Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, January 01, 1878, Page 277, Image 17

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    VtT
No. 1.
Editorials.
277
t:4
v
&t
is in the oration the essay and tho debate
that we build tho palace.
In these societies, nothing is of greater
importance thanjust and judicious criti
cism. To a great extent the cfilclcncy of
society work depends upon tho ability,
tact, and abovejall fhojoncrgy of tho critic.
To those cmporlant ofilcers we would
make a few suggestions Nay, do not
bid us farewell and leave. We are aware
that advice is cheap and no art so difficult
us to make it agreeable. There are, how
ever, a few general principles which
should form a part of the unwritten con
stitution of every literary society. First
of all, societies should choose wisely in
tilling this ofllco. The critic need not
shine in debate or on the rostrum but he
should have a thorough knowledge of our
language and be well versed in our litera
ture. It is not enough that he point out
the faults and correct the errors-that ho
should tear down what others' build up
but he should bo able to suggest some
method of improvement, some plan of
progress.
Too often is tho critic's report in tho av.
eragu society the driest part of tin pro
gramme, and tho most deserving of severe
criticism. Have you not sometimes felt
the need of all your reserve piety, when
some fine production was marred and dis
torted by some bungling critic? Let him
then point out the errors in pronunciation,
use of words, etc., but this can be done
without humiliating the performers. The
most cflectivo criticism Is not always the
most severe. While he points out the
faults to be avoided, let him not forget the
excellencies to be imitated.
But when all this is done, much still re
mains. Every meeting should bo made
the occasion of a systematic critique on
some class of performances, some par
ticuliar clement of society work. Let one
or more evenings be devoted to each of
such topics as, tho writing or delivery of
orations, the writing or reading of essays,
the conduct of debate, thoprir.ciplcs of at
titude, and so on, indefinitely. Let these
critiques ba well prepared, and there is no
reason why the critic's report may not be
the most instructive, as well as the most
interesting part of the programme.
Two years ago a mania for spelling
swept over the laud like an epidemic.
Perhaps its greatest benefit was in expos
ing tho latent ignoiancc on tills fundamen
tal element of education. There is but
little doubt that the result would be even
more surprising if a mania on pronuncia
tion should follow. While correct spel
ling is of great importance, wo deem cor
rect pronunciation as even more desirable
Spelling is usually done where we have
the time and opportunity to verify our
work, but in pronunciation the first im
pulse finishes it; ncscit vox missu raverli.
Spelling is usually done in private and at
leisure, but pronunciation before the fas
tidious public, and witli no time to cor
rect. Habits of pronunciation always fol
low you. They are present at the table,
in the parlor, in tho office, and in society
as well as on the stage.
The habit of correct pronunciation is
the index of an accurate mind. As an ac
complishment it may rank witli music,
and as a recommendation for scholarship
it goes far beyond a college diploma.
How our confidence in an instructor in
the sciences or the languages, where the
greatest accuracy is required, lessens when
we find him inaccurate, in his vernacular.
How often the beautiful thoughts of the
orator are marred and impeded by some
gross error in pronunciation. Nay, how
often is tho divine truth sent forth on its
sacred mission, halt and maimed by bluu
dors that a little.caro would avoid.
It may be urged thai thought Ms .more
important than language. But language
is the vehicle of thought, and anything
that mars the language must impede the
thought. Thought and language arc so
inseparably connected that they must suf
fer mutually.
If, then, correct pronunciation is so de
sirable, how shall it be attained? That