Why do people often stammer for words that begin with the letter 'a'?

  • Thread starter Loren Booda
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In summary: Booda has an article on the "Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon" which discusses how people can be delayed in finding words because they are searching for a word that begins with a certain sound-The phenomenon is studied extensively in cognitive psychology and is believed to be caused by a suppression of all the other related words that are nearby in the semantic network-Many people experiencing the phenomenon are very good at identifying the attributes of the word they cannot locate (i.e. number of syllables, first and last letters)
  • #1
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Keep note of persons stammering for a word. Quite often, the word they will offer (in proportion to the frequency of such words in spoken English generally) begins with the letter "a" or another soft vowel.

This preponderance arises, I believe, from the sound of hesitation or realization (such as "uh" or "ah") preceding the uttered word, or that fact that the letter "a" starts for many an alphabetic word search. Do you think this reasoning sound?
 
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  • #2
Most commonly when we open our mouth we have not planned exactly what we will say. The fact that we can successfully speak this way (IMO) supports the idea that we do not have free will, and that we are all deterministic actors*.

I have never observed the phenomenon you describe:

Quite often, the word they will offer (in proportion to the frequency of such words in spoken English generally) begins with the letter "a" or another soft vowel.

But I like your conclusion, in my world view I see it as causing "determinism problems", a phrase I use to mean that our mind is not in harmony without actions.

*Leaving aside metaphysical free will, I think we all accept that (at least part of the time) we speak on autopilot in an ordinary sense, much like replaying a record.
 
  • #3
Loren Booda,

If I understand you correctly, the person utters the vowel sound 'uh' or 'ah' and then utters a word beginning with the same sound. If so, then I would venture that it's a matter of association. The brain scrolls through words that begin with the same sound and selects one. Kind of like typing one letter in the google search box and all the searches beginning with that letter drop down.

Try it yourself with different sounds and see what your brain does. For me, more words come to mind when I utter and hold a vowel sound than a consonant.

In other words, yes, I think your reasoning is sound.
 
  • #4
Tip of the Tongue phenomenon is studied extensively in cognitive psychology. One of the predominant theories is that during the mental search process, you accidentally locate an incorrect (but related) word, and this suppresses all the other related words that are nearby in the semantic network. This causes difficulty and delay in eventually reaching the correct target word.
What's interesting is that in studies, many people experiencing TOT are very good at identifying attributes of the word they cannot locate (i.e., number of syllables, first and last letters). I've got a good paper on this I'll try to dig up for you, Loren. I think you would enjoy it.
 
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  • #5
Th-th-th-thanks for y-y-y-your contributions, good people.
 
  • #6
Hey Loren, PM me an email address and I'll send you that TOT paper.
 
  • #7
Thanks, Math is Hard.

Could you give me a link or other means of accessing the paper, as I am totally ignorant about instant messaging. How "dumb" of me.:tongue:

-Loren
 

1. Why do people stammer when saying words that begin with the letter 'a'?

There are a few possible reasons for this. One explanation is that words that begin with the letter 'a' often have difficult or complex sounds, such as a long vowel or a consonant cluster. Another reason could be that words beginning with 'a' are often used as sentence starters, causing people to feel pressure to speak clearly and confidently. Additionally, some individuals may have a specific speech impediment that affects their ability to say words beginning with 'a' smoothly.

2. Is stammering when saying 'a' words a sign of a speech disorder?

Not necessarily. While stammering or stuttering can be a symptom of a speech disorder, it is not always indicative of a larger issue. Some people may have a temporary difficulty with certain sounds or words, while others may have a chronic stammer that affects a wider range of words. If the stammering is causing significant distress or impacting daily functioning, it may be worth seeking the advice of a speech-language pathologist.

3. Can stammering when saying 'a' words be treated?

Yes, there are various treatment options available for individuals who struggle with stammering. Speech therapy is often recommended, which can involve exercises and techniques to improve fluency and reduce stammering. Additionally, there are support groups and online resources available for individuals seeking to manage their stammering.

4. Does stammering when saying words beginning with 'a' affect intelligence?

No, stammering does not affect intelligence. Stammering is a communication disorder that impacts the flow of speech, but it does not affect a person's cognitive abilities or intelligence level. Many highly intelligent and successful individuals have struggled with stammering throughout their lives.

5. Can stress or anxiety worsen stammering when saying 'a' words?

Yes, stress and anxiety can often exacerbate stammering. When a person is feeling anxious or under pressure, their body may tense up, making it more difficult to speak fluently. This can be especially true for words beginning with 'a' that may already be challenging to say. Finding ways to manage stress and anxiety can help reduce stammering and improve overall communication.

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