MY, JULY 24,1957
2AN DAILY PA(
SPEECH PROFESSOR RETIRES:
Muyskens, 70, Working on 'Handbook'
Student Reports See
South American Affairs
By ERNEST ZAPLITNY
From the time he heard a speech
by William Jennings Bryan, Prof.
John H. Muyskens became aware
of beauty in the human voice.
Last September Prof. Muyskens
retired as associate professor of
phonetics in the Department of
Speech after 37 years with the
"Bryan was beyond question our
greatest orator," he said yesterday.
"Apart from his eloquence, he pos-
sessed an ability of expression un-
equalled since. I've heard him
' nany times, and his perfection was
the great influence in my work"
Prof. Muyskens lives quietly with
his wife Mary on, tree-vaulted
Wildwood Avenue on Ann Arbor's
Work Surrounds Him
, Now 70 years old, he still sur-
rounds himself with books and
work. He is working on the manu-
script for a third volume, "Herm&-
neutics" (the science of language
interpretation), in a series he is
co-authoring with Prof. Emeritus
Clarence L. Meader.
Their'"Handbook of Biolinguis-
tics" was published in 1924, in
which the concept of oral gymnas-
tics was first introduced after 20
years of stuy and research in
In this book, the workings of
oral muscles in speaking was re-
duced to a scienc. It is a stan-
dardreference in schools and i-
braries all over the world. Prof.
Muyskens reports that Russia re-
cently Purchased several volumes2
undoubtedly for translation and
The second volume, "Seman-
tics," a study on meanings of
words, is now being printed.
The value of his training in
speceh was evident as Prof. Muy-.
skens recounted with flawless ar-
ticulation the highlights of his
Yet he has suffered several
strokes severe enough to have im-
paired the speech of a person not
trained in phonetic sound-making.
A fluent speaker of five foreign
4 languages, Prof. Muyskens spoke
native Dutch in his birthplace of
Orange City, Iowa. Besides Eng-
lish, he picked up Latin, Greek
and some German in the Orange
He went on to Calvin College in
Grand Rapids to study French and
Hebrew and perfected his Ger-
man there. He taught languages at
Calvin before he joined the YMCA
for service with the French Army
during World War I.
Then he was chosen for vital
liaison work with the War Work
Council (an agency of the French
Army which coordinated Ameri-
can-French effort) in the Vosges
sector. For his distinguished serv-
ice and capability with languages,
he was awarded the Medaille Mili-
taire, the French decoration for
civilian service in the armed
After the war, he taught in Ken-
nedy School of Hartford, Conn.
Again, his repertoire was valuable
in teaching prospective foreign
,missionaries to master particular
languages. He first taught phone-
tics here where he set up a pho-
Prof. Muyskens came to the Uni-
versity in 1920 as an instructor in
French. It was here that he did
extensive study in phonetics re-
garding speech defects.
His work with speech defective
students while in the French de-
partment led to his transfer to the
speech department. Working in its
phonetics laboratory, he developed
Finding the geographical center
of Michigan's Thumb is just one
of the "impossible" tasks which
the University Department of
Geography has been asked to do.
They couldn't answer .the
"thumb"- question, but have had
a "hand" in answering hundreds
of other unusual queries.
Prof. Charles M. Davis, chair-
man of the department, says in
explaining the "loaded" question:
Hard To Find
"Trying to locate the geographi-
cal center of the Thumb is like
attempting to describe the geo-
graphical limits of the Midwest.
You just can't do it."
Sometimes ingenuity has paid
off in dealing with the unusual.
During World War II, the de-
partment received a letter from
the father of a serviceman asking
them to "please locate San Sor-
igne -- that's where he wrote
Puzzled staff members huddled
and came up with, the fact that
"San Sorigne" or "sans origne," as
it should have been spelled, means
"origin unknown" in French. This
seemed appropriate since service-
-men were not allowed to disclose
In April of this year transport
fares were raised without warning
in the city of Valparaiso, Chile.
Students from the city's politi-
cally conscious state university
demonstrated against the 50 per
cent incretase in orderly fashion.
But professional agitation groups
moved in swiftly to fan popular,
Riots exploded throughout prin-
cipal Chilean cities; countless in-
juries, deaths and widespread de-
struction followed. The increases
In September of 1956, elements
of the Argentine army triggered a
rebellion against Dictator Juan
Peron. The insurgents seized the
city of Cordoba on the rolling
plains of the interior Pampa.
Loyal Peron divisions were con-
verging on the stronghold when
the rebel leaders sent out desper-
ate appeals for volunteers.
Students from the University
of Cordoba, many already in the
ranks, sprung to arms. These fresh
reenforcements, white armbands
their only insignia, saved Cordoba
and the revolution.
Peron scurried for political
Students figured prominently in
both upheavals, but their relative
positions in the chain of events
Setting about to examine the
influence of students in the politi-
cal makeup of eight South Ameri-
can countries is a five-man dele-
gation of the International Stu-
Ralph S. Dellacava is the United
States representative. The other
four are drawn from Tunisia, Tur-
key, Finland and the Philippine
Their reports illuminate the
political histories of the two coun-
tries reported on so far.
