Mundbildschrift and Mundbild ;-)

Steve Slevinski slevin at SIGNPUDDLE.NET
Mon May 14 17:36:16 UTC 2007

I believe the system is called Visible Speech. It was invented by AGB's 

Wikipedia has a nice article


K.J. Boal wrote:
>> From: "Sandy Fleming" <sandy at>
>> Reply-To: sw-l at
>> To: sw-l at
>> Subject: RE: [sw-l] Mundbildschrift and Mundbild ;-)
>> Date: Mon, 14 May 2007 17:50:23 +0100
>> On Sun, 2007-05-13 at 22:32 -0600, K.J. Boal wrote:
>> > I believe I read somewhere that Alexander Graham Bell had actually 
>> developed
>> > a SpeechWriting type of system, where anyone could look at it and 
>> see how
>> > the mouth, tongue, nose and even throat worked together to produce 
>> sounds.
>> > The story goes (if I remember correctly) that he demonstrated this 
>> system at
>> > some kind of Exhibition; he left the stage while his assistant 
>> wrote several
>> > suggestions from the audience. When he came back on stage, he 
>> easily read
>> > the first few sentences, but he couldn't make sense of the last 
>> one. He
>> > started to read the sounds, even though he didn't know what he was 
>> doing...
>> > and did a perfect impression of wood being sawn!
>> I read somewhere a long time ago that a lot of people were interested in
>> AGB's system and tried to learn it from printed materials but only a
>> very few who managed to get personal tuition from AGB himself were able
>> to make any progress in learning it.
>> Far too complicated or just badly documented? I don't know.
>> As for "sawing wood"-style anecdotes, I imagine that even if AGB's
>> rendering only reproduced the original sound very crudely it would be
>> enough to wow the audience, and from then on the story would improve in
>> the telling!
>> Sandy
> Thanks for the feedback, Sandy. I considered the possibility that it 
> never caught on because it was too complicated, but I still wish I 
> could see it for myself! :-) Even so, now there is Woehrmann's 
> SpeechWriting, which is probably a lot easier to learn and use anyway 
> - which is great! As I admitted before, my objections are mostly 
> because I haven't seen enough of it. :-)
> KJ
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