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78 THE ART OF SPEAKING AND READING.
Inflection is the gliding of the voice either upwards above the note or downwards below the note, or by a combined movement of the one followed by the other. The speaker does not actually keep on one note, he is continually gliding up and down the speaking register. Make the sound oh (o:), and starting from the middle note of the voice glide upwards oh, then glide downwards oh, next glide upwards and then downwards oh, and finally glide downwards and then upwards oh. These glides or inflections give quite a different meaning to the oh; but it requires careful practice to be able to make a glide without loss of tone. Notice the glides in the following question (an inflection upwards followed by an inflection downwards). Is it a
glide or inflection? Inflections so materially alter the meaning of a sentence that definite rules have been formulated for guidance in their use. The upward glide expresses incompleteness, negation, indecision or suspense, it is also used in questions which expect the answer yes or no, and in appeals, prayers, etc. The downward glide expresses completeness, affirmation, decision, and is used in questions which contain the answer, and in commands, etc. Antithesis is marked by an upward glide on the one word and a downward glide on its antagonist. A compound glide, called a circumflex inflection, is used when the meaning is different from the words used, as in irony and sarcasm.
105. Rhythm.—The over-accentuated rhythm of the schoolboy recitation, in which the up-beats and down-beats are so markedly differentiated, and the reading of poetry as if it were prose, in which the rhythmical accent is neglected altogether, are the two extremes to be avoided. Unless full value is given to the carefully chosen words of the