Syntactic Complexity, Fluency, and Accuracy of Sentence Imitation in Adolescents The majority of work that suggests a relationship between syntactic complexity and the frequency of stuttering has been carried out with young children. In this paper, we investigate whether or not syntactic complexity exerts an influence on the frequency of stuttering in adolescent speech. Fourteen adolescents, 7 of whom stuttered, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1997
Syntactic Complexity, Fluency, and Accuracy of Sentence Imitation in Adolescents
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Stacy W. Silverman
    The University of Maryland at College Park
  • Nan Bernstein Ratner
    The University of Maryland at College Park
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: nratner@bss1.umd.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1997
Syntactic Complexity, Fluency, and Accuracy of Sentence Imitation in Adolescents
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1997, Vol. 40, 95-106. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4001.95
History: Received February 13, 1996 , Accepted July 12, 1996
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1997, Vol. 40, 95-106. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4001.95
History: Received February 13, 1996; Accepted July 12, 1996

The majority of work that suggests a relationship between syntactic complexity and the frequency of stuttering has been carried out with young children. In this paper, we investigate whether or not syntactic complexity exerts an influence on the frequency of stuttering in adolescent speech. Fourteen adolescents, 7 of whom stuttered, and 7 of whom were normally fluent, ages 10–18 years, participated in a sentence imitation task in which stimuli were divided into three classes of grammatical complexity. Results indicated that for both groups of speakers, normal disfluencies and errors in repetition accuracy increased as syntactic complexity increased. However, stuttering frequency did not appear to be affected by changes in the syntactic complexity of the target stimuli. Such findings suggest either a diminution of the effects of syntactic complexity on stuttering over the course of language acquisition or changes in the mix of chronic and nonchronic stuttering speakers from those used in earlier studies of the effects of linguistic structure on stuttering in children.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Grace Yeni-Komshian and Froma Roth for their advice and encouragement; Dr. Charles Runyan, Lee Woodford, Tommie Robinson, Jr., Colleen Worthington, Suzie Braunstein, Linda Jordan, Evelyn Schneider, and Susan Belsky for their help in recruiting subjects; Phyllis Bonelli, Eileen Goldschmidt, Angela Kinn, Heather Langford, Kristen Lotto, Donna Pavluk, and Aimee Pharr, for their assistance with the study; and Kings Dominion, Adventure World, and Putt-Putt Golf for donating subject compensation packets.
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