Some Stutter, Luh!

by The Communication Collaborative

Join host, Greg O'Grady, and his guests for a weekly dose of speech, language and what it's like to live with a communication impairment. Some Stutter, Luh! is Newfoundland and Labrador's first podcast about living with communication differences. We speak directly to people living with speech and language challenges, and others such as speech language pathologists, researchers, educators and family members. We use inclusive language and themes to help rebuild confidence and hope by dismantling myths, stigma, stereotypes and barriers.

14 March 2021

The Sociolinguistics of Stuttering


Welcome to our first official episode! On today’s episode you’ll hear a little more about your hosts (Greg O’Grady and Katelyn Mayo!), you’ll learn about the mission and objectives of the Some Stutter, Luh! podcast and hear some of the positive feedback we’ve already received from the public!

We invite guest Dr. Paul De Decker to introduce us to a recurring segment called ‘The Science of Stuttering’. Paul is a professor of Linguistics at Memorial University and is a key part of our production team! For almost a year, he has been working with the people who stutter and the Newfoundland and Labrador Stuttering Association (NLSA) to develop research projects which aim to increase awareness of stuttering. Paul shares about some of the advocacy work he is doing and discusses his research on the Sociolinguistics of Stuttering. Make sure to listen to the episode to hear more from Paul, and stay tuned (!!!) because he will be back with more exciting research in future episodes.

Music: Luca Dinu. Production Team: Greg O’Grady, Luca Dinu, Dr. Paul De Decker, Katelyn Mayo.


Greg O'Grady: Welc- welcome to to the official launch episode of Some Stutter, Luh!, Newfoundland and Labrador's first podcast stuttering uh first podcast about stuttering. My uh my name is Greg O’Grady and and I am the Newfoundland Labrador Stuttering Association chair, and I am one of the Some Stutter, Luh! (Newfoundland’s first podcast about stuttering) co-host along with…

Katelyn Mayo: My name is Katelyn Mayo, and I am one of the co-hosts as well. I am an undergraduate linguistics student at Memorial University, and I’m finishing up this semester, and I am an aspiring speech language pathologist.

Greg O'Grady: Some Stutter, Luh! mission is dismantling and rebuilding stuttering one word at a time. Some- Some Stutter, Luh! mandate is, in the spirit of Newfoundland and Labrador humour, robust and frank interactive discussions. Some Stutter Luh! podcast aims to rebuild confidence and hope for the days and tomorrow's persons who happen to stutter by dismantling stuttering myths, stigma, stereotypes and barriers.

Katelyn Mayo: The objectives of the Some Stutter, Luh! podcast are supporting, raising awareness, and increasing understanding and acceptance of stuttering, providing people who stutter, their families, professionals, students, and the general public with current information, research, and resources about stuttering, and promoting the NLSA mission of advocacy and support for people who stutter.

Greg O'Grady: Katelyn, I uh I am so excited. Uh Katelyn, did you have time to read the uh the positive feedback we've, you know, we we have gotten so far about our uh podcast teasers? And uh we we received one one feedback from Brent, and Brent says, “Great work! I think this will really help give voice to people who stutter in a unique way unique way. Perfect!” Brent says. John said that, “This is an excellent podcast. Invite me on as a guest as at some point if you want,” “ya want” W-A wants. “Love the work and the double meaning behind the name.” Mark says, “That's a great teaser that should be should pique interest amongst all those affected directly and indirectly,” and in in addition a great awareness promotion.” And Eddie says, “This is excellent, Greg and Katelyn. What a great idea. All the best with it?” Isn't it fabulous? So so the feedback has been very positive so far, Katelyn. So it really sort of adds to the uh the the, you know, the actual mission of what we're doing. What are your thoughts, Katelyn?

Katelyn Mayo: Yeah, we've been getting a lot of positive comments and feedback on our social media and our Facebook and our Instagram and everything like that as well, which has been really exciting.

Greg O'Grady: Excellent. Excellent. So uh so Katelyn, it's nice, you know, nice to know that that that that listeners are are are starting to to to take notice of what a Some Stutter, Luh! podcast is doing and and our mission. So it's great to receive all this support.

