Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Sciences and Disorders


The relationship between language and speech fluency was explored longitudinally in four preschool age stutterers. Language and fluency measures were performed on the four subjects over five sampling sessions for each subject, for a maximum period of 19 months. Language measures completed at each sampling session included the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) (Dunn, 1965); the Northwestern Syntax Screening Test (NSST) (Lee, 1969); the Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language (TACL) (Carrow, 1971); the Carrow Elicited Language Inventory (CELI) (Carrow, 1973); and the Developmental Sentence Scoring Techinque (DSS) (Lee, 1974). Mean length of utterance (MLU) (Brown, 1973) were also computed for each subject at each sampling session. Fluency was assessed in terms of frequency of type (16 variables) and classified in terms of parts of speech. The accumulated data were assessed through analyses of variance of the language and fluency variables across time for each subject and through regression and Chi-square analyses. Spontaneous language corpora for each subject were assessed with the Syntactic Language Computer Analysis Program (SLCA-III) (Cummings and Renshaw, 1979). Results indicated significant correlations between MLU and total words over time and between phrase repetitions and DSS scores. Regression analyses indicated significant increases across time in NSST scores, TACL scores, and PPVT scores. Significant decreases by time were displayed in a repetitions category (interjections and sound, word, and phrase repetitions) and in the ratio of total disfluencies to total words. Results of Chi-square analyses indicated similar subject profiles on language scores for three sampling sessions and similar fluency profiles for two sampling sessions. Results of analyses of disfluencies across time classified as to parts of speech indicated a significant relationship among the subjects only for adjectives. Means of the frequency of disfluent parts of speech for the subjects across time indicated that the number of disfluencies were divided between content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) and function words (articles, prepositions, pronouns, and conjunctions). Regression analyses indicated that significant decreases across time were displayed by two subjects in the number of disfluencies on content and function words. This was judged to reflect a decrease in total disfluencies. Results of SLCA-III analyses indicated a significant relationship across time among the four subject's scores on six of the SLCA-III variables measuring perceptual cognitive activity. Regression analyses for each of the subject's performance on each of 36 SLCA-III variables indicated significant increases and decreases of usage across time of isolated variables with no group trends apparent. Subjects One and Two both demonstrated significant changes in negative relation measures and measures of time; Subjects Three and Four both demonstrated significant changes across time in measures of asymmetric relation.