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Is Your Speech Showing?

Author(s): Edna Lue Furness

Source: The Clearing House, Vol. 33, No. 8 (Apr., 1959), pp. 489-491
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
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Accessed: 01-11-2016 14:08 UTC
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Is Your Speech Showing?


employer. He may have letters of high recare listening, speaking, reading, and
writbut their value goes down
ing. Of these, speaking is the principal
after the
in- personal interviews. If, on the
strument with which man controls his social
other hand, the applicant does not offend
environment. Socially, oral language isby
a his speech, or if his speech is exceptionvery important source of intellectual stimually good, he makes a favorable impression
lation and is a very significant human re(2, p. 9). We in education would not deny
sponse. A man's social success will be largely
to any worker or prospective worker the
determined by the degree to which he has
advantage of good speech as school and even
developed socially acceptable and servicelife equipment. After all, over 90 per cent
able speech patterns.
of the average person's communication is
The social aspect of speech is carried over
carried on through speech (3, p. 5).

into the business and professional worldGranted, speech is the principal means

with which a man, woman, or child conwhere people daily meet and work with one
another. Here effective speaking can untrols his environment. Conversely, environequivocally be labeled a business and a proment controls speech, and a person's speech
fessional asset. The applicant for a position,
patterns reflect the social milieu in which he
be he young or old, is readily judged by his
moves, lives, and has his being. "If I can
speech. He may be an able person but if teach
you how to speak, I can make you
has an unpleasant, weak, or whiny voice, pass
he for a duchess." More truth than fiction
has little chance of impressing a prospective
is conveyed by these words of Professor
Higgins, professor of phonetics, as he speaks
to Eliza Doolittle, whose speech helps him
to identify the homes of the cockney crowd,


as the story is told in Shaw's Pygmalion.

Our answer to the questionTake

in for
an example of the influence of
title is-of course it is showing!
the social milieu the child whose speech

first time we realized how much it was

behavior is marred by sound omissions such
showing was when a colleague recorded
as "ello" we
for "yellow" and substitutions such
our voice. Oh, man! Thereafter,

as "thither"
for "sister," "wabbit" for
were more careful of lots of
thingsenunciation, resonance, well-spaced
"rabbit." Perhaps the child is imitating his
pauses, and so forth.
doting elders, or perhaps it is a case of
If you haven't had your voice re-

sibling influence whereby the youngster is

corded, do so at the first opportunity.
to baby talk as a protection against
Then, this article will really clinging
your attention. It was made possible by with an older brother or sister,
a grant-in-aid from the University
of which he feels incapable of
Wyoming graduate school council.
In such cases teachers have found
Kenneth Jay, instructor in
the use of social skills, such as
education there, read and appraised the
the child take part in activities and
manuscript. The author, who having
is profesathletics,
choosing, being chosen, giving and
sor of English education at the
University of Wyoming, is a frequent
out directions, exchanging comutor to The Clearing House.pliments, welcoming guests, or accepting responsibilities at home and at school.

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tinctly and correctly,
takes the time to
Take for another example

cultural level of the home and its relation

repeat again and again words that resemble

the sounds the child is already making helps
to speech development. It is generally recognized that the speech of people of different
him to acquire good speech patterns (7, p.
social classes and cultural background
varies. Davis and Havighurst of the UniObviously sociological factors must often
be canvassed
in locating the cause of careless
versity of Chicago point this out in one
their studies of the effect of class on lanor defective speech patterns. These factors

guage. They write, "In middle class life,

are also important in predicting the outcome,
language is a serious business. Making
a or probable fate, of such cases. If the
proper living depends on the right use cultural
level is low, and if good speech is
not held as important to the individual's
language. The middle class handles chiefly
symbols for a living; the lower class, chiefly
well-being and success, the problem of
motivation will be a real one. If, on the
things" (4, p. 115).
In studying the language patterns of midother hand, the cultural level is high, then
dle class and lower class children at the

the chances for a child's acquiring good

kindergarten level, one investigator speech

foundare, other things being equal, very
that the former group talk moremuch
better, even if the pupil is considerthemselves, while the latter group tend
ably retarded
mentally (1, p. 82).
speak more about people and things It
p. without saying that increasing
388). Upper class children draw uponrecognition
is being given to the importance
greater knowledge of the past, speakofmore
speech and speech education in the

spontaneously, and listen to each schools

other of today. The emphasis upon lan-

better than do lower class youngsters,

instruction as communication places
remain silent unless drawn out. Both
speaking and listening on a par with readgroups, however, follow a commoning
and writing. Training in speaking and
of growth, though the upper class
begins at least five years earlier
better vocabularies, construct better senthan training in reading and writing and

tences; and interestingly enough, neither continues for many students throughout
group seems to speak a separate kind of college.


