52 SYSTEMS OF TREATING STAMMERING
speak those sentences in a whisper in which difficult
words occur, and so on. The theory is that, since
the vocal cords are not closely approximated during
whispered utterance, there must be less danger of
the glottis undergoing spastic closure. The argu-
ment, of course, is just as sound as the premises.
It is true that stammering is often temporarily
alleviated by recourse to whispering, just as it may
be temporarily alleviated by any other unnatural
measure that inspires confidence. The expedient
operates by inhibiting secondary causes. But whis-
pering is not usually efficacious, and it is seldom effi-
cacious for any considerable period; hence, even if
the measure were practicable, it would have to be
condemned on purely empirical grounds.
Another specific for stammering is speaking in a
monotone. One argument in support of the procedure
is that by avoiding rising inflection the stammerer
avoids a close approximation of the vocal cords, and
thus reduces the risk of sudden closure of the glottis.
Another argument is that inflection itself is difficult
for the stammerer owing to his "deficient control" of
the vocal cords.1 In many institutions the pupils
are required to drawl their words monotonously for
xOne authority on elocution says: "These inflections are ex-
tremely difficult to many. In the case of stammerers, they are
sometimes the only stumbling-blocks in their way, as is proved by
the absence of stammering in singing."