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attention to the question which chiefly visible motions are called, by Degerando, engaged their investigations, viz.: What the labial alphabet. is the method to be preferred in the edu 6. Articulation ; or speech mechanication of deaf mutes ?
cally acquired, by having the attention This question involves the choice of of the learner directed to motions, posian instrument, or instruments, of commu- tions and vibrations of the vocal or nication, as a substitute for hearing and gans, and to peculiar impulses of cer. speech acquired through hearing. Those tain sounds upon the air. These mowhich have hitherto been devised or em- tions, &c., are named by Degerando, the ployed, are the following:
oral alphabet, as embracing elements i. Natural signs ; by which we mean which have no place at all in the labial the language of imitative action, which alphabet, and as being recognized by the the deaf mute instinctively adopts, and is deaf mute through the sense of feeling, naturally led by gradual steps to improve. while the other is addressed to the eye. In those schools in which it receives cul
In addition to these six distinct means tivation, it is found in a degree of perfec- of communication, more or less use is tion very far removed from the primitive generally made of pictures and models in rudeness it exhibits among uneducated elementary instruction; in the system mutes. As improved, it becomes in a adopted in some schools, they hold a degree conventional, chiefly by processes inent place. Three other instruof abbreviation and of symbolical usage, ments are to be named, which have been and by the introduction of a very few favorite projects with some teachers ; purely arbitrary signs; without, how- neither, however, has been found generally ever, losing its essential character as a useful in any shape yet devised. They natural language significant in itself. are syllabic dactylology, or a short-hand
2. Methodical, also called systematic, manual alphabet, for the end of rapid signs; an instrument artificially con. communication; a system of stenography structed upon the basis of natural signs, for the deaf and dumb, which should corto be used for dictating and also for respond to a syllabic dactylology; and translating written language verbatim. mimography, a method of hieroglyphic In its elements, it consists chiefly of nat or picture writing, for reducing to writing ural signs, with grammatical signs for the language of natural signs. the different modifications of words radi Of these instruments, articulation and cally the same, and is designed to corre. reading on the lips have been the first to spond throughout, both in terminology suggest themselves as the means of im. and construction, with the language which parting to the deaf mute a knowledge of the deaf mute is to be taught by its aid, the language of words. In the earlier each word being denoted either by a sin- period of the art they were invariably gle sign, or an appropriate combination employed. They were adopted as a funof signs. This method originated with damnental means, and indeed, as the chief De lEpée, and was carried further to aim of instruction, by Heinicke, who had wards perfection by his successor, Si- derived from Amman the most absurd card.
and exaggerated notions of the absolute 3. Written language ; to give a know. dependence of thought itself upon the ledge of which must obviously be, in living voice; and their use has remained every system of deaf mute education, an to the present time a characteristic of the object of primary importance.
German schools. In Great Britain, the 4. The manual alphabet, the finger al. same method was adopted by Braidwood; phabet, or dactylology, as it is variously but for the last thirty years has been called ; consisting of alphabetic charac- gradually falling into disuse. At the ters, formed by different positions of the London Institution alone, articulation hand and fingers, by which words are and reading on the lips are taught, prorepresented according to the usual orthog- fessedly that is, to all the pupils; in raphy. Of this there are two varieties: some other schools to a portion only, the two-handed alphabet, used in Great and in others are wholly discarded. Britain, and that made with one hand, In France, a system fundamentally difgenerally adopted elsewhere.
ferent was introduced by De l’Epéc. It 5. Reading on the lips ; a method of started in his mind with the philosophiunderstanding the speech of others, cal principle, that to no one class of signs through motions of the lips and other is confined the privilege of immediately vocal organs, perceived by sight. These representing thought, that the connection
between words and ideas is wholly con- by deaf mutes, so as to be available in ventional, and might as well be established directly with written as with It is absolutely necessary here to disspoken words. In the vernacular panto- tinguish the different classes of those mime of the deaf and dumb, he found ranked as deaf mutes, determined by the already provided a medium for explain- degree of their deafness, and also the ing or translating written language. This period of its commencement. It is not language of action he undertook to cul- generally understood that a degree of tivate and to methodize, so as to fit it deafness, which, occurring in adult life, more perfectly for this use. His error in is regarded as no more than a quite seridepending too much upon his artificial ous inconvenience-requiring that the system of methodical signs, has been voice of a person speaking be somewhat since corrected. Natural signs, used for louder than usual, in order to be underthe development of mind, the communi- stood-would, if existing from birth or cation of knowledge, and for the expla- early infancy, interfere essentially with nation of written language, and cultivated the acquisition of language, and witbout so as to be adequate to these ends, form great pains on the part of friends, leave the essential characteristic of the method the child to fall into the class of those derived from De l’Epée, and now in use regarded as deaf mutes, with a knowledge in all the schools in France and many in ot language limited to a few words and other parts of Europe, and all in the Uni- short phrases, and the ability to articulate ted States. Methodical signs have even these but imperfectly. This will not apbeen formally discarded at the Royal In- pear wonderful when we consider, that stitution, where the system originated, to adults thus partially deaf, most of the but the advantage of their judicious use common conversation in their presence is is insisted on by eminent teachers in unintelligible, and much of it absolutely this country and elsewhere.
