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Where were you. Oh yeah you were. The voice you have heard is that of a woman who has been an inspiration for thousands of handicapped speakers though she's world famous as a speaker and her name is certainly well known to every member of our audience. I'm sure that few of our listeners understood her words. That was the voice of Helen Keller where our minds meet a series of explorations in human communication conducted by professors John Fry and then Arnold Nelson of the Department of English Western Michigan University where minds meet is produced and recorded by W. M. U.K. under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters. In a shrinking
world where minds meet in words or not at all man speech is his most decisive act. Peace discussions explore this world of speech the topic for today is the inner voice. Self hearing here are professors frind and Nelson. This is John freind and this is Anil Nelson. It's amazing John to realize that Helen Keller can't hear herself talk. Well this is something we fail to realize about the deaf. And that's why we are surprised when we hear how they speak. But just as amazing is that the rest of us with normal hearing fail to realize how much we depend on hearing ourselves. Let's look into the connection today between speech and hearing John. Our topic is self hearing and we've heard the speech of a person who cannot hear what we want to emphasize today is that she cannot go she can't communicate with other people by touching their lips. She she can read Braille she can write. She can use several other codes. Yes at Helen Keller's speech deficiency is due to
her inability to listen to her own speech. That is she lacks self hearing. The value of which the rest of us are almost unaware of. We readily imagine how terrible it would be not to hear other human voices but we cannot imagine not hearing ourselves. We are simply we simply don't notice that we're hearing ourselves right. Well as we'll show a little later to have our self hearing tempered tempered with produces a disturbance in our speech. I like to give our audience another opportunity to listen to Helen Keller in this speech. She's making a plea for aid to the blind. And of course she herself is blind as well as deaf. Her actual words are as follows. I hope that everyone listening today will help fight to conserve by sight. Be a friend to those who will never see the light of day. Be good to them always. Here's her voice again. I imagine this time Arnie knowing what she was going to say that our audience was able to
follow her words much better after her pronunciation of the separate sounds of English was good. The difficulty is her intonation. That is her monotone and the odd rhythm of her phrases. But this is typical of the speech of the deaf. It's possible for the deaf person to imitate the movements of the lips and tongue of a normal speaker but the vocal chords are hidden from sight and touch and it's in the voice box that speech gets its meaningful tone. Well she wasn't born deaf when she John wasn't when she was deaf and blind as the result of a fever. Yes how did she learn to speak. Well when she was six she was actually six when Miss Sullivan began working with her. Miss Sullivan first communicated with or through touch. There was the famous scene at the pump when she first grasped the concept of language but it wasn't until three years later when she said her first words unless we count her infant babbling before she lost her hearing.
Well then she had some recollection of sight and hearing before she was two. Yes she has written that she spoke actually a few words and that on rare occasions even today her dreams contain sounds and visual images. There must be at least some unconscious recollection. Well this case of Helen Cameron is somewhat different from that of the congenitally deaf. Yes the person who was deaf from birth has an even greater speech handicap than a person who becomes totally deaf during childhood. I like to play now a recording of the speech of a person who was born deaf. Honestly it will probably feel as we do that his speech is even harder to understand than how Encounters of the subject. I'm sure
they don't know if they're. Bad. The first time I heard that Arnie I didn't understand a word. I didn't need it. But after I knew that he was reciting the Gettysburg Address I was able to follow a surprising amount of it. Well like Helen Keller his articulation the way he moves his lips and so on is fairly good. In fact Dr. Charles Van Riper of the Western Michigan University speech and hearing clinic who helped teach this person to talk says that a lip reader is able to follow him quite easily. Again it's his intonation that gives him trouble. Well some of the sounds that should be print produced by the vocal chords are completely absent. Right. He doesn't realize this of course other sounds are collapsed into a much shorter span of time the normally so we make sounds that are completely unfamiliar to us. Well let's hear that recording once more and ask our audience now to try to follow the words with which they're probably quite familiar.
