- The blurt. Stutterers pepper their language with so-called “fillers” that ostensibly sit outside of, and even detract from, the message. We sometimes grimace and groan in the act of speech. In addition, we sometimes find ourselves in the midst of speaking sounds, words, or phrases we didn’t fully intend.
- The misfire. The phenomenon of stuttering includes both prolongation and repetition. Stuttering can extend the opening sounds of a message (e.g. ---aaaaaaaagree or bo-bo-bo-book), which an ableist grammar recodes as misfires that communicative parties can tacitly agree to ignore.
- The stall. A repetition can be a redundant redundancy (one that serves no discernable purpose), like repeating most of a sentence multiple times to get a “running start” on the difficult finish that was long ago anticipated by our impatient interlocutor. Or, in a hard block, the voice suddenly and unexpectedly runs dry. A word stops in your throat, and you must wait for infra-bodily traffic to clear while the absence of meaning gapes wide and dangerous in the social world.
- Crossed wires. A regular experience for stutterers, crossed wires describes the state of “talking past each other” that might begin when one party “mishears” the other and then feedbacks error into the conversation.
- The swerve. Clinicians prefer the term “avoidance” to describe the strategy stutterers employ when we sense an oncoming phoneme over which we expect to trip. I might, for example, begin to say “I agree” but change course, swerving around a potential misfire to substitute on the fly: “I don’t know.”
- The cut-off. This accident is one of attempted repair, caused when interlocutors or bystanders rush to the scene of an accident, interrupt, and reimpose order by attempting to predict and finish the stalled (or otherwise damaged) message according to a dominant grammar.
- The gridlock. Stuttering ferociously at the front of a queue, for example, halts the flow of information, people, and capital; it stalls a lane of traffic and tempts impatient honks in the form of tapped toes and glances, as everyone waits for an undetermined time until information and thus bodies will once again flow free.
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