The communicative intent of stuttered utterances

Authors

  • Courtney Timpson Byrd The University of Texas at Austin
  • Geoff Coalson The University of Texas at Austin
  • Clara Bush The University of Texas at Austin

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jircd.v1i2.253

Keywords:

Stuttering, Communicative Intent, Assertive, Responsive, Child

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was twofold: (1) to determine if reported differences in speech fluency between assertive versus responsive speech acts persist when the length and complexity of those acts are controlled for and (2) to explore disfluent speech production across the subtypes of speech acts that comprise the two broad speech act categories of assertive and responsive. Child utterances were coded for communicative intent using Fey’s taxonomy (1986) and for length and complexity. Results revealed that when grouping speech acts into assertive versus responsive, it is the length and complexity, rather than the communicative intent of the utterance that contributes to disfluent speech. Findings also reveal there are specific speech act subtypes that do not differ in complexity, but do differ in amount of speech disfluency. Thus, the communicative intent of the utterance does appear to contribute, at least, in part to difficulties maintaining fluent speech.

Author Biographies

Courtney Timpson Byrd, The University of Texas at Austin

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Director, Austin Center for Stuttering Intervention and Research

Geoff Coalson, The University of Texas at Austin

Doctoral Student, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Clara Bush, The University of Texas at Austin

Masters Student, The University of Texas at Austin

References

Adams, C., Green J., Gilchrist, A. and Cox, A. (2002). Conversational behaviour of children with Asperger’s Syndrome and Conduct Disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43 (5): 679–690. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00056

Ambrose, N. and Yairi, E. (1999). Normative disfluency data for early childhood stuttering. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42: 895–909.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (1995). Guidelines for practice in stuttering treatment. Asha, 37(Suppl. 14), 26–35.

Anderson, J. and Conture, E. (2000). Language abilities of children who stutter: A preliminary study. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 25 (5): 283–304. doi:10.1016/S0094-730X(00)00089-9

Bernstein-Ratner, N. and Sih, C. (1987). Effects of gradual increase in sentence length on children’s disfluency. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 52: 278–287.

Bishop, D.V. M., Chan, J., Adams, C., Hartley, J. and Weir, F. (2000). Conversational responsiveness in specific language impairment: Evidence of disproportionate pragmatic difficulties in a subset of children. Development and Psychopathology, 12 (7): 177–199. doi: 10.1017/S0954579400002042

Bloodstein, O. and Bernstein-Ratner, N. (2008). A Handbook on Stuttering (6th edn). Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Brundage, S. and Bernstein-Ratner, N. (1989). Measurement of stuttering frequency in children’s speech. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 14 (5): 351-358. doi:10.1016/0094-730X(89)90015-6

Conture, E. (2001). Stuttering: Its Nature, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Dore, J. (1974). A pragmatic description of early language development. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 3 (4): 343–350. doi:10.1007/BF01068169

Duncan, S., Jr. (1969). Nonverbal communication. Psychological Bulletin, 72: 118–137. doi: 10.1037/h0027795

Dunn, L. and Dunn, L. (1981). Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.

Eisenson, J. and Horowitz, E. (1945). The influence of propositionality on stuttering. Journal of Speech Disorders, 10: 193–197.

Eisenson, J. and Wells, C. (1942). A study of the influence of communicative responsibility in choral speech situation for stutterers. Journal of Speech Disorders, 7: 259–262.

Fey, M. (1986). Language Intervention with Young Children. San Diego, CA: College-Hill Press.

Gaines, N., Runyan, C. and Meyers, S. (1991). A comparison of young stutterers’ fluent versus stuttered utterances on measures of length and complexity. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 34: 37–42.

Gordon, P., Luper, H. and Peterson, H. (1986). The effects of syntactic complexity on the occurrence of disfluencies in 5-year-old nonstutterers. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 11 (2): 151–164. doi:10.1016/0094-730X(86)90029-X

Grice, H. P. (1968). Utterer’s meaning, sentence meaning and word meaning. Foundations of Language, 4 (3): 225–242.

