Article/Report  |   February 2007
Phonological Neighborhood and Word Frequency Effects in the Stuttered Disfluencies of Children Who Stutter
 
Author Notes
  • Contact author: Julie D. Anderson, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, Indiana University Bloomington, 200 South Jordan Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405-7002. E-mail: judander@indiana.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article/Report   |   February 2007
Phonological Neighborhood and Word Frequency Effects in the Stuttered Disfluencies of Children Who Stutter
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2007, Vol. 50, 229-247. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/018)
History: Received June 25, 2005 , Revised January 8, 2006 , Accepted June 12, 2006
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2007, Vol. 50, 229-247. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/018)
History: Received June 25, 2005; Revised January 8, 2006; Accepted June 12, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 22

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine (a) the role of neighborhood density (number of words that are phonologically similar to a target word) and frequency variables on the stuttering-like disfluencies of preschool children who stutter, and (b) whether these variables have an effect on the type of stuttering-like disfluency produced.

Method: A 500+ word speech sample was obtained from each participant (N = 15). Each stuttered word was randomly paired with the firstly produced word that closely matched it in grammatical class, familiarity, and number of syllables/phonemes. Frequency, neighborhood density, and neighborhood frequency values were obtained for the stuttered and fluent words from an online database.

Results: Findings revealed that stuttered words were lower in frequency and neighborhood frequency than fluent words. Words containing part-word repetitions and sound prolongations were also lower in frequency and/or neighborhood frequency than fluent words, but these frequency variables did not have an effect on single-syllable word repetitions. Neighborhood density failed to influence the susceptibility of words to stuttering, as well as the type of stuttering-like disfluency produced.

Conclusions: In general, findings suggest that neighborhood and frequency variables not only influence the fluency with which words are produced in speech, but also have an impact on the type of stuttering-like disfluency produced.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant DC006805 to Indiana University. I thank the parents and children who participated in this study, as well as Andrea Linton, Christie Merten, and Tamar Pundys for their help with data collection and reliability. I also thank Judy Gierut for her insightful reviews of previous versions of this article, as well as Michael Vitevitch for providing me with additional neighborhood values. A portion of this research was presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Philadelphia, PA, November 2004.
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