The Talking Deaf Man by John Conrade Amman

Produced by David Starner, Project Manager; Keith M. Eckrich, Post-Processor; the PG Online Distributed Proofreaders Team THE TALKING DEAF MAN: or, A Method Proposed, Whereby He Who is Born Deaf, May Learn to Speak. By the Studious Invention and Industry of _John Conrade Amman_, an _Helvetian_ of _Shashuis_, Dr. of Physick. Imprinted at _Amsterdam_, by
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Produced by David Starner, Project Manager; Keith M. Eckrich, Post-Processor; the PG Online Distributed Proofreaders Team



A Method Proposed, Whereby He Who is Born Deaf, May Learn to Speak.

By the Studious Invention and Industry of _John Conrade Amman_, an _Helvetian_ of _Shashuis_, Dr. of Physick.

Imprinted at _Amsterdam_, by _Henry Westein_, 1692. And now done out of Latin into English, by _D.F.M.D._ 1693.

_London_, Printed for Tho. Hawkins, in _George-yard, Lumbard street_, 1694.

Price bound One Shilling.

_To his most Approved Good Friend Mr. PETER KOLARD, the Author, with all Submission, Dedicateth this his Treatise of the Talking Deaf Man._

_My much honoured Friend_,

This little endeavour, how small soever it be, is upon many Accounts due to you; For besides that, the Truth of the matter here exposed, is to no one, (except my Self) more apparent, you did heap on me so many Favours, whilst I abode in your House, upon account of teaching your Daughter, and rendred me to be so much Yours, as no less could be sufficient, than to erect a publick, and as much as in me lay, an eternal Monument of Gratitude to you. How great the Incredulity of this Age is, no Man almost knows better than your self; there have been, and still are, such as boldly deny, that it is possible to bring the _Deaf_ to speak; others, though they should be admitted to be Eye-Witnesses, yet would not stick to doubt still of the matter: Wherefore, what-ever it was that I performed to your Daughter, and to some others, and by what Artifice I did it, I now ingenuously expose to the Eyes of all the World. I heartily wish that they may so make use of this my labour, as that for the future, no more _Dumb_ Persons may be found.

In the number of these doubting Persons, you have confessed to me, that you your self had formerly been, until you had heard a certain Maiden, who before had been _Dumb_, talking with me at _Amsterdam_; perhaps I should have been so my self, if, when I was ignorant in the thing, I had received narratively only, that some such thing was performed by another; wherefore I resolved rather to convince the Incredulity of Men (which now is accounted Prudence amongst most Men) of an Error, than to reprove them for their Rashness.

It is now three Years since I first thought to make this my Method publick; but had I then done it, I should now have repented it, because in this Interval I have much more polished it; and rendered it more easie by far; and as to what belongs to the practise thereof, more certain, yea, and all to that degree, as I dare confidently assert, that henceforth there shall be no _Deaf_ Person, (provided he be of a sound Mind, and be not Tongue-tied, nor of an immature Age) who by my Instruction shall not in the space of two Months speak readily enough. Perhaps also I shall hereafter repent, that I have published this small Treatise, as yet too immature; yet I had rather confess an Error, if I shall any where commit one, or in any future Edition augment it, than wholly to pass it over in Silence; for if I should be snatcht away by a hasty Death, (even as a tender state of Health doth threaten me) I should not know how to render to God an Account of the Talent committed to me, as he may require it of me.

Nothing therefore remained, most Worthy Sir, than that I should beg your Pardon, that I have made bold thus to interrupt you in the midst of Affairs, which almost swallow you wholly up; but I believe you will the more readily give it me, because this little Script may make my Absence less troublesome to you, because, according to the precepts here given, you yourself will be able to take care that your Daughter shall not only not forget all what she already knows, but more and more accomplish them. However, I humbly beseech you, that him whom you have begun to love, yea, though he be removed far from you, that you will persist still therein, and to take upon your self as need shall require it, the Patronage of the Truth it self. Farewel, and be well.

_J. Conrade Amman._

_Dated from my Study_, Aug. 10th, 1692.

* * * * *

_To his Learned friends_ Richard Waller, _and_ Alexander Pittfield, _Esquires, of the_ Royal Society.


The holding of a Candle to the Sun is not more absurd, than thus to present you with an _English_ Version of a _Latin_ Treatise. All who know you, know you to be Masters of not only most of the _European_, but also of the Learned Languages. But my excuse is, that what I have done for the sake of English Readers, I expose under your learned Names; the Subject-matter of which may be useful, and therefore acceptable to your selves and others. However, I am willing to discover my Ambitious aim herein, which is to let the World know who are my Friends, and what Names may give Honour to mine. I know, that several very considerable Members of that great Society, to which you so nearly relate, have already, both in Theory and Practise, acquainted the World with very remarkable things of this nature; and whether what is here published, will in the least, either elucidate or add to those already taught, and done by those very knowing persons, I neither dare nor will determine; but if neither one nor the other be here found, yet it is sometimes grateful to us, to see how good and great wits do jump, and in such Circumstances as these no Man can account Store to be a Soare. _I_ have only this to further mention, that the _Author_ chose the _High-German_ Tongue to become his exemplar, rather than any other Modern or Antique; it therefore is necessary, that he who would put his Rules in practice in any other Language, must observe a due Analogy in _mutatis mutandis_. Thus (my Friends) I have exposed both you and my self, if any blame happen, let that be all mine, who (without your Knowledge and Concession) did this Indignity to you, and to aggravate it, thus publickly to stile my self,


Your Cordial Friend and Servant,

_Dan. Foot._

* * * * *


Candid Reader,

_In these few Pages, I expose to thee openly and ingenuously, by what means I can learn the Deaf, (and because they were born so) the Dumb to speak articulately_, and easily to understand others also when they are speaking, so as they may be able both to read, and to understand a Book, or Letter, and to discover their own Minds, either by Speach or Writing.

How important a Benefit is this? How advantageous is the not hearing supplied by this Art? If Envy, or the detestable greedy Desire of Gain_ _could have prevailed with me, I had retained this Art, as lockt up in my own Breast. But alass! How miserable is the condition of the Deaf? How lame and defective is that Speach, which is performed by Signs and Gestures? How little are they capable to receive of those things which concern their eternal Salvation? Who doth not commiserate_ _this sort of Persons? Who can refuse to help them by all means which are possible? For my part, I, by the help of God’s Grace, will not only help them, but will make publick and vulgar what is best to be done therein, yea, and have done so already, that they can understand others speaking, even with the softest_ Voice, _or rather whispering_.

