Stuttering in English–Mandarin Bilingual Speakers: The Influence of Language Dominance on Stuttering Severity Purpose English and Mandarin are the 2 most spoken languages in the world, yet it is not known how stuttering manifests in English–Mandarin bilinguals. In this research, the authors investigated whether the severity and type of stuttering is different in English and Mandarin in English–Mandarin bilinguals, and whether this difference ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2008
Stuttering in English–Mandarin Bilingual Speakers: The Influence of Language Dominance on Stuttering Severity
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Valerie P. C. Lim
    Singapore General Hospital, Australian Stuttering Research Centre, The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Michelle Lincoln
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre
  • Yiong Huak Chan
    National University of Singapore
  • Mark Onslow
    Australian Stuttering Research Centre
  • Contact author: Valerie Lim, Speech Therapy Department, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, Singapore 169608. E-mail: valerie.lim.p.c@sgh.com.sg.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2008
Stuttering in English–Mandarin Bilingual Speakers: The Influence of Language Dominance on Stuttering Severity
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2008, Vol. 51, 1522-1537. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0054)
History: Received March 1, 2007 , Revised September 11, 2007 , Accepted April 7, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2008, Vol. 51, 1522-1537. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0054)
History: Received March 1, 2007; Revised September 11, 2007; Accepted April 7, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 19

Purpose English and Mandarin are the 2 most spoken languages in the world, yet it is not known how stuttering manifests in English–Mandarin bilinguals. In this research, the authors investigated whether the severity and type of stuttering is different in English and Mandarin in English–Mandarin bilinguals, and whether this difference was influenced by language dominance.

Method Thirty English–Mandarin bilinguals who stutter (BWS), ages 12–44 years, were categorized into 3 groups (15 English-dominant, 4 Mandarin-dominant, and 11 balanced bilinguals) using a self-report classification tool. Three 10-min conversations in English and Mandarin were assessed by 2 English–Mandarin bilingual clinicians for percent syllables stuttered (%SS), perceived stuttering severity (SEV), and types of stuttering behaviors using the Lidcombe Behavioral Data Language (LBDL; Packman & Onslow, 1998; Teesson, Packman, & Onslow, 2003).

Results English-dominant and Mandarin-dominant BWS exhibited higher %SS and SEV scores in their less dominant language, whereas the scores for the balanced bilinguals were similar for both languages. The difference in the percentage of stutters per LBDL category between English and Mandarin was not markedly different for any bilingual group.

Conclusions Language dominance appeared to influence the severity but not the types of stuttering behaviors in BWS. Clinicians working with BWS need to assess language dominance when diagnosing stuttering severity in bilingual clients.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Grant NMRC/0983/2005 from the National Medical Research Council, Singapore, and by funds from the Postgraduate Research Support Scheme (2005–2006), The University of Sydney, Australia.
We thank Noah Tan and Cherine Graham, who rated the speech samples. We also thank those who kindly volunteered to participate in the study.
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