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Teachers and students of the first Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto

Armando Soeiro Moreira de Lacerda


Photo of Armando Soeiro Moreira de Lacerda

1902-1984
Phonetician and University Teacher



He was born in Porto on 15 August 1902. After completing high school, he enrolled in the First Faculty of Arts of Porto, where he graduated with a degree in German Philology on 29 July 1930, with the final mark of 17 out of 20. The following year, with a scholarship from the National Board of Education, he left for Germany to specialize in Experimental Phonetics at the Laboratory of Experimental Phonetics of the University of Hamburg, creating his first scientific device: the oral labiography inscriber, to overcome the deficiencies of the kymograph method which was in use at the time.

At the end of 1931, he continued his research at the Institute of Phonetics of the University of Bonn, under the supervision of Dr. Paul Meuzerath, devising, in the following years, a series of scientific devices for the study of Phonetics: the electrochromograph, the multiplier tonometer, a translator of tone figurations in bright settings and the tonometer. During this fact-finding mission, he also created a new phonetic method – Chromatography–, a sound recording method to analyse the sounds of language, which earned him an invitation to chair this discipline at the University of Bonn. In recognition for his scientific activity, he was also invited to take part in international conferences on Phonetics, such as the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, in Amsterdam, where he presented a new device: the polychromograph.

Already known as the forerunner of Experimental Phonetics in Portugal, he returned to the country in 1935, with the support of the Institute for Advanced Culture to set up the first Laboratory of Experimental Phonetics at the Faculty of Arts of Coimbra, taking over its management and working in the specialization of national and international phoneticians according to his research methods. In 1938, he delivered a paper at the International Congress of Phonology in Ghent, and between 1950 and 1951 he conducted a research at the University of Wisconsin on Spectography, with Dr. M. Joos. Founder of a journal dedicated to experimental phonetics called "Revista do Laboratório de Fonética Experimental" [Journal of the Laboratory of Experimental Phonetics] of the University of Coimbra (1952) he was invited to teach courses in foreign universities, supervising the creation of the first Experimental Phonetics Laboratories in Baía (1956) and in Rio de Janeiro (1957). He returned to the University of Wisconsin as Guest Professor.

In 1972, he retired as the Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Phonetics of the University of Coimbra, where he died on 30 August 1984. He became known as an exceptional scientist in the field of Phonetics.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2008)

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