1. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    Speaking Freely

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Pallas, Aug 29, 2010.

    Like 3 million Americans and more globally I suppose, I stutter/stammer. For those that are unfamiliar with this topic, it is a neurological and motor condition/disorder of speech. It is characterized by involuntary repetition of sounds, pauses, or elongation of words when speaking. For those familiar, I do not have to describe what a crippling handicap it can be to social interactions.

    This brings me to the point of writing. Of the stutters I have met over my lifetime, many were very good at critical thinking, and enjoyed writing as a result of their inability to speak fluently. As for myself, my stutter was worse growing up, but slowly through conscious practice, it has subsided to a mild case, though some days are more challenging than others. I do not solely write because I cannot speak, but rather because of a variety of personal reasons, which stuttering is a part of I suppose.

    And so, I ask if anyone here on the boards is familiar with stuttering/stammering, perhaps is someone afflicted, and whether it encourages you to write?

    :)
     
  2. L. Ai
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    L. Ai Member

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    *raises hand* I stammer. I think. Sort of. My mother says I have a speech impediment, that I just have too many teeth in my mouth... I think much faster than I can speak, so I stumble over what I'm trying to say frequently, change words half way through, skip others, mis-pronounce things... all the time. I noticed too I do it less the more I practice speaking, but I hate speaking, so its a bit of a viscious circle for me.

    I really enjoy the smoothness of thought I can obtain to when I write and yes, I think my speech problems may be part of it. Expressing myself is a real struggle outside writing, and seeing my thoughts and feelings articulated onto paper (or a screen, whatever) helps me remember that I'm smarter than I often give myself credit for. "The ability to speak does not make one intelligent." Well, the turn about stands: the inability doesn't mean you're stupid.
     
  3. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't speak with any impediments now, but growing up, I couldn't pronounce the "r" sound. Also, I was painfully shy when I was younger, so it was always easier for me to communicate my ideas and explain myself in writing than it was to do it aloud. There was even one point when I was in grade school where my dad and I "talked" by writing back and forth in a notebook. We've always had a very rocky relationship, and it was easier for us to get our feelings explained more clearly (and without argument ;)) in writing. That's probably another thing that has fed my love of writing.
     
  4. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    You are correct LAi, there is often an inferiority complex that develops, and being shy only compounds the situation. Writing is an excellent release, as I can think smoothly and articulate words and phrases that I could never speak fluently. I wonder in how many job interviews I came off as some uncertain and inarticulate person.

    I find it often helps to relieve any tension I have by admitting that I have a stutter to any person I am going to have a prolonged conversation with, though just ordering something in a restaurant can be a nuisance, or any small thing like that.
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not a stammerer but have been on epilepsy meds that disturbed the verbal flow for half a year of my life. I have the greatest respect since for people with speech problem.

    And yes, during that half a year I wrote 5-8 hours a day, every day and i think part of my motivation was my frustration with my speech.
     
  6. LadyLazarus
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    LadyLazarus Senior Member

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    I have a stutter. It's far less prominant now than it was even a year ago. Now it only flares up when I'm nervous, or very tired.

    I'll get stuck saying the first word of my sentence over, and over, and over. If I'm really nervous I stop and start like nobody's business.
     
  7. L. Ai
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    L. Ai Member

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    Something I found helpful personally, thought I'd suggest it on the off chance it might help someone else:

    Try not to think of words as things that must be pronounced. I know, I know, they are, but... Listen to peoples tones when they speak; think of it like music. We all know how to make the "I don't know" sound like when your mouth is full, right? Like when you read, you can fairly easily recognize a jumbled word as long as long as all the right letters are there and the first and last are correct (...my auto-correct won't let me demonstrate, sorry.) They say babies learn the tone and rythm of their mother's language within the first day and cry to it. Most people actually listen tonally. My husband and I are terrible mumblers (he doesn't stutter, he's just very soft spoken), but I generally know what he said because of how words are pitched. I'm not sure I'm making sense.

