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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/411

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SKETCH OF PROFESSOR S. S. HALDEMAN.

sonian Institution, he entered the competition for a prize of one hundred pounds offered by Sir Walter Trevelyan, President of the Phonetic Society of Great Britain, for the best essay "On a Reform in the Spelling of the English Language"; to contain among other features "an analysis of the system of articulate sounds, an exposition of those occurring in English, and an alphabetic notation, in which as few new types as possible should be admitted." The result of this effort was a work on "Analytic Orthography," which, even before it had been revised in accordance with the suggestions of the donor of the prize, was preferred to the essays of seventeen competitors, all learned European philologists, and which was published in 1860. Five years afterward appeared a work on "Affixes: in their Origin and Application exhibiting the Etymologic Structure of English Words," which was pronounced, by a writer in the "Contemporary Review," "a collection more rational, complete, and exhaustive of the component parts of our language than we have had any good right to hope for within the present century."

Professor Haldeman was one of the founders of the American Philological Association, and was its first vice-president 1874-'76, and its president 1876-77. He contributed many papers to its "Transactions," the first of which, on the "German Vernacular of Pennsylvania," was afterward extended, under the light of new studies, at the request of the Philological Society of London, into "Pennsylvania Dutch; a Dialect of South German, with an Impression of English," which was published in 1872. His last published philological work, "Outlines of Etymology," had in view the teaching of this as other sciences are taught, and appeared in 1877.

To this department of Professor Haldeman's activity belong his labors in behalf of reform in the spelling of the English language, in connection with which he presided at the International Convention on the subject held in Philadelphia in July, 1876, when the Spelling Reform Association was organized, and he was made one of the vice presidents. His address to the American Philological Association at the close of his presidency in 1877 was devoted mainly to this reform.

Of his attainments in philology, Professor March says: "Professor Haldeman was in early life and by his mental constitution a scientist, and he took hold of the facts of speech in that spirit. He had a delicate ear and flexible organs of speech, and could pronounce with ease the most unutterable scientific vocables. His scientific habit enabled him to watch and describe the movements of the organs in producing all sorts of sounds, and to give the physical processes or causes of the changes in the sounds of words from age to age. He devoted much study to these subjects, seeking living speakers of every nation and tribe, and imitating and recording their peculiarities. He applied his knowledge of the laws of letter-change to etymology—chiefly, so far