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#1
Old 11-13-2011, 09:10 PM
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Lisping - has it taken over as "normal" speech?

I remember when having a lisp was considered a speech impediment. Anyone remember the Brady Bunch episode with Cindy and Peter walking home from school, and Buddy Hinton jumps out and sings to Cindy "Baby talk, baby talk, it's a wonder you can walk!" (this is a parody, but it's pretty damn funny).

Anyway, I've noticed that lisping has become more or less acceptable speech. I'm not trying to start a war here, but there was an emphasis on ridding yourself of a lisp when I was a kid. Cindy Brady even had books!

Now, lisping is everywhere. The person that really made me recognize this was Sarah Jessica Parker (thanks, foot face). Just watch one episode of Sex and The City. Her speech is awful, and what was once considered "lazy speaking" is now, everywhere... Movies and television have lispers all over, which means one of two things... either lisping is just thought of as an accent, and no attempt to correct it is done anymore, or so many people lisp now it goes virtually unnoticed by most. I don't blame SJP for the lisping epidemic in this country, but I do think the rise has been exponential.

I understand if one have a physical condition that causes one to lisp; some people simply can't help it. Others, though. lisp because it's a lazy speech pattern or habit that is never corrected. I've noticed this in folks primarily under 40, and the younger the age group, the larger the group that lisps.

Why? Is trying to correct a lisp now politically incorrect? Does it hurt a child's self esteem? Have other countries that speak english have the same sort of thing going on within their population?
#2
Old 11-13-2011, 09:23 PM
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Yeth. Ith thothe young people.

Actually I haven't noticed this. Maybe as an old-fart-in-waiting I am exposed to different media influences.
#3
Old 11-13-2011, 09:34 PM
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I've never noticed it either. I used to watch a lot of Sex and the City and I don't think Sarah Jessica Parker has a lisp at all.
#4
Old 11-13-2011, 09:35 PM
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Okay, you're going to have to define "lisp" for me, because I really have not noticed anyone lisping the way I perceive it. (My definition: pronouncing the letter S with a Th sound. Actually, I would also include the inability to pronounce the letter R, as that was quite common when I was in grade school.)
#5
Old 11-13-2011, 10:30 PM
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I haven't noticed it either. Got a YouTube link or something?
#6
Old 11-13-2011, 10:37 PM
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I haven't the faintest idea what the OP is talking about. I haven't heard this as a new speech pattern from anyone that I can think of. I've never watched Sex and the City, but here's an interview with Parker and she isn't lisping one bit.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 11-13-2011 at 10:38 PM.
#7
Old 11-13-2011, 10:54 PM
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Yeh, I'm wracking my brain to come up with some notable celeb examples. Never notices a lisp from SJP.

Here's my list so far:

Drew Barrymore (although, I think it suits her)

and

Wallace Shawn... Inconceivable!!!

I'm not really noticing a trend in this manner around the people and kids I know. My own daughter had a lisp until she was six, we pointed out how to form certain words correctly, then one day, she just started talking normal.
#8
Old 11-13-2011, 11:04 PM
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I've never noticed the SJP lisp either.

But if she doesn't shave those sideburns, she's off the team!
#9
Old 11-13-2011, 11:41 PM
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That SJP interview was unbearable. I think maybe she had a prolonged 's' in her first pronunciation of "story," but I don't feel like that qualifies as a lisp.
#10
Old 11-14-2011, 12:10 AM
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wow!

OK, clearly I need to

1) define what I mean by "lisp" and
2) give some examples of what celebrities lisp...

for #2, I will try to provide youtube examples. It's too late tonight, but I will try to get some good ones for you tomorrow.

1) A "lisp" is primarily a speech impediment where the speaker can't say words that contain the letter "s" or "s sounding words" (Like bicycle). The speaker pushes their tongue either against the inside of their teeth, or puts their tongue between their teeth to make the "s" sound. It was referred to as a "Lazy "S"" The "S" had a lot of "TH" sound in it.

In the OP, I did provide a link to youtube for Cindy Brady in the famous Buddy Hinton episode. If you didn't see it, go back and listen to it (it really is funny... I picked it at random, and the person who posted it made some great changes to it).

I will add a couple more "cindy brady's", because I have that page open on Youtube

2) Three examples off the top of my head

a) Sarah Jessica Parker
b) Ellen Pompeo (Grey's Anatomy - Meredith Grey)
c) Drew Barrymore


SJP's is by far the worst, with Pompeo's a close second in this list. I'll try to post examples from all three tomorrow.

