Difference Between Stuttering and Stammering

Both stuttering and stammering refer to the same speech disorder which is characterized by the disrupted flow of speech.

Basically, the main difference merely lies on the location where these words are usually used. “Stutter” is more commonly spoken in Australia and North America while “stammer” is more popular among British speakers.

The following are the common symptoms of stuttering/stammering:

  • Involuntary repetitions of sounds, syllables, or words
  • Uncontrollable pauses wherein the individual has significant difficulty to produce sound
  • Sound prolongation
  • Overuse of unnecessary interjections or fillers such as “em, mmm…, or uh”
  • Frequent throat clearing, lip smacking, or similar behaviors in an attempt to stop speech blocks

Though there is no known specific cause, the following facts seek to shed more light on this speech disorder:

  • Stammering/Stuttering increases when the individual feels excited, tired, anxious, and other related intense emotions.
  • This condition is more frequently manifested among men than women with a ratio of 4:1.
  • This disorder relatively begins at two to five years old which is a window period for language development.
  • The symptoms often significantly decrease when singing, whispering, and talking to pets.
  • There is an observed elevated dopamine level among those who stutter/stammer.

What is Stuttering?

Stutter came from the German word “stutzen” which means “to cut short”, or “hesitate”. Noticeably, stuttering is a fluency disorder. Particularly, it is defined as “a particular speech disorder in which the flow of speech is involuntarily blocked or disrupted. The block begins in the brain and is often sensed by the speaker before he attempts to say the word” (Parry, 2013, p. 3).

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