Linguistic disfluency induced by nonword and sentence repetition tasks in preschool children with and without vocabulary delay

Yoonhee Yang, Hyun Sub Sim, Dongsun Yim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: All children demonstrate subtle linguistic disfluencies; children with vocabulary delay (VD), regardless of the presence of speech disorders, tend to produce disfluencies when phonological (linguistic) demands exceed their capacities. The current study examined whether the subtypes of linguistic disfluencies induced by nonword repetition (NWR) and sentence repetition (SR) tasks can discriminate between children with VD those without VD. Methods: Seventeen children with VD between the ages of 5 to 6 and 18 agematched children with normal language (NL) participated in this study. Participants' performance was assessed with NWR and SR, which impose a load on phonological memory. We analyzed speech samples collected during two repetition tasks. Repeated measured ANOVA, Pearson product-moment correlation, and stepwise multiple regression were used for data analysis. Results: Significant differences were found according to group and disfluency subtype. In the VD group, expressive vocabulary scores only correlated with R2 (Repetition2) in SR; this did not significantly correlate with any of the linguistic subtypes in the NL group. R2 in SR in the VD group showed significant predictive power for expressive vocabulary scores. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that linguistic disfluencies are more common in VD than NL groups. The VD children produced more disfluencies, especially with sentence level stimuli; these stimuli may place a greater phonological processing load on the children to recall content. Such a phonological (linguistic) load may negatively influence their speech planning and production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-668
Number of pages12
JournalCommunication Sciences and Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.


  • Linguistic disfluency
  • Nonword repetition
  • Phonological memory load
  • Preschool language delay
  • Sentence repetition


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