With the subject. Thank you from a very very very very good. Well Arnie How is it that he can do as well as he does. And how is he going to continue improving if he can't hear him self. Well in the strict sense of the word he can't hear himself and never will be able to. But he isn't absolutely insensitive to himself. He can feel himself talk. He knows as well as any of us know where his tongue is or what shape his lips are forming and so on so he can then exert some kind of control over what he sings. In other words you know wider sense of the term he has self here and yes he
hears with this kinesthetic sense his sense of muscular position. Moreover we should say can hear with this sense of sight by watching himself in a mirror. And furthermore we mustn't forget that his teacher or anyone listening to him can point out when he makes a mistake. But these means of course are at best clumsy and indirect. This suggests then that the whole matter of self hearing is not confined to the deaf. Normal speakers since they tend to be unconscious of their self hearing can learn a great deal by studying the speech training of the deaf. It calls attention to what they tend to ignore. Yes it reminds them that their speech is a habit and perhaps a bad habit to suddenly hear yourself by means of a tape recorder say it is a shock that can help make some of us aware of our bad habits. Well it follows then irony that if we wish to improve our speech we must first be aware of how we are speaking. Most of us usually have our self hearing aids turned way down his true speech has become habitual we feel it is
necessary to listen. Most of the time. What happens though is that we may be vaguely dissatisfied with the effect of our speech but have no notion or the wrong notion of how to change it. Now a baby in its babbling stage about 9 10 months. By contrast has a great deal of self hearing. He glories in the sound of his own voice and doesn't even require an audience because everything he says is new and interesting to him. Now what the adult must do if he wants to make any basic changes in his speech is to try to tune in again to this inner voice. Well another parallel. The golf duffer who is doing everything wrong and decides to take some lessons goes through a similar experience before he can cure his slice say he has to know where his body is how he is holding his elbow. Even experts big league batters for example find that they must reawakened their self hearing occasionally their coaches serve as mirrors for them.
One big league team that I heard of was actually using mirrors to train their pitchers Yes well I've tried to use this kind of technique in teaching students to improve their writing. I like to have them jot down their strategy at every point in their paper. In this way I think they become more conscious of what they're doing. Well one vivid way a person becomes conscious of his voice is through the use of delayed self hearing. We've experimented with speakers who attempt to talk while the words they've just said are being fed back to the ears like a constant echo of the one or two seconds delay and self hearing is enough to upset the normal pattern of speech to give our listeners an idea of this sensation. I'd like to play a recording of my reading being echoed mechanically in this instance I was not able to hear the delayed echo so it didn't affect my speech. Doctor can McCrory younger McCrory coming back only it has a lot of college can be learned and you're looking at all of your crap and his communicational can't Magdalenian National Council this is really your term.
Don't really seem to Western That's a majority against a webcomic fan where he talked earlier. Where are you going on here if you can see here very Michigan State University faculty. Well now that gives some idea of what delayed self hearing is like. As the subject in the experiment we're going to play today we used a man who had a great deal of experience as a public speaker. We asked him to record for us a speech he said he had given at least 50 times before. We put earphones on him so that at a certain point we could feed back to him his own words delayed about a second and a half in the selection will play now. He speaks without hearing him self for about half a minute. And then we began the delayed feedback. I think our listeners will notice when that delayed feedback starts he talks louder or as if he's trying to think. There are some unnatural pauses and he sounds as if he's reading from a paper and can't quite make out the words. Yes. Or like reading from a teleprompter
that's going just a little too slow. Let's listen. An airborne transmitter carrying what in effect is two television stations is now flying five miles high over the Indiana countryside and broadcasting a total of. Five hours a day four days a week on two separate channels. A number of instructional television courses. These are divided up among elementary secondary and college level courses. It brings to the schools of this region these six states Ohio Indiana Illinois Kentucky Wisconsin and Michigan. A full academic schedule and enrichment of their curriculum. By concentrating production of these television courses in several production centers it has been possible to I
think to upgrade the quality and the quantity of offerings to the schools. In this particular area. We've discovered that people act of course in different ways in this kind of experiment. This speaker although he told us that he felt a strain was bent upon pulling through and he made it. Nevertheless I heard a nervous swallow at one point. Other people however get stopped cold and just can't go on. I think what the speaker said afterwards when we interviewed him is interesting in this respect. Yes we asked him if he felt any strain and this is what he said. Yes I did feel a little strained I wanted to keep coherent. And yet there is that you know voice let's say which in a job voice you feel it's important enough that it ought to be listened. And it's sad to juggle two things at once. It bothered you more that it was your voice and somebody else's voice. No not that it was my voice or rather than somebody else's
but it was a voice which I should be listening to. Now we know that there are certain levels of attention you paid to commercials on television your wife your child your small child. Well I thought this was one of these voices that was in a category that perhaps ought to be listened to a little bit more than say background noises or someone wanting a raise in his allowance. He didn't have the earphones on when he talked to them and I was struck with the difference between his normal speaking style and the way he talked before he chooses his words carefully but there is a sense of fluency that was never me lacking before. Well I was interested in what he said to me he said it's the fact that it's your own voice that is particularly bothersome though when you cross-examine him on that point he said it wasn't so much that he recognized it as his own voice but rather that he recognized it somehow as a voice he felt compelled to listen to. I suppose he was putting in his own way once generally true when a person saw him hearing as awake and your
