Nonword Repetition and Phoneme Elision in Adults Who Do and Do Not Stutter: Vocal Versus Nonvocal Performance Differences

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Journal of Fluency Disorders

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The purpose of the present study was to enhance our understanding of phonological working memory in adults who stutter through the comparison of nonvocal versus vocal nonword repetition and phoneme elision task performance differences.


For the vocal nonword repetition condition, participants repeated sets of 4- and 7-syllable nonwords (n = 12 per set). For the nonvocal nonword repetition condition, participants silently identified each target nonword from a subsequent set of three nonwords. For the vocal phoneme elision condition, participants repeated nonwords with a target phoneme eliminated. For the nonvocal phoneme elision condition, participants silently identified the nonword with the designated target phoneme eliminated from a subsequent set of three nonwords.


Adults who stutter produced significantly fewer accurate initial productions of 7-syllable nonwords compared to adults who do not stutter. There were no talker group differences for the silent identification of nonwords, but both talker groups required significantly more mean number of attempts to accurately silently identify 7-syllable as compared to 4-syllable nonwords. For the vocal phoneme elision condition, adults who stutter were significantly less accurate than adults who do not stutter in their initial production and required a significantly higher mean number of attempts to accurately produce 7-syllable nonwords with a phoneme eliminated. This talker group difference was also significant for the nonvocal phoneme elision condition for both 4- and 7-syllable nonwords.


Present findings suggest phonological working memory may contribute to the difficulties persons who stutter have establishing and/or maintaining fluent speech.


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

*At the time of publication, Megann McGill was affiliated with the University of Texas.



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