Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tom's answers

Here are my answers:

1) Who was the first stutterer?

No-one. You need to look at human evolution. Stuttering can only exist within human speech. So the question to ask is when did human speech evolve. There is no concrete date, but a gradual development from the ability to produce sounds to the ability of verbalising thoughts using rules of grammar. The key is grammar, I believe. This is a far far more complex and complicated process, that takes a lot of brain power. I would speculate that the first humans that moved towards verbalising thoughts had dysfluent speech per se, but not relative to their fellow humans. They were all hesistant in their speech.

2) Who was the first fluent speaker?

The first fluent speaker in the sense that they were the majority and more fluent than a small minority came much later. Evolution "found out" that being more fluent that others actually increased their social status and increased good communication. So the fluency genes won against status quo genes over and over again over hundred thousands of years constantly and patiently increasing fluency of its human hosts, except for a pocket of stutterers that have not been given fluency genes yet.

3) Did the ratio of stuttering versus fluent people change over the course of history?

Yes, here are the stages:

Stage 1: the ratio does not exist because no-one could speak!
Stage 2: 100% stutterers in absolute terms (as of 2006!) but 0% in relative terms.
Stage 3: ...
Stage 4: 5% stutterers in absolute terms (as of 2006!) but 5% in relative terms.
Stage 5: ratio goes down further due to better treatment
Stage 5: the ratio does not exist because speech is not needed anymore.

4) Does stuttering affect your probability of having off-spring?

My bottom line is that stuttering certainly does not help. It certainly never helped me with the girls! :-) I am not exactly sure how the probability is decreased, but it will certainly not increase! My guess is that verbal communication became more and more important during human evolution, and by consequence the evolutionary pressure increased the more social and verbal humans became.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're young, smart, and attractive. If a girl is turned off by your stuttering then she's just the wrong girl. I'm not trying to minimize your concerns though- just saying that not all women are bothered by stuttering or any other 'condition'.