From the Preface.
The present work is an attempt to supply a connected and graduated series of lessons in Articulation and Lip-Reading for the Deaf, as an aid both to the teacher and the pupil. It has existed for some years in manuscript form; and the course of instruction it lays down has been successfully used with the author's own pupils. It aims to teach the essential sounds of the English language, in such sequence, and with such exercises and practice, as may best conduce to the gaining of intelligible utterance.
The great majority of our pupils labour under the serious disadvantages which practically complete deafness from birth entails. How great these are, only those who are intimately acquainted with their condition can fully realize. It is not reasonable to expect on their part, however great the skill of teachers or the intelligence of pupils, the perfect utterance which is required of and gained by those who are in possession of Nature's own appointed means for its acquirement. If fairly intelligible utterance in a not unpleasant tone of voice be gained with the average deaf pupil, we may well be satisfied with the result, considering the imperfection of the means employed, and the immensity of the whole work of education in his case. It is true that as a valued encouragement to the strenuous exertions of the teacher, and by reason of favourable conditions, much more than this is often accomplished; but we do not expect the exceptional progress of the comparatively few, to be the rule for the many. In addition, if we can induce in our pupil the ability to recognise in the facial motions made in the utterance of sounds, their word equivalents, and with such certainty that he requires only occasionally the repetition of a word, or the writing or spelling of a new and unknown proper name, we may congratulate ourselves that he is placed, in the way of receiving ordinary communications, as nearly on a level with his more highly endowed fellow-creatures as his circumstances admit of. And, provided the conditions are favourable, this point can be reached with the average pupil.
In providing for the instruction of his pupils, and in presenting the matter of it, as is here attempted, the author has held that the minute distinctions which are often drawn between the various shades of sound, together with the nice discrimination with which it is sometimes attempted to shew the action of the vocal organs in making the various articulations, do not fall within the scope of practical teaching. He holds that, however interesting and important these may be from a theoretical point of view, and for the teacher's own needs, they contemplate a point of progress unattainable by the great majority of congenitally deaf pupils. The simplest classification, the easiest explanation, are for our present purpose the best, alike for the teacher and the pupil. -To import into the instruction of the deaf the teaching which is appropriate in the case of those who, having all their senses, are to be trained for the Church, the Bar, or the Stage, is to encumber the ground needlessly, and cannot conduce to general success.
The endeavour has been made in this work to give to the inexperienced teacher such practical aid as may be useful in his laborious work, and to the learner a copious series of exercises with the view of inducing correctness and facility of utterance. The remarks to teachers are embodied in the lessons themselves, with the idea that they are likely to be most useful when given in connection with the particular points at which difficulties may arise. The exercises consist, except in the early lessons, of words or parts of words. There is plenty of scope within these bounds for all the practice that is necessary, and no need to use impossible or unusual combinations of sounds....