    When I do have to speak I try to know what I'm going to say before hand, like a little poem or script to memorize, and slow it down to a rythm. You have to watch out against developing a 'sing-song', unless, like me, you're obnoxious enough to pull it off. :p
     
  8. Mantha Hendrix
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    Mantha Hendrix Contributing Member

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    Yeah, sort of... It's only really when all eyes are on me, if you know what I mean. Sometimes it happens during normal conversation too. It just seems that I can't get the words out of my mouth. Not sure how to describe it. It's only developed in the last 2 or 3 years.

    I also suffer from the shakes. Particularly in the aforementioned situation. Asides from that I'm pretty quiet... even among my friends.

    I'm a thinker, which is probably how I ended up writing.Once I think up a plot I'm instantly wanting to write it down.
     
  9. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    Adding a rhythm to your speech definitely helps, many people who stutter can avoid it by changing pitch, acting, or while singing.

    Seems like stutterers become thinkers, and quite, though I have met some that do not let the stutter prevent them from speaking out, and being complete extroverts.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I stuttered badly when I was a kid. My mom's theory was that it was because my older sister, who has a pretty dominant personality, used to interrupt me all the time, and would often finish my sentences for me.

    According to my parents, I learned to speak in complete sentences at a much younger age than the large majority of kids, so the cause of my stuttering was probably external. So the interrupting-older-sister theory fits.

    I overcame my stuttering problem before I entered my teens, but I've always been a quiet person, one who'd much rather listen than talk. Also, I don't like being in large crowds to this day. I wonder if that is a result of my childhood stuttering problem.

    Anyway, a few years ago at somebody's funeral I was called upon to speak extemporaneously before a crowd of several dozen people I'd never met before. I spoke for over five minutes without any preparation and without stuttering once, and I did feel a certain satisfaction afterward that I was able to do so. I guess, way in the back of my mind, I still worry about stuttering.
     
  11. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm, can't say that I do particularly... Though I have been known to repeat myself without meaning to. I might mean to say "I know" but it will come out twice. Sounds more like a tick really. And I do it so rarely no one really notices.

    I do know that James Earl Jones had a real problem with stuttering before he became an actor. And as an actor who is known for having a such a powerful voice, I always find that inspiring! :)
     
  12. Bad_Valentine
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    Bad_Valentine Member

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    I used to stutter REALLY bad when I was around 5 or 6 years old. I remember knowing the reason why, it was because my mouth simply could not keep up with the speed at which my brain was thinking. It was so frustrating! I think it was also for similar reasons as you mentioned minstrel. I was an avid reader before I even got into kindergarten so I was too smart for my own good. That plus being extremely shy, I'm sure the social anxiety got to me too. I must have figured out how to stop it pretty quickly though I think, because I only have a couple of faint memories about it. I've never had a problem stuttering since. I sometimes talk too fast when I'm nervous, though. :redface:
     
  13. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't stutter unless I'm making, for example, a speech and my stuttering would be mostly because of nerves. I couldn't talk when I was born so I had to somehow communicate in other ways - I can't remember this because I was so young but apparently I had this computer where I pressed buttons and it would talk for me or something. And I learnt sign language. But more on the topic of writing, I've always been ridiculously shy and quiet (practically mute) and writing is the only way that I can fully express myself and communicate. For example, my friend's ex-boyfriend was deaf and we talked to him via writing on a notepad which was great for me because I could say what I wanted to because I was writing it down.
     
  14. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a semi-lisp. My "s" sounds are elongated. Not an impediment as much as it is a good way to constantly remind myself of the need for humility.

    No one ever sounds proud or noble or powerful when they sssspeak like thissss. ;)

    Stuttering I imagine is far worse, of course.
     
  15. GrimStories
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    GrimStories Member

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    One minor frustration for me is I have a friend who stuttered and stammered periodically, but it was noticeable. I knew him from being an uncertain young man, to growing into becoming a self assured, middle aged executive. Somewhere, along the way, he lost it. The problem is I can't bring it up because if I do it'd throw him and he might start again.

    The best thing I can say is I know there's a cure because I've seen it.
     
  16. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do not think there is definite cure for stuttering, many techniques will have a varying level of effectiveness for every individual; though certainly self confidence is a critical factor in speaking, whether you stutter or not.
     

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