_This Doctrin will seem new and incredible to most Men, yet is not plainly altogether unheard of; for, as I heard, there have been some, who engaged themselves in this cure; but what they effected therein, I must acknowledge is unknown to me; yea, I Religiously attest, that before I did excogitate this Matter, I met not with the least_ _foot-step thereof in any Author. Notwithstanding, some there be, who reject at first sight this Doctrin as fabulous; others, and those perhaps the same also; who when I shall have discovered to them the manner thereof, will cry, that they could do the same thing: I, for my part; am not concerned at either of them, well knowing, that those who are just in their_ _Estimation of things, will judge otherwise.

When thou, by reading shalt arrive thus far (good_ Reader) _stop a little (I pray thee) and use the liberty granted to every one, and attentively revolve in thy Mind, what thou thy self would’st do, if such a case as this was committed to thy care. If so be thou shaltst find out the right way, give God_ _thanks, and let it suffice, that I have admonished thee; if not, go on to read what follows, where thou wilt find it, with very little trouble. This very way is that, by which I taught_ Ehster Kolard, (_a young Virgin of great Hopes, the only Daughter of Mr_ Peter Kolard, _who was born Deaf) not only to read, but also to speak readily, yea, and to_ _hold Discourse with others and in a short time she profited so much, as to remember a many Questions and Answers in the Catechism, yea, and as far as her young Years were capable, she understood the Sense of them also: She rejoyced greatly when I told her, that I was willing to make this Method, by which she learned to speak, common_ to all. Friendly_ Reader, _use and accept well these things; and if thou knowest any things better, Candidly impart them, and make not thy self Ungrateful. Farewell._

* * * * *

An Advertisement to the _English Reader_.

About 26 Years since, the Honourable, Learned, and Pious F.M. Baron of _Helmont_ caused to be published in Latin a small Treatise; wholly and fully to the same purpose, with what is here published: Which said Treatise, entituled, _The Alphabet of Nature_, is now in Hand to be Translated, and Publish’d in _English_; of which it was thought fit here to give thee this Notice.

Thou art also (kind _Reader_) to be advertised, that there is very lately Translated into the _English_ a very learned Tract, entituled, _The Divine Being, and its Attributes_; demonstrated from the Holy Scriptures, and Original Nature of things, according to the Principles of the aforesaid F.M. Baron of _Helmont_. Written in _Low-Dutch_, by _Paulus Buchius_, Dr. of Physick, &c. and Licensed according to Order, and are to be sold by _T. Howkins_, Bookseller, in _George-yard, Lumbard-Street_.



_An Inquiry into the Nature of a_ Voice, _and in what respect it differs from the Breath_.

Let no Man presume, that he shall ever attain to this noble Art, if he remain Ignorant in what it is that the nature of the Letters, as well in general, as special, doth consist; for it was this very thing which gave occasion to the composing of this small Treatise: Wherefore, before I treat of the manner of instructing _Deaf_ Persons, I shall bring into examination, First, the material part of the _Letters_, viz. _Voice_ and _Breath_; Secondly, the _Letters themselves_, and their Differences: Thirdly, and Lastly, I will teach the _Practise_ of the Art.

I have oftentimes heard from some Persons, that it was little beneath a Miracle, that God should give Men, to express the Thoughts of the Mind, rather by Motions, which are effected by the Lips, the Tongue, the Teeth, &c. than otherwise, and that so universally, that there is no Nation so Barbarous, no not excepting the _Hottentots_, which cannot speak in a Language. But let (I pray) these Men consider, what it is that Men rightly Instituted would have, whilst they mutually talk one with another; for they desire to open the most inward Recesses of the Heart, yea, and to transfuse their own proper Life into others, which thing cannot be more commodiously done, than by Speaking; for there is nothing which floweth forth from us, which carrieth with it a more vivid Character of the Life, than our _Voice_ doth; yea, in the _Voice_ is the _Breath_ of Life, part of which passeth into the _Voice_; for indeed the _Voice_ is the Child of the Heart, which is the Seat of the Affections, and of Desire. Hence it is, that sometimes we are not able to keep back the impetuous Motions of the Affections; but _out of the abundance of the Heart, the Mouth speaketh._ Thus, when we desire something in our selves, and yet are afraid to express it, the Heart labours like a Woman with Child, and becomes Anxious; but if we can pour it forth into the Bosom of a Friend, there presently ariseth great Tranquility, and we say, that we have emptied our Hearts: Yea, so full is the _Voice_ of the Life, which immediately flows from the Heart, that to talk long, extreamly wearieth us; but especially the Sick, who oftentimes can scarce utter three or four words, but they faint away. Therefore, to comprehend much in a few words, the _Voice_ is an Emanation from that very Spirit, which God breathed inth Man’s Nostrils, when he Created him a living Soul. Hence also, _The Word of God, the Son of God, the Omnipotence of God_, &c. are in Holy Scripture oftentimes homonymous, or of the like, and same import.

It is no wonder therefore, if _Voice_ be natural to a Man, though he be _Deaf_, because _Deaf Men_ Laugh, Cry out, Hollow, Weep, Sigh, and Waile, and express the chief Motions of the Mind, by the _Voice_ which is to an Observant Hearer, various, yea, they hardly ever signifie any thing by Signs, but they mix with it some _Sound_ or _Voice_. Thus the Exclamations of almost all Nations are alike; [_a_] is the _Sound_ of him chiefly, who rejoyceth; [_i_] of him who is in Indignation, and Angry; [_o_] of one in Commiseration, or Exclamation; not to mention many such other-like.

Now I shall briefly declare, wherein the nature of the _Voice_ consisteth, where it is formed, and how it is formed: I shall also discover, together therewith, wherein is the difference betwixt _Voice_ and _Breath simply_, as what is in truth, of so much weight, that if it be unknown, some Deaf Persons cannot learn to speak, as shall be taught in the Third Chapter. Men ordinarily speak after two manner of ways, viz. either when they may be heard by any one, who is not too far distant from them, and that is properly call’d _Voice_; or else, when they speak privately in another’s Ear, and then they pronounce a _Breath which is simple, but not Sonorous_. Deaf Men also do know a _Voice_ to be different from a _Simple Breath_; for they can speak both ways, and I also have learned this Distinction partly from them.