Learning to speak, like learning to think,

As we are aware, the language that isis a continuous process. It should be started
stressed in the school follows clearly ain the school at the very beginning. In some

middle-class pattern. We are also aware that

high schools separate departments of speech
have been set up in accordance with the
the difference between the kind of speech
which the child uses in everyday life and
belief that the speech program can function
that which the teachers require in the classmost efficiently if it is relatively autonomous
room may result in confusion and even con(6, p. 236).
flict for the school child.
This is well and good. Yet an autonomous
In connection with the discussion of the

arrangement is not necessarily the ideal

setup. Besides, there are many schools
socioeconomic levels and speech we may
where, because of personnel and facilities, a
comment upon several other facets which
may be common to the several levels. The
separate speech department is not possible.
We may envision in all schools, as does the
size of the vocabulary depends to a considNational
Council of Teachers of English, a
erable extent upon the intelligence of the
in which speech takes its place
child; it also depends upon the amount program

quality of talking heard. The parent among

that the offerings of the total program in
talks a great deal to a child, slowly, communicative
disarts, and we may work for a

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To put it more
succinctly, is your
close interrelationship of
writing, and speaking (6,
236). The effort

toward integration has merit. Still, it is

especially important to guard REFERENCES

the place of
Speech in
Education: a G
speech in the program (1)
see that
Classroom Teacher. New York: Longm
place is not ignored in a the
emphaGreen and Co., 1943.
sis upon reading and writing. Special vigi(2) BARBER, SARA M. Speech Education. B
lance of the speech program
exLittle, Brown
and Co.,
erted in these days when
for Improving
in all walks of life need to
and Boston: Ex
sion Co.,
honestly, to express their
to speak
with clarity, fluency, (4)

and to examine and evaluate what is said

by others.

Father of the Man. Boston: Houghton Mifhin

Co., 1947.
(5) EDMAN, MARION. "Some Implications of Research

for Speaking," Elementary English, 33: 386-89

The question is this: Is your school pro(October, 1956).
viding a sound program in speech-whether
it is taught in relation to or in segregation
English Language Arts in the Secondary School.
from the other phases of language-which
New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1956.
will help minimize speech errors and (7)
differSTRANG, RUTH. An Introduction to Child Study.

ences that are the result of environmental

New York: The Macmillan Co., 1930.

Discipline and Freedom

There is need for the discipline of memory, the
discipline of habit (which is to say the reconcile-

suming, life-adjusted round. Untutored ignorance

is happier than this, since it at least can enjoy a

ment to effort), the discipline of clarity on the part

childlike illusion of freedom. The freest man I

of the teacher, and, finally, the discipline of pace

to achieve a dynamic mastery of knowledge that
the ends of wisdom may be served. There are three

learning has made freedom and discipline ind

know has the freest mind because his profo

guishable to him in his way of life. And he has

qualities of a fine teacher: a quiet zeal, unending

patience, and clarity. And I think the greatest of
these is clarity. For if a teacher is a clear master

his freedom, not as a last gasp on a serene p

but through the exciting rigors of the clim
him, the way of discipline is the way of free

of what he teaches, he cannot fail to teach with

and his life, like those of other scholars and wise

zeal as well as pace. And if he teaches with zeal,men

he like him, is a witness to the illimitable humanity of man. This is a freedom which cannot be
perhaps will not need endless resources of patience.
hawked in the streets or advertised or conferred or
But the clarity of the teaching is always directed
bought and sold. Yet it is the only freedom which
not so much to the acquisition of exact knowledge

is worth a man's seeking or a school's teaching,

as to the well-paced exercise of that knowledge,
because it is the only freedom which cannot be
to the enrichment of mind, the grasp of first principles, the achievement of wise purposes, and the servdiminished, corrupted, or destroyed. ...

ice of great causes. For the achievement of these

"Man is a reed, but a thinking reed," says Pascal.
great ends, only the disciplined mind is free. There
His frail mortality is sustained by an iron core-

his free and disciplined mind. This is the unique

is no harsher bondage than the half-emancipated
gift of man and the moral and human center of
mind. Chained to a middling conformity, nibbling
fragments of truth, it flies in dreams, wakes to him,
the and it is to this center that we must reach.WILLIAM H. CORNOG in the School Review.
tether of the half-effort, and walks its wisely-con-

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