Physiological Bases of the Visible Speech Symbols for Consonants
Physiological Bases of the Visible Speech Symbols - Consonants. In representing the consonant a peculiar and exclusive mode of accenting ... the important ... parts of the hand is resorted to, so that, when the different ways of accentuation are understood, the class to which a given position belongs may be readily determined. The modes of accentuation adopted, impart to the various manual positions something more than mere arbitrary class distinction. A hint at the physiological differences between consonants, vowels, and glides also is given, when the positions that represent them are viewed from the index-finger side of the hand ..., according to the rules in this Manual.
Consonant positions are distinguished by having the breath phalanx of the thumb close to the plane of the palm and the accented fingers straightened. When the voice phalanx of the thumb is accented, it is never held in contact with an accented finger’s second, or with its terminal, phalanx. The Shut and Nasal positions under this class are the only positions which fail to have accented fingers. In reading a Consonant position we begin at the index-finger side of the hand and treat as accented the nearest straightened finger, and also all other straightened fingers which are directly or indirectly in contact therewith; and as unaccented, all fingers which are closed, and also all straightened fingers which are out of contact with an accented finger. There are fifty-two Consonant positions.
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Lyon, Edmund The Lyon Phonetic Manual (Rochester, NY: Deaf-Mute Institution, 1891)
Courtesy the private collection of Roy Winkelman