[Fwd: PRESS RELEASE: FAU Graduate Students Offer Speech Therapy Via Webcam to Republic of Rwanda Citizens]

Paul Hopper hopper at cmu.edu
Fri Feb 4 04:10:05 UTC 2011

Yes, Angus gets it right. Terminology is part of the power/money play of
medical organizations. Optometrists have explicit rules about it (a
brochure put out by the New York State Optometrics Association recommended
that clients should be referred to as "patients", the receptionist should
be a "nurse", to insist on the title "Doctor", etc.)

I too wondered if there isn't a bit of global rivalry surfacing here
between the British and American accents. There's quite a story to be told
about this, I think.


On Thu, February 3, 2011 10:23, Angus B. Grieve-Smith wrote:
> On 2/3/2011 9:56 AM, Natalie Weber wrote:
>> I wonder if it would be more accurate to say that this "therapy" aids
>> in developing a more American accent, no matter what English dialect you
>> had previously learned, and is called "speech therapy" to make it more
>> palatable to those who pay for the service? Many language courses do not
>> emphasize natural pronunciation, assuming that "it will just come when
>> you are more fluent", so I would imagine such a speech therapy service
>> could be in high demand.
> I think that accents are being pathologized because that puts
> speech trainers in a class of "medical practitioners" rather than teachers,
> and allows them to demand higher fees and greater prestige. It may even be
> paid for by some insurance companies, for all I know.
> It may also be a case of "when you've got a hammer, everything
> looks like a nail."  These two explanations are not mutually exclusive.
> --
> -Angus B. Grieve-Smith
> grvsmth at panix.com

Paul J. Hopper
Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of Humanities
Department of English
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Senior External Fellow
School of Language and Literature
Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
Albertstr. 19
D-79105 Freiburg i.Br.

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