Duration of the Speech Disfluencies of Beginning Stutterers This study compared the duration of within-word disfluencies and the number of repeated units per instance of sound/syllable and whole-word repetitions of beginning stutterers to those produced by age- and sex-matched nonstuttering children. Subjects were 10 stuttering children [9 males and 1 female; mean age 4:1 (years:months); age range 3:2–5:0], ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1991
Duration of the Speech Disfluencies of Beginning Stutterers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Patricia M. Zebrowski
    University of Iowa
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Patricia M. Zebrowski, PhD, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52245.
Article Information
Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1991
Duration of the Speech Disfluencies of Beginning Stutterers
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1991, Vol. 34, 483-491. doi:10.1044/jshr.3403.183
History: Received March 14, 1990 , Accepted August 3, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1991, Vol. 34, 483-491. doi:10.1044/jshr.3403.183
History: Received March 14, 1990; Accepted August 3, 1990

This study compared the duration of within-word disfluencies and the number of repeated units per instance of sound/syllable and whole-word repetitions of beginning stutterers to those produced by age- and sex-matched nonstuttering children. Subjects were 10 stuttering children [9 males and 1 female; mean age 4:1 (years:months); age range 3:2–5:0], and 10 nonstuttering children (9 males and 1 female; mean age 4:0; age range: 2:10–5:1). Mothers of the stuttering children reported that their children had been stuttering for 1 year or less. One 300-word conversational speech sample from each of the stuttering and nonstuttering children was analyzed for (a) mean duration of sound/syllable repetition and sound prolongation, (b) mean number of repeated units per instance of sound/syllable and whole-word repetition, and (c) various related measures of the frequency of all between- and within-word speech disfluencies. There were no significant between-group differences for either the duration of acoustically measured sound/syllable repetitions and sound prolongations or the number of repeated units per instance of sound/syllable and whole-word repetition. Unlike frequency and type of speech disfluency produced, average duration of within-word disfluencies and number of repeated units per repetition do not differentiate the disfluent speech of beginning stutterers and their nonstuttering peers. Additional analyses support findings from previous perceptual work that type and frequency of speech disfluency, not duration, are the principal characteristics listeners use in distinguishing these two talker groups.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by a Syracuse University Senate Research Grant and by an OSEP Grant (G000850252) to Syracuse University. The author would like to acknowledge the assistance of Michael Robb in data collection and reliability measures. Special thanks is extended to Edward G. Conture, Howard D. Schwartz, J. Bruce Tomblin, and John Folkins for their helpful reviews of earlier versions of this manuscript.
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