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The rising and falling inflections used in ordinary discourse are termed major inflections. We have also minor inflections, used in expressions of pity, weakness, or horror. Good examples of the minor inflection are the cries “Help!” “Mercy!” moans, and similar expressions of physical suffering; exclamations of a dejected character like “ Oh, dear me !” “Alas !" and expressions of pity such as, “poor fellow," "poor doggie," etc.
Minor inflections may be either rising or falling.
Oh dear, must í go to school ?
oh dear, I must go to school! In pathetic passages, readers are apt to overdo the minor inflections, so that the reading becomes little better than a whine. Avoid this; remember that the use of the minor slide always indicates a degree of weakness in the speaker, and that it is appropriate only when we wish to convey that particular impression.
I'm a hopeless, unfortunate creature,
I'm tortured with sorrow and pain,
However, I never complain.-Stanley Wood.
Oh, my lord,
“Oh, dear,” said Father Brown, one day,
“I never saw such weather!
His little daughter climbed his knee;
Transition of Poise.
Standing with one foot well in advance of the other, the arms hanging loosely at the sides, change the weight forward and back, always being careful to begin the movement with the hip, and to keep the shoulders as quiet as possible. Do not shuffle the feet.
Practise this exercise with the feet at various angles, until you accustom yourself to a graceful movement of the body in any direction. Be sure to look in the new direction before making a transition.
For Muscles of the Neck and Jaw. (a) Holding the head erect, close the eyes as if about to go to sleep. Let the jaw fall lifelessly. Try to feel and look as stupid and lazy as possible. Now let the head drop forward as if the strength were gone from the muscles of the neck. After a moment, during which you should try to feel, if possible, still more lifeless about the head, neck, and shoulders, raise the head slowly, with the jaw dropped as before and carry it back as far as possible. Rest in this attitude for a moment, then repeat the exercise.
The body should assist the movements of the head by bending forward a little for the first position and back for the second, but it must not relax. The exercise is for the head and neck and for such muscles as
connect these parts with the shoulders. We must learn to control each part of the body separately before we can hope to gain command of the whole.
(6) Sway the head from side to side in the same manner as above described.
(c) Circle the head ; that is, let it go from front to side, then back, then to the other side, and finally return to the front,-making the movement continuous but with the muscles as passive as possible.
For Flexibility of the Legs. (a) Stand with one foot on the edge of a platform or low bench, so that the free leg hangs over the edge. Be careful to keep well poised. Let the free leg hang
until you feel all the muscles about the hip relax and the limb becomes a dead weight. Be sure that the knee and foot also are entirely passive. The body should be erect upon the strong foot in a position like that of Respect, so that the
hip may be as far as possible over the free side in order to give plenty of room for the free leg.
(6) Standing as before, lift the free leg in front, with the knee and foot still relaxed, and then allow it to fall back lifelessly. If the muscles of the free leg are perfectly flexible, the leg will swing back and forth for a considerable time, like a pendulum. Let it come to rest of its own accord.
If this exercise is too difficult at first, practise lifting and dropping the leg while standing on the floor. Of course, the leg cannot swing to and fro but must come to rest at once. Here the poise of the body should be as in the Speaker's Position.
3. Ā, as in āle. This vowel has one peculiarity that deserves attention. If we speak a word like pay or may, we notice that the final sound is not that of a at all, but exactly that of long ē, ilus, pūē, māē. You would find it difficult to pronounce either of these words and omit this vanishing sound or “glide,” as it is sometimes called. The vanish or glide of the vowel ů is one characteristic of a refined pronunciation. Before the vowel ē, however, the vanish vanishes entirely, e.g., ā-ērial. Be careful not to overdo this peculiarity; on the other hand, do not clip the vowel so short that the effect of the glide is lost.
4. Åå before r, as in care, fair, air; also heard in where, ne'er, Aaron, wear, and similar words.
5. Ě, short, as in ěll, sěll, těll ; also many, bury, said, ropard, guess.