Stuttering is a Language

“You can’t d-d-do this t-to me! You won-n’t ever find a b-better act-tor!”

“I’m sorry, but we simply cannot cast someone with your condition!”

“But th-this is my d-dream”

“I am sorry, but our decision is final.”

My name is Steven Cyders and I am an actor. Well... I’m trying to become an actor. I have a stutter, so nobody really takes me seriously. I’ve tried to fix it in the past, but nothing seems to help. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an actor, but everyone always told me that I should try to find a goal that was more attainable, something more realistic. I didn’t listen though. If you could look past my stutter you would see I am a great actor.

After my last rejection, my 42nd, I did some thinking. I came up with a new plan for getting rid of my stupid stutter. I reasoned that a good actor can do different voices and accents besides their own, so if my ‘accent’ is a stutter, I just have to do a different accent. It’s brilliant! If I use someone else’s voice, then I won’t stutter. The only problem with this is that I don’t know how to do any other voices, I always focused on the emotional part of acting when practicing because my stutter made it difficult to do voices. I guess that the best way to learn something is to experience it yourself, so if I want to learn a different dialect, I need to hang around people who use it. So I have to do two things; first, figure out what dialects I want to study, and second, google techniques for analyzing speech.

After doing some research I have narrowed it down to a few different dialects; Southern, Western and Boston. Hopefully along the way I will find something something subtler, something that isn’t tied to an area, something normal, something without a stutter. I am hoping that by the end of this trip I can reduce my stutter. I leave for Alabama tomorrow. I am really excited to start this learning process and see how people in different parts of the country speak.


I awake to the steady beeping of the hotel alarm. This is it. This is the day I start my journey, the journey I hope will change my life for the better. After getting dressed I go to a diner for breakfast. I figure if I can go to a small diner I will get to hear some of the locals in their natural environment.

I get to the diner and I only have to wait a few minutes until a waitress comes over to take my order. She speaks with a classic southern drawl that gets me giddy in anticipation to learn it.

“My name’s Ellen and I’ll be servin’ ya dis mornin’. Anything I can git fer you hun?” She says.

“I’ll j-just have s-scram-mbled eggs an-nd b-bacon p-please.” I stutter. I spend the rest of the morning in the diner, listening to the conversations around me and to the waitress who brings me my food and fills my coffee a few times.

From what I was able to gather at the diner, southerners are polite and respectful, but sound almost uneducated to someone unaccustomed to hearing their contractions and vowel pronunciation. They seem to always call people Sweetie, Honey, Darlin’, or some variation. Their R’s are drawn out and soft, and AH becomes AW, like father and fawther. I think I understand their language well enough, so now all I have to do is practice. The best way I can think to do this would be to talk to myself in a mirror and try my hardest not to stutter. I set out for Boston tomorrow.


I am still practicing my southern accent, but I am getting kind of frustrated. I thought it would come easier, I thought I would have it down by now, but I guess it will take more work than I had hoped; I will have to work really hard to get rid of my stutter.

After I drop my bags at the hotel I decided to start at Faneuil Hall, a famous marketplace. As I am walking around I can hear a few accents, but I need to engage in conversation to get a better understanding of the language.

“Exc-cuse me, c-can I t-talk to you f-for a second?” I say to a man who walks by.

“Shure, I gyess. How can I help ya?” The guy replies in a thick nasally Boston accent.

“Well, I’m n-not from ar-round here and I w-was wondering if-f you could tell m-me the sign-nificance of-f this hall.” I ask him, gesturing at the building over my shoulder.

“It’s bay-sically just a meating playce that has been ahround synce the seventeen hundreds and nyow it is awlso paht of Bouston National Histo-ical Pahk.” He says.

“T-thanks.” I say.

I spend the rest of the day talking to the people passing by and get a pretty good understanding of the language.

Well that’s it for Boston. From what I heard Bostonians have a nasally way of talking and they turn their Rs into AHs. I am getting better at the Southern accent now too, I am not stuttering nearly as much. I guess it’s time to practice the Boston accent, hopefully my experience from the last one will make it easier. I hope I can master these by the time I get home.

So I am off to Oregon tonight. The western dialect is one that the majority of the country sees as normal and plain. This is the one that I am most excited to learn, but I think it will be the hardest. I guess you could say that I already have a western accent, but I don’t like to look at it like that because it would hinder me trying to lose my stutter.

When I get to Oregon I decide to go to a park today. I wander around listening to the people talking. I find it hard to pick out specific things in their speech. They do not have defining characteristics of speech. As I walk around I wonder if maybe they do have accent. Maybe to the southerners in Alabama they sound funny, or to the nasally Bostonians. But just like someone with a southern or boston accent sounds normal to them, the people here sound normal to me. I sit down on a bench to think and by the time I leave I have convinced myself that I will always have a stutter.

This trip was useless; I will never get rid of my stutter. I got a ticket for the next flight home. Maybe everyone was right, maybe I can’t be an actor. I guess that’s it then. I will go home, try to find a decent job and forget this whole thing.


Well it turns out I was wrong. When I got back home everyone told me how much my stutter had improved. I was shocked! I had thought I did not learn anything at all. I recently decided to start taking speech classes, and my stuttering has really been improving. I even have a new audition on Friday! I think that with a little more practice and focus, people might actually start taking me seriously. It’s not perfect, and it can’t be completely cured, but at least it always leaves room for improvement.