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620. We often find the Americans outrunning us in our national tendencies. There are many instances in which they have thrown the accent back one syllable further than is usual in the old country. When we speak of St. Augustine, we put the accent on the second syllable, and we have no idea of any other pronunciation. But in the following verse by Longfellow we have the name accented on the first syllable.
Saint Augustine! well hast thou said,
That of our vices we can frame
Beneath our feet each deed of shame!
In the same way they say álly, invalid, pártisan, not for the ancient weapon 'pertuisan,' but for the more familiar word; and I am informed by Mr. Fraser that they also pronounce resources in a manner that would suggest the union of the French spelling of the word ressources, with the English trisyllabic pronunciation. Most people in New England say vágary instead of vagáry?.
621. Hitherto we have been chiefly concerned with that interpretative power of sound which we call accent. We must now distinguish between accent and emphasis.
Accent is that elevation of the voice which distinguishes one part of a word from another part of the same word.
Emphasis is a similar distinction made between one word and other words in the same sentence.
This may happen in two ways, either grammatically or rhetorically. The grammatical emphasis rests upon such points as the following. There are certain words which are naturally unaccented, and in a general way it may be said that the symbolic words are so. It is the province of
· Not yet Bishop of Manchester when these pages were written.
grammar to teach us what words are symbolic and what presentive. Grammar teaches, for instance, when the word one is a numeral, and when it is an indefinite pronoun. In the former case it is uttered with as full a note as any other monosyllable ; but in the latter case it is toneless and enclitic. It can hardly be a good line wherein this word, standing as an indefinite pronoun, receives the ictus of the metre. When we use the word one in the sense of the French pronoun 'on, it is incapable of antithesis, and therefore it cannot carry emphasis.
622. To give another example. It belongs to grammar to direct the attention towards the antecedent referred to by any pronoun; and according as that antecedent is understood the pronoun will or will not carry emphasis.
In Psalm vii. 14 the word him admits of two renderings according to the antecedent which it is supposed to represent:
13 If a man will not turn, he will whet his sword: he hath bent his bow and made it ready.
14 He hath prepared for him the instruments of death: he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.
We sometimes hear it read as if it were a reflexive pronoun, such as would be represented in Latin by sibi, in which case it is toneless. But if the reference be, as it is generally understood, to 'the man who will not turn,' spoken of in the preceding verse, then the reader ought to express this by an emphatic utterance of the word him, such as shall make it apparent that it is equivalent to for that man. Such an emphasis is used to mark a grammatical distinction.
But when words grammatically identical are exposed to diversity of emphasis, this is due to the exigencies of the argument, and we call such emphasis rhetorical.
The natural tone of symbolic words is low, I came, I saw, I conquered. No one would emphasize the pronouns here. The same may be observed of the pronouns in the following quotation :
I went by, and lo, he was gone; I sought him, but his place could no where be found.-Psalm xxxvii.
But words of this rank may receive the rhetorical emphasis. The reply of Sir Robert Peel to Cobbett makes a good illustration:
Why does the hon. Member attack me? I have done nothing to merit his assaults. I never lent him a thousand pounds.
Here the pronouns are emphasized, because therė was a latent allusion to Mr. Burdett, who had lent Cobbett a thousand pounds, and had been rewarded with scurrility. And this allusion supplied a tacit antithesis. A writer in the Christian Remembrancer for January 1866 undertook to shew that almost any word may be so placed as to be the bearer of emphasis. In proof of this an hexameter was produced with a and the emphasized :
A man might have come in, but the man certainly never. This is a rhetorical emphasis, and such an emphasis can be contrived for most words. You can emphasize any word to which you can oppose a true antithesis. To the word one you can oppose in some instances the word two, or any other number. Thus one may be emphasized, as
I asked for one, you gave me two.
In other cases the word none would be a natural antithesis
623. Emphasis, then, is a distinct thing from accent. The latter is an elevation of a syllable above the rest of the word; the former is the elevation of a word over the rest
of a phrase. But it should be noticed that, while there is this difference of relation between emphasis and accent, there is always, except in the case of monosyllables, an identity of incidence. The emphasis rests on the selfsame point as does the accent. We say indeed that the emphasis is on such and such a word, because by it one word is distinguished above all other words in the phrase. But the precise place of the emphasis is there where the accent is, in all words that have an accent; that is to say, in all words that have more than one syllable. In the case of a polysyllable, which has more than one accented syllable, the emphasis falls on the syllable that has the higher tone. An accented word is emphasized by the intensification of its chief accent.
In Acts xvii. 28, ‘for we are also his offspring,' there is no doubt that the emphatic word is offspring.' The Greek tells us so explicitly by prefixing to this word a particle, which in our version is ill rendered by also.' A reader who enters into the spirit of the reasoning in this place will very markedly distinguish the word offspring. And he will do so by sharpening the acuteness of that accent which already raises the first syllable above the second.
There is a well-known line in the opening of the Satires of Juvenal, which the greatest of translators has thus rendered, and thus emphasized by capitals :
Hear, ALWAYS hear; nor once the debt repay ?
In the disyllable here emphasized the emphasis rests on that syllable which had the accent while the word was in its private capacity. In fact, emphasis is a sort of public accent, which is incident to a word in regard of its external and syntactical relations.
624. Where a polysyllable, like elementary, has two accents, the emphasis heightens the tone of that which is already the higher. In a sentence like this, 'I was not speaking of grammar schools, but of elementary schools,' the rhetorical emphasis falling on elementary will heighten the tone of the third syllable.
In all this there is no change of quantity, no lengthening of the syllable so affected by accent and emphasis together. It is true, we often hear such a syllable very sensibly lengthened, as thus : 'I beg leave once more to repeat, that I was speaking only of ele-ma-entary schools.' The syllable is isolated and elongated very markedly, but then this is something more than emphasis, it is stress.
625. In living languages accent and emphasis are unwritten. The French accents have but secondarily to do with the accentuation of the language, and belong primarily to its etymology and orthography. In Greek, as transmitted to us, the accents are written, but they were an invention of the grammarians of Alexandria. In the Hebrew Bible, not only are the accents written, but likewise the emphasis; these signs are, however, no part of the original text, but a scholastic notation of later times.
Written accents are very useful as historical guides to a pronunciation that might be lost without them. But for the present and living exercise of a living language they are undesirable. All writing tends to become traditional, and characters once established are apt to survive their signification. Had our language been accentuated in the early printed books, we should have had in them a treasure of information indeed, but it would have been misleading in modern times, and probably it would have cramped the natural development of the language. For example, we now say whátso and whóso, but in early times it was whatsó and whosó. This change is in natural and harmonious