Disfluency Clusters of Children Who Stutter: Relation of Stutterings to Self-Repairs The purpose of this study was to account for the frequency, type, and possible origins of speech disfluency clusters in the spontaneous speech of 3- to 6-year-old children, 30 who stutter and 30 who do not stutter. On the basis of the Covert Repair Hypothesis (Postma & Kolk, 1993), which ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1995
Disfluency Clusters of Children Who Stutter: Relation of Stutterings to Self-Repairs
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lisa R. LaSalle
    University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  • Edward G. Conture
    Syracuse University, New York
  • Contact author: Lisa R. LaSalle, PhD, Department of Communication Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wl 54702–4004. E-mail: lasalllr@cnsvax.uwec.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1995
Disfluency Clusters of Children Who Stutter: Relation of Stutterings to Self-Repairs
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1995, Vol. 38, 965-977. doi:10.1044/jshr.3805.965
History: Received June 28, 1994 , Accepted February 27, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1995, Vol. 38, 965-977. doi:10.1044/jshr.3805.965
History: Received June 28, 1994; Accepted February 27, 1995

The purpose of this study was to account for the frequency, type, and possible origins of speech disfluency clusters in the spontaneous speech of 3- to 6-year-old children, 30 who stutter and 30 who do not stutter. On the basis of the Covert Repair Hypothesis (Postma & Kolk, 1993), which suggests that stutterings are the by-products of self-repairs or self-corrections of speech errors, three hypotheses were tested in attempts to account for the frequency and location of stutterings within speech disfluency clusters. Sequences of various types of speech disfluencies in utterances containing disfluency clusters were collected from audio/videotaped conversations between each of these 60 children and their mothers. Three types of speech disfluencies—overt self-repairs, coVert self-repairs, and within-word disfluencies (“stutterings”)—and the disfluency clusters they comprised, were identified and analyzed frame-by-frame. Results indicated that children who stutter produced significantly more stuttering-stuttering clusters (e.g., “/-/-/ w-w-want…” or “w-w-waaaant”) and that, although children who do not stutter occasionally produced stutterings, they never produced stuttering-stuttering clusters. Furthermore, children who stutter produced significantly more stuttering-repair clusters, whereas children who do not stutter produced significantly more repair-repair clusters. Within the disfluency clusters of children who do not stutter, stutterings were more likely to follow an overt self-repair produced at a relatively fast speaking rate (6.6 sylls/sec). Findings are taken to suggest that stuttering-stuttering clusters may help differentiate between children who do and do not stutter, and that speech errors, self-repairs, and speech disfluencies influence one another within and between adjacent sounds, syllables, and Words in what appears to be a nonhappenstance and theoretically important fashion.

Acknowledgments
This research was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the PhD program of the first author at Syracuse University. The research was supported in part by an NIH grant (DC00523) to Syracuse University. The authors would like to thank Kristin Mosher for her help with interjudge reliability measures, and Benita Blachman, Kay Butler, Mary Louise Edwards, Gail Ensher, Charles Healey, Richard Ham, Ken Logan, Linda Louko, Linda Milosky, David Prins, Mike Robb, John Saxman, J. Scott Yaruss, and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful reviews of earlier and later versions of this manuscript. Finally, the authors are grateful to the mothers and children who participated in this study. Portions of this paper were presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (November, 1993), Anaheim, CA.
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