Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mixing social and natural smile

Let me continue with the social and natural smile analogy: see last post. Often you can see a mixture or a transition between a social and a natural smile. Often, a social smile encourages a natural smile. A natural smile might turn into a social smile, if the joke ends badly. It is as if both systems access your face muscles to different degrees.

I experience similarly in my speech. When I am into the "social" speech like imitating a foreign accent, I am 100% fluent. However, it is not easy to switch immediately from "natural" speech to "social" speech, especially when I stuttered severely before. I need to shut up for 2-3 seconds, "clear my system", start very slowly, and then it usually works. Once I am into it, it's fine.

Interestingly, I just realised that the same is true when I am using a fluency shaping technique! So could we say that these techniques are "social" speech, and is therefore often felt articificial? However, when I am really into the "social" speech, I can somehow modulate it more and bring "myself" (whatever that may mean) more in. So I start with a social smile which goes into a semi or full natural smile...

Keep on smiling :-)


randy said...

I have learned to use what is called "targets". I must say that I do not use them because it is so unnatural sounding. So I guess I agree.

Tom Weidig said...

Hi Randy,

Regarding unnatural sounding, I could argue:

0) is it more important for you to convey your message or how you convey it?

1) your stuttering is much more irritating and tiring to listen to in comparison.

2) you will perceive it more unnatural than the outside listener.

2) in a first phase, you need to overlearn the technique to have it internalized. Then you can modulate much more depending on how much you need and the speech is much less unnatural.

3) it sounds much worse when you know what you are listening for. So a listener that does not know about it, will either not notice or not know what to think.