Difference between stammering and stuttering

Difference between stammering and stuttering

Stammering can be embarrassing and affects adults as well as children. Consulting a doctor for assistance in dealing with stuttering is a good idea. It is a physical and social health issue.

Both stuttering as well as stammering refer to the same speech disorder, which is characterized by a disrupted flow of speech. The main difference tends to lie in the location where these words are usually used. “Stutter” is frequently and more commonly spoken in Australia and North America, while “stammer” is more popular among British speakers.

The following happen to be the common symptoms of stuttering or stammering:

  • Involuntary repetitions of sounds, syllables, or even words.
  • Uncontrollable pauses whereby the individual has much difficulty producing sound.
  • Sound prolongation.
  • Overuse of unnecessary interjections or even fillers like “em, mmm…, or uh”.
  • Frequent throat clearing, lip smacking, or similar behaviors in an attempt to stop speech blocks.

Though there is obviously no known specific cause, the following facts shed more light on this speech disorder:

  • Stammering or stuttering does increase when the individual feels excited, tired, anxious, or due to other related intense emotions.
  • This condition is more obviously manifested among men than women, with a ratio of 4:1.
  • This disorder relatively does begin at two to five years old, which is a window period for language development.
  • The symptoms often do decrease when singing, whispering, and even talking to pets.
  • There is an observed elevated dopamine level among a few of them who stutter or stammer.

According to a few sources, stammering and stuttering are the same condition and have the same symptoms. The difference is only in the terminology used in different regions. Few people say that stuttering is the repetition of letters, while stammering is the blocking and prolongations. This is not a clinical distinction made by professionals, though.

The medical condition “disfluent speech” or “dysfluent speech” is no doubt commonly referred to as “stuttering” in American English. In British English, the condition is known as “stammering.”

Difference between stammering and stuttering

Difference between stammering and stuttering

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

Origins of the words

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “stammer” did appear in English sometime before the 12th century. “Stammer” does come from an Old Norse word that does imply “to hinder, to dam up.”

The word “stutter” does come from a Middle English word (stutten) and is similar to a Dutch word, stotteren. Also, in addition to the condition of stuttering, “stutter” can also indicate moving or acting in a halting manner.

Symptoms of stuttering or stammering

Since stammering and stuttering are the same conditions, they have the same symptoms. Like:

  • Prolonging certain sounds of words
  • Long stops, or even “blocks,” as you are speaking a sentence.
  • Getting frustrated as a person tries to speak in sentences.
  • Lip tremors or tension in one’s face when a person tries to speak.
  • Having difficulty speaking in social or even public settings.

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

A family history of stuttering can make a person more likely to have the condition.

Resources for stuttering or stammering

If a person or his or her child is living with a stutter or stammer, there are resources that provide the required assistance.

Getting connected with a licensed speech pathologist in order to diagnose and treat the condition is the initial step. People can make enquiries with associations and support groups that focus on living with a stutter as well as treatment as well as recovery.


Stuttering and stammering are indeed known to be the same condition and have similar symptoms.

No matter what people prefer to call the condition, there are resources that can be accessed for a diagnosis as well as treatment.

Talking with a doctor or one’s child’s pediatrician if the person or child has symptoms of stuttering does help.

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