The medical condition, “disfluent speech” or “dysfluent speech” is commonly referred to as “stuttering” in American English. In British English, the condition is called “stammering.”

The terms “stuttering,” “stammering,” “disfluent speech”, and “dysfluent speech” all refer to the same group of symptoms.

Whether you call it a stutter or a stammer, the condition affects somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of children at some point, and over 3 million adults, according to the National Institutes of Health.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the symptoms of stuttering (or stammering), and resources you can explore if you or your child have this condition.

Origins of the words

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “stammer” appeared in English sometime before the 12th century. “Stammer” comes from an Old Norse word that means “to hinder, to dam up.” When you picture words that you want to say being held behind a dam, the word origin makes sense.

The word “stutter” comes from a Middle English word (stutten) and is similar to a Dutch word, stotteren. In addition to the condition of stuttering, to “stutter” can also mean to move or act in a halting manner.

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Since stammering and stuttering are the same conditions, they have the same symptoms. These symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • repeating one syllable of a word as you say it
  • prolonging certain sounds of words
  • long stops or “blocks” as you are speaking a sentence
  • getting frustrated as you try to speak in sentences
  • lip tremors or tension in your face when you try to speak
  • having difficulty speaking in social or public settings

While stuttering is more common in childhood, it’s not unusual for some symptoms to continue into adulthood.

A family history of stuttering may make you more likely to have the condition, and males are more likely to have the condition than females.

If you believe that you or your child are living with a stutter or stammer, there are resources that you can use to get assistance.

Getting connected with a licensed speech pathologist to diagnose and treat the condition is the first step. You can also check out associations and support groups that focus on living with a stutter as well as treatment and recovery.

Here are some links to get you started.

Stuttering and stammering are the same condition, and they have the same symptoms.

No matter what you prefer to call the condition, there are resources you can connect with for a diagnosis and treatment.

Talk with a doctor or your child’s pediatrician if you or your child have symptoms of stuttering.