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ERIC Number: EJ1043172
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Prompting Students to Contemplate Effective Communication with a Visible Speech Chart from the 1870s
Potter, Lee Ann
Social Education, v78 n2 p53-56 Mar-Apr 2014
In this article, director of Educational Outreach at the Library of Congress Lee Ann Potter describes a classroom activity that focuses on an 1876 single-page circular published in Salem, Massachusetts about Alexander Melville Bell's Visible Speech. A. M. Bell's son, Alexander Graham Bell described "Visible Speech" as "a new species of phonetic writing, based, not upon sounds, but upon the actions of the vocal organs in producing them." With Visible Speech, the Bells sought to represent the sounds of all languages with one alphabet whose characters, or symbols, would represent the formation of the sounds. In other words, they had devised a system that would allow people to pronounce any language correctly by sight--the speaker, however, would not necessarily know what he or she was saying. One could simply see the symbols for specific sounds and, in turn, make those sounds. In 1880, the system was heavily promoted at the Second International Congress on Education for the Deaf in Milan, Italy, and it was included in the education for the deaf and hard of hearing in schools across the country for more than a decade. But, it eventually faded from use, and its potential for generating a system of raised letters for use by the blind did not come to pass. This was due, in part, to the fact that Braille, Moon Type, Boston Line Type, and other tactile writing systems already existed. Herein, Potter suggests that introducing students to Visible Speech may be an effective way to spark their interest in language, communication, technology, invention, inventors, Alexander Graham Bell, the Progressive Era, the Centennial Exhibition, and more. Further, she demonstrates how it can lead to comparisons with communication tools used today such as Twitter, Google Translate, and the new Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) app.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A