March 10: The telephone is 133 years old today. Call me.

Joseph Lo Bianco j.lobianco at
Tue Mar 10 22:09:05 UTC 2009

Rather unfair to Antonio Meucci, the first person to transmit messages,
and ones more caring in fact since he was communicating with his
stricken wife and as a poor immigrant unable to register his patent is
now overlooked!




Professor Joseph Lo Bianco, AM, FACE, FAHA
Chair, Language and Literacy Education

Associate Dean-Global Relations

Graduate School of Education

University of Melbourne 3010 VIC AUSTRALIA
T +61 (0)3 8344 8346  

F +61 (0)3 8344 8612 

MOB: +61 (0)407 798 978  

Email: j.lobianco at




From: Dennis Baron [mailto:debaron at] 
Sent: Tuesday, 10 March 2009 1:25 PM
To: Baron Dennis; language language policy; ads ads; wpa
Subject: March 10: The telephone is 133 years old today. Call me.


There's a new post on the Web of Language:


March 10: The telephone is 133 years old today. Call me.


133 years ago, on March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated
that the human voice could be transmitted electrically across wires by
shouting the famous words, "Mr. Watson - Come here - I want to see you,"
into the telephone that he had constructed. As Bell wrote in his lab
notebook, "To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and
understood what I said." To prove it, Watson repeated Bell's words


Bell had to shout into the receiver because the electrical signal lost
strength as it traveled from one room to the next. The sound quality was
poor as well. When the two men changed places and Watson spoke into the
device, Bell couldn't understand the passage that Watson read from a

I could not make out the sense, but an occasional word here and there
was quite distinct. I made out "to" and "out" and "further", and finally
the sentence "Mr. Bell Do you understand what I say?
DO-YOU-un-der-stand-what-I-say" came quite clearly and intelligibly.

Find out more about old phones and new, on the Web of Language





Dennis Baron

Professor of English and Linguistics

Department of English                    

University of Illinois 

608 S. Wright St.

Urbana, IL 61801                                               


office: 217-244-0568

fax: 217-333-4321 <> 


read the Web of Language:








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