Stuttering, Cluttering, and Phonological Complexity: Case studies
The phonological complexity of dysfluencies in those who clutter and/or stutter may help us better understand phonetic factors in these two types of fluency disorders. In this preliminary investigation, cases were three 14 year old males, diagnosed as a Stutterer, a Clutterer, and a Stutterer-Clutterer. Spontaneous speech samples were transcribed, coded for dysfluent words which were then matched to fluent words on grammatical class (i.e., function v. content), number of syllables and word familiarity. An Index of Phonological Complexity was determined per word, and word frequency, density and phonological neighborhood frequency were derived from an online database. Results showed that compared to fluent words, dysfluent words were more phonologically complex and ’sparser’, implying that they have fewer phonological neighbors or words in which a single phoneme is added, deleted or substituted. Interpretations and future directions for research regarding phonological complexity in stuttering and cluttering are offered.