The Humane _Voice_ is Air, impregnated, and made Sonorous by the impressed Character of the Life, or is such, as whilst it is in breathing forth, doth smite upon the Organs of the _Voice_, so, as _they tremble thereupon_; for indeed, without this tremulous Motion, no _Voice_ is made: Yea, not only the _Larynx_, or Wind-pipe, doth thereupon tremble, but the whole Skull also; yea, and sometimes _all the Bones_ _of the whole Body_, which any one may easily find in himself, by his applying his Hand to his Throat, and laying it on the top of his Head. This trembling is very perceptible in most sounding Bodies, and is (if I mistake not) owing for the most part to the _Springiness_ of the Air; which, did I not study to be brief, I could more fully explicate. Now the _Simple Breath_ is Air, breathed forth by the opening of the Mouth or Nostrils, simply, and without any smiting on the parts, which rather exciteth a whispering than a sound. Hence is it, that Animals, whose Wind-pipe is cut beneath the Throat, do indeed render a _Breathing_, but no _Voice_; for the Tube of the Wind-pipe is too large, and too smooth, than that the Air can strike upon it any where; and being thus reflected on its self, it can also imprint a tremulous Motion on its neighbouring Bodies: This the Physicians Pupils do know; who being about to dissect live Dogs, they cut their Throats, that they may not be troubled with their barking: For _Voice_ differs as much from a _Simple Breath_, as doth that hoarse Sound, which we excite, by rubbing the tops of our Fingers hard upon some Glass or Table, which is quite differing from that same _soft whistling Sound_, which is heard when we lightly rub with the Hand the same Glass or Table.

The _Voice_ therefore, as it is the _Voice_, is generated in the _Cartilages of the Wind-pipe_, then afterwards is formed into such or such _Letters_; but that it may become a lovely _Voice_, it’s requisite, that those Cartilages be _smooth_, and _lined with no mucous Matter_, else the _Voice_ will become Hoarse, and sometimes be utterly lost, viz. when they have lost their Springy power.

For _Pipes_; and other _Wind-Instruments_ do most notably explain to us the nature of the _Voice_; for in them we see a certain _Voice_ or _Sound_ to be generated out of Simple Air, whilst it is as it were, rent in pieces, and forced into a tremulous Motion: Now, that in these Instruments there is a little Tongue; or which is instead of a Tongue, the same in a Man is the _Epiglott_, or Cover of the _Wind-pipe_, and the _Uvula_, or Pallate of the Mouth; but the rest of the _Cartilages_ of the _Throat_, besides that, they contribute much to the making of the _Voice_, yet are they chiefly serviceable to it, in rendering it to be more flat, and more sharp, and that especially by the _Bone of the Tongue_, and the adjoyning Muscles: But I am unwilling to put from this Office the Muscles which are proper to the _Wind-pipe_; for they all unanimously conspire to make the _Cleft of the Throat_ either wider, or narrower. But above all, here is that wonderful Faculty of modifying the _Voice_, according to Will and Pleasure; which, even as _Speech_ also, is not natural to us, but a Habite, contracted by long Use or Custom. Hence it is, that the Unskilful are not only Ignorant how to Sing, but also cannot so much as imitate others who are Singing; so also such as are ignorant of any Language, do not only not understand others who are speaking that Language, but also do not know how presently to repeat that _Voice_ which they received by their Ears.

Things principally requisite to the _Voice_, are, that the _Wind-pipe_, the former thereof be solid, dry, and of the nature of _Resounding_ Bodies. By this _Hypothesis_, two of the most Eminent _Phaenomena’s of the Voice_ are discovered; why the _Voice_ should then at length become firm and ripe, when the Bones have attained unto their full Strength, and due Hardness, which cometh to pass much about the Years of ripe age, when the vital Heat, doth in a greater degree exert itself: The other Phaenomenon is _Hoarsness_ or an utter loss of the _Voice_, which is, when the _Cartilages_, or _Gristles of the Throat_, especially the _Epiglott_, or Coverlid of the _Wind-pipe_, is lined or besmeared all over with a slimy Viscosity, whereby they lose their _Elasticity_, or Springiness. Now these Symptoms of the _Voice_ are also common to other _Wind-instruments_, when they become too much moistned by any vapourous wetting Air. The same reason also is to be assigned why the _Voice_ doth at last quite cease in those who have made too long Harrangues, in speaking, and whose Jaws are quite dried with an immoderate Heat; for in both these cases the top of the _Wind-pipe_ is covered over with a clammy _Tenacious Phlegm_.

There remains yet two other Symptoms of the _Voice_, which I have undertaken to explicate, viz. why the _Voice_ sometimes leaps from one _Eighth_ to another; and, as it is rightly said by the Vulgar Expression, that it is broken: and why, when we strive to make our _Voice_ either too sharp, or too flat, it at last plainly faileth us. As to the first, let us consider when and how it cometh to pass; and first, it’s what principally happeneth to _Orators_, when they endeavour to lift up their _Voice_ too high, or strongly; but how this cometh to be, _Organ-pipes_, and the _Monochorde_, do teach us, _viz._ when some Impediment interposing, doth divide the _ordinary Sound_ into two; if therefore those parts are equal, either of them is by one _Eighth_ more sharp than the former Sound, neither are they distinguished from one another; but if they prove to be unequally divided, then two _distinct Sounds_ are made at the same time, whereof one is flatter than the ether, and this is commonly called a _broken Voice_: But why our _Voice_ should fail us, when we endeavour to make it more sharp, or more flat than it ought to be, the reason is, because we strive either so to contract the _Cleft_ of the _Wind-pipe_, and to press the _Spout-like Cartilage_, by help of the _Bone of Tongue_, towards the _Epiglott_, that the going forth of the _Voice_, and of the _Breath_, may be precluded, or else, on the contrary, because that the said _Cleft_, through the drawing down of the _Cartilages_, is so much widened, that the departing out of the _Breath_, finds no hinderance.

