Monday, January 12, 2009

Twist of the Tongue

While watching the Giants-Eagles game yesterday, my Sweetie was rooting for the Eagles. The singular reason being that the Giants were despised (by him) only less than one other team.....

"Whoa. Be careful, you're with folks who are only one generation removed from some Dallas Cowboys fans."

He laughs. "Callas Dowboys, huh?"

I look at him quizzingly. "What....wait, did I just say that?" And I look to someone else in the room who nods.

He says it again, but the way I had sounded - Callous Dowelboys!!

Well, from here the conversation turned to how he might wish to use my new phrase sometime in the future.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to think it and say it correctly.....and having a hard time. I am, however, able to laugh at myself. One of the things which came to mind was a post I wrote last summer - Watch It, Smartie Pants.

What we are talking about is Apraxia of Speech, also known as verbal apraxia or dyspraxia, which is very mild in my case. It is a speech disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently, but is not due to weakness or paralysis of the speech muscles.

Here is a bit of what the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) has to say about symptoms -
"People with either form of apraxia of speech [acquired or developmental] may have a number of different speech characteristics, or symptoms. One of the most notable symptoms is difficulty putting sounds and syllables together in the correct order to form words. Longer or more complex words are usually harder to say than shorter or simpler words. People with apraxia of speech also tend to make inconsistent mistakes when speaking. For example, they may say a difficult word correctly but then have trouble repeating it, or they may be able to say a particular sound one day and have trouble with the same sound the next day. People with apraxia of speech often appear to be groping for the right sound or word, and may try saying a word several times before they say it correctly. Another common characteristic of apraxia of speech is the incorrect use of "prosody" -- that is, the varying rhythms, stresses, and inflections of speech that are used to help express meaning."
There are other types of Apraxia as are outlined by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) -
  • Buccofacial or orofacial apraxia (the inability to carry out facial movements on command such as licking lips, whistling, coughing, or winking)
  • Limb-kinetic apraxia (the inability to make fine, precise movements with an arm or leg)
  • Ideomotor apraxia (the inability to make the proper movement in response to a verbal command)
  • Ideational apraxia (the inability to coordinate activities with multiple, sequential movements, such as dressing, eating, and bathing)
  • Verbal apraxia (difficulty coordinating mouth and speech movements)
  • Constructional apraxia (the inability to copy, draw, or construct simple figures)
  • Oculomotor apraxia (difficulty moving the eyes on command)
Apraxia may be accompanied by a language disorder called aphasia. But we'll have to save that one for another day.

In the meantime, there'll be no cheering in this house for any Callous Dowelboys, or Cowless Cowboys, or Dallas Dollboys, or whatever!!!


  1. I had always attributed it to my brain already being on the next sentence before my mouth got there, but some of these definitely sound familiar.. lol :)

    Thank you as always for your wonderful posts!

  2. Ah yes... I too have called them Callas Dowboys for very good reason (being a Philly fan)...and my brain just isn't what it used to be. About that sad I am (I just talk like Yoda). :)

    This disease will not take away my ability to talk like a powerful Jedi!

  3. I do this ALL of the time! My first job interview at age 17--I had to check in with one of two people: Fran or Perry. I asked to speak with Pan or Ferry. It does, though give my family and friends a LOT of laughs.

  4. This was one of my first noticed symptoms! I would have to say the wrong word before I could retrieve the correct word. The words always started with the same letter (or sound). One day I asked a friend, "Have I been doing that a lot lately?" and she said "Yeah, but I wasn't going to say anything.

  5. We all say things like that sometimes... It may not be MS related at all but just a slip of the slippery tongue. It's funny, don't stress it if you are :)

  6. Thank you for sharing that information. I am a speech language pathologist and I always find it interesting to see how this affects others.

  7. When I do that I always crack myself up! But I suspect I do it much more frequently than I realize and I WISH people would tell me! Anne

  8. Been there, done Makes for interesting radio at times...


  9. Serina, I used to think it was my fast brain too. But the brain is certainly slower than it used to be. (lol)

    Lanette, hehe. My Sweetie is a Redskins fan and we chose not to speak of "America's Team." Good girlfriend, I am.

    Stephany, sometimes the laughing starts around me and I don't even know what was so funny. :)

  10. Webster, read the post "Smartie Pants" and you'll see that I've had students who made me quite aware of this symptom.

    Miss Chris, it can be frustrating. That's for sure. For me it's the searching for words or trying to say familiar words which suddenly become impossible.

    Nadja, it is funny and not limited to people with MS. I've actually done a little of this since I was a teen. Sometimes what comes out really is humorous.

  11. Nickie, I'd love to learn more about what a speech pathologist would say about this phenomenon. Personally, I have more difficult getting words to come out properly. It's like I'm a kid who has to learn the pronunciation and way to form the words at times.

    Anne, it really can be funny especially when something unplanned and hilarious comes out.

    Shauna, I bet you're entertaining, mixed up words or not. Thanks for being in our Word Salad club.

  12. Some of my finer swear words have come out jumbled...followed by, "I MEANT to say that!"

    Linda D. in Seattle

  13. These kinds of speech difficulties definitely happen to me more and more since my last exacerbation...I also have this weird "globe-trotting" accent that shifts throughout the day..or sometimes day to day. So a wonderful combo of perhaps "foreign accent syndrome" and some form of apraxia...sometimes the wrong word...or words in the wrong syntactical order. My writing/typing is I believe the rest will follow suit's been a month of this particular weirdness. MS can be pretty darn entertaining!