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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

THE SPEECH OF THE CHILD                  317

like Preyer, the suppression of the first sound of the word ought
also to be included in mogilalia.

Some of the defects of pronunciation which concern the pro-
duction of vowel sounds, like those of consonants, arise because
the child reproduces perfectly sounds which have been heard in
imperfect pronunciation.

In the first case we have functional inefficiency of the peri-
pheral motor organ, and as a result, of the nerve tracts, when the
cause is located in the individual. In the second case, the error
is traced to the auditory stimulus, and the cause is located in the
environment.

Such defects often persist, though in less marked degree, in
the youth and the adult. They produce a definitely faulty lan-
guage and also errors in spelling, like the wrong spelling of
dialects.

When one thinks of the fascination of human speech, one
realizes the inferiority of anyone who does not speak correctly,
and one cannot picture an aesthetic conception of education which
does not bestow special care on perfecting spoken language*
Although the Greeks passed on to Rome the art of cultivating
fine language, Humanism did not revive this practice, but devoted
more attention to the aesthetics of the environment and the
restoration of works of art than to the improvement of man.

Today there has been introduced the practice of correcting,
by methods of teaching, the grave defects of speech like stammer-
ing, but there has not yet penetrated into our schools the idea of
the gymnastics of language which tend to improve it, making them
part of a universal method and treating them as a detail of the great
work of the aesthetic improvement of man.

Some teachers of deaf-mutes and some intelligent seekers after
correct speech are attempting today, with but slight practical
success, to introduce into the elementary schools the correction
of various forms of defective speech, influenced by statistical
studies which show the wide prevalence of such defects among
pupils. The exercises consist essentially in cures by silence, which