Cluttering is a type of speech disorder affecting the fluency of speech and having a specific phonology similar to that of fast speech. In addition to accelerated articulation, cluttering is also characterised by too many repetitions, intellectual entanglement, monotony, and misapplication of grammatical forms. Therefore, it cannot simply be cured by slowing down the speaker's speech rate. Our hypothesis is that whenever clutterers consciously try to slacken their pace, the change of overall tempo will mainly be implemented by an increased number and length of pauses; their speech will remain arrhythmic, poorly articulated, and monotonous. In a series of experiments, we investigated, first, what strategy clutterers/fast speakers use to slow down their speech, and secondly, how they perceive their own speech rate. The above hypothesis was only confirmed with respect to clutterers in the clinical sense; fast speakers' pausing habits did not significantly change in slowed-down delivery. However, in the degree of slowing, we found significant differences between the two types of speakers. Clutterers solved the task by overslowing and voice quality modification, whereas fast speakers did so with an articulation rate that was still faster than usual. By exploring the phonetic character of speech that was deemed slow by the subjects, we gained some insight into the processes of phonetic and phonological planning of cluttered speech, and may have found additional pieces of information to help the therapy of that type of speech disorder.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.