Metaphoric stammers and embodied speakers: connecting clinical, cultural and creative practice in dysfluent speech


  • Dr Maria Stuart

    University College Dublin, Ireland

Project summary

Stammering is a complex, fascinating phenomenon involving 70 million speakers worldwide, with a male-to-female ratio of about 4:1. Despite its presence across all cultural, ethnic and economic borders, it remains a misunderstood phenomenon generating many myths with dysfluency seen as a sign of anxiety disorders, uncertainty, intellectual disability or even dishonesty. 

Given the kinds of cultural assumptions that surround stammering, mediated through television, film and books, and the impact of these on dysfluent and fluent speakers, any approach to treatment needs to involve cultural analysis and the creative arts to challenge concepts of 'normal' speech and to generate counter-voices of dysfluency. I will bring together clinicians, cultural critics and creative artists to develop shared agendas and key objectives in the treatment of stammering, based on the authority of those who stammer.

This project will change the way we think about dysfluency culturally – and how we 'treat' it clinically.