In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Dysfluent
  • Josh Compton (bio)

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my voice. I’m a stutterer, and I’m a speech professor.

Much of my stutter is covert, from over forty years’ practice of creative ways to avoid blocks and elongations and repetitions. I glide into a quick word substitution, or I linger for a second or two of strategic silence. And as a result, I usually pass as fluent—so well, even, that I won scores of awards for public speaking and debate in college. And now I’m regularly invited to give talks about my research for academic and community events. I teach a popular public speaking course with a wait list that regularly doubles and triples the number of available seats in my class. My stutter is not obvious to most people. I sound pretty fluent, usually.

But Dysfluent—an independent magazine supported by the Irish Stammering Association and the British Stammering Association / STAMMA and created by Conor Foran and Bart Rzeznik—challenges the idea that passing as fluent is the only worthy metric for a good voice. I see this magazine as a sort of celebration of stammering, of stuttering as a different way of communicating. Its essays and interviews give space to the stuttering voice—and more than just space. A platform and a spotlight and applause. I donated to the Dysfluent Indiegogo crowdfunding effort to support issue 1, and I’m so glad I did.

Dysfluent comes at a time when many in the stuttering and stammering community are being more public than ever about embracing their voices, of more confidently, often proudly, stuttering toward insights and ideas and dialogue.

Holding the first issue of Dysfluent in my hands, reading open perspectives of stammering and stuttering (and in a special font—Dysfluent Mono—designed to capture the feeling(s) of the stutter, with stretched letters and uneven spaces), I became inspired and equipped to push back [End Page 13] harder against the impossible metric of fluency, both in my own speaking and in the way I teach public speaking. Sure, it’s still fun to be fluent, and I sometimes have long passages of speech that flow and build and nearly sing, but now, more and more, when I don’t, I keep my focus on the idea instead of my tongue and my teeth and my throat, and I stutter my way toward shared understanding—toward shared understanding of the idea forming from dialogue, and toward shared understanding of stuttering as a different yet valid way of speaking. I’m grateful for this one-of-its-kind magazine that gave voice to voices like mine and even gave typeface to how I sometimes speak and to how I nearly always think when I’m speaking.

There’s something particularly special about stuttering transcribed in print, down to the granular elongations of certain sounds and broader ebbs and flows with unashamed ebbs standing confidently right alongside the flows. Here is a font that matches the voice in my head, my own real-life thought bubble, starkly in print what is usually hidden in my thoughts as a covert stutterer. Reading the stuttering voice in Dysfluent is a feeling of recognition for me.

And a feeling of pride. What a difference it is—to have the stuttering voice respected in content and in style, in theory and in practice, in the pages of Dysfluent, compared to other transcriptions of stuttering, of mocked dialogue in film, of false starts played for laughs in cartoons.

Dysfluent got the sound right. They got it right, and they called it right. [End Page 14]

Josh Compton
Dartmouth College
Josh Compton

josh compton is an associate professor of speech at Dartmouth College. He is the author of more than fifty journal articles and the coeditor of Persuasion and Communication in Sport, Exercise, and Physical Activity (Abington, UK: Rout-ledge, 2018). Contact: