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J Fluency Disord. 2005;30(3):201-17.

Speech disruption under delayed auditory feedback in multilingual speakers.

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Ghent University Hospital, UZ Gent, 2P1, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.


The present study investigated the language familiarity hypothesis formulated by Mackay [(1970). How does language familiarity influence stuttering under delayed auditory feedback? Perceptual and Motor Skills, 30, 655-669] that bilinguals speak faster and stutter less under delayed auditory feedback (DAF) when speaking their more familiar language than a less familiar language. Thirty normally fluent native speakers of Dutch (17 males and 13 females, aged between 18;1 and 26;4 years) who were also proficient in French and English read meaningful and nonsense text under DAF in their mother tongue and in the two later acquired languages. The existence of a language familiarity effect was confirmed. The participants required significantly more time and showed significantly more speech disruptions under DAF in the later acquired languages than in the mother tongue, and reading time and number of speech disruptions was significantly higher for the nonsense texts than for the meaningful text for each of the three languages. An additional question addressed was whether or not there were any gender differences in the susceptibility to DAF. Results did not reveal a clear gender difference.


The reader will be able to: (1) summarize the importance of language familiarity for the degree of speech disruption experienced by normally fluent multilingual speakers under delayed auditory feedback; and (2) describe gender differences in the susceptibility to delayed auditory feedback.

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