The Lisp for Kegel Exercises

Dear readers, here is my new celebrity cause: The word “Lisp”. Let me be clear with you. I have a couple challenges right out of the gates. First, I’m not a celebrity. Eventually, we can only hope that the cause catches the altruistic eye of some celebrity with an abundance of celebrity style time on their hands. My second challenge (see how I’ve avoided the word “problem” for all you positive people) is that I don’t really care about the actual affliction of the lisp.

I could actually care less if someone makes a “th” sound when they are attempting to make an “s” sound via their mouth. I don’t have a judgmental bone in my body when it comes to how someone pronounces or doesn’t pronounce an “s” sound. I say “potatoes”, you say “potatoeth”. We are all equal – well, except for the extra teeth marks on the top of your tongue, which happens to lay too close to the front of your mouth.

Let’s back up for a second and explain that not only is this type of speech impediment known as a “Lisp”, but it can also be known as “Sigmatism”. I guess “Lisp”, for the afflicted, is the lessor of the two evils, with Sigmatism turning into Thigmatithm and lisp only being lithp. With this speech impediment, it is not only “s” sounds, but other sibilants (yeah, I just learned that word, too) like “z”, “ts”, and “dz” that are misarticulated.

The word “lisp” has several possible roots going back to Greek, German, Danish and old English. The origin of the word will need to be discussed by more knowledgeable sorts. I’m only here today to point out the problem and offer a solution we can all agree on.

What I’m concerned about, and find to be cruel and unnecessary to those speaking with a lisp, is actually the word. The word “Lisp” is like some vicious taunt. I should stop for one moment and say that on the flip side, for those that embrace and love their lisp, that simple descriptive term can be a point of pride.

“Damn right, I don’t say “etheths”. I have a lithp and I’m proud of it, thuccer!

But it seems pernicious to the group who sees the lisp as a speech impediment to be overcome. Those who only dream of being able to denote plurality by an “s” sound or others put off by all the extra work that goes into the “th” sound. These are the poor souls whom I shall dedicate my life – or at least a few minutes here. So, maybe I shouldn’t have said my life. My bad.

How sadistic is it that the very name of the affliction has to be “Lisp”. The sufferer of said affliction is not even able to talk about the problem without being forced to use a letter “s”. I am here today to say that we need to change the name of this impediment from the overtly insensitive name “Lisp” to something more appropriate and easier for the lisping community to say.

Cordial and learned readers, having the word “Lisp” portray the event taking place when the “s” sound is represented by the “th” sound is paramount to having the made up word of “Stttuttutter” represent the word “Stutter”. Image the unadulterated horror of a person struggling with a stuttering speech impediment having to use the word Stttuttutter to talk about their personal issue. Talk about rubbing one’s nose in said affliction.

I have, of course, given this some grave thought and after a whole bunch of minutes thinking about this problem. I’ve come up with a solution. I’ve come up with a better name. The beautiful thing is that this new name is not a made up word. Sure, I thought about just changing the name from “Lisp” to “Lithp”. That makes everyone say it the same. And, this may be a back-up if my plan A solution can’t be easily implemented.

Plan A takes an already popular word and merely has it swap places with “Lisp”. Here it is. We take Kegel, as in Kegel exercises, and swap it with Lisp. The affliction where the “s” sound turns into the “th” sound becomes “Kegel” and the exercises associated with strengthening pelvic floor muscles turns into “Lisp exercises”. As many of you know, these exercises are used to prepare for or recover from child birth and used to treat urinary incontinence. To be fair, the exercises can also be helpful for men with bladder control issues.

There will be some challenges with the swapping of the terms. For example, everyone is pretty used to “Lisp” referring to Lisp and “Kegel” referring to a certain exercise. However, I think a major word “search and replace” throughout the internet should be easy enough. Think about all the attention that these two topics will receive upon the decision to move forward with the word swap.

The Kegel exercises came to be by Dr. Arnold Kegel in the early 1940s and he has received much praise for his early work in the gynecological field. This can’t be taken away from him. After all, it’s not like there’s a Dr. Lisp out there. I bet if he were alive today he would think that it’s time for his name to be associated with something other than pee control exercises – not that this hasn’t been important to millions and millions of women. But, I’m just saying maybe his decedents would be ok if their name wasn’t only known for preventing urine leaks. Not to mention, I think we can all see how the term “Lisp” is more relatable to the description of a leaky bladder.

The important thing here is how much sense this actually makes. All people with this speech impediment should be able to easily say the word “Kegel”. I do realize that there will be a small number of leaking bladder women that may be faced with using the term “Lisp exercises” who are not able to easily make an “s” sound. AND we’ve added the word “exercises” with two additional “s” sounds. Bummer. The good thing is that they have options. They can refer to them with other terms, such as “pelvic workout” or “leaky bladder workout”.

I’m super bushed from pointing out this problem AND finding a solution. I might add, all in one day. I’ll leave it up to you to take the movement forward – at least until there can be a reliable celebrity spokesperson signed on to carry out the plan. My last input is that I think it would help advance the cause immensely if the celebrity is a woman with a lisp, suffering from urinary incontinence.



Sadly Yours,

Jason Spafford

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