Stuttering characteristics of German-English bilingual speakers

Martina Schäfer, Michael P. Robb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine stuttering behavior in German-English bilingual people who stutter (PWS), with particular reference to the frequency of stuttering on content and function words. Fifteen bilingual PWS were sampled who spoke German as the first language (L1) and English as a second language (L2). Conversational speech was sampled in each language and analyzed for the percentage of overall stuttering-like disfluencies and distribution of stuttering on content and function words. Significantly more stuttering was found to occur in L2 compared to L1. Stuttering occurred significantly more often on content words compared to function words in L1. No significant difference between stuttering on function and content words was observed in L2. Examination across L1 and L2 found a significantly greater percentage of stuttering on function words in L2 compared to L1, and a significantly lower percentage of stuttering on content words in L2 compared to L1. The characteristics of stuttering in L2 could not be differentiated on the basis of an L2 proficiency measure. The differences observed in the amount of stuttering between L1 and L2 suggest that stuttering in bilingual speakers is closely related to language dominance, with features of stuttering in L2 indicative of a less developed language system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-612
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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