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stummer vs. stutter

English translation: stutter is more derogative

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13:05 Dec 12, 2003
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
English term or phrase: stummer vs. stutter
Does it mean the same or is there a slight difference?
Miroslawa Jodlowiec
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:43
English translation:stutter is more derogative
Explanation:
According to my Mirriam Websters, "stammer" (not "stummer") means to make involuntary stops and repetitions in speaking, whereas "stutter" means "to speak with involuntary disruption or blocking of speech (as by spasmodic repetition or prolongation of vocal sounds)"

... so not much difference in the dictionary definition!

However, speaking as someone who does stammer (although much less than ten years ago), I find the word "stutter" quite derogative, whereas "stammer" is more neutral.
Selected response from:

xxxIanW
Local time: 21:43
Grading comment
Thanks to all!
3 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +7stutter is more derogativexxxIanW
4 +3more info (agreeing with Ian)
Cilian O'Tuama
5 +1The British Stammering Association says:John Bowden
3 +3slight difference
Hazel Whiteley
5 +1stammer / stutterAmilcar
3 +2stAmmer (nerves, shyness); stutter (fright, speech impediment)Laurel Porter
4 +1Stammer British English : Stutter US Englishnyamuk
4St*A*mmer / stutterDavid Moore


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
stammer / stutter


Explanation:
are synonyms. There is no consistent denotation or connotation difference.

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Note added at 2003-12-12 13:18:23 (GMT)
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However, the American Heritage makes a slight distinction: stutterer prolongs (and / or repeates) sounds, and does so \"spasmodically\", stammerer interrupts (and or repeats).

I stick to my guns: there is no consistent difference in the common usage.

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Note added at 2003-12-12 15:34:04 (GMT)
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Since this business of finding the AHD at odds with my experience of Eng (USA) is a novel development :( :) ...

I went back to the drawing board to see where I went wrong.

As speech impediments go, this discussion etc etc show that for regular mortals stamttutterers do not divide neatly into two recognizable groups. There are all kinds of variants and etiologies. Even for the medical prof it is doubtful that a bi-partite classif is of any use.

However ... (going wrong part 1) a quick poll among (Am Eng native) friends showed that stuttering is perceived as more severe, more disabling and yes Ian, stammering seems to be sort of more euphemistic. No one could articulate a concrete distinction.

Now, more importantly (going wrong part 2) I forgot that the word is also used figuratively to denote speech patterns in non-stamtutterers cause by anxiety, fear, guilt, whatever. Here is where I think the AHD is vindicated (again). A pattern of hesitation with pauses (not getting it out) and/or repetitions (getting stuck) is perhaps more likely to be called stammering, even in the USA; while a more agitated (\"spasmodic\"), more distorted pattern, something more akin to a permanent speech impediment, is perhaps more likely to be called stuttering.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps .... but no googleproof.




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Note added at 2003-12-12 15:40:39 (GMT)
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Finally, a little joke. Perhaps the lawyers started it all, so they can say \"stammering and stuttering\".



Amilcar
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxKanta Rawat
1 min
  -> Thank you

neutral  David Moore: So where is your source?
4 mins
  -> Chucks, it was just me at first.

neutral  xxxIanW: As I see it, "stutter" is more derogative
5 mins
  -> Perhaps. I doubt it.
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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
slight difference


Explanation:
They are usually used interchangeably, but I think in medical contexts they are slightly different. I found the paragraph below (from the reference I have included) which confirms what I thought. However, most Google hits seem to say there is no difference.

Stammering is a condition in which the person afflicted is unable to begin a word or a sentence no matter how much effort may be directed toward the attempt to speak, or how well they may know what they wish to say. In stammering, there is the "sticking" as the stammerer terms it, or the inability to express a sound. The difference between stammering and stuttering lies in the fact that in stuttering, the disorder manifests itself in loose and hurried (or in some cases, slow) repetitions of sounds, syllables or words, while in the case of stammering, the manifestation takes the form of an inability to express a sound, or to begin a word or a sentence and, for most purposes, I would agree.


    Reference: http://www.nalanda.nitc.ac.in/resources/english/etext-projec...
Hazel Whiteley
Local time: 20:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in pair: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nancy Arrowsmith
1 hr

agree  xxxEmilyLyng
1 hr

neutral  John Bowden: The distinction seems to be one the author has invented himself - I would distrust any boook called "stammering - it's cause and cure", since ther are multiple "causes" and no one "cure"!
3 hrs

agree  chopra_2002
1 day 1 hr
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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
St*A*mmer / stutter


Explanation:
According to Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, the difference, if there is one, is that "stutter" tends to refer slightly more to a person repeating the first consonant of a word, rather than other parts of a word, while "stammer" does not.

David Moore
Local time: 21:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 864
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +7
stutter is more derogative


Explanation:
According to my Mirriam Websters, "stammer" (not "stummer") means to make involuntary stops and repetitions in speaking, whereas "stutter" means "to speak with involuntary disruption or blocking of speech (as by spasmodic repetition or prolongation of vocal sounds)"

... so not much difference in the dictionary definition!