inaudible, and even when understood, is There is no institution for deaf mutes, often imperfectly and but partially heard. not even in Germany, in which natural From this to absolute deafness, ihere is, signs are not used more or less as a among deaf mutes, every intermediate means of instruction, but they exist in grade. There are also cases in which various states of development, and every: the sensibility of the auditory nerve is where imperfect in comparison with wholly or nearly unimpaired, and the schools on the French system. In some deafness is the result of something out of of the latter, on the other hand, articula- order in the apparatus for conveying tion is a collateral branch of instruction vibrations of the air to the nerve. The for a portion of the pupils, and was even individual can hear his own voice, or taught successfully by the Abbé de l'Epée any sound—as that of a tuning-fork, himself.
for instance, or the tick of a watch-conThe manual alphabet is discarded in veyed by contact with the bones of the the German schools, with two or three head, with, it may be, perfect distinctness, exceptions, as interfering with the use of while external sounds are yet for the oral language. Elsewhere it is in uni. most part inaudible; and has an essential versal use.
advantage for regulating the voice, and The variety of actual, and the still gaining a correct and an agreeable articugreater variety of possible, combinations lation, and especially for retaining purity of these instruments, each admitting dif- and propriety of speech when once acferent modes of use, and in some in- quired. Hearing of this description may stances, one presenting advantages in- exist without being easily detected. compatible in a greater or less degree Again, deafness—with constant depriwith those offered by another, makes it vation of speech, total or partial, so as to impossible to determine by actual trial, place the individual in the class of deaf and difficult to determine without trial, mutes-occurs at various ages, from the precise mode of instruction which is birth to as late in some cases as eight preferable to every other, rendering the years. Even when total deafness occurs question, in short, not a little complicated. at a much later period, the speech will In considering them separately, the point be greatly impaired, without diligent to be settled at the outset is, their actual cultivation, and in a degree, even with availability as instruments of communi- the utmost pains to preserve it, may, cation. To what extent, then, are artic- in some instances, be almost wholly ulation and reading on the lips attainable lost. It is obvious that, where speech is
still retained in part, there is a foundation years, and bad previously had the adfor its further improvement; and so far vantage of the best instruction for ten as lost, the revival of a power once pos- years," besides the constant and devoted sessed is a different task from newly im- attention of an intelligent female relative. parting the same. Of instances favorable Mr. W. says: in these respects, there are more or less in all institutions for deaf mutes, and congenitally deaf person I had before seen,
“He spoke more agreeably than any enough for the purpose of exhibition though still his voice was not a pleasant where articulation is taught. In any ap one. I could understand more than half he parent case of success in the acquisition said, in common conversation, readily; but of spoken language by a deaf mute, the the other half was often unintelligible. He ascertainment of the fact on these points could also understand me, when speaking is absolutely essential to the formation of deliberately, and with special care, to perany conclusion of value.
haps a greater extent ; yet there was freFrom information derived from care. quent need of resorting to signs, dactylolofully prepared statistical tables, it will gy, or writing, and we soon by tacit consent
used one or the other of these means of be sufficiently correct for our purpose to
communication, more than speech." state, that as many as one-half of the whole number of deaf mutes are such He met in London, also, a lady, deaf from birth; half of the remainder, or likewise from birth, but who had enthree-quarters of the whole, from a period joyed still greater advantages—all indeed under two years of age, and eleven- that abundant wealth and parental af. twelfths under five years. Of three-quar- fection could furnish—who used only ters of the whole, then, few could have articulation and reading on the lips in made a beginning, and none more than her ordinary intercourse with others. barely a beginning in learning to speak; of Her voice, however, was very unnatural the others, deaf from under the age of five and disagreeable. These two,” he years, a large part would be in the same says, “ were by far the best examples of predicament. Few of these do, in fact, the use and the understanding of articuretain any considerable knowledge of lation, among the really deaf and dumb speech. The same is true, even, of a from birth, that I met with where the considerable portion of the remaining English language was spoken." Mr. twelfth of the whole. We have thus Day gives much the same account of the only a small fraction retaining much first of these cases, (p. 92,t note); and knowledge of speech. Of the different says also, (p. 177), that he met in degrees of partial deafness, we have no Germany with a few instances in which statistical statements; but we know, that pupils born deaf, so far as was known, the proportion of those who can distin. articulated better than would be expectguish articulate sounds at all by the eared, but in every such case, it appeared, is very small. Besides those having an on inquiry, that extraordinary advantages advantage in these respects, there are had been enjoyed, as in the examples rare instances of those, deaf from birth, above mentioned. possessing extraordinary quickness of Such advantages are, however, not al. perception, and superior discrimination ways attended with even this degree of and force of mind, combined with un
Mr. Weld met a gentleman, common command over the muscular who had been fourteen years a pupil of organs, which will enable them to pass the London Institution, one of the most far beyond the limits of possibility for celebrated articulating schools in the their companions of only average pow. world, and had enjoyed the best advaners.
