Too high and/or irregular a speech rate

High speech rate

One of the most striking main symptoms cluttering is a speech rate that is too fast. People who clutter often struggle to keep their speech rate under control. Sometimes they are even unable to stop speaking and just keep going. One of the drivers behind this is the so-called inhibition deficit that people who clutter deal with.

Irregular speech rate

People who clutter mostly don’t speak at a constant pace. When they notice they’ve taken too little time, they try to “catch up on” this by talking faster. As a result their language planning gets disturbed and unexpected spurts start to emerge in their speech. That’s why their speech often sounds jerky or bumpy. 

High frequency of non-stuttered (typical) disfluencies

Examples of non-stuttered (typical) disfluencies are:

Collapsing syllables

A frequently seen symptom among cluttering speakers is telescoping; the collapsing or deletion of syllables as a consequence of a too high speech rate. This usually happens in longer, multisyllabic words. The result is that short spurts start to enter these words, also known as intraverbal speeding. Slurring syllables together is definitely one of the main symptoms cluttering.

Wrong use of pauses, syllable stress and volume

Communication is all about attaching meaning to words. Cluttering speakers’ intention in bringing their message across may fail because of a wrong use of speech patterns




Most common symptoms in cluttering

You may wonder that if there are quite many possible symptoms associated with cluttering which ones are the most important. To make this clear, some leading scientists have listed the following symptoms or abnormalities most typical of cluttering (ordered from most to least typical) in a special edition of the Journal of Fluency Disorders: an excessively number of disfluencies, an excessively rapid and/or irregular speech rate, atypical handwriting, abnormal pragmatic skills, atypical interpersonal skills, uncommon speech motor patterns, sound and syllable repetitions, non-awareness of arrhythmias, and irrelevant or ungrammatical words and phrases. In our self-test you will find the most common symptoms. In addition, professor Ken St. Louis has formulated the so-called Lowest Common Denominator definition; a “minimal framework” that must be present in order to be able to determine cluttering.