First Advisor

John A. Tetnowski

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication







Physical Description

1 online resource (3, v, 70 p.)


Past theories have shown that stuttering results from a breakdown in the speaker's accurate timing of movement from one sound to the next. The efficacy of timing therapies is based on the proposal that stuttering diminishes as the amount of planning time for the phonetic voice-onset coordinations increases (Perkins, Bell, Johnson & Stocks, 1979). Acoustic information as to the parameters of the timing breakdown is critical to designing fluency facilitation and stuttering treatment programs. The present research investigated differences in word durations in the vicinity of the stuttered moment. Durations of words inunediately preceding and following the stutter were examined and compared to the exact words of a corresponding fluent sample from the same speaker. Stimulus material consisted of 83 phonetically balanced sentences read twice by each subject with an imposed 30 minute break between readings to minimize adaptation effects. Data analysis consisted of spectrographic measurement of durations of words (in msec.) inunediately preceding and following the stuttered word and comparison of durations of the same words from the same speaker's fluent production sample. Word durations before the stuttered sample (BSTUT) were compared to word durations before the nonstuttered sample (BNSTUT). A second comparison looked at the duration of a word after a stuttered word (ASTUT), and that of the nonstuttered sample (ANSTUT). One sample, two-tailed t-tests determined the existence of significant differences at the .OS level of confidence in word durations both preceding and following the stuttered moment when compared to word durations of the fluently produced corresponding match. Word duration patterns are consistent with those found by Viswanath (1989) and suggest that the anticipatory effect of the disruption on word duration is strong followed by a recovery period after the stuttered moment. In conclusion, this finding is consistent with theories suggesting that stuttering is a disorder of timing and supports the efficacy of timing therapies in the management of fluency programs (Andrews, Howie, Dosza & Guitar, 1982; Andrews, Guitar & Howie, 1980, Brayton & Conture, 1978, Ingham, Montgomery & Uliana, 1983). There is need for additional research to corroborate present findings.


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