tages at home. He was a barrister by In reviewing the facts in evidence, let profession, being employed as chamber us take first those rare instances in which counsel, and in the management and a degree of success is reached, far trans- settlement of estates, and had made excending that ordinarily realized, even traordinary attainments in general know. by the best portion of those instructed in ledge, having more or less acquaintance oral language.
with sixteen languages. Yet his ability Mr. Weld mentions (p. 42) the case of to articulate was so imperfect, that be a gentleman in London, “ of superior tal- spoke but little in his interviews with ents, who had been a teacher for six Mr. Weld, the attempt being evidently
* See particularly the Twenty-Eighth Report of the American Asylum.
embarrassing; and they both preferred still retained. Two of these, at least, had to conduct the conversation by writing, enjoyed more than usual advantages of or the manual alphabet.
instruction. Of those not born deaf, Mr. Weld What is the average success in acmentions (p. 91) a person, who lost quiring articulation, realized by the more hearing at the age of a year and a half, successful portion of the pupils in the and who had been for twenty years con German schools, we learn from the folnected, as pupil and teacher, with the lowing statements of Mr. Day. institution at Leipsic.
“A considerable number of those who “ In this case there was an ability to lost the power of hearing after three years articulate and to read on the lips, which of age, so far as they have fallen under my was valuable to the possessor, in an un.
own observation, are able to a good degree, usual degree, and an amount of general to make themselves understood. Their knowledge which fitted him for agreeable articulation, indeed, is not that of other intercourse with society, and made him a men; it is imperfect, and more or less unuseful and happy man.
natural; it is necessary for them to make “ Another case of this general kind, was considerable use of pantomimic signs, and that of a young lady, an assistant teacher now and then to resort to writing, but at Cologne, who spoke, wrote, read and still the power of speaking they actually taught well, as I understood. But she lost possess, provided it can be retained, must hearing at six years of age, and therefore be admitted to possess a certain degree of did not owe all her knowledge of language, value.” (p. 173.) or of other things, by any means, to the “ On the whole, then, it may be said, that instructions of the institution. These those pupils in the German schools who sucwere extraordinary and very interesting ceed to any considerable degree in speakcases, the only ones I recollect, of deaf ing, were either already to some extent in mutes being employed as teachers in the possession of spoken language before they German schools. I met with several others lost the power of hearing, or are only parwho were superior in their acquisitions, tially deaf, or in addition to extraordinary and almost always so, I think, in the cir- aptitude for learning, have received a de. cumstances under which they had been gree of attention, very far beyond what it is enabled to make them, especially some one possible to devote to most of the deaf and or two among the pupils of almost every dumb. Without affirming that all the school."
pupils who belong to these classes, are The case of Habermaas, so often men favorable specimens of what can be done tioned, was of this kind. He became in articulation, I feel safe in expressing the deaf at the age of four or five years, and opinion, that a considerable number would had previously learned to speak well.
be able to make themselves understood by Mr. Weld also saw a gentleman at
their friends and those with whom they Paris, and a lady at Geneva, of whom he daily associate. In a very few instances,
the attainment might be somewhat greater ; gives the following account (p. 70):
but as a general rule, this is the farthest “ Neither was a deaf mute from birth. limit ever reached, in return for the time The one became so between four and five employed, and effort expended, in teach. years of age, and the other at six. Both ing articulation, in the German insti. were educated in Paris; both had en tutions for the deaf and dumb.” (p. 177.) joyed the advantages of much private instruction ; both were highly intelligent, ful bear to the whole? Says Mr. Day
What proportion do those thus successand in their intercourse with their familiar friends and daily associates, used oral (p. 178): “Of those, to whom, in conselanguage principally; resorting, however, quence of peculiarly favorable circumto dactylology, signs or writing, to a greater stances, articulation promises to be of or less extent, when holding intercourse use, and of whom success, in the modi. with others. Still, these were favorable fied sense just explained, can be predi. examples of the success of teaching those cated, the proportion may be one-fifth.” to articulate and to read on the lips of Of the London Institution, he says (p. 92): others, who became deaf in childhood.”
