What is a Stutter , how does it work ?


This might sound weird at first but hear me out please
I work with a Hungarian man, he speaks English and he stutters heavily while doing so , but he does not stutter in his mother tongue at all.
How is it possible that this can happen to him in one but the other language ?

In: 0

In this scenario, it is most likely because humans think in only one language, and when speaking in another language, they need to consciously translate to and from the two languages if they are not super comfortable with the language.

Por ejemplo, si te hablo en español, you have to consciously translate the Spanish text to English in order to understand it. The opposite is true when speaking, where you need to translate words into Spanish to communicate back.

There are also other reasons reasons (e.g. genetic, traumatic, developmental) why people stutter, but I think in this scenario, he isn’t very confident in English yet and thus stutters frequently to find the right words. You threw the Spanish in the previous paragraph in the translator, didn’t you? Since he isn’t so confident in English as mentioned earlier, he needs to consciously translate into Hungarian to comprehend those words. However, in Hungarian, his native language, he thinks in that language and therefore does not need to stutter as his mind instantly comprehends those words.


Stuttering has many different causes and types. There is the genetics angle, which would mean the stutterer would stutter in every language they speak, but there is also the anxiety and emotional distress, or lack of confidence. My brother, for example, only stammers when he is really nervous or scared. It is possible that this gentlemen stammers when speaking English because he is unsure of the language or lacks fluidity. There’s also the Christopher Walken phenomenon. He speaks with all those pauses because when he was taught English as a young child, that’s how his parents spoke, they were constantly searching for the next word. So now, even though he is fluent, he speaks with constant pausing and trailing off.


In short, there are several theories why your coworker stutters in only one language, but it’s hard to know for sure. Of course, it’s possible he does suffer in Hungarian, just not very often (like my brother, only when he’s very stressed), which would make more sense.