Title

The Missing Meditatio: Leonhard Euler’s (1707–1783) Contribution to Articulatory Phonetics

Presenter Information

Olivia Hirschey

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 301

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Mathematics, Linguistics, History

Abstract

This is an interdisciplinary research project combining the history of mathematics and linguistics. The work describes the contributions of Leonhard Euler (1707–1783), the eighteenth century physicist and mathematician, to the fields of articulatory and experimental phonetics. First, the authors provide evidence for Euler’s role in establishing the St. Petersburg Academy prize of 1780. Next, they consider a short and posthumously published work of Euler, the Meditatio de formatione vocum. It is shown that the Meditatio represents an early attempt to compare vowels in several languages, and includes a two-dimensional classification of vowels which anticipates in many ways the International Phonetic Alphabet vowel chart.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dominic Klyve

Department/Program

English

Additional Mentoring Department

Mathematics

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May 21st, 1:50 PM May 21st, 2:10 PM

The Missing Meditatio: Leonhard Euler’s (1707–1783) Contribution to Articulatory Phonetics

SURC 301

This is an interdisciplinary research project combining the history of mathematics and linguistics. The work describes the contributions of Leonhard Euler (1707–1783), the eighteenth century physicist and mathematician, to the fields of articulatory and experimental phonetics. First, the authors provide evidence for Euler’s role in establishing the St. Petersburg Academy prize of 1780. Next, they consider a short and posthumously published work of Euler, the Meditatio de formatione vocum. It is shown that the Meditatio represents an early attempt to compare vowels in several languages, and includes a two-dimensional classification of vowels which anticipates in many ways the International Phonetic Alphabet vowel chart.