But here I had almost forgot to compare the _more dry_, the _more moist_, the _more solid_, and the _more thin_ Constitution of the _Larynx_, or _Wind-pipe_, which also make very much to the rendering the _Voice_, to be either sharp, or flat. That same humming Noise, which _many flying Insects_ make, not so much by the Wings, (for when they are cut off, the humming still remains) as by a most swift and brisk Motion of certain Muscles, hid in the Cavity of their Breasts, seems to have somewhat of an affinity to the _Voice_; wherefore I desire the Learned to examine, whether those small _Muscles, which are proper to the Cartilages of the Wind-pipe_, cannot perform somewhat like to that.

Many more Particulars concerning the _Voice_ might yet further be inquired into, such as, how it is, that every one may be known by his _Voice_? How that _Sound_, which in Singing is called _Quavering_, or _Trilling_, by a peculiarity, is excited, &c, But seeing that these things do not properly respect the nature of the _Voice_, I, for Brevities sake, do omit them.


_Expounding the Nature of the_ Letters, _and the manner how they are formed_.

Hitherto we have treated concerning the _Voice_ and _Breath_, and of the manner of the formation of both of them, in general; now let us see how the said _Voice_ and _Breath_ are, as a fit Matter for them, framed into such or such _Letters_; for the _Voice_ and _Breath_ are alone the material part of _Letters_, but the form of them is to be sought out from the various Configurations of those hollow Channels, thorough which they pass; _Letters_ therefore, not as they be certain Characters, but as they are Pronounced or Spoken, are the _Voice_ and _Breath_, diversly Figured by the Instruments ordained for the Speech.

But here we must be pre-admonished concerning the _Letters_; that there is a great Latitude almost amongst them all, and that one and the same Character is not pronounced by one and the same Configuration of the Mouth, yea, in one and the same Language; thus [_a_] and [_e_] sometimes are sounded open, and sometimes close; also [_o_] hath its own Latitude, so as many other Letters also may have; yea, as many as are the divers Modes, by which the _Voice_ and _Breath_ can be Figured, by the Organs of Speech; but the most easie, only, and the most Conspicuous are received by all Nations, whose number never almost exceedeth Twenty four, and have certain Characters annexed to them: But seeing that these Characters are not every where pronounced alike, yea, one and the same Letter sometimes is variously sounded by one and the same People, therefore I have made choice of the _German Letters_, which are of my Mother-Tongue, and the most _Simple_ of all Letters, to be examined in this place: in as much as they are for the most part sounded every where alike, their _Vowels_ are very _Simple_, and agreeable to the nature of the thing, the _Diphthongs_ compounded of them, do retain the Nature of their compounding _Vowels_, because they are always heard pronounced in them, otherwise, than as it is in most other Languages, which they stile living ones; for sometimes they make their _Diphthongs_ out of the most _Simple Vowels_, as are [_au_] [_ou_] [_ai_] amongst the _French_, and [_oe_] and [_eu_] amongst the _Dutch_, or else they have such improper _Diphthongs_, that scarce either of their compounding _Vowels_ can be heard, such are [_oi_] of the _French_, and [_uy_] of the _Dutch_, not to mention more Examples, or else they are variously sounded according to their various Placings, so as if I were to teach some Deaf _French-man_, I would from the beginning teach him, not the _French_, but the _German Letters_, or else he would be plainly confounded. Nor is the state of the _Consonants_ in better case for the Pronunciation of some of them, is so very different, that there are scarce two Nations, which pronounce the Character [_g_] after the same manner.

But in the _German_ Alphabet, that which most disliketh me, is, their Order; which, in good truth, is none; because scarce two Letters of the same rank do follow mutually after one another, which would render the information of Deaf Persons to be so much the more difficult; wherefore I have reduced them into this following order, which seemed to me to be the most natural.

_a. e. i. j. y. o. u. ae. oe.
ue. m. n. ng. l. r. h. g. ch. s. f. v. k. c. q. d. t. b. p.
x. z._

To those who observe well, it will from this order alone, appear, that I have divided this whole Alphabet into _Vowels_, _Semi-vowels_, and _Consonants_. The _Vowels_ are a _Voice_ or _Sound_ modified by a various opening of the Mouth only, and are either _Simple_, or Uniform, as _a. e. i. j. y. o. u. w._ Or else they are mixt, which out of two, do so melt down into one, as that they are pronounced together, and are different from _Diphthongs_, in as much as their _Vowels_ are successively pronounced: Now these mixt _Vowels_, are ae. oe. ue. which some Nations either have not at all, or else do write them evilly; but of the manner of Formation, more shall be said hereafter.

The _Semi-vowels_ are a middle sort between the _Genuine Voice_, and a _Simple Breath_, and may at pleasure be brought forth in the manner as _Vowels_ are; and they are either of the _Nose_, or _Nasall_ such are _m. n. ng._ or else they be of the _Mouth_, or _Orall_, as _l. r._ _Consonants_ are a _Simple Breath_, not sonorous, yet variously modified, and are of three kinds:

For they are either pronounced successively, and may be produced at pleasure, as _g. ch. s. f. v._

Or are suddainly _shot forth_; which upon that score I call them _explosive_, as _k. c. q. t. d. b. p._

Or else being _Compounded_ out of two foregoing ones, their number is diverse in divers Nations; the _Germans_ have two; _viz._ _x._ and _z._

To this Division, in which I have had respect chiefly to the nature, and manner of pronouncing the _Letters_, may not impertinently be added, that those _Letters_ are formed mostly in three _Regions of the Mouth_, _viz._ in the bottom, or _Throat_; in the middle, or in the _Palate_ and _Teeth_; and lastly, in the utmost part thereof, or in the _Lips_: Hence it is, from every one of their Classes almost, are three sorts; one _Guttural_, another _Dental_, and a third _Labial_; but of these, more hereafter.

I will here prevent the _Readers_ who may object to me in the following Chapter, that this my Doctrin will be always lame, because all Deaf Persons, whom we would teach by the Tongue, Lips, _&c._ will never by their Sight attain unto these motions: But, besides that the Sight doth not give place to the Hearing, as to a quick sensibility, I affirm, that there is no need thereof, if once they have made but any Progress; for even we our selves do very often not hear in Pronunciation those Letters which I call _Consonants_, but we collect them from the _Vowels_ and _Semi-vowels_, commixed together with them: No Man, for Example, shall so pronounce _b. g._ or _d._ as that he may be heard at a hundred Paces distant. And this seems to me to be the principal reason why we can most rarely pronounce or repeat at the first blush, any word spoken in a foreign Language.

