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J Commun Disord. 2006 May-Jun;39(3):185-91. Epub 2006 Jan 25.

Some empirical observations about early stuttering: a possible link to language development.

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Speech and Hearing Center, Brooklyn College, City University New York, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA.


This article suggests a possible link between incipient stuttering and early difficulty in language formulation. The hypothesis offers a unifying explanation of an array of empirical observations. Among these observations are the following: early stuttering occurs only on the first word of a syntactic structure; stuttering does not appear to be influenced by word-related factors; early stuttering seldom occurs on one-word utterances; the earliest age at which stuttering is reported is 18 months, with the beginning of grammatical development; the age at which most onset of stuttering is reported, 2-5 years, coincides with the period during which children acquire syntax; considerable spontaneous recovery takes place at the time most children have mastered syntax; incipient stuttering is influenced by the length and grammatical complexity of utterances; young children who stutter may be somewhat deficient in language skills; boys who stutter outnumber girls.


The reader will learn about a number of empirical observations about incipient stuttering and how they may be explained by a syntax-based hypothesis about its etiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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