According to a very intelligent gentleMr. Weld was introduced to several man who had been ten years connecied individuals, who had been educated at a with that institution, not one-fourth can British school in which articulation is be taught to speak.” of another school taught to a portion of the pupils. Three in Great Britain, “whose present veneof these were able to articulate well; rable head bas held that situation more they could read on the lips but little. than thirty years,” says Mr. Weld One had lost hearing at twelve years of (p. 39): “Out of seventy pupils, not more age, another at five, and the third was win ten now receive any instruction of born with imperfect hearing which he this kind. Formerly, articulation was
taught, or attempted to be taught, to all joined to a thorough and familiar acthe pupils of the school. * * * But though quaintance with language, in order to his success was fair, he considered that guess the whole from a part;* that it is he could spend his time to much greater absolutely beyond the reach of most. In protit in giving them knowledge, and the words of an eminent German teacher, therefore made the change above men “ As for reading on the lips, it is for the tioned. He said also, that though a por- most part an affair of good luck.” The tion of them retained articulation tolerably teachers of the German schools, in adafter leaving him, many do not. Their dressing their pupils orally, find it necesfriends often cannot understand them sary to keep up a running accompaniwell, if at all, and hence their attempts ment of pantomimic signs. The folare relinquished."
lowing is from Mr. Day p. 182): From the description, we infer that the school at Edinburgh is here referred to,
“On an average, about one-third of the
most advanced class, with the aid of the and that Mr. Kinniburgh is the gentleman
signs employed by the teacher, and the whose testimony is given.
frequent repetition made use of, appear to How far can the great majority of the understand the most of what the instructor deaf and dumb succeed in acquiring ar says; another third appear to lose a considerticulation. In the German schools, ac able part; while the remainder only seize cording to Mr. Day, (p. 178,) “ about one the most common words, and are obviously tenth of the whole can make no proti
much of the time at a loss as to what is ciency whatever,” and deducting the one. going on. It will be remembered that this fifth, or two-tenths, already mentioned as
is a general estimate, and in some cases more successful, there remain “
would not be sufficiently favorable.” tenths, or the great mass, though differ
If the results in some of the schools ing somewhat in their attainments, yet only able, as a general thing, to make ble than this, it is to be ascribed to the
on the German plan, seem more favorathemselves understood in the articulation of frequently repeated sentences, and fact that those schools are to a great er: single words, and to whom this limited tent select-pupils being chosen for adacquisition can be of very little worth.” A mission, with reference to their aptness German teacher made to Mr. Day the fol. for the peculiar kind of instruction to be lowing admission, (p. 168,) « The deaf given them, or afterwards dismissed for
the want of it. Thus, as appears from mute will and must, after his dismission from school, communicate with those
Mr. Weld’s Report, (p. 88) at the about him, in a great measure, by means
institution at Zurich, from one-fourth to of signs; now, if we can furnish him one-third only of the applicants are se
lected, while one-fifth of all admitted, with words which he can drop in to explain his meaning, all is accomplished and of late years one-third, have been
dismissed isonably expect.” Says
for incapacity: From the which we can reaso
school at Richen, near Basle, almost oneMr. Weld (p. 53):
third, and from that at Pfortsheim, in the “ The time and labor spent on the subject of articulation in certain of the schools, fifth have been dismissed on the same
Grand Duchy of Baden, more than oneare productive of little real benefit. Though I met with many who had been trained to ground. Something like this is true, attempt it, I scarcely found one, except says Mr. Weld, of many of the German those under peculiar circumstances, as pre. schools, and to an extent, of the London viously mentioned, to whom it was of spe. Institution, while in the school at Paris cial value, and hardly met with an intel. and those in this country, not over one ligent individual, not connected with some in fifty is dismissed as incapable. school, who looked upon the subject with That the Germans, with their skill favor. By such persons it was considered and science, should succeed in enabling as alınost worthless, if not disgusting.”
some of their pupils who became deaf at To read well on the lips, requires such six, eight, or twelve years of age, to ara rare power of rapid and accurate per- ticulate passably and to read well on the ception, and depends so much upon un- lips, certainly need not surprise us, common quickness of apprehension, when we have among ourselves persons
* The motions of speech are to such an extent invisible, or else similar to each other, differing also in different persons, that deaf mutes never become able, in ordinary discourse, to do more than make out a few of the words and guess at the remainder. “This” says Mr. Day, (p. 187,) “was distinctly told me by the most accomplished reader on the lips, whom I saw in Prussia.”