Month: April 2011

Churchill’s Speech Problem: A Lisp, not a Stutter

Churchill’s Speech Problem: A Lisp, not a Stutter

What many thought was stut­ter­ing was a prop, not a handicap.

Churchill’s speech prob­lem was a lisp. He could not pro­nounce the let­ter “S” and nev­er real­ly learned to do so—so he turned it into a prop, exag­ger­at­ing words like his famous “Narz­zsseess” for “Nazis.”

What some peo­ple thought was stut­ter­ing was his habit of turn­ing over a word or phrase in an under­tone before set­tling on the final words. He often used this tech­nique in speech­es, because he found that it would stir peo­ple to renewed inter­est in what he was about to say next.

Exam­ple is a quote from his speech at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty, 6 Sep­tem­ber 1943:“Man has part­ed com­pa­ny with his faith­ful friend the horse, and has sailed into the azure on the wings of eagles—eagles being rep­re­sent­ed by the infernal….uh,…

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Churchill Quote “All will be well”

Churchill Quote “All will be well”

A read­er asks, “was Churchill’s phrase ‘all will be well’ a one-time or habit­u­al expres­sion?” Answer: habitual.

Although not exclu­sive to him by any means, “all will be well” was a very fre­quent Churchillism. In South Africa in 1899-1900, the young Win­ston had picked up the Afrikaans phrase which trans­lates “all will come right.” He used both phras­es inter­change­ably because they expressed his sen­ti­ment. As he said at least once: “For myself I am an optimist—it does not seem to be much use being any­thing else…” (Guild­hall, Lon­don, 9 Novem­ber 1954, Churchill By Him­self, page 10.)…

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