideration, promised to observe them; and we are informed that he was accustomed to hear prayers at six o'clock in the morning! It is to such considerations as these, together with his Vandyke dress, his handsome face, and his peaked beard, that he owes, we verily believe, most of his popularity with the present generation.

T.B. Macaulay.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

We needed not that he should put on paper that he believed in slavery, who, with treason, with murder, with cruelty infernal, hovered around that majestic man to destroy his life. He was himself but the long sting with which slavery struck at liberty; and he carried the poison that belonged to slavery. As long as this nation lasts, it will never be forgotten that we have one martyred President—never! Never, while time lasts, while heaven lasts, while hell rocks and groans, will it be forgotten that slavery, by its minions, slew him, and in slaying him made manifest its whole nature and tendency.

But another thing for us to remember is that this blow was aimed at the life of the government and of the nation. Lincoln was slain; America was meant. The man was cast down; the government was smitten at. It was the President who was killed. It was national life, breathing freedom and meaning beneficence, that was sought. He, the man of Illinois, the private man, divested of robes and the insignia of authority, representing nothing but his personal self, might have been hated; but that would not have called forth the murderer's blow. It was because he stood in the place of government, representing government and a government that represented right and liberty, that he was singled out.

This, then, is a crime against universal government. It is not a blow at the foundations of our government, more than at the foundations of the English government, of the French government, of every compact and well-organized government. It was a crime against mankind. The whole world will repudiate and stigmatize it as a deed without a shade of redeeming light....

The blow, however, has signally failed. The cause is not stricken; it is strengthened. This nation has dissolved,—but in tears only. It stands, four-square, more solid, to-day, than any pyramid in Egypt. This people are neither wasted, nor daunted, nor disordered. Men hate slavery and love liberty with stronger hate and love to-day than ever before. The Government is not weakened, it is made stronger....

And now the martyr is moving in triumphal march, mightier than when alive. The nation rises up at every stage of his coming. Cities and states are his pall-bearers, and the cannon beats the hours with solemn progression. Dead—dead—dead—he yet speaketh! Is Washington dead? Is Hampden dead? Is David dead? Is any man dead that ever was fit to live? Disenthralled of flesh, and risen to the unobstructed sphere where passion never comes, he begins his illimitable work. His life now is grafted upon the Infinite, and will be fruitful as no earthly life can be. Pass on, thou that hast overcome! Your sorrows O people, are his peace! Your bells, and bands, and muffled drums sound triumph in his ear. Wail and weep here; God makes it echo joy and triumph there. Pass on, victor!

Four years ago, O Illinois, we took from your midst an untried man, and from among the people; we return him to you a mighty conqueror. Not thine any more, but the nation's; not ours, but the world's. Give him place, ye prairies! In the midst of this great Continent his dust shall rest, a sacred treasure to myriads who shall make pilgrimage to that shrine to kindle anew their zeal and patriotism. Ye winds, that move over the mighty places of the West, chant his requiem! Ye people, behold a martyr, whose blood, as so many inarticulate words, pleads for fidelity, for law, for liberty!—Henry Ward Beecher.

THE HISTORY OF LIBERTY

The event which we commemorate is all-important, not merely in our own annals, but in those of the world. The sententious English poet has declared that "the proper study of mankind is man," and of all inquiries of a temporal nature, the history of our fellow-beings is unquestionably among the most interesting. But not all the chapters of human history are alike important. The annals of our race have been filled up with incidents which concern not, or at least ought not to concern, the great company of mankind. History, as it has often been written, is the genealogy of princes, the field-book of conquerors; and the fortunes of our fellow-men have been treated only so far as they have been affected by the influence of the great masters and destroyers of our race. Such history is, I will not say a worthless study, for it is necessary for us to know the dark side as well as the bright side of our condition. But it is a melancholy study which fills the bosom of the philanthropist and the friend of liberty with sorrow.

But the history of liberty—the history of men struggling to be free—the history of men who have acquired and are exercising their freedom—the history of those great movements in the world, by which liberty has been established and perpetuated, forms a subject which we cannot contemplate too closely. This is the real history of man, of the human family, of rational immortal beings....

The trial of adversity was theirs; the trial of prosperity is ours. Let us meet it as men who know their duty and prize their blessings. Our position is the most enviable, the most responsible, which men can fill. If this generation does its duty, the cause of constitutional freedom is safe. If we fail—if we fail—not only do we defraud our children of the inheritance which we received from our fathers, but we blast the hopes of the friends of liberty throughout our continent, throughout Europe, throughout the world, to the end of time.

History is not without her examples of hard-fought fields, where the banner of liberty has floated triumphantly on the wildest storm of battle. She is without her examples of a people by whom the dear-bought treasure has been wisely employed and safely handed down. The eyes of the world are turned for that example to us....

Let us, then, as we assemble on the birthday of the nation, as we gather upon the green turf, once wet with precious blood—let us devote ourselves to the sacred cause of constitutional liberty! Let us abjure the interests and passions which divide the great family of American freemen! Let the rage of party spirit sleep to-day! Let us resolve that our children shall have cause to bless the memory of their fathers, as we have cause to bless the memory of ours!—Edward Everett.



CHAPTER VIII





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