But, for your viewing pleasure (and to hear a lisp), listen to these clips from the Brady Bunch. Especially listen to Buddy Hinton after Peter punches him in the mouth and knocks a tooth loose. You will immediately understand what I'm referring to when I say lisp. And as hokey the BB is now, back then this reflected the national trends, etc... especially when it came to issues that children had to face.

Peter decks Buddy Hinton Watch to the end or you won't get the lesson!

First part of the BH episode, modified for laughs, but the LISPING is in it. - hope these two examples helps at least explain what I'm talking about.

If not, let me know.

In the meantime, like I said, tomorrow I will get some examples from today's popular actors.
#11
Old 11-14-2011, 12:15 AM
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Cindy Brady's lisp is exaggerated for effect and obviously very audible.

I did listen to the SJP interview, and like others here, I have no idea what you're talking about.
#12
Old 11-14-2011, 12:22 AM
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I've never heard SJP lisp. I've heard her squeak and screech and shriek, but not lisp.
#13
Old 11-14-2011, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Jenaroph View Post
Cindy Brady's lisp is exaggerated for effect and obviously very audible.

I did listen to the SJP interview, and like others here, I have no idea what you're talking about.
I didn't listen to the SJP interview, so maybe she doesn't lisp in it.

Forget SJP for a minute!

The real question is if lisping has become accepted as normal speech.

SJP's lisp is pretty hard to miss. But I will find an example that I can point to and say "Here it is"!

If no one is hearing it, perhaps my question has been answered. If you aren't hearing the lisp, perhaps it's just so conventional now, you don't hear it.

But trust me, SJP would have been picked on by Buddy Hinton.


Oh, and Cindy Brady (Susan Olsen)'s lisp is not exaggerated at all. And lisps don't make the words inaudible... they just make an S sound like it has a "th".
#14
Old 11-14-2011, 02:45 AM
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I'm 40 years old and have never heard anyone lisp in my entire life. Even David Sedaris, who claims to have had the "trademark gay" lisp as a child doesn't currently lisp.

That having been said, I remember in either kindergarten or 1st grade I was pulled aside to special speech classes for a time because I either had problems pronouncing my S's or T's. I forget which. I'm pretty sure in most cases where it actually happens it's nipped in the bud early.
#15
Old 11-14-2011, 02:58 AM
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I've noticed that both Ezra Klein and Melissa Harris Perry (both MSNBC commentators) have lisps. One day not too long ago, they were both on during the same interview, and all of the SSSSTTTTHHHHHing drove me nuts. It's kind of a running joke between my husband and me now.
#16
Old 11-14-2011, 06:43 AM
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I heard the lead singer of tool speaking at a concert and it sounded like he has a lisp
#17
Old 11-14-2011, 06:57 AM
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Yes, it's an awful little interview, but it's the first thing that came up in the YouTube search. If the OP isn't going to post examples, I'm certainly not going to put effort into searching for a good, much less supporting, clip. I haven't even watched anything with her in it that I recall, but I've never heard and remembered a lisp from her in the previously unceasing promotion for her show and movies.

Childhood lisps don't count. They're speech impediments, intentionally "cute," or both. And the Brady Bunch certainly aren't contemporary examples.

Ezra Klein - possible, I haven't heard him lately but he's primarily a print journalist so he wasn't hired as the handsome face to deliver the headlines off a teleprompter. A lisp is less surprising in him. And even some voice-focused journalists have speech problems; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the most notable example that jumps to mind, having spasmodic dysphonia.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 11-14-2011 at 06:59 AM.
#18
Old 11-14-2011, 07:03 AM
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Drew Barrymore has had a lisp since forever. I notice Jamie Oliver has a slight lisp - it seems because his tongue is too large for his mouth.
#19
Old 11-14-2011, 07:08 AM
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Barney Frank is the only adult lisper I can think of.
#20
Old 11-14-2011, 08:33 AM
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While I was reading this thread, I flipped on the TV and Sex and the City (the movie, I believe) was on.

Sarah Jessica Parker definitely does not have a lisp. She does have a slightly sibilant S (there's a little bit of an accompanying whistle), but I've heard much worse (e.g. Garrison Keillor).
#21
Old 11-14-2011, 10:41 AM
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Does Paris Hilton have a "lisp" to you? She seems to really attack those s's but I wouldn't call it a lisp. But maybe the OP does.

