What I’m Stuttering on Lately

A few quick things that I’m stuttering on a lot these days.

1. Last week I had a workshop for work. So I was telling a few people that I’d be out of the office for this workshop. And of course I stuttered all over workshop. So I’d occasionally call it a “thing,” or “conference” or whatever else I could muster.

2. I have a colleague whose name I can barely say without stuttering every time. This is pretty rough considering how closely we have to work together every day. It’s really bad because I can say the first syllable but then get stuck on the second. The alternative is just to get up from my desk and walk over to his — it’s about 20 feet away.

3. I’ve moved to Al Khobar from Yanbu. I lived in Yanbu for four years, and have trouble saying that as well. It’s annoying only because people ask me where I was before I came to Khobar. I was on a program that had offices in Jubail (easy to say!) and Yanbu (impossible to say!). I’ll occasionally defer to the name of the client, but that doesn’t really help in the long run.

As you can read from the above, there are some pretty fundamental things that I’m stuttering on lately. I feel to some extent that it’s dragging the rest of my speech down. But since I know this (and that it could happen) I’m trying to brush off all the stuttering instances above. Just because I stutter on certain words, doesn’t mean I’ll stumble on the next one.

And while I’m stuttering on the above stuff maybe 90% of the time, I need to focus on celebrating the 10% of the time they do come out fluently. I’ll get more comfortable with my audience at work, and it’ll get easier. It always does. I’ll get the 90% down to 80%, and then down below 50%, and then I can focus on whatever else is bothering my speech.

My Kind of Stuttering

I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned on here what kind of stuttering I do.

Here’s a handy chart that lists four of them.

I’ve almost always done prolongations and blocks. I’m not sure if I really do repetitions or not — I mean, if I’m trying to say a word, get the first syllable out and then get stuck on the second (a block), sometimes I’ll try the first syllable again. I might do this a few times.

I was just thinking … what’s worse, a prolongation or a block? Toss up, really. They both equally suck, I think. With a prolongation you just never know … when it’s going to end. And it’s the only thing you can think about. And the listener doesn’t know when it’s going to end (although who cares what they think, right? Right!). For me at least if I prolong on one specific sound during a conversation, it’ll get prolonged every single time during that same conversation. And if it’s a word I can’t avoid, it’s even more annoying.

For the blocks, they just create confusion. There’s a flow to every conversation. Until there’s not. And then there is! And then there’s complete silence for who-knows-how-long followed by a loss of eye contact, a change of subject, and a wondering of how many hours until lunch.

For the phone, (if given the choice … ha!) I’d rather have a prolongation than a block. At least then the listener knows you’re trying to queue something up. In person, I’d prefer a block because then the person can see you’re trying to say something.

The thing about insertions to me is that, well, don’t fluent people do this, too? I don’t think I use this as a stuttering/covert tool, really. I just use it to let someone know that I’m thinking. And that something is going to come out.

I think I’m going to have to pay really close attention over the next few weeks for these things and see what I’m really doing as far as insertions.

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