Foreign Language Learning and the Stutterer


  • David Weiss

  • David Weiss (M.S., College of the City of New York) is the Head of Foreign Languages in New York City.


ABSTRACT Foreign language learning is a very special problem for students who stutter, since they are subject not only to the strains and stresses which the learning process itself entails, but also have to cope with the production and acquisition of new sounds and language patterns. The problem is intensified by the fact that modern language objectives stress the development of oral communication. A frequently mentioned hazard for the stutterer is speech pressure which can be caused by various elements of the foreign language lesson. Among the recommendations for the alleviation of the problem are the involvement of the stutterer in the lesson, openness about the problem, good listening habits on the part of the teacher and the other students, the use of techniques like choral speaking, dramatization, and singing, and the development of a pleasant, non-threatening atmosphere. The question of whether learning a foreign language can ameliorate stuttering because it is a new form of communication which is not encumbered by old associations deserves further investigation.