A Preliminary Investigation of Speech Disfluencies in Bilingual Urdu-English Children



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Bilingual Spanish-English (SE) speaking children who do not stutter (CWNS) are known to exceed the diagnostic criteria for developmental stuttering based on data of monolingual English speakers. While this indicates the risk of misdiagnosis amongst SE speakers, it further questions how speech disfluencies present in other bilingual speakers. Urdu, the native language of Pakistan and its surrounding areas, is currently one of the fastest growing languages in the United States (US). The purpose of this study is to examine the speech disfluencies of bilingual Urdu-English (UE) speaking CWNS during narrative and conversational samples elicited in Urdu and English to provide preliminary information about this population. Participants included 3 bilingual UE children ranging in age from 5 years to 7 years and 11 months who were recruited from the surrounding Houston, Texas area. Findings indicate that, much like SE children, bilingual UE speaking children can meet or exceed the diagnostic criteria for developmental stuttering. The study also found UE children to display stuttering-like disfluencies (SLDs) in the form of sound-syllable repetitions (SSR) and whole-word repetitions (WWR), which is identical to the findings in SE children. The results of this study may contribute to further research into the speech disfluencies of UE children, both CWS and CWNS, as well as other languages spoken in the US in order to contribute to the appropriate diagnostic criteria for stuttering amongst culturally and linguistically diverse populations.