Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Researches on the rhythm of speech. 
erceived. They acquire a definite meaning according to the way the 
contours differ. The significance of any cognate characters depends 
u on such distinguishing traits of contour. A . and a just as an r and 
are connected with distinct apperceptions. 
As interpreted presentations (apperceptions), punctuation marks 
denote breaks or transitions in the continuity of the thought and differ¬ 
ences in the quality or character of the pause. A period denotes the 
termination of a single wave (pulse or oscillation) of thought ; a semi¬ 
colon, a ripple in the wave without being a break ; and the comma, a 
minor ripple. The two latter are a species of subordinate waves com¬ 
prehended in the unity of the whole wave. There are several such 
species of thought-waves, e. g., those of declaration, interrogation, excla¬ 
mation. In the main, the different punctuation marks have as fixed a 
signification for thought as do the letters of the alphabet. 
Finally, as motor resultants they denote physiological processes differing 
according as the marks and the character of the waves of thought differ. 
The physiological differences are threefold : (1) As to modulation. The 
pitch of the voice varies according to the character of the sign. This is a 
subject for special research. (2) As to tvtibre. This is specially noticeable 
in the bracket and parenthesis (or in the parenthetical commas), question- 
mark and exclamation-mark. This subject also merits special investiga¬ 
tion. (3) As to the pause. This is perhaps the most obvious difference. 
Punctuation marks, physiologically considered, are pauses, the average 
length of which varies for the different marks, as has been shown 
It is largely upon the basis of these three characteristics, that a listener 
can punctuate the speech of a lecturer, who is observing in his speech, 
evidently unconsciously, the laws of the physiology of the punctua¬ 
tion mark. 
Hence a given punctuation mark is on the one hand a visible symbol, 
directly perceived by the eye, or represented to the imagination—how¬ 
ever vaguely—which signifies to the reader a turn or break in the move- 
ment of thought ; and, on the other, an auditory image which, as a 
foment in the physiological process of speech, is distinguished by 
changes in duration of pause, in pitch and quality of sound. In these 
Aspects it is a mental item, representing quantitative and qualitative 
F. Cf roid intervals. 
% a centroid interval is nderstood the interim, spatial upon the 
Page to the eye, temporal i’ .peech to the ear, which stretches between 
tw° successive centroids, i ., from centroid a, to centroid b, from cen-


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