Stuttering: A Short History of a Curious Disorder

By Marcel E. Wingate | Go to book overview
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same content appears again and again. A common fault of works on the history of stuttering is that their major substance is essentially a catalogue of names, with attendant viewpoints, many of which are, at best, variations on a theme. Third, most of what is relevant to understanding stuttering and its present circumstances, can be conveyed without overburdening the reader with an account of the many persons who have written on the subject and what each of them thought. Much duplication and redundancy would have to be endured without acquiring any better appreciation for the history of the disorder than from a less elaborate account.

At the same time, a better understanding of the disorder should follow from an awareness of significant dimensions of its history. I believe that a properly instructional history should elucidate the major themes involving the disorder, presented in the context of a broad general history of human development, within which appropriate references highlight particular significant events and outstanding or representative individuals. A major theme in this book is the abiding interest in speech and in speaking well, a theme within which stuttering assumes its uniqueness and significance.

My intent, then, will be to cover the range of substantive content that is most pertinent to an understanding of stuttering from the breadth of a long-term perspective. Serious students, as well as those using this work as a textbook, can expand this knowledge by consulting the Bibliography.

Liberal use of notes in many chapters has allowed me to include important relevant material without impeding the flow of the main narrative. Similarly, the Glossary includes information that, although of special significance to certain topics in the text, would encumber the narrative.


NOTES
1.
For elaboration see Wingate 1976, p. 40-41; 1988, p.9.
2.
See Glossary for use of "clonic" and "tonic" relative to stuttering.
3.
In this article, a review of recent books on Kim Philby, "the spy of the century," Remnick details how Philby so carefully prepared, over most of his life, the personna with which he could achieve his profound deception. Remnick writes: "He had an unerring education in the trappings of class, camouflaging himself with memberships in the right clubs and with the proper eccentricities. Even his disability was 'a disability of English privilege: a slight stammer.'" (Italics added.)

It is germane to note here the occurrence of stuttering in the genealogy of Bntish royalty, which suggests a possible source of the affectation of a "slight stammer" among the British upper class.

The surmise regarding preference for "stammering" as euphemism seems supported by a recent survey conducted by the (British) Association for stammerers in which there was an almost ten-to-one (317 to 37) preference for "stammer" over "stutter." (See Speaking Out, Vol. 15, No. 4, Winter, 1994. London: The Association for Stammerers.)

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