Thursday, August 13, 2009

Churchill and More myths on stuttering

Check out the Churchill society. A John Mather, M.D. aims to dispel the notion that Churchill stuttered and reveals himself as a true non-expert.

We know a lot about those who are stutterers as to how it can be induced in children through constant badgering to speak correctly. This is particularly true for susceptible children who have problems with their own self-esteem such as orphans. Effective treatment usually involves some form of short-term psychotherapy to improve assertiveness along with exercises in diction. One thing we probably know about Churchill is that he had little or no problem with asserting himself: a very secure ego!

Completely wrong on all points. Stuttering is not due to constant badgering. Orphans are not more likely to stutter. And short-term psychotherapy has ZERO long-term effect on fluency itself in most cases. So Churchill couldn't stutter because of his very secure ego? Non-sense. I have the perfect example: MYSELF! ;-) As the readers of TheStutteringBrain have surely noticed, Tom has a very secure ego, but I still stutter! So theory defeated! And Mather is a medical doctor??? Wow...

Leys from the British Stammering Association has written to them and asked for correction. I am hopeful that they will change their mind after considering the overwhelming facts. After all, they are not involved in stuttering treatment in any way.

Of course, we do not know for sure whether Churchil really stuttered or not. I am on the fence as I have not looked at historical sources. But this website seems to do a good job in proving the case though the editor of the Churchill society website disagrees.

(Thanks to Peter for the tip!)


Anonymous said...

so Churchill a person who stuttered or not? A person who used to stutter or stuttered very mildly.....???

More importantly: no one knows that Churchill stuttered (a pws)....just like no one believes you if you tell them that M. Monroe stuttered?

SFA's fantasy vs. the reality/public perception.....not sure how useful the famous PWS poster is???

(Wow, Tiger Woods used to stutter!!!!)

It is not about whether a famous person stuttered or not, it is about whether a famous person choose to talk about stuttering and try to "educate the public"

Key word: TRY, because the public is generally very ignorant.

Jo said...

On the Churchill stuttering hoohah, I think we can confirm that he did!

As it says on Minnesota State University's stuttering academic Judith Kuster's microsite page for Famous PWS (

"Winston Churchill - Prime Minister of Great Britain World War II.(Point of information, the following page claims that Churchill did not suffer from stutering, but from a lisp. I have heard and seen video tapes of Churchill. However, there is ample evidence uncovered by Keith Sharp that my cousin (yes he was;-) stuttered, JAK)."

Nice little claim to fame, having someone like Churchill as your cousin...well, if anyone should know if he did or not, I think she would!

Anonymous said...

Dr Mather might have had the Iowa University "Monster study" in mind:

Keith Sharp said...

Churchill stuttered big-time, as verified by numerous contemporary commentators. Please see

Luckily for civilization, he mostly succeeded in controlling his stutter in his big 1940s speeches. Any stutterer (I'm an ex) immediately thinks 'wow - and I am tense about asking for a newspaper! Imagine the fear of coming out with 'Britain will never S S S S S S Surr...'. Wouldn't you, too, drink brandy?

Keith Sharp

Adrian said...

I agree with the first anonymous. The "SFA's fantasy vs. the reality/public perception" is very annoying. Some of the people on the SFA list certainly belong there, but others may have had nothing more than a very brief childhood bout of stuttering. I find it insulting to equate the latter with those of us who truly stutter.

Jane Fraser, I know you sometimes lurk in cyberland. If you are reading this, please make some real changes in this counterproductive list!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Adrian. And Jane have the power. Do something that can change the public perception.