Phonological encoding in the silent speech of persons who stutter

Jayanthi Sasisekaran, Luc F. De Nil, Ron Smyth, Carla Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of phonological encoding in the silent speech of persons who stutter (PWS) and persons who do not stutter (PNS). Participants were 10 PWS (M = 30.4 years, S.D. = 7.8), matched in age, gender, and handedness with 11 PNS (M = 30.1 years, S.D. = 7.8). Each participant performed five tasks: a familiarization task, an overt picture naming task, a task of self-monitoring target phonemes during concurrent silent picture naming, a task of monitoring target pure tones in aurally presented tonal sequences, and a simple motor task requiring finger button clicks in response to an auditory tone. Results indicated that PWS were significantly slower in phoneme monitoring compared to PNS. No significant between-group differences were present for response speed during the auditory monitoring, picture naming or simple motor tasks, nor did the two groups differ for percent errors in any of the experimental tasks. The findings were interpreted to suggest a specific deficiency at the level of phonological monitoring, rather than a general monitoring, reaction time or auditory monitoring deficit in PWS. Educational objectives: As a result of this activity, the participant should: (1) identify and assess the literature on phonological encoding skills in PWS, (2) enumerate and evaluate some major psycholinguistic theories of stuttering, and (3) describe the mechanism by which defective phonological encoding can disrupt fluent speech production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Fluency Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a Toronto Rehabilitation Institute doctoral fellowship awarded to the first author and a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada grant awarded to the second author. We extend our appreciation to the participants in our study and to Sophie Lafaille for her technical assistance.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Phoneme monitoring
  • Phonological encoding
  • Reaction time
  • Stuttering


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