Communicative Disorders

Publication Year



Cross-linguistic analysis of stuttering allows researchers to determine what aspects of stuttering are universal and what aspects are language-specific. Ujihira (2011), Smith and Howell (2013) and LaSalle and Huffman (2015) have all advanced cross-linguistic research fluency disorders by researching stuttering in Japanese. Continuing the research of stuttering in Japanese, this preliminary study had two objectives: (1) to investigate if there is a consistent utterance-initial or near-initial effect in Japanese individuals who stutter, and (2) to investigate the presence of stuttering on Japanese function words related to the utterance-initial position. Speech samples from 10 Japanese males who stutter between the ages of 3;11 and 48;2 years (Mdn age = 10;4 years) were analyzed for two different word-level measures: utterance position and word class. Preliminary results suggest that an utterance-initial effect (i.e. stuttering on or within the first word of an utterance) is not a characteristic of Japanese stuttering, with only two participants demonstrating statistical significance in binomial tests which compared the proportion of utterance-initial words to the proportion of disfluent words at the utterance-initial position. However, an utterance-near-initial effect (i.e. stuttering within the first three words of an utterance) may in fact be a characteristic of Japanese children who stutter with approximately 88% of disfluent events occurring within the first three words of participants ages 3;11 to 11 years.