Stuttering and Communicative Suitability of Speech The purpose of the present study was to develop and evaluate an instrument for assessing the communicative suitability of speech (i.e., the speaking situation-dependent adequacy of speech as judged by listeners). Listeners judged the suitability of speech of people who stutter (N = 10) at three stages of treatment (before, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1997
Stuttering and Communicative Suitability of Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marie-Christine Franken
    Department of Voice and Speech Pathology University of Nijmegen The Netherlands
  • Renée van Bezooijen
    Department of General Linguistics and Dialectology University of Nijmegen The Netherlands
  • Louis Boves
    Department of Language and Speech University of Nijmegen The Netherlands
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: franken@knos.azr.nl
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1997
Stuttering and Communicative Suitability of Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1997, Vol. 40, 83-94. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4001.83
History: Received January 29, 1996 , Accepted July 9, 1996
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1997, Vol. 40, 83-94. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4001.83
History: Received January 29, 1996; Accepted July 9, 1996

The purpose of the present study was to develop and evaluate an instrument for assessing the communicative suitability of speech (i.e., the speaking situation-dependent adequacy of speech as judged by listeners). Listeners judged the suitability of speech of people who stutter (N = 10) at three stages of treatment (before, immediately after, and 6 months after) and that of people who do not stutter ((N = 10, the latter serving as a reference). The listeners rated the suitability of the speech, using a 10-point scale, for 10 speaking situations that supposedly make different demands, with listeners consisting of three groups: unsophisticated listeners ((N = 17), clinicians specializing in the treatment of stuttering ((N = 17), and stuttering listeners ((N=17). Results indicate that the rating instrument can be scored reliably. Analysis of variance for the ratings of the reference speakers showed that the factor "situation" had a significant effect on the suitability ratings, with more demanding situations receiving lower suitability scores than the less demanding ones. Also, the speech of the people who stutter was judged significantly less suitable than the speech of the reference speakers. Furthermore, unsophisticated listeners were considerably less tolerant in their judgments than clinicians and stuttering listeners. Findings suggest that communicative suitability is a promising criterion to further investigate, especially as it may apply to the objective evaluation of treatment outcome for stuttering.

Acknowledgments
The contribution by the second author to this research has been made possible by a fellowship from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. The authors wish to thank Ed Conture for his many insightful editorial comments on an earlier version of this manuscript, and Anneke Olierook and Margot Osse-Spanhof for their assistance with data collection.
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