Phonological Words and Stuttering on Function Words Stuttering on function words was examined in 51 people who stutter. The people who stutter were subdivided into young (2 to 6 years), middle (6 to 9 years), and older (9 to 12 years) child groups; teenagers (13 to 18 years); and adults (20 to 40 years). As reported by ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1998
Phonological Words and Stuttering on Function Words
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James Au-Yeung
    University College London, England
  • Peter Howell
    University College London, England
  • Lesley Pilgrim
    University College London, England
  • Contact author: Peter Howell, PhD, Department of Psychology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, U.K.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1998
Phonological Words and Stuttering on Function Words
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1998, Vol. 41, 1019-1030. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4105.1019
History: Received April 29, 1997 , Accepted May 21, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1998, Vol. 41, 1019-1030. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4105.1019
History: Received April 29, 1997; Accepted May 21, 1998

Stuttering on function words was examined in 51 people who stutter. The people who stutter were subdivided into young (2 to 6 years), middle (6 to 9 years), and older (9 to 12 years) child groups; teenagers (13 to 18 years); and adults (20 to 40 years). As reported by previous researchers, children up to about age 9 stuttered more on function words (pronouns, articles, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs), whereas older people tended to stutter more on content words (nouns, main verbs, adverbs, adjectives). Function words in early positions in utterances, again as reported elsewhere, were more likely to be stuttered than function words at later positions in an utterance. This was most apparent for the younger groups of speakers. For the remaining analyses, utterances were segmented into phonological words on the basis of Selkirk’s work (1984) . Stuttering rate was higher when function words occurred in early phonological word positions than other phonological word positions whether the phonological word appeared in initial position in an utterance or not. Stuttering rate was highly dependent on whether the function word occurred before or after the single content word allowed in Selkirk’s (1984)  phonological words. This applied, once again, whether the phonological word was utterance-initial or not. It is argued that stuttering of function words before their content word in phonological words in young speakers is used as a delaying tactic when the forthcoming content word is not prepared for articulation.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust. We wish to express our thanks to the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on this paper. We would also like to express special thanks to Dr. P. Zebrowski.
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