All universities in Chile enjoy
autonomy from the state, the dele-
gation informs. Both state and
gations informs. Both state and
private secular schools are ad-
ministered by councils, which in-
clude student representatives,
elected from within the university.
Under these conditions, it is not
surprising that Chilean students
are unusually expressivI in extra-
Student groups are present in
all universities, and are organized
independent of one another.
All students of the University of
Chile in Santiago (the capital)
belong to the 50-year-old Federa-
tion of Students of Chile.
This group has always taken a
leading position on national social
questions, and maintains close
links with other social groups. It
was the comparable organization
in the University of Valparaiso
that initiated the protest against
the increase in transport fares.
A very dfferent situation existed
in Argentina during the Peron
University officials were political
appointees, and students were of
course not permitted to assemble
United action was quite impos-
sible even in the face of an armed
.The delegation reports that stu-
dents are not entirely satisfied
however, since the expected laws
stipulate that faculty members
shall be in the majority on gov-
The delegation is currently in
Bolivia, and will cover Peru, Ecua-
dor and Colombia in its three-
publishers' brand-new, original editions -
notionally advertised at $2.00 to $5.00 !
They're sensational bargains at this low price.
BUY NOW FOR CH RISTMAS
PROF. JOHN H. MUYSKENS
.. .in the face of everyday speech, the memory of Bryan
the science of palatography, con-
cerned with, the shape of the
mouth and position of teeth as
they influence speech.
His instruction was restricted to
defects in speech, and he was in-
strumental in forming the Uni-
versity's Speech Clinic, now a part
of the Institute for Human Ad-
It was during this early associa-
tion with the speech department
that he collaborated with Prof.
Emeritus Meader, then with the
Latin department, in beginning the
"Handbook of Biolinguistics."
Many linguistics graduates stu-
died under Prof. Muyskens, in-
cluding some 45 who took their
doctors' degrees with him. His pu-
pils are in universities and colleges
all over the country.
He feels that there is much room
for improvement in vocal expres-
"Everyday speech is too care-
less," he explains. "You can tell
where people come from far too
He advises teaching of phonetic
elocution at an early age. Foreign
language instruction should be-
gin in elementary schools, he adds.
"Oral movements are basically.
similar in all languages," he said.
"The proper phonetic instruction
in any language is bound to trans-
mit good speech to other tongues.
"If we can achieve a closer re-
lationship between the production
of sound and its memory as it is
formed, we'll go a long way in
eradicating regional patterns of
pronunciation," he said.
Prof. Muyskens has no plans for
travel because of his health and
regrets that he is no longer able
to enjoy fishing and duck-hunting.
He wistfully recalls hauling 60-
pound salmon out of Washington
State's Columbia River.
"But as long as I can work and
contribute to the art of human ex-
pression, I shall be content," he
o R1 Originally Published at $2.50
U' RESEARCH INSTITUTE:
'Fog Box' Tests Ways of Road Lighting
A "Fog Box," recently developed
at University Engineering Re-
search Institute, tests new meth-
ods of lighting highways and ways
of placing headlights so that dan-
ger of driving in fog will be re-
The fog box, a long box-contain-
ing a model of a highway is located
at the Vision Rtsearth Labora-
tories. Artificial fog-a fine spray
of wateir-of any density can be.
held uniformly for any length of
The model was developed by
Prof H. Richard Blackwell, anI
Benjamin S. Pritchard, of the
ERI., through years of research.
First, instruments were made
to measure how fog scatters, ab-
sorbs, and transmits light,
Now that the fog box has been
perfteted, Prof. Blackwell says
scientific research of highway
lighting in the fog can be readily
He said, "We can start with a
standard situation, and make
whatever changes we want, then
scientifically record the results."
The fog box has a peep hole in
the end, and from that viewpoint,
the model -of the highway inside
appears as it would from the
driver's seat of a car.
Already, quite a bit has been
learned about highway lighting.
Prof. Blackwell says, "Highway
lighting has been designed for use
in clear weather. We have calcu-
lated-and this model shows-that
instead of improving visability on
foggy nights, present methods
have just the opposite effect: they
reduce visibility tor a high degree."
Thee low seats and high head-
lights in modern cars rae increas-
ing danger in fog, because drivers'
eyes are almost on the same plane
as the beam of light, where they
receive a high percentage of light
reflected back by fog.
Make Seats Lower
If. the lights were lower, or the
stats higher, the driver would re-
ceive less "back scattered" light.
Vertical overhead lighting is an
improvement, because less light is
scattered in the drivers' eyes. But
tail lights and reflecting road
signs and markers, intended for
clear weather, fail to do the job
in the fog.
From what has been learned so
far by the "Fog Box," the best
remedy is two sets of lights on cars
and highways, one for clear
weather, and one for fog.
Cars, for driving in fog, should
have intens narrow-beam head-
lights locate at bumber level, and
crossed so that the one on the
right would point toward the
middle of the road and the other
toward the reflectors at the right
edge of the pavement. This ar-
rangement would not blind on-
Tail lights too should be in-
creased in intensity, and they
could be made to swing in a circle
to attract attention.
Overhead lights can be made
more effective by slimming down
their beams, or even doing away
with them altogether on the open
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