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"Talks on Talking," etc.
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
NEW YORK AND LONDON
COPYRIGHT 1906 BY
Published October, 1906
The demand for this book, exhausting several editions in a comparatively short time, testifies to the wide-spread interest in the subject of speech culture. There has never been a time when convincing and forceful speech exerted so great an influence as now in business, social, and public life. It is not too much to say that to speak well is a certain passport to success.
As many teachers and private students are now using this work, it is deemed desirable to offer some more specific directions for its use. Certain portions of the book have purposely been made suggestive rather than explanatory, thus compelling the pupil to solve some of the problems for himself.
The best procedure is to vary the work of each lesson. Fifteen minutes daily should be given to the practise of exercises in deep breathing, articulation, and voice culture, and forty-five minutes to the study of expression and reading aloud.
Begin the deep breathing with Exercise 1, page 3, and practise it for at least five minutes daily. Continue this for a week. Endeavor to make the abdominal method of breathing an unconscious habit. Apply it as you walk along the street, in your conversation, and while lying down at night. Determine to keep your mouth closed. Take a new breathing exercise each week, and practise in moderation at first.
The work in articulation should begin with the set of syllables on page 14. Repeat these various combinations both horizontally and perpendicularly. Aim at accuracy at first, then at great rapidity. They should gradually commit themselves to memory. If you practise this exercise thoroughly, you will find that your lips, tongue, and palate will be rendered surprizingly flexible and responsive.
The pronunciation test on page 17, Exercise 25, is intended to stimulate the student's interest in this subject, and to send him to his dictionary. The list of words on pages 20 to 23 may be augmented from the pupil's reading and observation.
The voice-building exercises begin at page 26. Proceed slowly and thoroughly, taking one exercise each day. About seven weeks will be necessary in which to cover all the exercises to page 33, when they may be reviewed as often as may be necessary.
For study in expression take the various modulations, beginning with Quality at page 34, and practising one at a time until
PREFACE TO SEVENTH EDITION
page 98 is reached. Frequently review the work. Then the student should proceed with the more advanced work in mental aspects, page 113, devoting two or three days to each division.
The study of gesture will be greatly simplified if the student will practise daily for a few minutes, before a looking-glass, the diagram on page 103. The object here is to train the arms to move in curves rather than in straight lines, and all unconsciously. Then proceed with the several sets of exercises, at page 104, taking one set of nine examples at a time. Read the directions very carefully.
For speech preparation begin at page 185 and read attentively all that is said to page 215. Mark with your pencil those parts that most impress you and which you desire particularly to remember. Prepare several original speeches according to the directions set forth on page 196 and following pages.
Commit to memory as many of the short extracts as possible, and later do likewise with the full selections. This is one of the most valuable and important branches of the work. In this way not only will the mind of the student be stored with some of the richest specimens of English, but he will find himself in possession of valuable material for use in public speaking.
Practise daily, at least fifteen minutes, the various preliminary exercises, and give such additional time as may be convenient to the reading aloud of exercises in modulation and the selections.
The selections for practise begin at page 219, but they need not be studied in consecutive order. The student's taste and special requirements will guide him in this matter. It is usually better to begin with a simple reading, like “Simplicity and Greatness,'' page 330, “The Discontented Pendulum,” page 523, or “Oratory," page 224, and proceed slowly to the more difficult numbers, such as “King Henry VIII,” page 346, “The Revenge,” page 390, and “The Death Penalty,” page
246. These miscellaneous suggestions should be followed very carefully. Proceed slowly and systematically. Make the ground good as you go along. Do not be impatient for results. Check off each exercise as you do it and make it your own. Apply the results to your every-day life. Avoid pedantry. Favor the low keys of your voice. Cultivate and jealously guard the music of your speaking tones, and let no occasion seem so unimportant as to permit of careless or inaccurate speech.
GRENVILLE KLEISER. New York City,
PART ONE-MECHANICS OF ELOCUTION