Katelyn Mayo: And with each teaser, we've built up more and more listeners, which I think is really positive. We've had 88 plays, so it's, the episodes have been played 88 times.

Greg O'Grady: So uh, you know, I mean this, you know, this, you know, you know, this is a momentous, you know, this this is a momentous occasion for Some Stutter, Luh! Newfoundland Labrador's first podcast about stuttering, and it it's it's interesting that al- although, you know, I I although I’m a person who stutters, uh I also, you know, stutter when I’m excited as well. We uh we we have a, you know, we we have have a special guest today on our uh on on on on the official launch of Some Stutter, Luh!, and his name is Dr. Paul De Decker, and Paul, you know, Paul is is an associate Associate Professor of Linguistics at Memorial University, and Paul, you know, Paul is is is a significant part of the Some Stutter team and the Newfoundland and Labrador Stuttering Association. But today, Paul Paul is going to talk about the science of stuttering, and this is this is an interesting topic, Paul.

Dr. Paul De Decker: Hi, Greg. Hi, Katelyn. Thanks for having me. Yeah, I’m going to talk about the science of stuttering, and so this is part of the podcast where I look at some of the research that's been done on stuttering by academics and scholars to kind of understand a little bit more about the history of how stuttering research has taken and how it's developed over time, as well as to, perhaps, share some some of the knowledge that we've gained about stuttering so we can tell our listeners of what we know about stuttering. So I'll tell you a little bit about the project that I am working on at the moment, and I hope we can uh get into more details as we go on with the podcast. It's called “The Sociolinguistics of Stuttering,” and it's an investigation into how identities are constructed across the lifespans of people who stutter.

Katelyn Mayo: I did want to interject one quick question. I know we're talking about the science of stuttering. This is a little more broad than that. I know what sociolinguistics is, but maybe some people listening don't, and if the study is called “The Sociolinguistics of Stuttering,” what is that?

Dr. Paul De Decker: That's a good question. So sociolinguistics is the study of how language and society interact with each other. So how does language create the world that we live in? And also, how does the world that we live in create how we speak? So, there's a there's a two-way relationship in sociolinguistics that is an important part of what makes it an interesting field to study. I would say it's it's the social life that language has. So what I’m interested in is just getting a sense of how stuttering impacts the person who stutters at different uh stages of their life and how their, how people who stutter, how their speech is used to construct identity, who they are, and how that identity is perceived by other people in their own community. So some of the background on this comes from the research in sociolinguistics by Penny Eckert, who views identity as a social practice. It's something that we do in our social lives, and language is a very important part of that. We talk to people, we communicate with others. So language is an important part of that construction or how we how we make our own identities. For people who stutter, where their speech contains stutter, how does that influence and affect their identity? So that's the thing, those are some of the questions that I’m interested in. On top of uh stutter, we have the perception of that stutter, so how people react to hearing someone who stutters, and so there's stigma associated with speech disfluencies. This causes many people who stutter to hide their stutter, which ultimately leads to the construction of what's called a concealable and stigmatized identity. And this is a term that was coined by two researchers, Quinn and Earnshaw, back in 2013. So, this research is is a foundational part of the project that we're looking at here. So what we're interested in is how people who stutter use their stutter as part of their identity, or how they conceal it from other people, and what effect that has on the person who stutters.

