Wednesday, 28 January 2009

What-o-phobic Aphasia???

Mus Parvus Sleekitus Timidus Tremens

I decided it was about time I thanked those who have been kind enough to become followers of lathophobic aphasia, and also those who have bookmarked the blog and drop by fairly frequently. I thought it might be an idea to explain that mouthful of a title, too. Who is so lathophobic as to be stricken with aphasia?

‘Lathophobic aphasia’ means ‘the condition of being struck dumb by the fear of making mistakes’. The term was coined – or borrowed, I forget which - by writer and teacher trainer Earl Stevick in 1976. All language teachers have seen students so afflicted. It’s partly due to temperament, occasionally to passing mood, but perhaps most frequently due to memories of sarky teachers obsessed with some crackpot ideal of total grammatical accuracy, or to being raised in those cultures where they think that languages should be learned in respectful silence. I always thought ‘lathophobic aphasia’ was a pretentious bit of polysyllabic gobbledygook, rather like saying at this moment in spacio-temporal continuum for ‘now’, or respiratory non-participant for ‘corpse’. I have to admit, though, that it makes for a slightly snappier blog title than would ‘www.The Condition Of Being Struck Dumb By The Fear Of Making Mistakes.blogspot’.

Why did I choose it as a title? I didn’t really choose it. The minute I thought of starting a blog, the phrase just bobbed up from the murky bit of my brain where it had been skulking. I had been looking through the saved items in my e-mail account, where I have about six years’ worth of gripes, rants and in-jokes about English Language Teaching sent to friends, and I wondered if these might conceivably divert a wider audience. (This explains why so many of my posts are about Greece – bugger all happens in my life these days.) I got onto Blogger, chose the least showy template, and for the picture on my profile I selected not my mugshot, but that of the mouse you see above.

Post number three of Blog Mark One began: ‘I have always been fascinated by dreams’. The day after I posted it, that sentence struck me as shamingly banal. (‘Oh, you have, have you? Really?) So I clicked angrily on ‘delete blog’ and cast the whole shoot to the winds. Then I reflected that Bo had been kind enough to comment positively on the first two posts, and that maybe I was being a bit paranoid. So I started again. Choosing to hide behind a mouse and trashing the whole blog instead of just editing a post is getting pretty close to lathophobic aphasia, I reckon, so maybe the title was not as random as I had imagined.

Anyway, it is very nice to have some readers, a term I much prefer to ‘followers’, which is what Sun Myung Moon has. Only two ‘followers’ are known to me personally (ευχαριστώ, παιδιά) so at least I know people are not just humouring me. Looking at the stats-counter thingy I am pleasantly surprised to see that over half the regular readers are from the USA – I hadn’t expected this, as what I write seems very British to me. There are regular visitors from Poland, Brazil, China and Saudi Arabia as well, I mean, that is like rarely say cool? So thank you to everyone for stopping by. How does it make me feel? I think the term ‘gruntled’ ought to exist.


Here, à propos of nothing except that I love it, is Savina Yannatou with a heavy, sensuous rendition of the Turkish song 'Geçmis Güzel Günleri''In the Beautiful Bygone Days'.


Fionnchú said...

Logrolling, or blogrollingly yours from a new reader: My blog post last Sunday about finding your blog. Cheers from faraway.

vilges suola said...

Thanks for the comment and the plug, and the link on your site! Now, how do I pronounce your nom de plume?

Sarah McKellen of McKellen-Messiniaki Properties said...

thank you!

Shahrazad said...

Really interesting blog ...


vilges suola said...

Shahrazad,thank you for joining! Glad you like it.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

vilges, thank you for that explanation... I had wondered.


stan said...

I had wondered ...and now the explanation reminds me what usually happen to me when I like someone!
I'm quiete 40 old, but so locked in action still! Silly think, been attracted from that title, and even better reading from u!
If i were not so old ....i would have gone mad of such a man like u, and most of all, mad of your words!!! ( orrible grammar mistakes probably)Thanks Vilges

vilges suola said...

Thanks Stan - nice to know someone might have gone mad over me!

Spoondoggle said...

If it is used often enough, surely it will exist as a term? I am rather gruntled by the idea.

vilges suola said...

It does already - if you google it the results are about 50-50 Earl Stevick and me!


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