The Linguistic Construction of Identity by Bilinguals Who Stutter

  • Angela M. Medina Florida International University
  • John A. Tetnowski University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Nicole Müller University College Cork
Keywords: systemic functional linguistics, stuttering, bilingualism, qualitative methods


This study’s aim was to investigate the self-perceptions of bilingual people
who stutter as uncovered by their word choices during social interaction.
Specifically, the perceptions they have about themselves relative to their stuttering are examined using qualitative methods. Three bilingual males who stutter were recruited from stuttering support groups. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to elicit participants’ perspectives on their stuttering experiences. Tools derived from Systemic Functional Linguistic (SFL) theory were used to analyse interview transcripts revealing how participants use linguistic resources to appraise, organise and convey their identities relative to their stuttering. SFL-based analyses revealed individual topics in each participant’s talk including: being prideful about stuttering out of necessity, shifting identity based on views about stuttering, and adopting various identities depending on social context. Analysis of word selections and clause structures revealed that all three participants project a positive identity relative to their stuttering, though they still struggle with negative feelings.

Author Biographies

Angela M. Medina, Florida International University

Angela M. Medina is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Graduate Program at Florida International University. She earned her Ph.D. in Applied Language and Speech Sciences from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2014. She teaches phonetics, fluency disorders, phonological disorders, and bilingual assessment. She is the leader of the Miami chapter of the National Stuttering Association and a member of ASHA's Fluency Disorders special interest group.

John A. Tetnowski, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

John A. Tetnowski is the Blanco Endowed Professor of Communicative Disorders at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.  His areas of research include stuttering and other fluency disorders and research methodologies.  He is a Board Certified Fluency Specialist.  He is the Coordinator of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's (ASHA) Special Interest Group on Fluency and Fluency Disorders.  He is an ASHA Fellow, and an active clinician.

Nicole Müller, University College Cork

Nicole Müller is Professor and Head of Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at University College Cork, Ireland. Her research interests include multilingualism in the context of communication disability, and clinical linguistics, specifically the application of Systemic Functional Linguistic methods in clinical contexts. She has collaborated on analyses in a variety of languages, including English, Irish, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. She co-edits the journal Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, and the book series Communication Disorders across Languages.


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How to Cite
Medina, Angela, John A. Tetnowski, and Nicole Müller. 2019. “The Linguistic Construction of Identity by Bilinguals Who Stutter”. Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 1 (2), 280–311.