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

Abstract

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.

References

Bennett, E.M. (2006). The ABCs of stuttering (pp. 22-55). In Stuttering: An Integrated Approach to Its Nature and Treatment. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson
Blood, G. W., Blood, I. M., Tellis, G. M., & Gabel, R. M. (2003). A preliminary study of self-esteem, stigma, and disclosure in adolescents who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 28(2), 143-159.
Brumfitt, S. (1993). Losing your sense of self: What aphasia can do. Aphasiology, 7(6), 569-575.
Bryson-Campbell, M., Shaw, L., O'Brien, J., Holmes, J., & Magalhaes, L. (2013). A scoping review on occupational and self identity after a brain injury. Work, 44(1), 57-67.
Caddell, L. S., & Clare, L. (2010). The impact of dementia on self and identity: A systematic review. Clinical psychology review, 30(1), 113-126.
Carroll, E., & Coetzer, R. (2011). Identity, grief and self-awareness after traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychological rehabilitation, 21(3), 289-305.
Coalson, G. A., Peña, E. D., & Byrd, C. T. (2013). Description of multilingual participants who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2013.02.008
Cohen-Mansfield, J., Golander, H., & Arnheim, G. (2000). Self-identity in older persons suffering from dementia: preliminary results. Social science & medicine, 51(3), 381-394.
Damico, J.S. & Augustine, L.E. (1995). Social considerations in the labeling of students as attention deficit hyperactivity disordered. Seminars in Speech and Language. 16, p. 259- 274.
Daniels, D. E., & Gabel, R. M. (2004). The impact of stuttering on identity construction. Topics in Language Disorders, 24(3), 200-215.
Daniels, D. E., Hagstrom, F., & Gabel, R. M. (2006). A qualitative study of how African American men who stutter attribute meaning to identity and life choices. Journal of fluency disorders, 31(3), 200-215.
Dickson, S., Barbour, R. S., Brady, M., Clark, A. M., & Paton, G. (2008). Patients' experiences of disruptions associated with post‐stroke dysarthria. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 43(2), 135-153.
Douglas, J. M. (2013). Conceptualizing self and maintaining social connection following severe traumatic brain injury. Brain injury, 27(1), 60-74.
Dunn, A. L., & Fox Tree, J. E. (2009). A quick, gradient Bilingual Dominance Scale. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12, 273–289.
Eggins, S. & Slade, D. (1997). Analyzing casual conversation. Washington: Cassell.
Fontaine, L. (2010). Language as social semiotic in Halliday’s systemic functional linguisitics. Retrieved July 1, 2014, from: http://semioticon.com/semiotix/2012/03/language-as-social-semiotic-in-hallidays-systemic-functional-linguistics/
Granese, A. M. (2014). The linguistic construction of the bilingual stuttering experience (Order No. 3687683). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global; Social Science Premium Collection. (1669973326). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.fiu.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1669973326?accountid=10901
Grosjean, F. (2012). Bilingual: Life and reality (Reprint ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard.
Guendouzi, J., & Williams, M. J. (2010). Positioning identity in clinical interviews with people who stutter. Communication & medicine, 20, 119-129.
Hagstrom, F., & Daniels, D. E. (2004). Social identity and the stuttering experience. Contemporary Issues in Communication Sciences and Disorders, 31, 215-224.
Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C. M. (2013). Halliday's introduction to functional grammar. Routledge.
Halliday, M.A.K., & Matthiessen, C.M.I. (2004). An introduction to functional grammar. New York: Hodder Arnold.
Harré, R., & Van Langenhove, L. (2008). Positioning theory. Self-Care, Dependent Care & Nursing, 16(1), 28-32.
Hinckley, J. J. (2006). Finding messages in bottles: Living successfully with stroke and aphasia. Topics in stroke rehabilitation, 13(1), 25-36.
