I’ve been reading up on different types of lisps (yes, for fun), mostly because I couldn’t put a word to the way that Emma Stone talks. I like Emma Stone (and I loved La La Land), but I just really needed a name for whatever she has going on. I’ve noticed this with others in my life - a former boss, another colleague, something with their /s/ sounds is just…off. I kept thinking it was like a lisp, but when you think of a lisp you think, “I’m tho thorry you didn’t like the prethent I got you for Chrithmith.”
So here’s what I found (taken from Wikipedia, though there were several other sources on this that provided an interesting read):
- A frontal lisp occurs when the tongue is placed anterior of the target. Interdental lisping is produced when the tip of the tongue protrudes between the front teeth and dentalised lisping is produced when the tip of the tongue just touches the front teeth. The transcription in the International Phonetic Alphabet for interdental sibilants is [s̪͆] and [z̪͆] and for simple dental sibilants is [s̟] and [z̟]. When a fronted lisp does not have a sibilant quality, due to placing the lack of a grooved articulation, the IPA transcription would be [θ, ð] or variants thereof.
- A lateral lisp is where the [s] and [z] sounds are produced with air-flow over the sides of the tongue. It is also called “slushy ess” or a “slushy lisp” due to its wet, spitty sound. The symbols for these lateralised sounds in the extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet for disordered speech are [ʪ] and [ʫ].
- A nasal lisp occurs when part or the entire air stream is directed through the nasal cavity. The transcription for sibilants with nasal frication in the extensions to the IPA is [s͋] and [z͋]; simple nasal fricatives are [s̃] and [z̃].
- A strident lisp results in a high-frequency whistle of hissing sound caused by stream passing between the tongue and the hard surface. In the extensions to the IPA, whistled sibilants are transcribed [s͎] and [z͎].
- A palatal lisp is where the speaker attempts to make a sibilant while the middle of the tongue is in contact with the soft palate, or with a posterior articulation of the sibilant. The latter may be transcribed [s̠] and [z̠], [ʃ] and [ʒ], or the like.
Who knew there were so many types? I believe, from reading and from what I remember of IPA, Emma Stone has either a dental lisp or a palatal lisp. I can’t decide exactly where her tongue is falling. I’m leaning toward the dental lisp. The example I gave above (the Chrithmith prethent) is the standard interdental lisp, interdental being “between the teeth” and dental being actually on the teeth.
Aaaand…that’s what’s on my mind today. Carry on, Internet.