Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech
While speech disfluencies are commonly found in every speaker’s speech, stuttering is a language disorder characterized by an abnormally high rate of speech aberrations, including prolongation, cessation, and repetition of speech segments. However, despite the obvious differences between stuttered and normal speech, identifying the crucial qualities that identify stuttered speech remains a significant challenge. A story-telling task was presented to four stutterers and four non-stutterers in order to analyze the prosodic patterns that surfaced from their spontaneous narrations. Preliminary results revealed that the major difference between stutterers’ and non-stutterers’ disfluencies — aside from the total number — is the type of disfluency and the context affected by the disfluency. Disfluencies in both groups included prolongation, pause and cut, but stutterers’ disfluencies also include repetition and combinations of the three (e.g., cut followed by pause). In addition, stutterers’ disfluencies were accompanied by more prosodic irregularities (e.g. pitch accent on function words, creating a prosodic break with degraded phonetic cues) prior to the actual disfluency than non-stutterers’ disfluencies, indirectly supporting the overvigilant self-monitoring hypothesis.
Bibliographic reference. Arbisi-Kelm, Timothy / Jun, Sun-Ah (2005): "A comparison of disfluency patterns in normal and stuttered speech", In DiSS-2005, 13-16.