Amman, Johann Conrad

deaf dumb

AMMAN, JOHANN CONRAD, a physician, and one of the earliest writers on the instruction of the deaf and dumb, was born at Schaffhausen, in Switzerland, in 1669. In 1687 he graduated at Basle, and commenced the practice of his profession at Amsterdam, to which he had to flee on account of his religious views. He first called the attention of the public to his method of training the deaf and dumb in a paper which was inserted in the Philosophical Transactions, and which appeared in a separate form in the year 1692, under the title Surdus Loquens. It was again issued, with much additional matter, in 1702 and 1728, under the title Dissertatio de Loquela. In this work, which Haller terms "vere aureum," he develops, with great ability, the mechanism of vocal utterance, and describes the process which he employed in teaching its use. This consisted principally in exciting the attention of his pupils to the motions of his lips and larynx while he spoke, and then inducing them by gentle means to imitate these movements, till he brought them to repeat distinctly letters, syllables, and words. As his method was excellent, we may readily give him credit for the all but universal success to which he laid claim. The edition of Coelius Aurelianus, which was undertaken by the Wet-steins in 1709, and still ranks as one of the best editions of that author, was superintended by Amman. He died about 1730.

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