So much to say, so little time: A longitudinal study to determine if Lord Melvyn Bragg clutters.
McNaughten, R. (2014) So much to say, so little time: A longitudinal study to determine if Lord Melvyn Bragg clutters., no. 53.
Lord Melvyn Bragg is a radio and television broadcaster and presenter who currently hosts the BBC Radio 4 discussion show 'In Our Time'. During this show he is required to question guests and keep conversations on topic. His speech can sound very fast and irregular with many errors and reformulations, which perceptually could be considered as cluttering. This study aimed to determine the extent to which Melvyn Bragg could be considered to clutter. Twelve mp3 podcasts of the radio broadcasts, available from the BBC Radio 4 website, were used for analysis. The sound files were edited and annotated in PRAAT. They were analysed for repair type and frequency (repetitions, deletions, substitutions, insertions and other), pause type and frequency (silent pauses, filled pauses, breath pauses, prolongations and other) and an orthographic transcription was produced. Articulation rate was also calculated. These results were compared to the results from 64 typical speakers in the Human Communication Research Centre Map Task Corpus (HCRC MTC) (Anderson et al., 1991).The Cluttering Severity Instrument (CSI) was used on one sample to determine the severity of any clutter-like behaviours. The results found that Melvyn Bragg used an articulation rate that fell within normal limits set by the HCRC MTC data. The only disfluency type that was significantly more frequent in Melvyn Bragg's speech than in the HCRC MTC data was repetitions. The results for all other repair and pause types were within the normal limits, as set by the HCRC MTC data. The results of the CSI showed that Melvyn Bragg presents with a similar language profile to 3 known people who clutter, however he has a much lower severity rating than them. Overall the results suggest that Melvyn Bragg cannot be considered as a person who clutters. Whilst the results of this study ought to be viewed with caution due to the small volume of data, they provide clinical implications and reinforcement of the need for further research and development of a definition of cluttering, and a provision of normative and standardised data for diagnosis of cluttering.