Monday, January 23, 2006

What's the name?

On the STUTT-L mailing list was a long discussion on how to call us. The choice was between "People who stutter" and "stutterer".

These expressions might be OK for superficial use, but are quite sloppy and inaccurate expressions, because

1) non-pws stutter occasionally,
2) pws are sometimes not stuttering,
3) some pws rarely stutter but avoid,
4) most children who stutter do not become pws,
5) and people having had a stroke stutter but differently!

The term "stuttering" is also quite ambiguous as it refers both to

1) the main symptom of the disorder i.e. "dysfluent speech" and
2) the disorder itself,

leading to endless confusions.

I think "stuttering" is best left to mean the main symptom of the disorder i.e. "dysfluent speech" plus possibly secondary symptoms, and the disorder should be called "persistent developmental stuttering" (PDS), which makes the distinction between two related but different disorders non-persistent stuttering (childhood stuttering) and non-developmental stuttering (due to a neurological incident like a stroke). And then the "pws" are people with PDS, or possibly having or suffering from PDS. More on this post on my blog.

Per Alm mentioned two other expressions to me: dsyphemia, and gluency:
"I think the old concepts of "dysphemia" and Van Riper's "gluency" are relevant here – see my thesis page 22. However, I have no clear opinion about what terminology to use. For example, I do not think dysphemia is a good word but I think we would need a word for that concept".
And he betrays me by saying that
"For example, I'm not using the concept PDS very often because I think there is no sharp division between PDS and "acquired stuttering", with onset after for example head injury. I think the number of neurological lesions in "developmental" stuttering has been underestimated. "

1 comment:

Law Student said...

Have you noticed that MS Word doesn't recognize the word "stutterer"?

I like "PDS".