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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/582

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

bination of physiology with anatomy, and the study of function in connection with structure, and especially the later progress in acoustical science, have given a new interest to the vocal apparatus quite beyond that of the bare anatomist. The subject of the vocal organs, considered in relation to their marvelous capacities, or the most wonderful results obtained from the simplest means, is one of quite extraordinary interest. We hear much of the subtilties, refinements, and complexities of vocal language, with its hundreds of forms among different peoples, its millions of words, its capacity of expressing numberless shades of feeling, and conveying the highest spiritual influence. But, besides the common uses of speech in conversation, reading, and oratory, we are all familiar with vocal music as an art, inexhaustible in its variety of styles, and the ranges of its development. But what is the foundation of all this? Nothing but mechanism, bellows, and mechanical arrangements for acting upon currents of air for the production and control of sound. This side of the subject, being merely mechanical and material, has had but little interest for those who care only about the effects. When people lose their voices, they are reminded that there is a mechanism involved, and consult the doctor to find out what ails their vocal organs; but there has been so little other concern about them, that any thorough-going scientific investigation of their wonderful capacities and working has been long neglected.

Dr. Meyer's work is a contribution to the physiological science of the vocal organs from this point of view. It is an original treatise, with strong philological bearings, and contains various new interpretations, the result of the author's special and extensive researches. The object and plan of the work can not be better presented than in the language of the author in his preface:

The more we become convinced that a true knowledge of the laws which govern the transformation of the elements of speech, in the formation of dialects or derivative languages, can only be obtained from a study of the physiological laws of the formation of articulate sounds, the more necessary does it become for the philologist to be thoroughly acquainted with the structure and functions of the organs of speech. The ordinary anatomical handbooks are little adapted to this purpose, for much is there discussed at length which is of no use to the philologist; while, on the other hand, points which to him are of considerable importance are only briefly alluded to. In physiological hand-books, also, only a short space is in most cases devoted to this subject.

It is, therefore, my object, in the present work, to discuss, with special reference to this requirement of the philologist, the structure and functions of the organs of speech.

In explaining the origin of articulate sounds, I have so far departed from the usual method that I have not attempted to arrange physiologically the entire series of sounds employed in the most differing languages; but rather, starting from the structure of the organs of speech, to give a sketch of all possible articulate sounds. I believe I have thus constructed a system in which all known articulate sounds, and all those with which we may hereafter become acquainted, will find a place. Such a sketch could not, of course, be given without reference to existing languages. The object has not been, however, to enter into the field of discussion upon the various modifications of sounds, but merely to bring forward a sufficient number of examples in confirmation of the laws explained, for which purpose the more nearly related European languages are sufficient.

Ocean Grove Camp-Meeting Association. Fourteenth Annual Report. Ocean Grove, N. J. Published by order of the Association. Pp. 75.

The friends of the Association were disturbed much more than they had reason to be last year by some dozen lines concerning unhealthy conditions that had been noticed at Ocean Grove, which we published in the course of an article of considerable length, dealing with the sanitary condition of seaside resorts generally. Without further noticing the unkind words—the more unkind because they are undeserved—which the president of the Association still applies to us, we call attention to the confessions contained in the present report that there were things at the Grove that needed remedying, and to the gratifying fact that the Association has applied the remedies. Owing to what the report calls continuous and studied misrepresentations, a prejudice existed, "to remove which required our most energetic toil. To meet the expenses of such labor demanded funds largely in advance of current receipts." If only a prejudice, and that false, why so much labor and expense in building sewers and sinking an artesian well to remove what was only ideal and unfounded? A system of sewerage was begun about three years ago. "The plan of running the sewage