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Kempelen vs. Kratzenstein - Researchers on speech synthesis in times of change

  • One was a distinguished natural scientist and engineer, the other a self-taught scientist and vilified as a conman: Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein (1723–1795) and Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734–1804). Some of the former’s postula-tions on human physiology and articulation of speech proved wrong in later years. Most of the latter’s theories are considered applicable even today. The perhaps most contrasting approaches to speech synthesis during the 18th century are linked to their names. There are many essential differences between their approaches which show that these two researchers were not only representatives of different schools of thought, but also representatives of two different scientific eras. A speculative and philosophical approach on the one hand versus an empirical and logical approach on the other hand. Both Kratzenstein and Kempelen published books on their research. But while the “Tentamen” [4] of the physician Kratzen-stein remains rather vague and imprecise in its descriptions of vowel production and synthesis, the “Mechanismus” [8] of the engineer Kempelen shows much more precision and correctness in almost every respect of human speech and lan-guage. The goal of this paper is to discuss the differences between these two con-temporaneous researchers on speech synthesis and to compare their theories with present-days findings.

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Author:Fabian Brackhane
Parent Title (English):HSCR 2015. Proceedings of the First International Workshop on the History of Speech Communication Research, Dresden, September 4-5, 2015
Series (Serial Number):Studientexte zur Sprachkommunikation (79)
Place of publication:Dresden
Editor:Rüdiger Hoffmann, Jürgen Trouvain
Document Type:Part of a Book
Year of first Publication:2015
Date of Publication (online):2015/09/09
GND Keyword:Historische Phonetik; Kempelen, Wolfgang von; Kratzenstein, Christian Gottlieb
First Page:42
Last Page:49
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
BDSL-Classification:Deutsche Sprachgeschichte
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Phonetik / Phonologie
Open Access?:Ja
Licence (German):Es gilt das UrhG