But before I shall unfold the nature, and manner of forming the _Letters_ in special, I judged that it was not here to be omitted, how that as all the _Letters_, yea also, and the _Vowels_ them-selves, cannot by any means be pronounced, as they are a _Simple Breath_, and not sonorous; for when we, for Example, do whisper somewhat to one in his Ear, so the _Consonants_ also, excepting those which I call _Explosive_, may be pronounced vocally, or with the _Voice_ conjoyned; and there are Nations which pronounce thus, as the _French_ do their _z._ and their _v._

I shall now treat of the _Letters_ especially, and will examine them so, as both the absolute Simplicity of the _German Letters_ may be manifested; and other Nations, from their Mode of Formation, may learn, how they ought to pronounce them; upon this account also, I shall add how improperly some Nations do render the same Letters in their own Language. Now in this Explication I shall observe the same order as I did in the Division of them, where readily it will appear, that _Voice_ and _Breath_ are according to a triple Region of the Mouth, triply figured or formed spontaneously.

Therefore the Simple and Uniform _Vowels_ are, _a._ _e._ _i._ _j._ _y._ _o._ _u._ _w._ and are formed after the following manner.

_a._ is a _Gutteral Vowel_, and the most Simple of all; the Key of the _Alphabet_, and therefore is by all Nations set first of all, excepting only (as far as I know) the _Abyssines_, by whom, as Ludolf testifieth, it is placed as the Thirteenth _Letter_. True indeed it may be pronounced by various Placings of the _Tongue_, yet the common, and most convenient is, that the _Tongue_ should be in its posture of rest; and then being gently stretched forth in the _Mouth_, it may only lightly, or not at all touch upon the utmost Border of the lower _Teeth_; if therefore the lower _Jaw_ be drawn downwards, and thereby the _Mouth_ be opened, that the _Voice_ formed in the _Throat_, strikes not neither against the _Teeth_, nor against the _Lips_, than a plain open [_a_] is heard, _e. i. j. y._ are _Dental Vowels_, or the _Voice_, which in coming forth, smites more or less against the _Teeth_; Hence it is that Infants, although they can say _Pappa, bo, &c._ yet can they not pronounce these Letters until they have Teeth, especially _the Cutters_, or _fore-Teeth_; and indeed [_e_] is formed, when the _Voice_, (the _Lips_ being gently opened), strikes against the _Teeth_ also moderately opened; now the posture of the _Tongue_ is such, that it somewhat presses on each side upon the _Dog-Teeth_ of the Inferior _Jaw_, for so the passage of the _Voice_ is made narrower, and the [_e_] much more clear.

_i. j._ and _y._ are the same _Vowel_, pronounced one while more short, and another more long, nor doth it stand upon any Foundation, [_i_] sometimes doth become a _Consonant_, but then is pronounced only more swiftly, so as together with the following _Vowel_, it can make a _Diphthong_; but [_i_] is formed after the same manner almost, as [_e_] except that the _Teeth_ are for the most part, more stricken, and the _Tongue_ put close to the _Teeth_, the passage of the _Voice_ is rendred more strait, whence a more smart Sound also breaks forth, which notwithstanding, can sometimes be hardly distinguished from [_e_] [_y_,] also is [_i_] pronounced longer then usually, or [_i_] doubled. _o. u. w._ are _Labial Vowels_, that is, such as are formed by a different positure of the _Lips_; also [_o._] and [_u._] are different from one another, just as much as [_e._] and [_i_]: But [_w._] is to [_u._] just as _j._ is to [_i._] for indeed _a. u. w._ are formed, when the _Teeth_ and _Tongue_ keep the same posture; but the _Lips_ are more or less contracted, even as the _Teeth_ are in [_e._] and [_i._] and so when they are less stricken, [_o._] is produced, but when a little more [_u._] or [_w._]; but we ought carefully to beware, whilst [_o._] or [_u._] are pronounced, least the _Teeth_ should be seen; for else a certain kind of a soft _e._ will be mingled; and instead of _oe._ or _ue._ there will be produced _o._ or _u._ These Letters belong to the _French_, _au_ and _ou_, when nevertheless they are nothing else but _Diphthongs_, also _oe._ of the _Dutch_ is our _u._ but very improperly.

Mixt _Vowels_ are _ae. oe. ue._ These Characters are peculiar to our Language, and were invented very ingeniously by our Ancients, though our Moderns mostly know not the reason thereof. Each hath its simple Character, because the Sound which they signifie, is only one, tho’ mixt; for _a._ _o._ and _u._ are so pronounced, that the passage of the _Voice_, the _Tongue_ and _Teeth_ being conjoyned for to pronounce, _e._ becomes Straiter, and so _e._ together with the said Letters, _a._ _o._ _u._ doth constitute but one only, yet a _mixt vowel_. The _French_ utter them by _ai._ _eu._ and _u._ and in good truth, badly enough, as any one may see. The _Dutch_ want _[ae]._ _[oe]._ and express them by _eu._ but _[ue]._ by _u._ in no better a way than the _French_.

Concerning the _Diphthongs_ composed out of these _Vowels_, and which may be thence compounded, I judge it needless to say much; for they are nothing else in our Language than a more then usual swift Pronunciation of the Component _Vowels_, yet successive; and thus they differ from the _mixt Vowels_, but how improper and absurd _Diphthongs_ some Nations have, any one may easily gather from what hath been already said.

The other sort of Letters are _Semi-Vowels_, which are therefore so called, because that they be formed indeed out of a _Sounding Breath_ or _Voice_, but such as in its progress is much broken. They are, as I said, either _Nasalls_, or such as are pronounced through that open passage, by which the _Nose_ opens into the Hollow of the _Mouth_: Now the _Voice_ is forced to go that way, either when it flows to the _Lips_ shut close, and rebounding from thence, is formed into [_m_;] or when the _Tip of the Tongue_ is so applied to the roof of the Mouth, and to the upper _Teeth_, the _Voice_ is made to rebound through the _Nostrils_, and so [_n_] becomes formed; or lastly, when together with the hinder part of the _Tongue_, the _Voice_ being applied to the _Roof_, is so straitned that there is no Egress left open for it, but through the _Nose_, and so [_n_] is formed; which is a Sound, which hath no peculiar Character in any Language, as I know of, yet it differs no less from the rest of the _Nasals_, (_k_) is divers from (_t_) or (_p_,) if any one desires to try this by himself, let him endeavour to pronounce; having his _Nose_ held close with his Fingers, one of these three Letters, and he will not be able to do it.

