Lisping - has it taken over as "normal" speech?

I remember when having a lisp was considered a speech impediment. Anyone remember the Brady Bunch episode with Cindy and Peter walking home from school, and Buddy Hinton jumps out and sings to Cindy"Baby talk, baby talk, it’s a wonder you can walk!" (this is a parody, but it’s pretty damn funny).

Anyway, I’ve noticed that lisping has become more or less acceptable speech. I’m not trying to start a war here, but there was an emphasis on ridding yourself of a lisp when I was a kid. Cindy Brady even had books!

Now, lisping is everywhere. The person that really made me recognize this was Sarah Jessica Parker (thanks, foot face). Just watch one episode of** Sex and The City**. Her speech is awful, and what was once considered “lazy speaking” is now, everywhere… Movies and television have lispers all over, which means one of two things… either lisping is just thought of as an accent, and no attempt to correct it is done anymore, or so many people lisp now it goes virtually unnoticed by most. I don’t blame SJP for the lisping epidemic in this country, but I do think the rise has been exponential.

I understand if one have a physical condition that causes one to lisp; some people simply can’t help it. Others, though. lisp because it’s a lazy speech pattern or habit that is never corrected. I’ve noticed this in folks primarily under 40, and the younger the age group, the larger the group that lisps.

Why? Is trying to correct a lisp now politically incorrect? Does it hurt a child’s self esteem? Have other countries that speak english have the same sort of thing going on within their population?

Yeth. Ith thothe young people.

Actually I haven’t noticed this. Maybe as an old-fart-in-waiting I am exposed to different media influences.

I’ve never noticed it either. I used to watch a lot of Sex and the City and I don’t think Sarah Jessica Parker has a lisp at all.

Okay, you’re going to have to define “lisp” for me, because I really have not noticed anyone lisping the way I perceive it. (My definition: pronouncing the letter S with a Th sound. Actually, I would also include the inability to pronounce the letter R, as that was quite common when I was in grade school.)

I haven’t noticed it either. Got a YouTube link or something?

I haven’t the faintest idea what the OP is talking about. I haven’t heard this as a new speech pattern from anyone that I can think of. I’ve never watched Sex and the City, but here’s an interview with Parker and she isn’t lisping one bit.

Yeh, I’m wracking my brain to come up with some notable celeb examples. Never notices a lisp from SJP.

Here’s my list so far:

Drew Barrymore (although, I think it suits her)


Wallace Shawn… Inconceivable!!!

I’m not really noticing a trend in this manner around the people and kids I know. My own daughter had a lisp until she was six, we pointed out how to form certain words correctly, then one day, she just started talking normal.

I’ve never noticed the SJP lisp either.

But if she doesn’t shave those sideburns, she’s off the team!

That SJP interview was unbearable. I think maybe she had a prolonged ‘s’ in her first pronunciation of “story,” but I don’t feel like that qualifies as a lisp.

OK, clearly I need to

  1. define what I mean by “lisp” and
  2. give some examples of what celebrities lisp…

for #2, I will try to provide youtube examples. It’s too late tonight, but I will try to get some good ones for you tomorrow.

  1. A “lisp” is primarily a speech impediment where the speaker can’t say words that contain the letter “s” or “s sounding words” (Like bicycle). The speaker pushes their tongue either against the inside of their teeth, or puts their tongue between their teeth to make the “s” sound. It was referred to as a “Lazy “S”” The “S” had a lot of “TH” sound in it.

In the OP, I did provide a link to youtube for Cindy Brady in the famous Buddy Hinton episode. If you didn’t see it, go back and listen to it (it really is funny… I picked it at random, and the person who posted it made some great changes to it).

I will add a couple more “cindy brady’s”, because I have that page open on Youtube

  1. Three examples off the top of my head

    a) Sarah Jessica Parker
    b) Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy - Meredith Grey)
    c) Drew Barrymore
    SJP’s is by far the worst, with Pompeo’s a close second in this list. I’ll try to post examples from all three tomorrow.

But, for your viewing pleasure (and to hear a lisp), listen to these clips from the Brady Bunch. Especially listen to Buddy Hinton after Peter punches him in the mouth and knocks a tooth loose. You will immediately understand what I’m referring to when I say lisp. And as hokey the BB is now, back then this reflected the national trends, etc… especially when it came to issues that children had to face.

Peter decks Buddy Hinton Watch to the end or you won’t get the lesson!

First part of the BH episode, modified for laughs, but the LISPING is in it. - hope these two examples helps at least explain what I’m talking about.

If not, let me know.

In the meantime, like I said, tomorrow I will get some examples from today’s popular actors.

Cindy Brady’s lisp is exaggerated for effect and obviously very audible.

I did listen to the SJP interview, and like others here, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

I’ve never heard SJP lisp. I’ve heard her squeak and screech and shriek, but not lisp.

I didn’t listen to the SJP interview, so maybe she doesn’t lisp in it.

Forget SJP for a minute!

The real question is if lisping has become accepted as normal speech.

SJP’s lisp is pretty hard to miss. But I will find an example that I can point to and say “Here it is”!

If no one is hearing it, perhaps my question has been answered. If you aren’t hearing the lisp, perhaps it’s just so conventional now, you don’t hear it.

But trust me, SJP would have been picked on by Buddy Hinton.
Oh, and Cindy Brady (Susan Olsen)'s lisp is not exaggerated at all. And lisps don’t make the words inaudible… they just make an S sound like it has a “th”.

I’m 40 years old and have never heard anyone lisp in my entire life. Even David Sedaris, who claims to have had the “trademark gay” lisp as a child doesn’t currently lisp.

That having been said, I remember in either kindergarten or 1st grade I was pulled aside to special speech classes for a time because I either had problems pronouncing my S’s or T’s. I forget which. I’m pretty sure in most cases where it actually happens it’s nipped in the bud early.

I’ve noticed that both Ezra Klein and Melissa Harris Perry (both MSNBC commentators) have lisps. One day not too long ago, they were both on during the same interview, and all of the SSSSTTTTHHHHHing drove me nuts. It’s kind of a running joke between my husband and me now.

I heard the lead singer of tool speaking at a concert and it sounded like he has a lisp

Yes, it’s an awful little interview, but it’s the first thing that came up in the YouTube search. If the OP isn’t going to post examples, I’m certainly not going to put effort into searching for a good, much less supporting, clip. I haven’t even watched anything with her in it that I recall, but I’ve never heard and remembered a lisp from her in the previously unceasing promotion for her show and movies.

Childhood lisps don’t count. They’re speech impediments, intentionally “cute,” or both. And the Brady Bunch certainly aren’t contemporary examples.

Ezra Klein - possible, I haven’t heard him lately but he’s primarily a print journalist so he wasn’t hired as the handsome face to deliver the headlines off a teleprompter. A lisp is less surprising in him. And even some voice-focused journalists have speech problems; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the most notable example that jumps to mind, having spasmodic dysphonia.

Drew Barrymore has had a lisp since forever. I notice Jamie Oliver has a slight lisp - it seems because his tongue is too large for his mouth.

Barney Frank is the only adult lisper I can think of.

While I was reading this thread, I flipped on the TV and Sex and the City (the movie, I believe) was on.

Sarah Jessica Parker definitely does not have a lisp. She does have a slightly sibilant S (there’s a little bit of an accompanying whistle), but I’ve heard much worse (e.g. Garrison Keillor).