Alexander Melville Bell

Alexander Melville Bell

Alexander Melville Bell (March 1, 1819 – August 7, 1905), teacher and father of Alexander Graham Bell (the inventor of the telephone), was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

He studied under and became the principal assistant of his father, Alexander Bell, an authority on phonetics and defective speech. From 1843 to 1865 he lectured on elocution at the University of Edinburgh, and from 1865 to 1870 at the University of London. In 1868, and again in 1870 and 1871, he lectured in the Lowell Institute course in Boston.

In 1870 he became a lecturer on philology at Queen's College, Kingston, Ontario; and in 1881 he removed to Washington, D.C., where he devoted himself to the education of deaf mutes by the "Visible Speech" method of orthoepy, in which the alphabetical characters of his own invention were graphic diagrams of positions and motions of the organs of speech. SomeFact|date=November 2007 have speculated that Alexander Melville Bell was the model for Professor Higgins, the elocutionist who taught Eliza in George Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion", which subsequently was used as the basis for the musical and later film: "My Fair Lady". ("Bell's Visible Speech" is mentioned in the play.) Evidence supporting this includes the idea that Eliza was not a common name, and Eliza Grace Bell was Alexander Melville Bell's wife. Actually, "Eliza" was quite common at the time, since it is a short form of Elizabeth.

Melville Bell died at age 86 in 1905. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Alexander M. Bell Dead. Father of Prof. A.G. Bell Developed Sign Language for Mutes. |url= |quote= |publisher=New York Times |date=August 8, 1905, Tuesday |accessdate=2007-07-21 ] He is interred in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Bell was a renowned authority on physiological phonetics and was the author of numerous works on orthoepy, elocution and education, including:
*"Steno-Phonography" (1852)
*"Letters and Sounds" (1858)
*"The Standard Elocutionist" (1860)
*"Principles of Speech and Dictionary of Sounds" (1863)
*"Visible Speech: The Science of Universal Alphabetics" (1867)
*"Sounds and their Relations" (1881)
*"Lectures on Phonetics" (1885)
*"A Popular Manual of Visible Speech and Vocal Physiology" (1889)
*"World English: the Universal Language" (1888)
*"The Science of Speech" (1897)
*"The Fundamentals of Elocution" (1899)See John Hitz, "Alexander Melville Bell" (Washington, 1906).

References

*1911


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