Nancy E . Hall1 and David L. Evans2
1University of Maine, 5724 Dunn Hall, Orono, ME, 04469, USA
2Private Practice, Los Angeles, CA, USA
This paper presents the results of an exploratory case study examining the oral-motor rehearsal theory of adaptation by investigating the phenomenon in bilingual people who stu:ter. Through the use of a unique methodology, speakers were asked to read the same passage in one language five times, after which the passage remained the same, but the language changed. This method held linguistic meaning constant, while changing the oral-motor movements. The results are discussed relative to future research efforts.
Literature concerning stuttering among bilingual populations has collectively shown that stuttering often occurs in both languages, greater adaptation is seen in the less proficient language, and speakers may exhibit a higher frequency of stuttering in one language over another (e.g., Jankelowitz & Bortz, 1996).
Examination of the oral-motor rehearsal theory has investigated changes in acoustical parameters of speech withou: regard for linguistic factors. Investigating linguistic factors and their interaction with oral-motor movements during adaptation may shed light on the complexities of the underlying processes involved in speech and language production in stuttering. A way of teasing out these interactions is to isolate certain linguistic variables and hold them constant while manipulating ora.-motor variables. A unique investigative method is to have bilingual individuals who stutter perform adaptation tasks during which the linguistic meaning of the passage is held constant, but the oral-motor movements change as a result of changing the language. This is done by using the same written passage for all readings, but changing the language of the passage half-way through the task. This paper describes the effects of such manipulations on adaptation in two bilingual participants who stutter.
- 18 years of age or older
- first language was not English 364 Theory, research and therapy in fluency disorders
- demonstrated developmental stuttering
- demonstrated stuttering while reading aloud
- demonstrated a decrease of at least five stuttered moments from Reading 1 to Reading 5
- reported no history of hearing, neurologic, or communication disorders other than stuttering
- spoke and read at least two languages proficiently (proficiency defined as a score of 90% or better on a cloze procedure for English [Taylor, 1953]", reported use of each language in both spoken and written form at least once a month, and self-disclosure of proficiency in native language)
Two reading passages with comparable linguistic complexity and length (“The Spider’s Home” and “The Toothbrush”) were translated into English and each participant’s native language (L1). Two adaptation tasks were completed: one with Passage A starting in one language, then switching to the other language after five readings; then after a 30-minute break, a second set was completed with Passage B in which the languages were switched. Table 1 presents an illustration of these procedures for the two participants.
Table 1. Reading Sets
No information was given to the participants about the nature or procedures of the study. At the end of each reading, the examiner presented the participant with the same passage on a new sheet of paper and asked the participant to read the passage again.
All readings were audio- and videotape recorded in a quiet room, with only the participant and examiner present. Frequency counts of stuttering from all readings were performed using both the audio- and videotaped recordings following procedures described by Peters and Guitar (1991). Percentages of adaptation were computed for Readings 1 through 5, 1 through 6, 6 through 10, and 1 through 10 for each reading set. The following formula was used to calculate percentage of adaptation: (A-B)/A X 100, where A equals the number of occurrences of stuttering in a prior reading and B equals the number of occurrences of stuttering in any subsequent reading (Ham, 1986). Intra-judge (the second author) and inter-judge (between the second author and a communication sciences and disorders graduate student enrolled in a fluency disorders course) reliabilities for stuttering identification, calculated using Sander’s (1961) Agreement Index were .97 and .92, respectively.
across the reading tasks. Tables 2 through 5, and Figures 2 and 3 present the individual participant’s data.
Table 2. Adaptation Percentages, Participant 1
Figure 1. Participant 1: Percentage of Stuttered Words Under Two Reading Sets and Two Languages (Set 1, dashed line, English to L1; Set 2, solid line, L1 to English)
Table 3. Adaptation Percentages, Participant 2
Figure 2. Participant 2: Percentage of Stuttered Words Under Two Reading Sets and Two Languages (Set 1, dashed line, English to L1; Set 2, solid line, L1 to English)
Table 4. Participant]: Factor Change from Reading 5 to 6
Table 5. Participant 2: Factor Change from Reading 5 to 6
Bilingual people who stutter often present as a very heterogeneous population, thus limiting the ability to draw conclusions from data reported in the literature. In light of this, future research should place great importance on obtaining a thorough history of stuttering and language use, and consider possible interactive effects between stuttering and the language spoken. For example, future research should consider: a) differences that may exist between consecutive and sequential bilinguals, b) the possible influential role of culture and a participant’s history of stuttering within a culture or language, and c) differences that may exist between individuals who are bilingual and individuals who are multilingual. In examining these variables in subgroups of bilingual people who stutter, insight may be gained on how these variables affect performance in clinical tasks.
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The research reported here represents a portion of the Master’s thesis work conducted at the University of Maine by the second author under the direction of the first author.