Scoring disfluencies


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ask my questions! While reviewing the  literature, I came across differences of opinion between authors on how to score the repetitions of word.

Sometimes, a monosyllabic word repeated twice counts as a stuttering moment (e.g. Yairi) while other times it doesn’t. Would it be possible to elaborate on the second point of view? Is it compatible with “unambiguous stuttering” terminology? Should monosyllabic word be counted when using SSI 3 & 4? Does the Lidcombe program specify anything about word repetition (unofficially I guess)?

Moreover, which norm do you consider to identify if a %SS is associated with normal speech or stuttering depending on the age of the client? I’ve seen 1% SS, 2% SS, 3% SS and 4,6% SS but the authors are not necessarily using the same way to score disfluencies. Could you elaborate on which disfluencies are included for each %SS?

I don’t normally need this value to identify if a client stutter or not, but I still find it an interesting guideline.

Thanks again !


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Scoring disfluencies — 1 Comment

  1. You raise an interesting question, Anne. There’s a bit of controversy about how to “quantify” stuttered speech. Percent stuttered syllables or stuttered words is a common approach, and this is the metric used in the Stuttering Severity Instrument. Counting stuttering is not well defined, but depends on the perception of the listener. Basically, the listener determines whether or not stuttering has occurred. Presumably, levels of tension and the length of the disruption may have influence on whether stuttering occurred or not.

    Another way to characterize stuttered speech is to calculate the percentage of stuttering-like disfluencies (SLD). These types of disfluencies fall into three categories: part-word repetitions, single-syllable word word repetitions, and disrhythmic phonation (blocks and prolongations). SLD are more discretely defined than stuttering, and both metrics are used in research and clinically.

    There has been some controversy, too, about what to do with those monossyllabic word repetitions. While considered part of the SLD in disfluency analysis, monosyllabic word repetitions are not counted as stuttering in the SSI 3 and 4. The manual does state that if the monsyllabic word repetition is more tense and sounds stuttered, however, that it can be part of the stuttering count.

    As to your question about the level of percent stuttered syllables, I can say in research, typically 3% SS will classify participants as stuttering. I have seen treatment efficacy studies that have used 5% SS as a level that showed that treatment was effective, however, so the numbers vary.

    You ask what disfluencies are included in %SS, and I would say that these are two different measures. In disfluency analysis, you are looking at disfluency types, and in % stuttered syllables, you are looking at stuttering. Sure, there may be overlap, but these measures are two different approaches.

    Thanks again for your question, Anne.