Greg O'Grady: Paul, as as, you know, as a person who stutters, uh, you know, uh you know, like I uh support your, you know, your, you know, your your sociolinguistic identity construction project, because I mean, I had spent… I spent a lot of my life trying as a covert stutterer, and uh, you know, if if if, you know, if if if if if somebody if if a person who stutters is always hiding their stuttering, it’s it’s difficult to develop a strong sense of, you know, in, you know, in in individuality and identity. Because, I mean, one, you know, one, you know, you know, most people who who stutter, as as we all know, uh the stuttering is the… Uh the actual physical component of stuttering is the ten ten percent above the surface of the iceberg. There's the repetitions, the blocks, the uh the, you know, the the the, you know, the secondary characteristics of the eye blinking, things like that. But I think below the the lower surface of the iceberg, which which I've always had difficulty with, is is the emotional component, which is the element of the shame, embarrassment, the stigma. And uh as as a person who stutters, I've always been very, you know, very very sensitive uh of of of of how a listener may react to me in terms of uh, you know, in in terms of the like the uh the facial expression, attitude. They uh… It's just a look in their eyes, and so, I mean, as a person who stutters, I mean, so so we we really try to… You know, many of the people who are covert stutterers uh try to to to avoid this uh uh uncomfortable situation by trying to hide our stuttering. But I think that the long-term effects is in terms of, you know, — and I’m realizing now more and more as I’m getting older that uh if somebody's constantly trying to hide their stuttering, does, you know, you know, how can one develop a sense of confidence, a sense of, you know, a sense of identity? And also, if one is trying to to hide their stuttering, I mean, this is, you know, it impacts our behaviours, attitude, and some with some people, career choices, perspective. So so there's a whole psychological emotional component, and I think this, you know, this, you know, this is this is one area, Paul, that that needs to be delved delved into.

Dr. Paul De Decker: Yeah. I hope that we can find some uh answers here and some research that could be used by people who stutter, and also to educate the wider public about some of the identity issues and emotional issues that people who stutter face and have going on actively in their minds as they choose whether to speak or not to speak, as I think the… From my understanding of the research, there's the anticipation of encountering people, or encountering stigma is something that keeps people who stutter quiet as well. So there's a constant fear of being judged and being evaluated, as you said, yeah. So I’m going to keep in touch with you guys, and I'll let you know more and more as the project unrolls about what we're finding, and I'll be happy to come back again and talk more about other research that uh we can, that will shed some light on on the issues of stuttering.

Greg O'Grady: Well, thank you very much Paul, for being being our first guest on Some Stutter, Luh!, our official launch. We, you know, Katelyn and I, you know, really appreciate it.

Dr. Paul De Decker: Thank you. It's been a pleasure, and I'll be back soon.

Greg O'Grady: Thank you, and so uh, Katelyn, we, you know, this, you know, uh Some Stutter podcast Some Stutter, Luh! podcast will will also be be inviting other uh uh other guests on to to our podcast and uh, you know, I’m looking uh looking forward to to hearing the the uh the stories the perspectives of other people who stutters, how stuttering has impacted or or or proved to to be a positive experience in their lives. I’m looking forward to listening listening to other professionals, speech language pathologists, uh uh, you know, researchers as well. You know you know you know, there's so much to to learn about stuttering, and we've only in many ways tapped the the uh tip of the iceberg. And also this, you know, this you know, Some- Some Stutter Luh! podcast, Newfoundland and Labrador’s first uh podcast about stuttering is is is is is such an opportunity to to finally uh have the voice of people who stutter heard within Newfoundland and Labrador. So, I mean, so so we have so much to talk about. We really do.

Katelyn Mayo: Some Stutter, Luh! Newfoundland's first podcast about stuttering, has so much to talk about. Let's start listening.

Greg O'Grady: Oh, Katelyn, I oh I hear that uh, you know, I hear that, you know, Luca Luca is is starting to tickle the the the ivories of of music. So so I think this is this is this this is our end, uh this is our cue to end this this episode of Some Stutter, Luh! uh podcast. So thank you all very much for listening.

Dr. Paul De Decker: This has been an episode of Some Stutter, Luh!, Newfoundland and Labrador's first podcast about stuttering. Some Stutter, Luh! is hosted and produced by Greg O’Grady, Katelyn Mayo, and Dr. Paul De Decker. Some Stutter, Luh! is available on Anchor, Spotify, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts and RadioPublic.

To ask a question, send us a comment or a suggestion, or just to get in touch, find us online on [Instagram]( @somestutterpodcast and [Facebook] ( @somestutterluhpod.

Thanks for listening. </blockquote>