Horton, S. (2007). Topic generation in aphasia language therapy sessions: Issues of identity. Aphasiology, 21(3-4), 283-298.
Hughes, J., Louw, S., & Sabat, S. R. (2005). Dementia: mind, meaning, and the person.
Kathard, H. (2001). Sharing stories: Life history narratives in stuttering research. International journal of language & communication disorders, 36(sup1), 52-57.
Kathard, H. (2006). On becoming someone: Self-identity as able. Advances in Speech Language Pathology, 8(2), 79-91.
Kathard, H., Norman, V., & Pillay, M. (2010). Configurations of self-identity formations of adults who stutter. South African Journal of Communication Disorders, 57(1), 51.
Keegan, L. C., Togher, L., Murdock, M., & Hendry, E. (2017). Expression of masculine identity in individuals with a traumatic brain injury. Brain injury, 31(12), 1632-1641.
Klompas, M., & Ross, E. (2004). Life experiences of people who stutter, and the perceived impact of stuttering on quality of life: Personal accounts of South African individuals. Journal of fluency disorders, 29(4), 275-305.
Levack, W. M., Kayes, N. M., & Fadyl, J. K. (2010). Experience of recovery and outcome following traumatic brain injury: a metasynthesis of qualitative research. Disability and Rehabilitation, 32(12), 986-999.
Li, P., Sepanski, S., & Zhao, X. (2006). Language history questionnaire: A Web-based interface for bilingual research. Behavior Research Methods, 38(2), p. 202-210.
Marian, V., Blumenfeld, H. K., & Kaushanskaya, M. (2007). The Language Experience and Proficiency Questionnaire (LEAP-Q): Assessing language profiles in bilinguals and multilinguals. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 50, 940–967.
Martin, J.R. & Rose, D. (2003). Working with discourse: Meaning beyond the clause. London & New York: Continuum
Matthiessen, C. (2012). Systemic functional linguistics as appliable linguistics: Social accountability and critical approaches. D.E.L.T.A., 28(Especial), p. 435-471.
Matthiessen, C. M. (2013). Applying systemic functional linguistics in healthcare contexts. Text & Talk, 33(4-5), 437-466.
Müller, N. (2006). Multilayered Transcription. San Diego: Plural Publishing.
Ownsworth, T. (2014). Self-identity after brain injury. Psychology Press.
Riley, G.D. (2009). Stuttering severity instrument – fourth edition. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.
Sarbin, T. R. (1997). The poetics of identity. Theory & Psychology, 7(1), 67-82.
Shadden, B. (2005). Aphasia as identity theft: Theory and practice. Aphasiology, 19(3-5), 211-223.
Shadden, B. B., & Agan, J. P. (2004). Renegotiation of identity: The social context of aphasia support groups. Topics in Language Disorders, 24(3), 174-186.
Shavelson, R. J., & Bolus, R. (1982). Self concept: The interplay of theory and methods. Journal of educational Psychology, 74(1), 3.
Simmons‐Mackie, N., & Damico, J. S. (2008). Exposed and embedded corrections in aphasia therapy: issues of voice and identity. International journal of language & communication disorders, 43(sup1), 5-17.
Simmons-Mackie, N., & Elman, R. J. (2015). Negotiation of identity in group therapy for aphasia: the Aphasia Café. International journal of language & communication disorders, 1-12.
Stuttering Foundation. (2019). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved on 7/22/19 from: https://www.stutteringhelp.org/faq.
Tetnowski, J. A., & Damico, J. S. (2001). A demonstration of the advantages of qualitative methodologies in stuttering research. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 26(1), 17-42.
Togher, L. (2001). Discourse sampling in the 21st century. Journal of Communication Disorders, 34(1-2), p.131–150.
Turner, D.W. (2010). Qualitative interview design: A practical guide for novice investigators. The Qualitative Report, 15(3), 754-760.
Yaruss, J.S. & Quesal, R. (2010). Overall Assessment of the Speaker’s Experience of Stuttering. NCS Pearson, Inc.
Published
2019-11-05
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. https://doi.org/10.1558/jmbs.v1i2.11879.
Section
Articles