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similation muscles of life. A knowledge of their development is of vital interest to every boy and girl.
Our memory is quickened by using the sense of hearing and the kinesthetic sense as well as that of sight. Selections read aloud are retained in memory longer than those read silently.
Confidence in your ability to express yourself in good, pure, forceful English will encourage you to undertake tasks that you would otherwise hesitate in attempting.
The student who can express well what is within him usually stands at the head in every branch in school.
Vocational Value. Recently a Wall Street business man said to a group of college students: “Unless you acquire in your college course the ability to write and speak effectively, it will not be worth the time and money spent upon it.” Every applicant for a business position must stand a satisfactory test in the use of correct oral English. Who wants a teacher with a rasping, throaty, shrill, irritating voice; a stammering, hesitating, mumbling clerk; bashful, forceless, lisping salesman; or a weak-voiced, ineffective, “throaty” preacher or lawyer?
Thousands of men and women have put themselves on record as saying, “Oh, if I could only make a good speech to-day! the occasion is the opportunity of my life.”
The ability to express effectively one's own thoughts and to interpret vocally the thoughts of others is an inestimable asset in the struggle for supremacy in the economic world. To be able to speak to a purpose, clearly, distinctly, gracefully and forcefully is an open sesame to leadership.
Who NEEDS ORAL ENGLISH? Only those who expect to live a Robinson Crusoe life can afford to omit a knowledge of the theory and practice of the art of reading and speaking. If you expect to communicate with your associates, you need a pleasing conversation; if you intend to convince
them, you need a logical and forceful address; if you desire to persuade them, you need an effective delivery; briefly, if you wish to be a man among men, take the advice of Martin Luther, “He who speaks well is a man."
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How MAY THE ABILITY TO READ AND SPEAK WELL BE ACQUIRED? By following the laws and principles of vocal expression patiently and intelligently; by persistently practicing under competent criticism. Practice alone does not make perfect; but practice under criticism. Be your own critic to a large degree. Heed well the suggestions made by your instructor. Remember that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. One of the Swabodian principles of muscular development demands that when you exercise or lift a weight you must lift all you can if you desire to grow strong physically. Exercise with light weights may be sufficient to retain your health, but it will not develop your muscle. So it is with reading and speaking. Every time you speak or read do your very best; otherwise you may
hold your own, but you will not become more efficient.
Who Can BECOME A Good READER AND SPEAKER? Every person with an ordinary intelligence and a normal physique. Perhaps, you should possess a few other qualities. A desire —a will-strong enough to overcome your vocal defects if you have any; confidence in yourself and faith in your purpose in life, and enough perseverance to conquer as others have, who have gone this way before you.
A friend who lived on a farm adjoining that of Byron King relates an incident connected with the latter's early life. One day Dr. King came over to borrow a wheelbarrow. It took him one-half hour to make known his errand. Dr. King inherited about all the vocal defects in the catalog. Through the wise teaching of a friend and by persistent and heroic effort, he overcame them all. Dr. Byron King is now president of the King School of Oratory and a
reader and speaker of unusual power and eloquence. The old story of Demosthenes has had many modern parallels.
Certainly the masters of the art of speech, both ancient and modern, did not become masters without laborious and long-continued training. Such training was the lifelong work of the Greek and Roman orators. Curran, the celebrated Irish orator, was so handicapped in his youth that he was called “stuttering Jack Curran.” He said of himself, “My friends despaired of my ever making a speaker, but I would not give it up.” Says one of his friends, “He turned his shrill and stumbling brogue into a flexible, sustained, and finely modulated voice; his action became free and forcible; and he acquired perfect readiness in thinking on his legs.” With reference both to matter and manner, Webster said of himself: "When I was a young ma for several years after I had acquired a respectable degree of eminence in my profession, my style was bombastic in the extreme. Some kind friend was good enough to point out that fact to me, and I determined to correct it, if labor could do it. Whether it has been corrected or not, no small part of my life has been spent in the attempt."
DEFINITIONS. Phonology is the science of vocal sound. It treats of the physical laws involved in the production of sound, and the physiological laws governing all the organs of speech.
Sound is the auditory sensation produced by the vibrations of air or some other media. These vibrations in the media are the result of the vibration of some object. For example, a violin string is touched. The string moves to and fro causing condensations and rarefactions in the air; these waves set in motion the ear-drum, and it, in turn, communicates these vibrations to the inner ear where very small delicate cords are set in sympathetic vibration. This is communicated to the brain by the auditory nerve.
Each string of a violin is said to have a certain pitch. Pitch depends on the number of vibrations per second. The number of vibrations depends on the length, thickness, and tension of the string. The volume, or loudness, of the sound depends on the amplitude or distance the string vibrates, which in turn is caused by the force of the blow given the string. The quality, or character of the sound is dependent on the overtones, the texture of the string, and the resonance of the frame work of the violin.
However, the violin is too simple in construction to serve as a basis of explanation of the human voice. There is no instrument made in exact imitation of the human speech apparatus. The single reed-pipe of a church organ is a near approach in principle, and serves well as an illustration of its general structure. Again, the cornet serves very well
when the lips are made to represent the vocal cords.
Before making this comparison, however, it will be necessary to explain briefly the technique of the voice.
TECHNIQUE OF THE VOICE. In order to understand how the voice is produced it will be important to sketch briefly the anatomy of the vocal apparatus.
Median section of the head and neck, giving general side view of the organs
of speech and the resonators above the larynx.
The larynx, the most important organ in voice production, consists of cartilages, muscles, vocal bands, true and false mucous membrane, ligaments, etc. It is situated between the hyoid bone above and the trachea below. For a complete description see any standard text on physiology.