Phonotactic Probability Effects in Children Who Stutter Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of phonotactic probability, which is the frequency of different sound segments and segment sequences, on the overall fluency with which words are produced by preschool children who stutter (CWS) as well as to determine whether it has an effect ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2008
Phonotactic Probability Effects in Children Who Stutter
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie D. Anderson
    Indiana University
  • Courtney T. Byrd
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Contact author: Julie D. Anderson, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, 200 Jordan Avenue South, Bloomington, IN 47405-7002. E-mail: judander@indiana.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2008
Phonotactic Probability Effects in Children Who Stutter
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2008, Vol. 51, 851-866. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/062)
History: Received June 11, 2006 , Revised December 18, 2006 , Accepted September 29, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2008, Vol. 51, 851-866. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/062)
History: Received June 11, 2006; Revised December 18, 2006; Accepted September 29, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 14

Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of phonotactic probability, which is the frequency of different sound segments and segment sequences, on the overall fluency with which words are produced by preschool children who stutter (CWS) as well as to determine whether it has an effect on the type of stuttered disfluency produced.

Method A 500+ word language sample was obtained from 19 CWS. Each stuttered word was randomly paired with a fluently produced word that closely matched it in grammatical class, word length, familiarity, word and neighborhood frequency, and neighborhood density. Phonotactic probability values were obtained for the stuttered and fluent words from an online database.

Results Phonotactic probability did not have a significant influence on the overall susceptibility of words to stuttering, but it did impact the type of stuttered disfluency produced. In specific, single-syllable word repetitions were significantly lower in phonotactic probability than fluently produced words, part-word repetitions, and sound prolongations.

Conclusions In general, the differential impact of phonotactic probability on the type of stuttering-like disfluency produced by young CWS provides some support for the notion that different disfluency types may originate in the disruption of different levels of processing.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Research Grant DC006805, awarded to Indiana University from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We thank the parents and children who participated in this study as well as Andrea Linton and Christie Merten for their help with data collection and reliability. A portion of this research was presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Annual Convention, San Diego, CA, in November, 2005.
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