However, speaking as someone who does stammer (although much less than ten years ago), I find the word "stutter" quite derogative, whereas "stammer" is more neutral.


xxxIanW
Local time: 21:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 235
Grading comment
Thanks to all!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Cilian O'Tuama: though I don't agree with the derogative/derogatory
3 mins

agree  mbc
6 mins

agree  Heidi Stone-Schaller: I also think that stammer is used a little more frequently and doesn't necessarily refer to a disorder
10 mins

agree  Sven Petersson
31 mins

agree  Gayle Wallimann: I don't find stutter derogative. Perhaps that is becuase I went to university where there was a very new, innovative stutter clinic in our science building.
39 mins

neutral  John Bowden: Hi Ian. It's interesting that you find "stutter" more derogatory - I don't myself, but perhaps it depends who has used the terms to us - personaly, having had teacher call me "a stammering fool" at school, I tend not to see "stammer" as less derogatory!
3 hrs

agree  Empty Whiskey Glass
21 hrs

agree  chopra_2002
1 day 59 mins
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9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
more info (agreeing with Ian)


Explanation:
stammering: hesitant or faltering speech disorder

stuttering: defect in speech in which there is stumbling and spasmodic repetition of the same syllable

Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary


Cilian O'Tuama
Local time: 21:43
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 447

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  mbc
3 mins

agree  Gayle Wallimann
34 mins

agree  RHELLER: yes, the actual term for the condition is stuttering, stammer is not used by doctors, both are used in everyday language
1 hr

neutral  John Bowden: Sorry, whatever the dictionary says, this doesn't accord with the terms used by stammerers/stutterers and speech therapists (who certainly use "stammering" - maybe ordinary docots don't, but they generally know little about the problem in my experience!
3 hrs
  -> No need to apologise :)
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Stammer British English : Stutter US English


Explanation:
The greatest difference is that 'stammer' is more commonly used in British English and Stutter is more commonly used in American English. However in practice the two terms seem to be synonomous. Furthermore if there is a difference in their repective clinical descriptions, there is no difference in their clinical treatment to my knowledge.

nyamuk
United States
Local time: 13:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 58

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  John Bowden: That's absolutely right!
2 hrs

neutral  Laurel Porter: depends on the context, nyamuk... see below
4 hrs
  -> I'm not quite sure what your point is. John and I seem to be in agreement that if there is any difference its in the context of different vocabulary preferences in different localities.
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
The British Stammering Association says:


Explanation:
"Stammering" is the same as "stuttering". "Stammering" is more often used in the UK and Ireland. "Stuttering" is usual in the United States."

and defines stammering/stuttering like this:

"What is stammering?

Stammering is "characterised by stoppages and disruptions in fluency which interrupt the smooth flow and timing of speech. These stoppages may take the form of repetitions of sounds, syllables or words, or of prolongations of sounds so that words seem to be stretched out, and can involve silent blocking of the airflow of speech when no sound is heard" (Enderby, 1996). Speech may sound forced, tense or jerky. People who stammer may avoid certain words or situations which they know will cause them difficulty.

Some people avoid and substitute words to such an extent that people in their lives may not realise they have a stammer. This is known as "covert stammering".

There are so many types of dysfluency, it's really pointless and misleading to suggest that "stammering" and "stuttering" are distinguishable - most stammerers display a mixture of blocking, prolongation, repetition of initial or medial sounds, hesitancy etc.

I'm a stammerer myself, as is my younger son, and my wife is a Trustee/Director of the BSA.





    Reference: http://www.stammering.org/generalinfo.html
John Bowden
Local time: 20:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 140

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxIanW: I was just about to have a look there myself - 4 points to John for such a comprehensive answer!
26 mins
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
stAmmer (nerves, shyness); stutter (fright, speech impediment)


Explanation:
Just wanted to point out that many answerers seem to be honing in on the actual speech impediment (hope that's an acceptable term - I apologize if not) rather than the occasional episodes that everyone has experienced.

In my observation (in the US), "stammer" is used most often to describe bashful or nervous hesitations in speech (as when trying to talk to a beautiful girl, or caught in a falsehood and trying to explain); "stutter" is reserved for abject terror (stuttering out a desperate plea for help) or the clinical syndrome.

Don't know if this helps, but there it is.

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Note added at 2003-12-12 19:45:07 (GMT)
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Didn\'t mean to contradict anyone, just adding the \"casual usage\" angle. Here\'s what my beloved Webster\'s New Universal Unabridged has to say:

STAMMER, the general term... speech difficulty that results in broken or inarticulate sounds and sometimes in complete stoppage of speech; it may be temporary, caused by...emotion, or it may be so deep-seated as to require special treatment ... STUTTER, the parallel term preferred in technical usage, designates a broad range of defects that produce spasmodic interruptions of the speech rhythm, repetitions, or prolongations of sounds or syllables: \"The child\'s stutter was no mere stammer of embarrassment.\"

This does seem to support nyamuk\'s and john\'s position that in the medical sense at least, \"stutter\" appears to be preferred in the US and \"stammer\" in the UK. I just meant to shed a little light on non-clinical usage, since we don\'t know what mjodlowiec\'s needs are.

Laurel Porter
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 36

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Heidi Stone-Schaller: very good point. it goes 100% along with what my feeling regarding US usage is; that's why I made my above point to Ian
3 days 14 hrs
  -> thanks, Heidrun - I agree with you, too!

agree  MatthewS: This is the same as standard Australian usage too. I think this is what most people would say before they looked up the dictionary.
5 days
  -> Thanks, Matthew - good to know!
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