voice suddenly becomes more important to you. Some people have too much self hearing though. Yes. That is that they listen only to themselves they're hypnotized by their own words. Well this means that they don't pay enough attention to what other people are saying. After all if you listen only to yourself you get no information from the outside world. Shakespeare recognised this and in one of his most famous creations young Hotspur he shows us an illustration of a person who is so in chanted with his own voice that he is deaf to everyone else in the scene will play Hotspur is venting his anger against the king to two of his kinsmen. They share his point of view but they want to inform him of a plan of action. But they can't get a word in edgewise. The first voice you hear is hot spare. I pray you did King Richard then proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer heir of the crown. He did. Myself did hear it and I cannot blame his cousin King that wished him on the barren mountain star. Shall it be that you that set the crown upon the head of this forgetful
man and for his sake wear the detested blot of murderous subornation shall it be that you a world of curses undergo being the agents or base second means the cords the lottery hot sober is questioning his kinsmen about their part in helping the present gain the crown wherein you reign but his questions are chiefly rhetorical. He doesn't expect them to answer. It's almost like a summer games and want to know what is interesting for us tonight his kinsmen hardly at all in this scene we see Hotspur through their words when they do speak everything they say is intended to bring him out of his trance like this. And then it just starts I'm off again. They beg him to listen to their plans but he prefers his own fancies again and again they try to interrupt. But from now on it is only to himself. Finally he'll give up in disgust his daughters and restore yourselves into good thoughts of the world again. Revenge the jeering and distain contempt of this proud king who studies day and night to answer all the Dario's to you even with a bloody payment of your
debts. Therefore I see these cousins no more and now I will clasp a secret book into your quick conceiving discontents region that are deep and dangerous as full of peril and adventurous spirit as to our walk a current roaring loud on the other and steadfast footing of a spirit we fall in Good Night. It was sink or swim. So in danger from the east into the West so on or across it from the north to south and let them grapple the blood more stories to rouse a lion than to start a hare magination of some great exploit drives him beyond the bounds of patience I have in me thinks it were an easy leap to pluck bright honor from the pale faced moon or drive into a bottom of the deep where fathom line could never touch the ground and pluck up drowned on or by the locks so he that doth redeem her things might wear without core vial on her dignity. But out upon this half faced fellowship he apprehends a world of figures here but not the form a body should attend. Good cousin give me audience for a while and I said to me.
Say those same noble Scots that are your prison and keep them all. No by God he shall not have a Scot of them. No little Scott should save his soul he shall not all keep them by this hand you start away and let him know you're on to my purposes. Those prisoners you shall keep May I will that's flat. He said he would not ransom Mortimer forbad my tongue to speak of Mortimer but I will find him when he lies asleep in his ear Amon Amarth. Her. Name I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak in nothing but Mark and give it to him to keep his anger still in motion. Hear you Cousin no word studies here I solemnly defy save how to gall and pinch this Bolingbrook and what same sword buckler Prince of Wales but that I think his father loves him not and would be glad he met with some Miss James I would have him poison with the part of a day or Farewell kinsmen. I'll talk to you when you are better tempered to attend. Why when I was young and impatient for Dol to break into this woman's mood timing by near to no tongue
but by no. But the diagnosis is correct Hotspurs tongue is tied to his own ear. Throughout the play his own words have an almost magical fascination for him. The word honor leads him on and eventually undoes him. Well then it looks as though he doesn't really have self hearing. I know he's always listening to his own words but he doesn't hear his communication when he doesn't hear himself as others hear him. Well this is an important point. We define self hearing as being aware of how we speak. And this means not only the words in the tone of voice and so on but also how our speech affect others hearing them in the context of the situation. Yes the kind of suffering we would want to encourage would be hearing oneself in the fullest social context of communication. When we look at ourselves in a mirror we may be happy with what we see because while we may be posing and the contacts there is familiar and confined but when we see ourselves say in a candid snapshot
with other people we may be shocked into a higher level of self hearing. Yes and one of your students Ani illustrates this process in reverse. He thought he was a poor speaker when he listened to himself. All he could hear were mispronounced words sloppy diction and New Jersey accent which is Michigan classmates that made him critical of. Yes he had several conferences with me to help him with his problem. But after I heard him actually give a speech in class I realized that he wasn't hearing at all what his audience heard. They heard an effective speaker. Here's how he told a humorous personal experience and how his audience reacted to him. I'll ask you one question. Has everybody every truck. Ever take outright but cows and I think a market. Let's. I don't. Know. It seems out of Norman Oklahoma. To school in a bit of purgatory school. Transferred to Jackson but why a draft draft is a group of guys that go together
and we had the privilege of going by air so naturally we figured we have to be a hostess if you want. When did you know. Well it didn't turn out that way. We all went down I'm going to line up this is 5 o'clock in morning my gym you know great door cold. Freezing standing away from five to six families big Greyhound buses started pulling you know a scenic cruise brand new shiny. They could often have hostesses on the Greyhound buses for the fellow they're going to north. Memphis Tennessee is another school. So we figure well if these guys have hostesses on Greyhound buses. What are we going to have on that plane. I think you know champagne flight here we are. Well we're waiting for our transportation come take us to the airport was about 15 miles away. And we have you know it's just truck. Coming along by way of mass horsing around lookin truck you know.
