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Poems and Thoughts    by Frank Maurer

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The Whistled 'S'.

On the Canary Islands, people often communicate by whistling long distances in Silbo.
That kind of whistling, I was not thinking about, but rather a 'whistled S' with normal speech.
I have noticed, especially on NPR that a larger number of women announcers,
Than their male counterparts, have incessant, annoying 'whistling S's'.
Why is this annoying habit occurring mostly, as I perceive, on NPR?
Does NPR not vet its speakers more stringently than other media?
The radio's the medium of the voice and the voice should be one of its primary criteria.

Google says it is the shape of the mouth and placement of the tongue when creating the sound.
The actual whistle is from the air passing through the teeth in a certain way,
Causing a slight vibration which produces that sound.
One can get a shrill whistle when the teeth come too close together, or not close enough.
Dentures can add bulk to the palate, which produce this speech impediment.
The screeching 'S' can also occur with veneers, too thick or too long on the central incisors.
Those who become their own self-proclaimed cosmetic dentists,
Tend to concentrate on issues of aesthetics and ignore chewing, swallowing, and speaking.
It is the inner side of the teeth that is critical.
The prevalence of the whistling 'S', even occurring naturally, is unclear.
That which affects front teeth could be modified to make any change of significance,
Sometimes within a few hundredths of an inch.
There are many whistling 'Sers' who are dismayed with this condition--
And once one senses it, it is difficult to listen to.

Frank Maurer 29 July 2023 1820 Hours.

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