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Cluttered speech is a common term for speech that becomes broken down, cluttered, or unintelligible due to a variety of reasons. Cluttered speech is often described as hurried, nervous, broken down, stuttering, stammering, and cluttering. Cluttered speech happens extensively with the speech disorder of cluttering, but is more commonly found in various disorders and especially in normal speech not associated with the disorder of cluttering.


Cluttered speech during normal speech



The common usage of stuttering is more similar to cluttered speech than to the speech disorder of stuttering. The common usage of stuttering refers to the nervous speech type of cluttered speech.

Nervous speech

People who don't have the speech disorder of stuttering will often mention they are "stuttering" in conjunction with the initial breakdown of a beginning of a speech. An example is, "I was so nervous that I could barely talk above a whisper. I stuttered, mispronounced words, and dropped a baby doll that I was using as a demo."[1]

This nervous speech is the most common type of cluttered speech, because all people do it to a degree.

Public speaking

The Art of Public Speaking refers to cluttered speech as speech that is not clear and compelling, speech that forces listeners to "hack through a tangle of words to discover meaning."[2]


All children exhibit cluttered speech, starting at age 2, and usually stopping at age 5. Many children do not reach a point where they are regularly using clear speech until age 8, sometimes older.[3].

Cluttered Speech Disorders

Cluttered speech happens as a part of various disorders which affect the speech.


The associated disorder resulting in an overage of cluttered speech is cluttering, in which speech becomes so cluttered that it becomes unintelligible, frequently through an overage of normal disfluencies such as repetitions, revisions, and interjections[4].

Fragile X Syndrome

Cluttered speech is a common symptom of Fragile X Syndrome. People with Fragile X with a higher IQ exhibit cluttered speech including disfluencies and stuttering[5]

Pressured speech

Pressured speech is rapid, accelerated, frenzied speech[6] that is a type of cluttered speech, which is typically associated with manias or hypomania.


A symptom of dyslexia is the breakdown of speech, or cluttered speech.[7]. Cluttered speech in young people with dyslexia is often accompanied by hyperactivity[8].


Michael J. Fox struggled with "cluttered speech" in conjunction with voice weakening due to Parkinson's.[9]. He also said, "These impediments to self-expression are not the most painful or debilitating features of Parkinson's disease, yet they madden me more than even the most teeth-rattling full body tremor."


  1. ^ One Mother at a Time
  2. ^ Lucas, Stephen (2003). The Art of Public Speaking. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages. pp. 275. ISBN 007256296X.  
  3. ^ "Speech is Subject for PTA". The Chronicle Telegram. January 13, 1962.  
  4. ^ What is cluttering?
  5. ^ Gorlin, Robert (2001). Syndromes of the Head and Neck. New Jersey: Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 73. ISBN 0195118618.  
  6. ^ Melton, Gary (1997). Psychological Evaluation for the Courts. The Guilford Press. pp. 636. ISBN 1572302364.  
  7. ^ This book is written in "plain language" to make it easier to read for student with dyslexia as well as "busy" teachers and...
  8. ^ Armstrong, Richard (1975-08-25). "Obstacle To Reading". The Sheboygan Press.  
  9. ^ Fox, Michael (2003). Lucky Man: A Memoir. Hyperion. pp. 214. ISBN 0786888741.  


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