BENAJAH JAY ANTRIM (fl. 1843)
Antrim here proposes a scheme of universal language based
upon sound. He advocates the use of a unique character or symbol to
represent each sound made by men in their various languages, thus
foreshadowing the so-called International Phonetic Alphabet now in use
among linguists. Antrim argues that using such symbols as the basis for
a common alphabet, the learning of different languages would be
facilitated by requiring only a knowledge of the sense of the sounds in a
given language. The work concludes with a comparative study of eastern
and western written forms and alphabets. (NUC 18:231 (NA 0350252)
Pantography; or, Universal
Philadelphia, Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co.,
CAVE BECK (1623-1706?)
One of several early efforts to develop a universal language, Beck's system is designed to be either written or
spoken. It is based upon the use of Arabic numerals to express the
radical works in any language, the key being a numerical glossary of the
language being used. Letters of the alphabet are employed to express
grammatical modification of any given word, while compound works are
formed by the use of 200 connective characters. The work was published
in French (1657). This copy of Universal Character comes from the
collection of William Beckford (1760-1852), author of Vathek, from
whom it passed into the library of his son-in-law, Alexander
Douglas-Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852). (Alston VII:286;
Galland p.20; Stojan 33; Wstby-Gibson p. 20; Wing B1647)
The Universal Character.
London, William Weekly, 1657.
CHARLES KASIEL BLISS (b. 1897)
In Bliss' own words, this work is an attempt "to realise the dream of
Descartes and Leibnitz of 300 years ago: simple, clear, non-ambiguous
universal symbols for the whole range of language." Bliss bases his
scheme on international symbols now used
among scientists, such as Arabic numerals and chemical formulae, and on
the widely used International Road Signs and Signals. He attempts to
employ only those symbols which outline geometrically the things which
they represent. That is, he puts forward a scheme which is almost
entirely ideographic. A research chemist, Bliss also edits The
Semantography Series (Sydney, 1949- ) for the Institute of
Semantography. (NUC 61:266-67 (NB 0550952-53))
Sydney, 1948-49. 3 vols.
THE DESCRIPTION AND EXPLANATION OF A "UNIVERSAL CHARACTER"
[Eng.] J. Holloway [ca. 1835].
author of this curious treatise describing a symbolic language is unknown.
Published sometime in the 1830's, it attempts to reduce to a minimum the
number of arbitrary symbols to be memorized. The author develops a
pasigraphic scheme which employs pictographs to represent material things
or terms derived from bodily organs and senses, and uses 24 arbitrary
symbols to designate concepts such as size, direction, and quality, as
well as to indicate the grammatical use to which a pictograph is put. The
work concludes with a pictographic dictionary, and several examples of
pictographic writing in the author's method. (BMC 51:579; NUC 140:311 (ND
ANNE PIERRE JACQUES DE VISMES (1745-1819)
Anne Vismes, French composer and writer, here
argues in favor of music as a form of universal writing. He claims that,
in origin, language is essentially a musical form. For example, he
points to the practice among ancient people of joining music and poetry,
and claims that there is a relationship between letters, especially
vowels, and the various musical scales used in the ancient world.
Pasilogie argues that music has an infinitely greater capacity for
expression through combinations of sounds and harmonies than has human
speech. Vismes concludes his work by proposing the use of an enharhomic
international alphabet of 21 letters for use in science, commerce, and
politics. (BMC 249:727; LC 157:615; Stojan 568)
De la Musique, Considérée comme Langue
Paris, Prault [etc.] 1806.
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