The lead singer from Modest Mouse (you'll recognize his band from Rock Band!) has a lisp. I always sang along to their songs with a lisp but always just thought it was a flair in the way he sang. Not so...it's real. And I'm obsessed with it.
#22
Old 11-14-2011, 12:51 PM
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Interesting note. Had some time at lunch to catch up on this thread and find a SJP example. So before I started looking, I clicked on the example provided upthread... Sure enough, I didn't hear much of a lisp either in that. It may be because she has a piece of gum in her mouth while she is giving the interview, I don't know.

I'll find one. I just need to find a decent SATC clip on youTube.

Interestingly, I did a quick Google search, and THIS came up as the first result. So apparently, in 2006, doper Wile E thought she had a lisp, also.

I also read another link from the google that said her lisp is fake. I don't know if that's true or not. I can tell you that I heard her on SATC and she lisped constantly, so I shouldn't have a problem finding something. I'll search tonight.

It would serve me right if my biggest gripe is with someone who faked it for her character on SATC!
#23
Old 11-14-2011, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
Does Paris Hilton have a "lisp" to you? She seems to really attack those s's but I wouldn't call it a lisp. But maybe the OP does.

The lead singer from Modest Mouse (you'll recognize his band from Rock Band!) has a lisp. I always sang along to their songs with a lisp but always just thought it was a flair in the way he sang. Not so...it's real. And I'm obsessed with it.
I don't think Paris Hilton has a lisp, but as you say, she really attacks the s's. It's close, but I'd say no. But then again, I'm partial to her, so maybe I'm just being biased. :-)
#24
Old 11-14-2011, 01:21 PM
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I'm vaguely remembering a discussion we had in a sociolinguistics class I took. It was about the alternation between the "pure" s sound and the sh sound. This is not a lisp, it's a learned phonemic variation. People who use the "sh" version of the sibilant will use it most noticeably at the beginning of a second consecutive s-word; for example, "State Street" would sound like "State Shtreet". People who do this will put a little bit of sh in all of their s-es, though. People who don't do this can hear it clearly if they listen.

IIRC, and no I don't have any cites, this tendency varies first by region and second by generation within the region, just like the New England tendency to add -r to the end of words that end with vowels varies from generation to generation.

So if this is what you're hearing, then yeah, there is a generational component to it.
#25
Old 11-14-2011, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
I've never noticed the SJP lisp either.

But if she doesn't shave those sideburns, she's off the team!
It's Don Mattingly who won't get rid of those damn sideburns. SJP has gigantism from drinking too much nerve tonic.


Rudy Giuliani comes to mind when I think of famous adults who have a lisp. I don't run into too many adults who have a lisp. People still send children to speech therapists to get rid of lisps.
#26
Old 11-15-2011, 03:45 AM
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Mo Rocca has a very noticeable one, but he does manage to compensate for the sounds that would otherwise be very Daffy Duck, if he didn't control it somewhat. But he is clearly using his tongue in the conventional teeth-lisp manner.
#27
Old 11-15-2011, 09:03 AM
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Lisping - has it taken over as "normal" speech?
Other than in Spain, no, not that I can tell.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:54 AM
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A division manager I worked under until the end of March lisps. Bit distracting when she led meetings.
#29
Old 11-15-2011, 10:36 PM
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OK. I admit I didn't search long, but I wanted to find something that you didn't need to watch through for 5-10 minutes to get to see what I'm referring to.

SJP's Lisp

First, listen to Carrie's narration, and you can hear her hard "s" sounds. Sounds like a bit of air coming out of a tire every time she hits one.

Her first line, she says "miss" (as in miss you). Watch and listen to this. Her tongue goes on the back of her teeth and she pushes the "s" sound out. This is what I am talking about. It's staying on the "s" longer than required in normal speech. If we can SJP, I'll add two to make it more understandable.

Drew Barrymore (as mentioned before) clearly uses her tongue too much when she makes the "s" sound.

Michele Obama has a very bad lisp (not to mention an under bite of epic proportions).

Dan Dierdorf - HERE

These aren't Cindy Brady lisps, where you see the tongue.... these are lisps where the speaker has uses his tongue to push against the inside front of their teeth to make the "s" sound.

I know this may sound like nitpiking, but the question remains. When I was a kid, and you spoke with a lisp, you were usually sent to a speech therapist who taught you how to speak without one. Therefore, most people I graduated with did not lisp. Now, it seems that the majority of kids and young adults I've heard speak have a lisp of some level or another.
#30
Old 11-15-2011, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cmyk View Post
Mo Rocca has a very noticeable one, but he does manage to compensate for the sounds that would otherwise be very Daffy Duck, if he didn't control it somewhat. But he is clearly using his tongue in the conventional teeth-lisp manner.
Mo Rocca is an excellent example! Very strong lisper.

