This year for the first time all Freshmen will have the opportunity to take a test designed to study their speech and indicate methods of correction and improvement, according to Frederick G. Packard, Jr. '20, associate professor of Public Speaking.
A few years ago similar tests were made of students, first as Freshmen and then four years later as Seniors, but these were designed simply to record the changes in the students' speech during their College career rather than to correct defects.
Although he has not completed his study of the tests made at that time, Professor Packard has discovered that, by and large, students leave Harvard with the same speech imperfections that they had when they entered as Freshmen. For this reason an expanded program is being inaugurated this year to study and improve the Yardlings' speech.
Those who wish to take the tests will simply read a few passages and talk for a minute in an impromptu fashion. After recordings have been made of these talks, Professor Packard and his staff will study them and advise the subject on improving his speech.
Remedial Course Given
A remedial course lasting for five weeks and costing ten dollars will be offered to those with minor deficiencies in speech. This course will be similar to that given for remedial reading, but will not be compulsory.
A more complete program, intended for those with serious defects such as stuttering or stammering, will be comparable to a full course, costing $100 and lasting throughout the year.
These two methods of handling speech difficulties will be administered by the Board of Supervisors, and therefore charges for taking the work will be scaled down for those who cannot afford to pay the full price.
Professor Packard emphasized that these courses are not intended solely for those with speech defects, but are also designed to improve the voices and talking manner of those who already are good speakers. They are not supposed to give the student a Harvard accent by any means, but simply to provide him with a voice that is audible, clear, natural, and pleasing