The Power of Extreme Pronunciation in Overcoming Stuttering

Introduction

In the context of stuttering, a “crutch” is a term used to describe various techniques or strategies that people who stutter (PWS) use to help manage and mitigate their stuttering. Crutches are not a “cure” for stuttering but rather a set of tools that individuals can employ to make their speech more fluent and less challenging. These crutches can provide temporary relief from stuttering and help boost a person’s confidence in their ability to communicate effectively.

Stuttering, a complex speech disorder that affects millions worldwide, can lead to social isolation and low self-esteem. However, there are various techniques and crutches that individuals with stuttering can use to regain control over their speech. In this blog post, we’ll explore the often overlooked and highly effective crutch of “extreme pronunciation” and its role in helping individuals overcome stuttering.

Understanding Extreme Pronunciation

Extreme pronunciation, also known as “Crutch #9” in Lee G. Lovett’s “How to Stop Stuttering & Love Speaking,” and “Stop Stuttering Short Course: How to Break the Stuttering Code” is a powerful technique for managing stuttering. It differs from other commonly recommended techniques, such as “slowed speech” or “elongated speech,” which some speech therapists suggest as cures for stuttering. Extreme pronunciation is not about slowing down speech or elongating syllables; instead, it involves pronouncing words with a high level of clarity and emphasis.

Unlike slowed or elongated speech, extreme pronunciation aims to produce speech that sounds entirely natural. Lovett emphasizes that the goal is to make speech interesting and clear without burdening the conversation with unnatural pacing or breathing techniques. The objective is to make speech more engaging and captivating, benefiting both the speaker and the listener.

Maintaining Natural Speech

One of the problems with slowed or elongated speech is that it can sound unnatural and forced. Lovett points out that individuals who stutter often find it challenging to maintain this type of speech in regular conversations. It’s crucial to strike a balance between achieving fluency and sounding natural while speaking.

Extreme pronunciation allows individuals to speak with clarity and emphasis without sacrificing the natural flow of conversation. This technique is versatile and can be applied to random words, phrases, or entire thoughts. The key is to focus on the pronunciation without overly slowing down speech. The result is speech that remains engaging and captivating while being easier for individuals with stuttering.

Overcoming Blocks with Pronunciation

Extreme pronunciation can be particularly effective for very severe stutterers who struggle to say even a single word. By breaking down each syllable as if it were a separate word, individuals can find fluency in their speech. Lovett explains that some people who experience severe blocks have been astonished by their ability to speak fluently when they adopt this technique. The intense focus on pronunciation can divert their minds from the typical word processing that leads to stuttering.

The Role of Accents and Gestures

In addition to extreme pronunciation, accents and natural gestures can play a significant role in managing stuttering. Lovett suggests that accents can add humor and interest to conversations. Using accents requires intense focus, which can temporarily allow for fluency. While staying in an accent for extended periods may not be ideal, it can serve as a temporary “harbor in a storm” for individuals seeking relief from stuttering.

Similarly, gestures can complement speech and make it more engaging. By incorporating natural gestures into their conversations, individuals can divert their focus from stuttering and onto the ideas and messages they want to convey. These techniques can make speech more interesting and easier for both the speaker and the listener.

The Evolution of Crutches

It’s important to note that the use of crutches, including extreme pronunciation, evolves as individuals progress in their journey to overcome stuttering. While these techniques may initially result in speech that sounds unusual or “over the top,” with practice, they become seamless and natural. Lovett highlights that the need for crutches diminishes as individuals master them and deny “Satan Stuttering” its daily meal of stutters and blocks.

The goal is to starve stuttering by reducing stuttering and blocks to zero. Those who fail to achieve this outcome will continue to stutter to some extent. Lovett emphasizes that the key to success is a shift in focus from stuttering to other elements of speech, such as pronunciation, accents, or gestures.

Becoming Someone Else: A Path to Fluency

Lovett encourages individuals to adopt various roles or personas to achieve fluency. For example, one person who stuttered for 30 years found relief by “clowning around” and acting like a clown during conversations. By becoming someone else during speech, individuals can experience fluency and effectively communicate their ideas and messages.

Ultimately, the goal is to change the focus from stuttering to anything else, allowing fluency to become the new norm. Lovett suggests that roles like singer, pastor, foreigner with an accent, or even a clown are preferable to stuttering. By shifting focus and using various techniques, individuals can overcome the challenges of stuttering.

Conclusion

Extreme pronunciation is a valuable crutch that can significantly contribute to managing stuttering and achieving fluency. While other techniques like slowed speech may sound unnatural and prove challenging to maintain, extreme pronunciation allows individuals to maintain natural speech while emphasizing clarity. Accents, gestures, and the adoption of different roles can also divert the focus from stuttering to other elements of speech, making it more interesting and engaging.

The journey to overcoming stuttering may involve the use of multiple crutches, and as individuals master these techniques, the need for them gradually diminishes. The key is to shift focus away from stuttering and onto other aspects of speech, allowing fluency to take root and thrive. Extreme pronunciation, accents, and gestures are powerful tools in the arsenal of individuals with stuttering, offering a path to effective communication and greater self-confidence.

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