Stammering was re the Weakness of Nine Lived Enchanters and Re A Sinister Subject
ven at vvcrane.fsnet.co.uk
Tue Apr 3 16:35:09 EDT 2001
> hmm. how severe is severe? Simon in Terry
> Pratchett's Equal Rites has a stammer/stutter, but
> everyone just finishes the words for him.
Well, so far all the fictional examples quoted are of relatively mild
stammers. At their worst they can block verbal communication
completely. To put it another way, when I was eleven it could take
me longer than the duration of a Fast Show sketch to say my
name to a teacher, or ask for a quarter of humbugs. Add to that
severe stammerers often develop a repetoire of tics, grimaces and
peculiar noises as they struggle to speak. Nervousness is one of
the milder things that gets attributed to them. I read of a British
stammerer who was arrested and handcuffed at gunpoint by
American police who assumed he was insane or on drugs. It is
terrifying to think how far the chain of misunderstanding could go.
One of the saddest things I have ever seen was a little girl in a
documentary explaining how her stammer prevented her having any
friends. I was luckier and my stammer less severe so that I could
talk to other children and manage ok outside of the pressure
situations like those above and reading out loud in class. I
remember being very frustrated at my inability to join in quick fire
exchanges of wit (well, as much wit as 11 year olds manage),
because the moment would pass before I got started, until I
accidentally hit on "the putting on a funny voice device".
Anyhow to accurately represent what happens when someone is
being blocked from speaking by a stammer would be to have to
describe the noises and grimaces that are occurring before, during
and after every single word. I'm imagine here having someone write
this in the style of Samuel R Delany with painstakingly accurate
description. And even in his beautiful prose it would just be too
much over a whole book.
You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom.
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