Early European settlers brought firearm technology to waterfowl hunting in the Americas. In the late eighteenth century, market hunting of the goose and duck flocks of the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways proliferated. Hundreds of bird species move along the Atlantic coast and from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota and Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico, migrating between breeding grounds and wintering grounds, and in the nineteenth century, hunters began using sound to draw down these passing birds.
Viktoria Tkaczyk (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
Sound is ephemeral. For a long time, it escaped scientific scrutiny, and the invention of the phonograph in the 1870s was celebrated as a long-awaited research tool in both the humanities and the sciences. Before long, various scientific sound archives had been founded for the systematic collection, preservation, and study of sound recordings. Two of these early archival endeavors were located in Berlin: the Phonogramm-Archiv (“phonogram archive”), today part of the Ethnological Museum’s department of ethnomusicology, and the Lautarchiv (“sound archive”), now based at the Humboldt University, Berlin.
Eduard Sievers was a linguist with a focus on Germanic languages, and was one of the Leipzig “neogrammarians.” Using statistical methods and experimentation, he aimed to formulate laws for the melodic and rhythmic elements of language. He also became well known for “Sievers’ Law,” a phonetic law for Indo-European languages.
Wilhelm Doegen was born in Berlin. He studied economics, law, history, languages, and phonetics at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin (today Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), and in Oxford with the linguist and philologist Henry Sweet. After travels in France and England and a voluntary year in the military, he started teaching at secondary schools in Berlin in 1905. Focusing more and more on phonetics and prosody, Doegen published teaching materials for language learning and pronunciation.