Or else these _Semivowels_ are _Orall_, which are indeed such as are pronounced thro’ the _Mouth_, but not so freely as are the _Genuin Vowels_, and they be two, (_l_) and (_r;_) (_l_) is formed when the _Tongue_ is so applied to the _Roof_, and the upper _Teeth_, that the _Voice_ cannot, but by a small Thred, as it were, get forth by the Sides of the _Tongue_; for if you compress the _Cheeks_ to the _Grinders_, you stop up the Passage of the _Voice_, and it will be very difficult for you to pronounce this _Letter_, (_r_,) is a _Voice_ fluctuating with great swiftness, and is formed, when the more movable part of the _Tongue_ does in the twinkling of an Eye, oftentimes strike upon the _Roof of the Mouth_, and as often is drawn back again from it; for thus the _Voice_ formed in the _Throat_, in its pronouncing, flows and ebbs back again, and is uttered, as it were by _Leaps_. Hence it is, that they, whose _Tongues_ be too heavy and moist, and less voluble, will never pronounce this Letter, whether they can Hear, or are Deaf.

Now there still remains the _Consonants_, or the Letters, which are formed out of an unsounding or mute _Breath_; yet, out of which, some of the _Semi-vowels_ may be made, as _g. ch. s. f. v._

As the _Voice_ is the common matter of the _Consonants_, the sharper part of which is (_h_) which is the most simple of them all, and out of which diversly figurated, the rest of them are framed: And they are either the _Sibilants_, which are formed out of _Breath_, which is somewhat compressed or straitned, that the passing _Breath_ breaks forth with a certain kind of _Hissing_, and with violence.

Here _I_ judge that we are not to pass over in silence, how that there are some parts in _Germany_, where there is so much of Affinity of (_g_) with (_k_,) as (_b_) has with (_p_) and (_d_) with (_t_,) or where (_g_) is pronounced like (_k_) but softer, so also the _French_ do pronounce their (_g_) before _a. o. u._ and _ou._

(_s_) is formed, when the _Teeth_ and _Tongue_ are so clapt together, that the _Breath_ cannot come forth, but by the _Spaces of the Teeth_: But (_f_) or (_v_) (which differs not from (_f_) in our Language) is formed, when the _neather Lip_ is so moved to the _Teeth_ above, that the _Breath_ must break out thro’ the said _Spaces of the Teeth_; _ph._ is (_f_) being a Stranger in the _German_ Tongue, and differs from it only in the _Character_.

The other kind of _Consonants_ are explosive; which, _viz._ are discharged at one push, and as it were, in the twinkling of an Eye and are nothing else but _Breath_, which being got close together, either in the fore, middle, or hinder Region of the Mouth, is discharged on a suddain; and (_k_) is indeed formed in the hinder Region, when the hinder part of the _Tongue_ is moved to the _Roof_, that the _Breath_ cannot break forth, neither by the _Mouth_, nor by the _Nose_, but is suddenly let loose again: For thus the imprisoned _Breath_ breaks out, and by breaking out, maketh _k. c._ or _q._ which in _Germany_ are all the same Letter; in the middle Region are _d._ and t. formed, when, _viz._ the _Breath_, by help of the Tongues being moved to the _Teeth_, or _Roof_, and suddainly drawn back again, being more or less compressed, rusheth out by its own Springiness, and so _d._ or _t._ is made, which only differs, as _b._ and _p._ according to the more or less; in the outermost Region of the _Mouth_ are formed, (_b_) and (_p_) when, _viz._ the _Breath_ being compressed in the whole _Cavity of the Mouth_, they get out through the _Lips_ opened.

Lastly; here follows those _Consonants_, which are compounded of _Hissing and Explosion_, such are (_x_) or _ks._ and (_z_) or _ts._ which only are the alone anomalous or irregular ones of the _German_ Language; for if I may speak what I think; we might well enough want these _Characters_; yet I disapprove not of the use of them, but only shew what might be more convenient, _viz._ that _Voice_ or _Breath_ which is simple, might be expressed also by a simple _Character_, and on the contrary, that a _Character_, which is simple and only one, would signifie but one only _Voice_ or _Breath:_ But if the commodious use of _Short-hand_ may be objected, I would perswade to express all possible Combinations, of _Vowels_, with _Semi-vowels_, and _Consonants_, by simple _Characters_.

This is what I determined to say concerning the Letters, and their Formation; and seeing I am not willing to write a _Grammar_, what might yet further be said of them, I pass by; but what I have performed, I leave it to others to judge thereof, not so much to teach them, as by what is here presented to excite them, being desirous, as it becomes a young Man, to learn of them: I hope they will pardon my Errors, because of my Youth. Yet certain I am, had the ancient _Hebrews_, _Greeks_ and _Romans_, thus describ’d their Letters, there would have been no contention about the manner of Pronounciation.


_Teacheth the Method its self, by which such as are Deaf, and consequently Dumb, may learn to Speak._

What hath been hitherto said may enough suffice to observant _Readers_, inasmuch as the Fundamentals of the whole Artifice, are therein contained; but least the curious should complain, that I have only made their Mouth water, I shall ingeniously discover to them what in four Years time, wherein I have endeavoured to instruct some Deaf Persons, I have observed what is worthy, and most necessary to be known.

Now what I have effected by this my Method, especially to the Daughter of Mr. _Kolard_, a Merchant of _Harlem_, I can appeal to a great part of _Holland_, and universally almost to the whole City of _Harlem_, and to innumerable other Witnesses, of all Ranks and Conditions.

The first thing which I require in the Person I am to teach, is, that he be of a docible Wit, and not too young of age; than that the _Organs of Speech_ be rightly constituted in him; for stupid Persons are capable of no Teaching, whose Age is yet too tender; nor do they mind enough, nor know how Teaching will be for their Use and Benefit; but those whose _Organs of Speech_ are altogether unfit, they may learn indeed to understand others when they speak, and discover their own Mind by Writing; but they will never learn to speak.

