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New Methods of Teaching Modern Languages: First Instruction in French and German on a Phonetic Basis

by Leopold Bahlsen 1903

In an article by Harnisch in Victor's Phonetische Studien (Band IV, Heft 3), Die Verwertung der Phonetik beim Unterrichte, is to be found the following very elementary presentation of the subject, which the practical schoolman would not consider beyond the comprehension of his pupils: It is easy to define the most important organ which serves in the production of sounds. Every child knows that it suffered pain in the throat, i. e., the larynx, when it was hoarse and could not speak. The pupil feels the larynx, which he has already seen in animals, and defines it as the top part of the wind-pipe, with sufficient accuracy for school purposes. But the larynx is not hollow like the other parts of the wind-pipe, for over it are stretched the vocal cords with the glottis between. How now are sounds formed in this apparatus? Just as we may observe when out walking on a windy day, from the telegraph wires which are stretched along beside the roads. The wind sets the wires into vibration and they buzz, just as a taut cord which the child snaps with his fingers buzzes, or as the violin string which is set into vibration by the bow. Only our larynx is far more perfectly constructed than the telegraph wires, as we can arbitrarily draw together and separate the vocal cords, contract or expand the larynx. Only by contraction, however, can a sound be formed: whoever wishes to whistle must purse up the mouth; steam hisses only when issuing from the kettle through a very small opening. If then the wind (i. e., the breath) strikes upon the contracted vocal cords it produces a buzzing sound; with larynx wide open, on the other hand, it passes unhindered and soundless through the wind-pipe as breath.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 4 Number 3, 1903, p. 210-222
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 9776, Date Accessed: 7/22/2018 10:46:42 AM

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  • Leopold Bahlsen

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