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Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2012 Aug;21(3):183-96. doi: 10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0078). Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Stuttering and language ability in children: questioning the connection.

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  • University of Oregon, Eugene, USA. nippold@uoregon.edu



This article explains why it is reasonable to question the view that stuttering and language ability in children are linked-the so-called "stuttering-language connection."


Studies that focused on syntactic, morphologic, and lexical development in children who stutter (CWS) are examined for evidence to support the following claims: (a) that CWS, as a group, are more likely to have disordered or weak language skills ("language deficits") than children who do not stutter (CWNS); (b) that language deficits play a causal role in the onset of stuttering; and (c) that stuttering, over time, restricts children's language development.


Analysis of the evidence suggests that CWS, like CWNS, show the full range of language abilities (high, average, low); that language deficits are not associated with stuttering onset or persistence; and that stuttering has little or no impact on language development.


A connection between stuttering and language ability was not supported. An alternative perspective is that CWS have a compromised motor control system that makes it difficult for them to move forward in speech and that the tie to language lies not in a deficient linguistic system but in difficulty expressing the intended meaning via a fully functional speech system.

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