Having therefore a fit subject, my first Care is to make him to sound forth a _Voice_, without which, almost all labour is lost, but that one point, whereby Deaf Persons do discern a _Voice_ from a _Mute Breath_, is a great Mystery of Art; and if I may have leave to say so, it is the _Hearing of Deaf Persons_, or at least equivolent thereunto, _viz._ that trembling Motion and Titillation, which they perceive in their own _Throat_, whilst they of their own accord do give forth a _Voice_; that therefore the Deaf may know, that I open my Mouth _to emitt a Voice_; not simply to yawn, or to draw forth a _Mute Breath_, I put their Hand to my _Throat_ that they may be made sensible of that tremulous Motion, when I utter my _Voice;_ then I put the same Hand of theirs to their own _Throat_, and command them to imitate me; nor am I discouraged, if at the beginning their _Voice_ is harsh and difficult; for in time it becomes more and more polite.

If I gain their _Voice_, which for the most part I do at the first time, I soon learn them to pronounce _Vowels_, _viz._ I bid them so to moderate the _opening of their Mouth_, whilst they do form a _Voice_ in their _Throat_, as I have said above, concerning the Formation of the _Vowels_; but that they may do that the more easily, I hold a _Looking-Glass_ to them, because they cannot from Sight alone imitate those diverse Motions of the _Jaws_, of the _Tongue_, and of the _Lips_, unless they had oftentimes tried it before a Looking-Glass. Thence I learned, that that common belief, (that so soon as Hearing is restored to Deaf Persons, they will speak) to be false, for it seems not to me, that there is so great a consent betwixt the Organs of _Voice_, and of Hearing, that at the first blush they can imitate a _Voice_ that is heard; but by often imitating a _Voice_ or _Breath_ received from another, and also by hearing their own at the same time, we find at length a likeness between both, and after this manner we all learn to speak; for he who learns to speak, it is all one, as if he did learn some other Art; for by a long accustoming, the Organs are rendered apt and pliable: Hence it is, that sometimes we come not to pronounce aright Foreign Letters but after a long time. Now, it would be well observed or considered, that I presently prescribe all the Letters to Deaf Persons, or else they could not fix in their Minds their _Idea’s_ of them, and I seldom teach more than two or three Letters in one day, least the _Idea’s_ be confounded; but I bid them very often to repeat them, and to write them down as they are pronounced by me.

But if by chance, as it sometimes happeneth, that they should pronounce one Letter for another; I blame them not, but rather commend them, and grant with a nodd that they have satisfied me, and forthwith I write down the Character of that Letter upon Paper, that they may knit together the _Idea_ thereof with its figure. In the interim, whilst they learn the _Vowels_, I very often put their Hand to my _Throat_, that they may be accustomed to give forth a Sound.

When the _Vowels_ are become familiar to them, I go next to the _Semi-vowels_, which sometimes are more difficult, especially the _Nasals_; for Deaf Persons, unless they be taught, never give forth the _Voice_ by the _Nose_, thereupon I begin with [_m._] as that which is most plain, and easier learnt than the rest, so that they thereby may be accustomed to give a Sound at least thro’ the _Nose_; therefore I bid them shut together their _Lips_, and putting their Hand to their _Throat_, to give forth a _Voice_, and by that means they necessarily pronounce [_m._] and not [_em._] as it’s vulgarly pronounced.

The Daughter of Mr. _Kolard_, before she was committed to my Care, could indeed say _Pappa_; for indeed it is a little word, which is almost born with us; but her Father did confess, that he had more than 1000 times tried in vain to make her say _Mamma_, which yet I I brought her to in a small time.

And now, _Reader_, I commit to thee another Secret, _viz._ that if a Deaf Person be committed to thee to teach, beware that you do not teach him to pronounce together _Semi-vowels_ and _Consonants_, together with their annexed _Vowels_; as for example, _em. en. ka. ef. te, &c._

For thus they would learn neither to read, nor rightly to pronounce any word. The power and force of _Semi-vowels_ and _Consonants_ consists not in the adjoyned _Vowels_, but in a peculiar _Voice_ or _Breath_; and when you would have a Deaf Person to say _Tafel_ or _Swartz_, you shall hear from him nothing else but _Te. a. ef. e. el._ or _Es. we. a. er. te. zet._ which is very uncouth, nor can you easily mend it: But by this Method, so soon as ever they know their Letters, they begin to read; for _to read is only to pronounce the Letters successively_.

Here note well, that in the Schools this very thing would be of great use, chiefly when they are taught Languages, whose Letters are expressed by whole words, as _Alpha, Omega, Gimel, double u, zet, &c._ For more time is lost, and the desire of Learning taken away from Children, before they are able to abstract the Letters of these Sounds, and to connect them together in _Reading_; so that it is very much to be wonder’d at, that this most eminent short way of reading hath hitherto lain hid in the dark.

The other _Nasalls_ [_u_] and [_ng_] have nothing peculiar, unless it be that I shew the Deaf the posture of the _Tongue_ in a Looking-Glass, and put their Hand to my _Nose_, whereby they may be sensible, that there comes forth thorough the _Nostrils_ a _Sounding Breath_. When I teach them [_l._] I bid them to apply the _Tongue_ to the _upper Teeth_; but to the _Cutters_, and to the _Dog-Teeth_ only, that then they may emit a _Voice_ thro’ the Mouth I make a Sign with my Hand; but least, instead of [_l._] they should pronounce [_n._] which comes to pass when the _Tongue_ doth so hinder the coming forth of the _Voice_, that it returns to get out by the _Nostrils_; therefore, till they are better accustomed, I gently compress the _Nostrils_ with my Fingers.

The Letter [_r_] is the most difficult of all the rest, yet amongst six Deaf Persons, which I have hitherto instructed, four of them pronounce it with the greatest easiness; the other two cannot form it, but in their Jaws; but I teach them, by moving the Hand one while to the _Throat_, and another while to the _Mouth_, whereby they may, as it were, feel the subsulting and interrupted Expulsion of the _Voice_; also I bid them to look often in the Glass, to observe the tremulous and fluctuating Motion of the _Tongue_; but no one can expect at the first trial, the genuin Pronounciation of this Letter.