Well here is our ride I'm. Going to see this jacket went down the circle down the corner street turned around a block and started coming up straight towards us. So we apprehension is growing you know is this article that made. It stop. Back again to get out of the way. Maybe I just said this week about the storm. No benches no anything but it is very decided about 75 and one small box and they're going to take it to the middle of town. Well obviously there's a tremendous amount of rapport between speaker and audience a good speech. Yes this person recognizes naturally his responsibility to his audience as Hartsburg did and of course I noticed his accent and I'm sure our audience did do. Yes but this is part of the color of the story part of his personality. True but what about what he called his sloppy diction. It wasn't
inappropriate to that speech but what if he were giving a formal address. Well I doubt that I would be a serious a drawback as he thinks but certainly it would be a drawback in some situations. I discussed this with him in a conference after he had listened to a recording of that speech. He had to agree that it was an effective speech. And this experience of self hearing I think enabled him to focus more clearly than on the real problem. He sees that pronunciation is only part of his speech. No I like its really bright. Why don't we size different sounding different. If you said the word There's a word that I say. People make fun of when I say I say say it again. Or some I said Well that sounds great. Sounds good. I mean I know I might have to change my speech entirely. As just a few things and the way I pronounce words and Miss endings. And Run words together I mean I know I excited you know I just blocks out. But I mean I can bring it out I don't think I can react clear.
Without you know change my time or get pronounced or to clear it out right here and it out. I think I take the first two letters the one word in the last letter of other words you know jammed all jammed together. And I get two words. After I say it. And I was wrong. Well I think one interesting thing about his speech here is that he obviously has a cute self hearing while he is talking. He notices that he jams his words together as he is talking about this very thing. What what lies ahead for him. Well I think he's got to increase his self hearing even further and get more detached from himself. Obviously pronunciation exercises won't help because he as he said just then he swears only when he's excited. Do you think he could recapture the self hearing of a baby. I think so. I think that's what he must do and a baby of about eight or nine months at the age when he's babbling. What is the speech of a Bammer like. Well it's chiefly not so
much what it what the speech is but the way he does it that he's playful about it that he is listening to whatever he does he can see important parts and he's he's his mother is there helping him scam so that the baby will pick out the sounds that are later going to be part of his language. She does this by imitating what she hears him say and that allows him to fix on certain things and and imitate the the mother helps the baby learn how to talk by by talking back to him and then you have a dynamic situation of mother and child actually conversing. And in this way the child can grow old in speech. Well I hope that my student can regain that that kind of naive babbling stage maybe he can practice babbling to help him reawaken himself further. Here's an actual example. I'm the kind of communication that goes on between a mother and a baby. This is a small excerpt from a session that went on for about a half hour notice on the mother unconsciously mirrors the child.
And I. Think. I think maybe I did it right. I noticed that the mother has picked up the contour of the baby's cooing and is nearing it for the meeting. Yes just before that that little dance the baby made a sound and imitated it. Then she made a kind of tune out of
this and repeated it over and over for a while in a few moments we'll hear the baby chatter something a kind of beyond beyond. And the mother will pick this up instantly and repeat it several times. Well it seems odd to call this a conversation I need but it has all of the general features of one. There is a real sharing of the experience of back and forth that develops into more than the sum of the parts on the speech of children is fascinating and in a later program we look at it in greater detail. What we see here is that the baby learns to talk not merely by imitating others
but also by hearing others imitate him. This sharpens his self hearing this aspect of self hearing probably applies to the learning process generally. I know one teacher who has attained excellent results and who believes firmly that the most important function of any teacher is to serve as a mirror for his students. In effect he feeds their ideas back to them so that they can see their own thoughts more clearly. In short to heighten their self hearing. Well John in conclusion can we say that human beings from infancy on are receiving information from the outside but that in order for them to grow they must have knowledge about themselves which comes only through self hearing. You have been listening to where our minds meet. The discussion of human communication by professors John freind and model Nelson where minds meet has produced and recorded by WMU K. under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the an IEEE B Radio Network.
Where minds meet
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Western Michigan University
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The Inner Voice: Self-Hearing
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Discussions explore world of speech, conducted by Professors John Freund and Arnold Nelson of Western Michigan University
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Social Issues
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Host: Freund, John
Host: Nelson, Arnold
Producing Organization: Western Michigan University
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 63-4-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:12
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Chicago: “Where minds meet; Self-hearing,” 1963-01-10, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “Where minds meet; Self-hearing.” 1963-01-10. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Where minds meet; Self-hearing. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from