- Fluency – smoothness with which sounds, words, and phrases are
joined together during speech; lack of hesitations or repetitions in
- Disfluency – any interruption in the flow of speech;
includes stuttering and other types of disfluencies.
- Stuttering – a type of disfluency characterized by
one or more of the following speech behaviors:
repetition – more than three repetitions of a
repetition – repetition of a syllable (e.g.,
repetition – repetition of a sound (e.g.,
extending, or prolonging, a sound (e.g., shshshoe)
– a complete stop in the flow of speech; may be silent or accompanied by
audible struggle behaviors
- Phrase repetition –repetition of two or more words (e.g., I
want, I want).
- Revision –
changing what has been said (e.g., Last night we, yesterday afternoon we
went to grandma’s).
- Interjection – a sound, word or phrase that interrupts
the flow of speech without adding meaning to the utterance (e.g., well,
uh, you know, like).
- Hesitation –
a pause in the flow of speech; can be relaxed or tense.
- Circumlocution – use of an unnecessarily large number of
words to express an idea (e.g., the thing you carry in rain/umbrella).
- Schwa vowel – the neutral vowel (uh) that occurs in
the more severe syllable repetitions (e.g., buh-buh-boat/boa-boa-boat).
- Secondary characteristics – associated behaviors that may accompany
the primary speech characteristics; often used to help the stutterer
escape from stuttering and re-establish fluency (e.g., eye blinks, facial
- Struggle behaviors – visible or audible signs of effort that
accompany the primary speech characteristics (e.g., a rise in pitch or
- Rate – how fast a person talks; can be expressed in words per
minute (wpm) or syllables per minute (spm).
- Avoidance –
not speaking in, or even entering certain situations, because of a fear of
- Word Avoidance –
not saying certain words because of a fear of stuttering; sometimes leads
to a fear of words that begin with specific sounds that the stutterer has
come to believe are hard to say.
- Postponement –tactics
used to delay saying a word until the stutterer believes he can say it
fluently. Some common postponement
devices include inserting interjections, repeating phrases, and pretending
to clear the throat.
- Fear –
a strong emotion caused by the expectation of danger; anxious concern
- Shame –
an emotion caused by believing you have done something wrong or improper
- Guilt –
a feeling of responsibility for having done something wrong
It is important to remember
that stuttering occurs along a continuum and is a not the same in each person who
stutters. Therefore, individuals who
stutter will have different degrees of the above aspects involved in their
If you have questions or need more information you can contact me at:
Speech & Language Center, Inc.
Fort Worth, TX
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© 2001-2009 Overton Speech & Language Center, Inc.
revised: January 3, 2009