When the _Vowels_ and _Semi-vowels_ are well inculcated into them, _the Consonants_ are learnt without any trouble almost, for they are a _Simple and Mute Breath_, coming forth, either successively, or suddenly, according to the various _Openings of the Mouth_, and only with putting the Hand to the Mouth almost, they may all easily be learned.

[_h_] is the most simple of all, nor is it any thing else but Air, which is breathed out thicker, and more swiftly.

[_g_] or _ch._ is sharper than [_h_] which I teach thus, when I shew to my Deaf Patients the posture of the _Tongue_ in a Looking-Glass, and give them to feel the expiring _Breath_; it is so in like manner with [_s_] and [_f_] insomuch, as nothing is more easie than they, and which may most easily be learned by the fore-going Description.

I can teach a Deaf Man, (though he were blind) the _Explosive Consonants_; for if I cause him to feel the _Breath_ discharged upon him, he would necessarily pronounce one of the three; for I bid him to look simply on my _Mouth_ and _Tongue_, and then having put his Hand to my _Mouth_, I pronounce either [_k._] or [_b._] [_p._] or [_d._] [_t._] and command him to do the like.

(_x._) and (_z._) are pronounced no otherwise than is (_ks._) or (_gs._) (when (_g_) is an _Explosive Consonant_) and (_ts._) wherefore I shall add nothing concerning them.

Deaf Persons are to be diligently accustomed to pronounce these _Semi-vowels_, _n. ng. l. r._ also the following _Consonants_; _h. g. k. t._ with some kind of opening the _Mouth_, else they may joyn them sometimes with certain _Vowels_, not without a notable yawning, & a discordant noise. Now in general, Winter-time is fitter almost for to instruct the Deaf, because then they see the _Breath_ coming forth from the _Mouth_, whilst Pronounciation is in doing.

When therefore I taught any Deaf Person to pronounce the Letters hitherto enumerated, and that one by one, I taught him so to utter two or three of the easiest, that there should be interstice between them; as for example, _ab. am. da. fa. ef. &c._ so that they might be accustomed to pronounce the Letters successively; then by degrees I use them to the more difficult Combinations, mutually mixing _Vowels_, _Semi-vowels_ and _Consonants_, and thus with little trouble they learn to read; but if when they have read any thing, I bid them look upon my _Mouth_, and to repeat the same after it hath been pronounced by me; for thus they become by degrees to be accustomed to imitate the humane _Voice_, only by looking on; but I am unwilling to tire them out with this labour, troublesome enough, until they have profited much, because they may be frighted with it.

In the mean time we must endeavour diligently; that when one _Consonant_ follows another _Consonant_, as _ps. kt. ks. sch. &c._ or a _Semi-vowel_, as _ls. lk. md. &c._ that they do immediately joyn them in Pronounciation, least some (_i_) or (_e_) be heard between them, which unless it be cautiously avoided, often happens.

When they can read, and in a manner understand others when they speak, I treat them like new-born Babes; first, I teach them _Nouns_, which are obvious, as well _Substantives_ as _Adjectives_, so also the most necessary _Verbs_ and _Adverbs_, than _Declinations_ and _Conjugations_; but here that five-fold turning Orb was of most excellent use to me, it being a rich Treasury of the whole _German_ Tongue, which I found in the Mathematical Delights of _Swenter_, I augmented it, and applied it also to the _Dutch_ Idiome; out of it may they quickly, and with pleasure learn all possible _Combinations_ of _Vowels_, _Semi-vowels_, and _Consonants_, also all terminations of _German_ words, and that as well Derivatives as Compounds. The first Orb contains _Prepositions_ and small _Mono-Syllables_, with which _Nouns_ and _Verbs_ are compounded; the second, the _Initial Letters_; the third, _Vowels_ and _Diphthongs_; the fourth, the _Final Letters_; lastly, all the _German Terminations_.

But there seems to be a great difficulty, that some Letters, as _e._ and _i. a._ and _u._ are uttered by the same opening of the Mouth, and consequently they must needs be confounded; but in good truth, it’s of small moment, because for the most part the difference is not heeded, and the Letters, which according to their nature, are by far, more different, are written almost after the same manner, chiefly when they are pronounced hastily, as _m._ and _n. r._ and _n. a._ and _o. &c._ which yet puts no stop to an exercised _Reader_.

Others object, that the _Deaf_ thus taught, will, it may be, understand no Body but my self: Indeed, this difficulty Teems to have something of weight in it; but we must know, that Menst Men pronounce most Letters badly alike, and write their Characters negligently; but with such a one who learns to speak, it is all one as it is with him, who is taught to read other Men’s Writings: For first, he can scarce read any thing but what is written by his Master, and then the Writings of his School-fellows; and lastly, there is nothing which he cannot read, tho’ very badly written, it is therefore not to be wondred at, if those I teach to speak, do at the beginning more easily understand me, than others; (for I pronounce the Letters in their full _extension_) and not _lamely_ (as many are wont to do) and after that they come to understand their Domesticks and Familiars, and at last, any Body.

Here in the end I add, that most of the Letters may be formed, as well by inspiring as by expiring, which thing I have very much wondred at in some Persons, who _speak out of the Belly_: And once at _Amsterdam_ I heard an old Woman speaking both ways, and made answers to her self, as to questions, so as I would have sworn that she talked with her Husband two or three Paces distant from her; for the _Voice_ being swallowed up in her in Breathing, would seem to come from far.

Behold, _Reader_, a small Tract of three days; if thou wilt offer any thing more, right and true, I will receive it with thank: There are yet some other things, _viz._ how a deaf Person may be made, so as to be able to discern from one the other, some Letters pronounced by another, as _m._ from _b. n._ from _d. ng._ from _k. &c._ or how the quantity of Syllables is to be govern’d. But these, and the like, can scarce be learnt, but by teaching.

_A word is enough to the Wise._


The _Author_ is thinking to turn this small Treatise into the _Dutch_, and very speedily, God willing, to publish it for the good of the Nation, and will so adapt it to the Idiom thereof, as to make it to be accounted proper. Nothing being more in the _Authors_ care than that by this his slender endeavour, he shall stir up some one to perform the like, or at least to attempt it: Now if there occurs to any Body, any thing, either too hard, or not sufficiently explained, he may expect a more full Edition, or else let him repair to the _Author_, who according to the Light granted unto him, will refuse nothing to any Man.


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