Work on speech sound and the sound systems of languages can be traced back in the British Isles at least as far as the sixteenth century. It was, however, only in the nineteenth century that the word `phonetics' was actually coined, and it was also at this time that a wider interest in the subject grew. This was reflected in the appearance of a large number of books and other publications dealing with speech sound, and also in the application of phonetics to such diverse areas as language teaching, elocution, teaching the deaf, shorthand writing and dialectology. The nineteenth century can therefore be said to be the era when the true foundations of the modern disciplines of phonetics and phonology were laid.
This collection features works by well-known figures such as Isaac Pitman, Alexander Ellis, Alexander Melville Bell, and Henry Sweet. In addition, contributions of less well-known contemporaries such as Laura Soames, Robert Ioan Prys and Richard Lloyd are also included.