There are so many out there, sometimes I can't think of the best examples.

Feel free to add names and examples to this thread if you know what I'm talking about.
#31
Old 11-15-2011, 11:32 PM
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I'm still not hearing it. Maybe you've got a hearing disorder!
#32
Old 11-16-2011, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Stink Fish Pot View Post
Wow, I definitely hear the lisp there. It's mind boggling I never noticed it before you pointed it out!
#33
Old 11-16-2011, 03:04 AM
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There's also Christopher Mintz-Plasse who played Mclovin in Superbad, and the Red Mist in Kick-Ass.
#34
Old 11-16-2011, 03:59 AM
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I've noticed it too. It's only mild lisping, not thee thellth theathellth on the theethore, so if that's what people are listening for then they won't hear it. The speaker doesn't move their tongue towards the roof of their mouth as much as people usually do with an s. The same softening happens with other letters, like l and t (at the beginning of words).

It's hard to think of examples for something that's so mild but nonetheless fairly common.

Almost every American pre-teen I hear on TV or in the movies has a lisp, whereas it's really rare in real life in the UK above the age of four or so. Dakota Fanning narrating Spielberg's Taken, for example.
#35
Old 11-16-2011, 05:50 AM
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What about Rosie Pope? Does she have a lisp or speech impediment or is that her accent. It's hard to watch her show because of the accent or whatever that is.
#36
Old 11-16-2011, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cherry View Post
What about Rosie Pope? Does she have a lisp or speech impediment or is that her accent. It's hard to watch her show because of the accent or whatever that is.
The one that comes to mind for me is Dante Basco as Zuko in Avatar TLA.
#37
Old 11-16-2011, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Stink Fish Pot View Post
OK. I admit I didn't search long, but I wanted to find something that you didn't need to watch through for 5-10 minutes to get to see what I'm referring to.

SJP's Lisp

First, listen to Carrie's narration, and you can hear her hard "s" sounds. Sounds like a bit of air coming out of a tire every time she hits one.
Ah, that's sibilance. She's hissy, not lispy. I'm wondering if that wasn't a put-on for the character.
#38
Old 11-16-2011, 01:43 PM
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I've heard it fairly often in the U.K.

From what I've seen its an affectation by kids acting cute for their parents, most parents tell them to stop acting like big babies and the kids drop the habit.

However some parents still think of their offspring as cute little babies long after the appropriate age, don't pull the kids on it and the affectation becomes an engrained habit in adulthood that they genuinely can't help.

(Though I wouldn't be stunned with amazement if they secretly thought that it still made them sound cute)
#39
Old 11-16-2011, 02:53 PM
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My 5-year-old son lisps. I don't think he can help it. He simply can't seem to pronounce "S" without a little "Th" in it. Oh, well. I'm certainly not going to punish or mock him for something he can't help. No one else in the house lisps, including my two-year-old daughter, so it's not something we encourage.

The only other people I can remember lisping is Spanish speakers from certain parts of Spain. Drives me batshit since I learned Spanish in Chile (it just sounds really pretentious to my ear, even though I know it's a dialect, not an attitude - for most anyway). I get all stabby when I hear "Ibitha," but that's how you pronounce it there, so that's that.
#40
Old 11-16-2011, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Ah, that's sibilance. She's hissy, not lispy. I'm wondering if that wasn't a put-on for the character.
This is exactly what I was wondering: does the OP define a lisp as any difference in the production of sibilant consonants? In that case, I'd agree that it's much less of a big deal. But actual lisping? No, it is not accepted.
#41
Old 12-20-2012, 02:28 AM
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SJP Major lisper

Stink Fish Pot, I agree with you 100%. I have the exact same question as you. Why do so many people lisp now? And how can anyone NOT notice SJP's lisp/hiss? It drives me crazy. I read that some people cannot say S correctly because of their mouth anatomy. No problem there, they can't do it,. The article said that many people lisp due to lazy speech patterns, and they can articulate the S sound just fine. They just don't. Like SJP. Lisp or hiss, if you can make the correct sound, why not do it. Anyway, drives me nuts.

