Stammering was Re: Weaknesses of Nine Lifed Enchanters and Re A Sinister Subject

Ven ven at
Sat Mar 31 17:51:37 EST 2001

Jennifer wrote
> ISTR that there was a bit of discussion a while ago about why enchanters
> should have a weakness. I was reading a book that mentioned in passing that
> left-handed children forced to write right-handed can develop a stutter,
> (possibly because language is located in the left hemisphere and forcing the
> brain to do extra work in that hemisphere when it isn't set up that way puts
> "pressure" on the speech centres. Or not.) Anyway, it made me think about
> Cat's weakness. Could it be that because enchanter's magic *is* so strong,
> and so central to the person's being, it is quite easy for a "stutter" to
> develop if the person is thwarted in some way?

I had a serious stammer until my twenties (a horrible affliction btw), 
so I follow the work on causes etc. The left handers theory doesn't 
seem to hold (allowing children to use their left hands hasn't 
dimished stammering). The fact that George the VIth was famously 
a left handed stammerer who was forced to use his right hand 
against his inclination must have promulgated this idea.  "They" 
still don't know wwhy it happens or how to "cure" it (I prefer 
control). A recent idea that made a lot of sense to me is that its a 
neurological problem due to a mismatch between the hearing and 
speech centres. It's based on the observation that when singing or 
speaking in unison -- and I would add when putting on an accent -- 
a stammer disappears. The idea is that at these times peo-ple are 
conciously listening to themselves (or listening differently) so the 
problem is temporarily solved. 

Having said all this I have had problems over handedness. Although 
my right hand is dominant. I find that I naturally use some 
implements and tools left handed and any new piece of equipment I 
try I can learn to use with either hand. As an archaeologist I could 
use a trowell in both hands at once when I had a mind to. Finally 
there's the story of how I learned to tie my shoelaces. It took a very 
long time. There were countless frustrating sesssions with my 
Mum and pairs of shoes and mock up laces on cardboard and 
ribbons etc. I could only wear buckled shoes until I was about 8. 
Then my Nana said she'd teach me and I got it straight away. The 
problem? Mum, in fact tied laces left handed but didn't know it, so 
every time I faithfully copied what she had done she said "No, 
that's the wrong hand, or that's the wrong way." It was awful. Once 
I knew what I was doing I made Mum go throught the whole lace 
tying process very slowly and said "No, that is your left hand 
'........................." She was sorry. 

Slightly on topic you don't get severe stammerers in books, let 
alone television. I've thought of having a go but realised it would be 
very frustrating to the reader to go through an accurate 
representation of clotted speech. Perhaps it could be done by 
contrasting the elegant sentences forming in the character's head 
with the travesties they are forced to come out with. (Does this 
topic strike a nerve with me, oh yes).


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