Author

Brown

Date of Award

6-2008

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

Department

Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Tasko

Second Advisor

Dr. John Hanley

Third Advisor

Dr. James Hillenbrand

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Speech production is a highly complex speech motor activity that presumably requires a high degree of coordination between articulatory, respiratory and phonatory subsystems. Stuttering may be caused by breakdowns in speech motor coordination. The current study attempted to evaluate timing relationship between these systems at speech initiation in the perceptually fluent speech of people who do and do not stutter. To study this, tongue blade speed histories, respiratory transitions from inspiratory to expiratory gestures, and acoustic events at the initiation of perceptually fluent speech in persons who stutter and normally fluent speakers were analyzed in relative time. To identify the effect of stuttering severity on speech events persons who stutter were further segmented into high and low stuttering severity groups. Results indicate that persons who stutter had lower speech rates than normally fluent peers and initiate initial tongue movements later than normally fluent speakers relative to respiratory events. No differences were detected based on stuttering severity. Additionally, in all speakers, complex movement and speed histories were observed, which makes studying speech production a difficult process. These results suggest that there are some subtle but significant differences between the perceptually fluent speech of persons who stutter and their normally fluent peers.

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