Klecan-Aker, J. and Lopez, B. (1984). A clinical taxonomy for the categorization of pragmatic language functions in normal pre-school children. Journal of Communication Disorders, 17 (2): 121–131. doi:10.1016/0021-9924(84)90018-2

Logan, K. (2001). The effect of syntactic complexity upon the speech fluency of adolescents and adults who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 26 (2): 85–101. doi:10.1016/S0094-730X(01)00093-6

Logan, K. (2003). Language and fluency characteristics of preschoolers’ multiple-utterance conversational turns. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46: 178–188. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/014)

Logan, K. and Conture, E. (1995). Length, grammatical complexity, and rate differences in stuttered and fluent conversational utterances of children who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 20 (1): 35–61. doi:10.1016/0094-730X(94)00008-H

Logan, K. and Conture, E. (1997). Selected temporal grammatical and phonological characteristics of conversational utterances produced by children who stutter. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 40 (1): 107–120.

Logan, K. and LaSalle, L. (1999). Grammatical characteristics of children’s conversational utterances that contain disfluency clusters. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42: 80–91.

Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal Communication. Chicago, IL: Aldine.

Meyers, S. and Freeman, F. (1985). Mother and child speech rates as variable in stuttering and disfluency. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 28: 436–444.

Morford, M. and Foldin-Meadow, S. (1992). Comprehension and production of gesture in combination with speech in one-word speakers. Journal of Child Language, 19: 559–580. doi:10.1017/S0305000900011569

Ninio, A. (1995). Expression of communicative intents in the single-word period and the vocabulary spurt. In K. Nelson and Z. Reger (eds) Children’s Language (Vol. 8). Hillsdale, NJ, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Riley, G. (1994). Stuttering Severity Instrument for Children and Adults (3rd edn). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Roth, F. and Spekman, N. (1984). Assessing the pragmatic abilities of children: Part I. Organizational framework and assessment parameters. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 49: 2–11.

Ryan, B. (2000). Speaking rate, conversational speech acts, interruption, and linguistic complexity of 20 pre-school stuttering and non-stuttering children and their mothers. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 14 (1): 25–51. doi:10.1080/026992000298931

Ryan, B. (2006). From an evidence-based practice and treatment efficacy research viewpoint: Comments about the clinical forum on what child language research may contribute to the understanding and treatment of stuttering. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 37: 73–76. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2006/008)

Silverman, S. and Bernstein-Ratner, N. (1997). Stuttering and syntactic complexity in adolescence. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 40: 95–106.

Stocker, B. (1980). The Stocker Probe Technique for Diagnosis and Treatment of Stuttering in Young Children. Tulsa, OK: Modern Education.

Stocker, B. and Gerstman, L. (1983). A comparison of the probe technique and conventional therapy for young stutterers. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 8 (4): 331–339. doi:10.1016/0094-730X(83)90013-X

Stocker, B. and Usprich, C. (1976). Stuttering in young children and level of demand. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 1 (2): 116–131.

Weiss, A. (2004). Why we should consider pragmatics when planning treatment for children who stutter. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 35: 34–45. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2004/005)

Weiss, A. and Zebrowski P. (1991). Patterns of assertiveness and responsiveness in parental interactions with stuttering and fluent children. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 16 (2–3): 483–491.

Weiss, A. and Zebrowski, P. (1992). Disfluencies in conversations of young children who stutter: Some answers about questions. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35: 1230–1238.

Wilkenfeld, J. and Curlee, R. (1997). The relative effects of questions and comments on children’s stuttering. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 6: 79–89.

Williams, K. (1997). Expressive Vocabulary Test (EVT). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.

Yairi, E. and Lewis, B. (1984). Disfluencies at the onset of stuttering. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 27: 154–159.

Yaruss, J. (1999). Utterance length, syntactic complexity, and childhood stuttering. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42: 329–344.

Yont, K., Snow, C. and Vernon-Feagans, L. (2003). The role of context in mother-child interactions: An analysis of communicative intents expressed during toy play and book reading with 12-month-olds. Journal of Pragmatics, 35 (3): 435–454. doi:10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00144-3

Zackheim, C. and Conture, E. (2003). Childhood stuttering and speech disfluencies in relation to children’s mean length of utterance: A preliminary study. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 28 (2): 115–142. doi:10.1016/S0094-730X(03)00007-X

Published

2011-01-25

How to Cite

Byrd, C. T., Coalson, G., & Bush, C. (2011). The communicative intent of stuttered utterances. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 1(2), 253–275. https://doi.org/10.1558/jircd.v1i2.253

Issue

Section

Articles