Stammer vs stutter

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Paulfromitaly, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Hello everybody,

    It seems that both those verbs translate into Italian as "balbettare".
    Is there a significant difference between them?
  2. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US

    The same, but "stammer" is a bit more "formal" and much less commonly used.
    You mights see "stammer" more often in neurologic texts.

  3. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Right, that's why I've hardly heart it..
    Could stammer be a term some people might not be familiar with?
  4. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
  5. lamoufette Member

    US English
    Stutter, in the US, can sometimes be a medical or psychological condition you are born with and be chronic, whereas stammer happens when you are upset or surprised.
  6. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Huh, I kind of figured out it was the opposite..
  7. lamoufette Member

    US English
    No, in the US, you won't say of a little boy that he stammers. Kids stutter. It could be different in England, though. In modern society, some think it is more polite to say that a child 'has a speech impediment' because stutter can sometimes be pejorative.
    If Italian is like French, there is just the one verb for both meanings. (Balbutier)
  8. laga Senior Member

    Ciao, Paul, In the field of speech therapy the only word used is stuttering, meaning the actual speech impediment. We all stammer now and then, though:)
  9. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Thank you all.
    From the first Tim's reply I had the impression it was the other way around (being stammering the scientific term).
  10. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    According to this website there is no difference in meaning. According to this website, most people are referring to exactly the same condition. Professionals in the UK tend to say "stammer" whereas people in America and Australia generally say "stutter".
  11. I found this sentence, which confused me: "How To Stop Stuttering-Stammering Centre". Also: "I'll show you how over 95% of my clients totally eliminate their stutter or stammer"
    It gave me the impression that they were referring to two different problems. Or perhaps whoever wrote this was just being redundant. (The source is: - well, at least they are consistent in their redundancy)
  12. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    Silver frog, in my opinion they are referring to the same problem; they have used the two words because some people call it 'stuttering' and others 'stammering'. The reason I say this is because in that article they say:

    Do not think you are on your own. 1% of the population suffers from the effects of a stammer or stutter. Now you do not have to allow a speech impediment to have a major impact on your life and lifestyle. Together we can overcome it and eliminate your stutter problem.

    They use 'stammer or stutter' in the first sentence of that paragraph and then just refer to it as a 'stutter problem' further down. To me the fact that they use only the one word there means that it is one and the same problem, otherwise they would have repeated both words.
  13. Riverforce New Member

    English - Canadian
    Hello all,
    I realize I come a little late to this discussion but I only happened upon it while looking the net for a translation to Chinese of the term stammering or stuttering.
    I understand that most of you think of stammering and stuttering as having the same meaning. In fact this is not true. They are miles apart and I can attest to this because I do in fact stammer, not stutter.
    The short explanation to this is that stuttering is when one forces out the word or words one wants to say so that the first letter is repeated many times. ie; P p p p pleeassseee t t ttellll m mmeee....
    Stammering on the other hand is when one pauses between words, regulating one's breathing so as not to become anxious and thus stutter the word. It is a way of overcoming the stutter but it does not in fact cure a stutter.
    Another form of stammering is when I know a certain word or sound will not come out easily and I must pause to find an alternative word or way of saying what I want to get across.
    Someone who stutters or stammers is constantly aware of speaking, of saying a word, of communicating verbally just about all of their waking hours. Unless therapy is introduced at a very young age and the person is taught how to overcome this, it will always be there in some form or another.
    My nephew had a stammer at age 8 but thank god he naturally grew out of it but age 10.
    Speech therapy has come a long way since I was a child but there is still much to learn.
    I hope this clears up the misconception over stammering/stuttering.
  14. danalto

    danalto Senior Member

    Roma, Italia, Europa
    Italy - Italian
    Hi, Riverforce, and welcome in WR Forums!
    That you for your (very clear) explanation...but could you or someone else explain better the part I quoted? ;)
    Thank you! :D
  15. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Those who stutter or stammer are always thinking about, are concentrating on, are worrying about the way they talk 24 su 24...
  16. danalto

    danalto Senior Member

    Roma, Italia, Europa
    Italy - Italian
    Oh, bene. Avevo capito, allora. :D Grazie, Timuccio...
  17. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    Riverforce, I emailed The Australian Stuttering Research Centre at The University of Sydney today because there appears to be differing opinions on the subject (Post 11). This is the response I got to my query:

    No, there is no difference at all between stuttering and stammering. Stammering is a term used by professionals in the United Kingdom whereas in Australia we use the term stuttering.

    So maybe it's just in the States and Canada that they differentiate between the two. :)
  18. Riverforce New Member

    English - Canadian
    Well what can I tell you. They obviously don't know what they are talking about. I live with this every day of my life, they base their knowledge on books and therory. Show them my original reply and see what they say. It doesn't take a genius to see the difference.
  19. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    I think The Australian Stuttering Research Centre would have a pretty good idea of what they're talking about, Riverforce.
    You've obviously misunderstood my last post. I didn't say that you don't differentiate between the two words in America - we just don't do it in Australia. We use the one word 'stutter' to describe what you use two words to describe. According to the first link in Post 11 it would appear that the UK doesn't differentiate either. :)
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  20. SpookyT Senior Member

    Milano, Italy
    Hi all!

