Phonozoic Text Archive, Document 005

New York Times, October 7, 1879, p. 4.

In the course of his farewell address on Sunday night, Dr. Henry Harris Jessup, the Syrian missionary, incidentally stated a somewhat curious fact respecting the capacity of the phonograph to reproduce sounds.  It was that in experimenting with that instrument in the Arabic language, the words came forth shorn of their gutturals, of which, as every student of Oriental literature is aware, the Arabic alphabet contains several of such depth that few Europeans can acquire their enunciation.  One of these (ayin) is the prototype of the European O, and another of the European E long--the eta of the Greeks.  These sounds in Arabic are scarcely formed by vocalization in the proper acceptation of the term, i.e., by vibration of the vocal membranes, but depend more especially upon a vibratory property of the vocal walls in general, and particularly those of the throat.  It would be interesting to know whether the nasal, as heard in France, or the deep gutturals of the German are capable of being propagated by Mr. Edison's ingenious instrument, as both these sounds are more or less dependent on the vibration of tissue-walls for their peculiar quality.