Last edited by mlee; 12-20-2012 at 02:31 AM.
#42
Old 12-20-2012, 03:17 AM
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Okay, serious question: HOW do you produce an s sound without putting your tongue on/through your teeth? Because I've tried for half an hour and literally cannot produce an "s" sound without putting my tongue through my teeth. Sometimes my s's get "lispy" I'll admit, but they're usually just sibilant.
#43
Old 12-20-2012, 03:32 AM
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It's probably because of the fact that my teeth don't overlap in the front due to orthodontic issues. Even when I have my teeth clenched like some of the tutorials recommend I can't do it without putting my tongue between my teeth, there's just nowhere else for it to go. (The gap also means I can't do a smile with teeth )

Last edited by Jragon; 12-20-2012 at 03:32 AM.
#44
Old 12-20-2012, 05:11 AM
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A proper "s" sound is produced by placing the front of the tongue along the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth, probably by 1/8 inch or so, and dropping the back of the tongue. The "hissy" or "whistle" s sound is produced by placing the tongue even further back.

I was in a voice acting class some years ago, with a pro voice acting coach who works with many well-known actors whose names escape me because it was a decade ago. One of the students in the class had a distinctive lisp, and during our second session the coach addressed it for about 2 minutes. I wish I could remember the instructions she gave the student, because she simply taught her a different way to form her "s" sound. The coach said often if a lisp isn't from a physical problem, it's simply because either as a child the person didn't watch closely to see how parents were forming the sound, so copied it incorrectly, or a parent was a lisper and so the child learned it that way. Apparently this student was one of those, because her lisp disappeared during the instructional and the coach said if she practiced every day it would become her new normal.

It was fascinating to watch, and the student was kind of amazed that the simple instruction was all she had to do to change it.
#45
Old 12-20-2012, 06:51 AM
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I think for me it's physical. I've always had trouble with alveolar sounds, I can't do the alveolar trill either, despite years of trying.

Last edited by Jragon; 12-20-2012 at 06:51 AM.
#46
Old 12-20-2012, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by overlyverbose View Post
My 5-year-old son lisps. I don't think he can help it. He simply can't seem to pronounce "S" without a little "Th" in it. Oh, well. I'm certainly not going to punish or mock him for something he can't help. No one else in the house lisps, including my two-year-old daughter, so it's not something we encourage.
Of course punishing or mocking isn't the way to go, but maybe he could benefit from speech therapy. I took it all throughout grade school, as part of the school's resource program.

Anyway:

When I think of lisps, I think of the kid from "The Music Man", especially in the song "The Wells Fargo Wagon". That, to me, is a serious lisp. Granted it's from a movie, but I haven't really heard a lisp that pronounced in a real-life adult (kids, sure), aside from a girl I know who spent most of her formative years in Hungary. (And before I knew that about her, I thought she was just being cute.)

Last edited by ekedolphin; 12-20-2012 at 06:53 AM.
#47
Old 12-20-2012, 11:06 AM
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I've begun to notice it, too. I have a coworker who lisps (also known as a "lateralized /s/" or /sɬ/ in diacritic, I believe.)

I think it's prevalence is due to the fact that it is not treated in schools. With such heavy caseloads as it is, SLPs can only focus on impediments, delays, or disabilities that significantly impact the quality of life or education of a student. This includes more severe articulation disorders, communication disorders, or any disorder of language (morphology, pragmatics, semantics, syntax, and phonology) that interferes with daily interactions and learning. Of all the observations I've done, I've never known a school SLP that had a child for lisping (it may be possible to see a child that has lisping in addition to other problems, but never only lisping.)

Most states mandate that in order to recieve help in schools the child must score at least 1 1/3- 1 1/2 below standard deviation on at least two standardized tests (or subtests.) If given an articulation test, lisping would only affect a few sounds- not enough to make the student score to the point of needing treatment. There is always speech therapy outside of schools, but it can be a hassle trying to find one in the area, scheduling, and fighting with insurance to try to get it covered (if possible.)

Really, I think it's just a quality of life issue. The coworker I work with seems unaffected by it, and it seems like all the lispers listed here are doing pretty well despite the lisp. It's when the speaker feels that the impediment is having a noticeable impact on their quality of life is when it should be addressed.
#48
Old 12-20-2012, 05:42 PM
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In thix theasons and theveral thinematic fimths of Thex and the Thity, I don't think I've ever notithed that Thara Jethica Parker thpeaks with any dithernable thpeach impedementh.
#49
Old 12-20-2012, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
In thix theasons and theveral thinematic fimths of Thex and the Thity, I don't think I've ever notithed that Thara Jethica Parker thpeaks with any dithernable thpeach impedementh.
Yoooour're dethhhhhhspicable.
#50
Old 12-20-2012, 07:12 PM
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Thombies! Thhhey're everywhere!
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