    Actually, we do have a couple of verbs too.

    Balbettare is the most common (at least where I live) - the noun is balbuziente and is often used for the medical/psychological condition some of you mentioned. An alternative is tartagliare. I honestly don't use it at all, but that may be regional.

    The dictionary does give a difference between the two, but I don't think people really perceive it.
    According to this thread, post #2 and #4 (thanks Silver Frog ;)), I'd say to stammer = balbettare and to stutter = tartagliare. For the sake of colloquial language, let me say I think we're sort of nitpicking here... I mean: whereas the difference is interesting and may be important in 'technical' contexts, ordinary people don't really pay attention to the use of one or another... not in Italian anyway :) that may not be the case in English.
  21. arazzo Member

    Stammer and stutter have separate and distinct meanings in the UK, exactly as described by Riverforce.
  22. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    That website is British and so are these, so not everyone there shares the same opinion. :)
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  23. byrne Senior Member

    English - UK (Londoner)
    Out of curiosity I checked my medical dictionary. (Zanichelli Mcgraw-Hill) prima edizione 1988
    Stammer n. & v. balbuzie. Any kind of several irregularities of speech marked by involuntary halting, repetition of words or smaller segments or transposition or mispronunciation or certain consonants, or by combinations of these defects.

    Stutter n. & v. balbuzie. Speech marked by the intermittent inability to enunciate a phonetic segment not more than one syllable in length without repeating it, straining unnaturally or doing both.

    and to my un-medical ears it sounds like a stammer covers a stutter plus other things, but the medical definition in Italian is simply balbuzie e balbettare
  24. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    This is what says:

    "Stammer, the general term, suggests a speech difficulty that results in broken or inarticulate sounds and sometimes in complete stoppage of speech; it may be temporary, caused by sudden excitement, confusion, embarrassment, or other emotion, or it may be so deep-seated as to require special treatment for its correction. 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".

    It seems everyone has a different opinion. :)
  25. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I'm no expert and have never read anything on this subject, but I've always had the idea that there was a difference. I read the thread from the beginning with surprise, ready to change my mind and decide that stammering and stuttering were the same thing, until I came to riverforce's post, which made exactly the distinction I've always known, or thought I knew!
    Maybe I was a speech therapist in a former life.:D
  26. parmatom New Member

    English - English
    Hi all,

    I also have a stammer! Thank God this forum is written rather than verbal; what with me and Riverforce around we'd never finish it. Just a little stammering joke there...

    It does seem like people have different opinions on the stammer/stutter distinction, or whether there is any. Riverforce: I hope you don't take offence when I say that I think you might be making the topic a bit personal and emotive. I understand that people who suffer from certain afflictions - me included - like to think that our way of defining it is definitive given our exprience. But sometimes a bit of distance can help clear things up.

    I have no idea what Americans or Australians do. I only know that I have never heard 'stammer', the word I'd use, outside of Britain. I've heard 'stutter' in Britain too, but in films, music etc I've never heard an American or anyone else call it a 'stammer', but of course that isn't representative.

    Technically speaking, from a British point of view and taken from the British Stammering Association, a stutter and a stammer are exactly the same thing. They can be used interchangeably without worry. BOTH refer to either the repetition of certain sounds (like hello, I'm t-t-t-t-t-Tom) or the complete inability to say sounds (like hello, I'm *very long pause* Tom).

    Both are caused by the same psychological/medical problems. How that difficulty is expressed is individual. Both are a way of coping with the inability to speak fluently and both, more often than not, are ways of hiding that inability.

    I am reliably informed by my bilingual girlfriend that in French the tern for a stammer in its medical sense, rather than just what children do/you might do occasionally (which is balbutier), is begayer. As for Italian - which I'm actually trying to find out - I have no idea!
  27. GreatWhite New Member

    India - Malayalam & English

    Differences in meanings of words depending on the country is a never ending issue. Keeping that aside, if you look at the meaning of stutter and stammer in the same Oxford dictionary, I am getting a feeling that

    Stammer = pauses + stutter

    which means, riverforce is partly right. However he/she may not be 100% correct in saying stammering is only pauses to avoid stutter. Stammer could be an attempt to avoid stutter which will lead to pauses and sometimes stutter as well

  28. Andrea D Member

    In Italian there are many words to say almost every word =).
    Just about this topic, here's some synonyme for "balbettare":
    each of it whit a slightly different meaning of situation where are used.
  29. furs

    furs Senior Member

    Of the four you proposed, only 'tartagliare' is an exact synonym for balbettare that you can hear in everyday use. Balbutire would be a synonym as well, but it is a Latinism that I don't think I ever heard used in Italian.
    Farfugliare and borbottare have a different meaning.
  30. Andrea D Member

    Balbettare: To pronunce the labial letters more often than the others.
    Tartagliare: To repeat the first syllable of the words.
    Scilinguare: To pronunce haltingly or defectively some letters, expecially the "s".
    Here's all the similar verbs and their meaning about this topic in Italian

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